JOSEPH PULITZER 267
EARLY LIFE IN ST. LOUIS AND HIS FOUNDING AND CONDUCT
OF THE POST-DISPATCH UP TO 1883
BY GEORGE S. JOHNS
CRUSADE AGAINST THE GAMBLING RING
The biggest and hardest crusade in which the Post-
Dispatch engaged under the personal direction of Mr. Pulitzer
was the crusade against the gambling ring, to which reference
has already been made. It was the longest and most persistent. The fight began in 1879, shortly after the exposure
of the tax-dodgers, and continued in various phases to the
autumn of 1882, a few months before Mr. Pulitzer bought
The World. Of course, the crusade was successful in the end,
but it was a strenuous task. Probably there is no other
example of a newspaper crusade maintained with such persistency and vigor and against such great odds, as this one.
It required attacks on the police, the courts, the Legislature
and the Governor of the State.
The fight embraced not only the gambling dens, but
lotteries, bucket shops and kindred gambling swindles. The
lotteries were squelched with comparative ease, and the lottery
king was sent to the penitentiary. But the war on the gambling ring, in alliance with public officials, is another story.
In 1881, the first attack on the gamblers in the previous
year having had no appreciable effect the Post-Dispatch
undertook the crusade with greater vigor. It called St.
Louis "a gambler's paradise" and gave the names and addresses of the gambling houses, describing each one of them.
A double-leaded editorial demanded that the police do their
duty. When, the next day, the Chief of Police said he had
never been able to get into one of these places, the Post-
Dispatch called him "an innocent sort of a hairpin," and a
"real old Uncle Pumblechook," remarking that "it is to be