Boss Tweed

Good Essays
William Marcy Tweed, aka "Boss Tweed," began as a New York City volunteer fireman but worked his way up the political ladder. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1853. In 1858, he rose to the head of Tammany Hall, the central organization of the Democratic Party in New York, and was later elected to the New York State Senate in 1867. Tweed gathered around him a small ring of bigwigs who controlled New York City's finances. Tweed's Ring essentially controlled New York City until 1870, using embezzlement, bribery, and kickbacks to siphon massive chunks of New York's budget into their own pockets — anywhere from $40 million to $200 million (or $1.5 billion to $9 billion in 2009 dollars).
Companies under control of the Tweed Ring would bill the city for work not done or would overbill for work they did, and the kickbacks would filter back to Tweed and his cronies. Those companies, under city contracts, would also do substandard work that would soon require repair, which would then be done by other Tweed Ring-controlled companies. Also, because Boss Tweed had a large stake in New York's transportation system, he delayed the construction of the subway system for years.
Boss Tweed and his cronies were eventually taken down in large part because of investigative journalism by the New York Times and by the political cartoons of Thomas Nast in Harper's Weekly. Tweed was tried and convicted of forgery and larceny in 1873 and given a 12-year sentence. He was released after only one year but was soon arrested again and sued by New York City in a $6 million civil suit. In 1875, he fled to Cuba and then to Spain, but authorities were waiting for him there, and he was extradited back to New York. He died in prison in 1878.
Although the Tweed Ring is a dark mark on our history that defined government corruption for an entire century, its destruction is also a testament to the success of the free press. Had it not been for the investigative journalism of New

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Better Essays

    Boss Tweed

    • 807 Words
    • 4 Pages

    ISSUE 5 Did William M. Tweed Corrupt Post - Civil War New York? YES: Alexander B. Callow, Jr., from The Tweed Ring (Oxford University Press, 1966) NO: Leo Hershkowitz, from Tweed’s New York: Another Look (Anchor Press, 1977) ISSUE SUMMARY YES: Professor emeritus of history Alexander B. Callow, Jr., insists that by exercising a corrupting influence over the city arid state government, as well as over key elements within the business community, William M. “Boss” Tweed and his infamous “ring”…

    • 807 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Boss Tweed

    • 1732 Words
    • 7 Pages

    William Marcy Tweed was the most corrupt "American Politician" the state of New York has ever seen. Tweed was known as "Boss Tweed" and he was the first man to be the boss of New York after the ten year struggle. ("American Heritage") The Boss was the leader of a political machine, which was a political organization that controlled enough votes to maintain control over the community. Political machines were able to restructure the city governments; they also resulted in poorer services, corruption…

    • 1732 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    Boss Tweed

    • 589 Words
    • 3 Pages

    Rinda 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…

    • 589 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Boss Tweed Dbq

    • 272 Words
    • 2 Pages

    distribution of wealth as a result of the Industrial Revolution, this dispersal also created several critical moments in society. One of these issues is seen in Document 7 through a political cartoon by Thomas Nast, a man also associated by with Boss Tweed. Through his cartoon, Nast confronts the serious troubles of the lower classes especially the Chinese immigrants. His image not only serves as a reminder of America’s values of ensuring basic rights but also points out the diminished character of…

    • 272 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Tweed Ring

    • 377 Words
    • 1 Page

    William Magear Tweed was born on the Lower East Side of Manhattan on April 3, 1823. He was a volunteer fireman in the early 1940's, he organized the American Fire Company No. 6 and thats what got him into politics. In 1852 Tweed served as an alderman and then was elected to the U.S. House of Represntatives, in 1856 the New York City Board of Advisors, and in 1867 the New York State Senate. Tweed was made a director of the Erie Railroad by two finaciers, Big Jim Fisk and Jay Gould, and of course…

    • 377 Words
    • 1 Page
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    History Of The Tweed Ring

    • 357 Words
    • 2 Pages

    The Tweed Ring began when William Tweed started his ascent to impact in the late 1840s as a volunteer firefighter in New York City. From this ominous starting, Tweed figured out how to fabricate a force base in his ward. He served as a magistrate in 1852-53 and after that was chosen for a term in the U.S. Place of Representatives, 1853-55. State and neighborhood undertakings were his prime concern and he stayed dynamic in Tammany Hall, the hierarchical power of the Democratic Party in New York. Tweed…

    • 357 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Good Boss or Bad Boss

    • 1057 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Good Boss or Bad Boss Making That Decision Where to Work Ever have one of those days at work and just wanted to tell the boss “I quit” because he does not appreciate anything or anyone? How many times has the boss said at the end of the day “thank you for coming in today, great job, see you tomorrow”? What a difference a few simple words like “thank you” can mean between wanting to stay at a job or quitting. Making that decision to stay or quit usually depends on the type of boss a person…

    • 1057 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Boss

    • 704 Words
    • 3 Pages

    USSO Development of the US and People Professor Kareen Williams MID-TERM & FINAL REVIEW PART I Study aid for the Essay’s on the Midterm Exam. 1. Discuss colonization in general, and explain why was England slow to begin colonization, and what factors finally enabled the English to establish successful colonies? 2. What was the relationship between early Virginia settlers and the Powhatan Indians, and how did Indian policies in the southern colonies eventually laid the basis for forced…

    • 704 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    corrupt politicians to ever walk the face of the earth, William Tweed. His name itself is a symbol of civic corruption, due to all the money he stole from New York and his methods of madness. Along the way, there was a cartoonist who had a keen insight to his dishonesty and eventually exposed him. William Tweed was ultimately brought down by the media. William Marcy Tweed came from the humbling background of Richard and Eliza Tweed on 3 April 1823. His family was not as wealthy as most, due to…

    • 1941 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    Boss

    • 1481 Words
    • 6 Pages

    Socialization TAKE HOME EXAM ______1. ______is the lifelong process of social interaction through which individuals acquire a self identity a. Human development b. Socialization c. Behavior medication d. Imitation _____2. All of the following statements regarding socialization are TRUE, except: a. Socialization is essential for the individual’s survival and for human development. b. Socialization is essential for the survival and stability of society. c. Socialization enables a society…

    • 1481 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Good Essays