William Tweed: Civic Corruption

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"The way to have power is to take it"(Martin). was said by one of the most 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 the fact that his father was only a chair manufacturer. William had to leave school at the age of eleven to learn the art of chair making. From there, he was promoted to saddle
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Tweed ran the ring out of the midtown Manhattan law office even before he was elected Senate and Grand Sachem. For example, in 1864, Tweed bought a print shop and required all the businesses to patronize it if they wanted a license to operate. He also collected huge "legal fees" from every business that had an office inside the city. On top of that, he bought a marble firm as well that had a gigantic markup for materials for public buildings. One of Tweed's big accomplishments was in 1868 when Murphy, the head of the bridge company was desperate in completing the Brooklyn Bridge. The bridge had been put on hold due to the one and a half million share of Manhattan that the alderman had not approved of. Tweed said he would help if Murphy got the aldermen to pass bridge appropriation along with about a sixty thousand bribe. Sooner or later, a bag of cash showed up at Tweed's office, however, the construction did not start again until Tweed received a seat on the board along with five hundred and sixty shares of the Brooklyn Bridge stock that was worth about fifty six thousand dollars. His friends however, gave him credibility where they all could gain more and more, so that by 1869, fifty percent of all bills went to the Tweed Ring and then to eighty five percent shortly after. These examples come to explain that their three main sources of income were elected and appointed offices, the public treasury, and the business community. All of this did not even add up to their biggest project, the New York Courthouse. It was only projected to be a eight hundred thousand dollar building, but soon turned into a twelve million dollar steal that was not even finished while Tweed was still in charge. "The first modern political machine, the Tweed Ring of New York City... engaged in extensive graft, mounting into the millions of dollars, that played no small role

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