October 18th, 2010
Period 4/5 - US History
William Marcy “Boss” Tweed
William Tweed was born on April 3rd, 1823 in New York City. Tweed was an American politician and most famous for his leadership at Tammany Hall. He was a key figure in the Democratic political machine and had a huge impact on New York state and city. At one point, Tweed was third-largest landowner in New York City. He was also a director of the Erie Railway, the Tenth National Bank, and the New-York Printing Company, as well as proprietor of the Metropolitan Hotel.
In William’s early life he studied to be a bookkeeper and worked as a brush maker, before joining the family business. In 1849, Tweed and some friends organized the Americus Fire Company No. 6, it was a volunteer fire company, also known as the "Big Six". William Tweed was elected into the U.S House of Representatives in 1852. Tweed was elected to the New York State Senate in 1867. Financiers Jay Gould and Big Jim Fisk made Tweed a director of the Erie Railroad. In spite of Tweed’s successes he also made some mistakes in his life. By 1869, Boss Tweed led a ring that controlled the government of New York City. He and his associates; Peter B. Sweeny, Richard B. Connolly, and Mayor A. Oakey Hall, conned the taxpayers for many millions of dollars. Albert Bigelow Paine once said "their methods were curiously simple and primitive. There were no skilful manipulations of figures, making detection difficult ... Connolly, as Controller, had charge of the books, and declined to show them. With his fellows, he also 'controlled' the courts and most of the bar." Tweed's downfall began in April 1871 when he refused to authorize the Orange Parade. The New York Times were writing articles, supplied by Matthew J. O'Rourke and James O'Brien, about the Tweed Ring’s dishonesty to the press. There were also political cartoons being shown in papers, drawn by Thomas Nast. In 1871, opposing candidates were being elected, breaking the power of...