3. Tweed’s Reign at the Top was Short

Boss Tweed Cartoon-Tammany Hall-Corruption-Ballot-NYCImage in public domain from Wikimedia Commons

Many people casually conflate Tammany Hall with the Tweed Era. While Tammany was a force on the New York political scene for more than a century, Tweed’s prime was only about five years. Tweed was elected State Senate in 1867. He was also named Tammany Hall “Grand Sachem” in 1869 and appointed to his favorite patronage mill, the Department of Public Works in 1870. For a brief moment, Tweed was the king of New York, the master of all things political and financial in the Empire State. (The city’s debt tripled in two years.) But by summer of 1871 it all came crashing down.