Tweed, William Magear


Tweed, William Magear

biographical name


Boss Tweed—Courtesy of the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

(born April 3, 1823, New York, N.Y., U.S.—died April 12, 1878, New York City) U.S. politician. He worked as a bookkeeper and volunteer firefighter. As city alderman (1851–56), he gained influence in Tammany Hall and obtained important positions in city government. He appointed political cronies to key city posts and built a group later called the Tweed ring. As head of Tammany's general committee (from 1860), he controlled the Democratic Party's nominations to all city positions. He opened a law office to receive payments for “legal services” from city contractors and corporations. Elected to the state senate (1868), he also became Tammany's grand sachem (leader) and controlled city and state political patronage. He gained control of the city treasury and plundered sums estimated at between $30 million and $200 million. Reformers and exposure by the press, including Thomas Nast's cartoons in Harper's Weekly, brought prosecution, led by Samuel Tilden, that resulted in Tweed's conviction and imprisonment (1873–75, 1876–78).


Tweed, William Magear also (erroneously) called William Marcy Tweed, known as Boss Tweed

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