Mark Twain on Politics: Tammany, High Crimes and Misdemeanors

Adding humor to your speech - pondering on it

Written by Conor Cunneen

Published November 1, 2016

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M-TOPP: Mark Twain on Politics and Politicians


Mark Twain on Politics: Tammany, High Crimes and Misdemeanors 

Twain despised the shenanigans and lack of integrity for the political system and was mutually critical of both sides. He reserved particular angry commentary for the corrupt politics of Tammany Hall and in particular Richard “Boss” Croker who dominated and manipulated New York politics for the latter years of the nineteenth century. Croker is one of the few bad things to come from my home county of Cork, Ireland!

This diatribe from Twain is modeled on a famous Edmund Burke House of Commons speech calling for the impeachment of Warren Hastings, Governor General of India.

I Impeach Richard Croker


I impeach Richard Croker of high crimes and misdemeanors. I impeach him in the name of the people, whose trust he has betrayed.

I impeach him in the name of all the people of America, whose national character he has dishonored.

I impeach him in the name and by virtue of those eternal laws of justice which he has violated.

I impeach him in the name of human nature itself, which he has cruelly outraged, injured, and oppressed, in both sexes, in every age, rank, situation, and condition of life.


Acorn Speech, 17 October 1901





twain-front-180-10-27Keynote speaker Conor Cunneen is author Suppose You Were An Idiot… Mark Twain on Politics and Politicians

Twain once wrote “Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a Congressman. But I repeat myself.”

“Whiskey is taken into the committee rooms in demijohns and carried out in demagogues.”

Mark Twain Notebook



Conor Cunneen is also author

What Mark Twain Learned Me ’bout Public Speakin’

“When I say I’ll learn (‘Teach’ is not in the river vocabulary) a man the river, I mean it. And you can depend on it, I’ll learn him or kill him.” Life on the Mississippi  – Mark Twain

Utilizing a unique and memorable MARK TWAIN acronym, author Conor Cunneen demonstrates what the Dean of American Humorists learned him bout public speakin !

MARK ——– BEFORE you go on stage

Message preparation

Audience research and knowledge

Relate to audience

Know your objective


Titter and humor wins the audience

Wait – The power of the Pause

Anecdotes connect

Involve, Inform, Inspire your audience

Narration and stagecraft.

BUY: What Mark Twain Learned Me ’bout Public Speakin’

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