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An argument that william marcy tweed was the most corrupt american politician in new york

In the late 1860s, William M. Tweed was the political boss of New York City. His headquarters, located on East 14th Street, was known as Tammany Hall. He wore a diamond, orchestrated elections, controlled the city's mayor, and rewarded political supporters. His primary source of funds came from the bribes and kickbacks that he demanded in exchange for city contracts. The most notorious example of urban corruption was the construction of the New York County Courthouse, begun in 1861 on the site of a former almshouse.

Its construction cost nearly twice as much as the purchase of Alaska in 1867. The corruption was breathtaking in its breadth and baldness. And the plasterer, a Tammany functionary, Andrew J. The printing company was owned by Tweed. In July 1871, two low-level city officials with a grudge against the Tweed Ring provided The New York Times with reams of documentation that detailed the corruption at the courthouse and other city projects.

The newspaper published a string of articles. Those articles, coupled with the political cartoons of Thomas Nast in Harper's Weekly, created a national outcry, and soon Tweed and many of his cronies were facing criminal charges and political oblivion. Tweed died in prison in 1878. The Tweed courthouse was not completed until 1880, two decades after ground was broken.

  • Democracy did not flourish in this environment;
  • For twelve years, Tweed ruled New York;
  • On the Irish immigrants of the late 19th century The famine immigration period is roughly from around 1845 to the mid-1850s, and it's one of the great mass movements of the 19th century;
  • Becoming mayor of a big city in the Gilded Age was like walking into a cyclone;
  • One reformer — who wasn't speaking for The New York Times or any newspaper but I think his sentiments pretty much summed it up — a guy by the name of Andrew White who was the president of Cornell University said in the late 19th century that;
  • A forgotten moment in our history suggests that the way out of a bad political mood is not more rage, but a new political perspective.

By then, the courthouse had become a symbol of public corruption. But were bosses and political machines as corrupt as their critics charged? George Washington Plunkitt of Tammany Hall, New York's Democratic political machine, distinguished between "honest" and "dishonest" graft. Dishonest graft involved payoffs for protecting gambling and prostitution. Honest graft might involve buying up land scheduled for purchase by government. As Plunkitt said, "I seen my opportunities and I took 'em.

Many machines professionalized urban police forces and instituted the first housing regulations. Political bosses served the welfare needs of immigrants.

38d. Corruption Runs Wild

They offered jobs, food, fuel, and clothing to the new immigrants and the destitute poor. Political machines also served as a ladder of social mobility for ethnic groups blocked from other means of rising in society. In The Shame of the Cities, the muckraking journalist Lincoln Steffens argued that it was greedy businessmen who kept the political machines functioning. It was their hunger for government contracts, franchises, charters, and special privileges, he believed, that corrupted urban politics.

At the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, urban reformers would seek to redeem the city through beautification campaigns, city planning, rationalization of city government, and increases in city services.