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William Marcy ("Boss") Tweed - Corrupt NYC Political Boss

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Birth:

April 3, 1823, New York, New York

Death:

April 12, 1878, New York, New York (in jail)

Early Influences:

  • Held numerous jobs including being a chairmaker, a bookkeeper, a member of father's brush-man firm, and a volunteer fireman.
  • Became an alderman to New York city in 1851 and rose quickly through the ranks

Education:

  • Attended public school
  • Learned chairmaking as a trade

Major Accomplishments:

  • Built his power in Tammany Hall through the appointment and election of his friends (called the 'Tweed Ring')
  • Conned and plundered the city of New York out of between 30-200 million dollars
  • Elected into the US House of Representatives in 1852
  • Elected to the New York City Board of Advisors in 1856
  • Elected a New York State Senator in 1867
  • Forced passage of the New York City charter in 1870

Significance:

  • Controlled all Democratic New York state and city nominations from 1860-1870
  • Used illegal means to force election of his choice for New York governor, New York City mayor, and speaker of the assembly
  • Raised public indignation against graft and was convicted and sentenced to prison (Note: He was also sued by the city of New York in a civil suit. He escaped from jail and fled to Spain. He was identified there from a cartoon drawn by Thomas Nast. He was returned to New York and died in jail there.)

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