"Boss" Tweed elected

William M. Tweed


Tammany's control over the politics of New York City tightened considerably under Tweed. William Magear "Boss" Tweed's elevation to the head of the Tammany machine in 1852 and subsequent election to the US House of Representatives began one of the most extraordinary political careers of the 19th-century New York City and State. Tweed was elected to the US House of Representatives in 1852 and the New York County Board of Supervisors in 1858, the year that he became the head of the Tammany Hall political machine. He was also elected to the New York State Senate in 1867, but Tweed's greatest influence came from being an appointed member of a number of boards and commissions, his control over political patronage in New York City through Tammany, and his ability to ensure the loyalty of voters through jobs he could create and dispense on city-related projects. Tweed was convicted for stealing an amount estimated by an aldermen's committee in 1877 at between $25 million and $45 million from New York City taxpayers from political corruption, but later estimates ranged as high as $200 million. Unable to make bail, he escaped from jail once but was returned to custody. He died in the Ludlow Street Jail.Tammany did not take long to rebound from Tweed's fall. John Kelly, known as "Honest John", was a boss of Tammany Hall and a U.S. Representative from New York from 1855 to 1858. The title "Honest" was given to him during his years as New York City Sheriff and was more ironic than truthful. He was Tammany Hall's 1st Irish Catholic leader, a career politician whose nickname resulted from success in his earlier position as NY Sheriff, a post where the salary consisted of a portion of fees collected, in his case $800,000 by 1867.

Won, 1852
Arrested, 1873
Died, Apr 12, 1878

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