Tammany Hall


Tammany Hall

Executive committee of the Democratic Party in New York City. The group was organized in 1789 in opposition to the Federalist Party's ruling “aristocrats.” The Society of Tammany was incorporated in 1805 as a benevolent body; its name derived from a pre-Revolutionary association named after the benevolent Indian chief Tammanend. The group became identified with the city's Democratic Party. The makeup of the society was substantially altered in 1817 when Irish immigrants, protesting Tammany bigotry, forced their right to membership and benefits. Tammany later championed the extension of the franchise to white propertyless males. Nevertheless, the society's appeal to particular ethnic and religious minorities, the doling out of gifts to the poor, and the bribing of leaders of rival political factions, among them the notorious boss William Magear Tweed, made the name Tammany Hall synonymous with political corruption. Its power was greatest in the late 19th and early 20th century; it declined in the 1930s under the reforms of Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt and Mayor Fiorello La Guardia.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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