How Tammany Hall Created Modern American Politics

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

New York’s Tammany Hall is synonymous with corruption and machine politics, but journalist Terry Golway says that reputation is somewhat undeserved.  He dismantles the stereotypes associated with New York’s most infamous political machine. His book Machine Made: Tammany Hall and the Creation of Modern American Politics reveals the often progressive role Tammany played in defining American political attitudes and social policy. While Tammany’s corruption was very real, so was its hearty alliance with the powerless and disadvantaged.


Terry Golway

Comments [6]

Ed from Larchmont

Anti-Catholicism which we still fight now.

May. 07 2014 01:59 PM
Ed from Larchmont

The organization of the Catholic Church works.

May. 07 2014 01:41 PM
linda from Jersey Shore

My husbands family is related to Cardinal McCloskey through his nephew, but he was a McCloskey, not a Mullen (as was Kelly's wife?) I believe. I think I need to research this a bit more. Interesting stuff!

May. 07 2014 01:38 PM
Amy from Manhattan

What was considered proof of being worthy of receiving public assistance? And how did anyone make sure of how those who did receive it voted?

May. 07 2014 01:36 PM
antonio from baySide

With the kind of legacy the guest described of the Irish, I can't imagine how the Irish would not forged an alliance with the African Americans of the time. How did Tammany Hall feel about Reconstruction?

May. 07 2014 01:33 PM
Joe Mirsky from Pompton Lakes NJ

FRom my book Ornamentally Incorrect, third edition, Luxe et Veritas

Boss Tweed Stickpin

William M. Tweed, Boss Tweed (1823-1878), the corpulent symbol of 19th century corruption in New York City, shamelessly sported a huge 10½ carat diamond stickpin that cost $15,500 in 1871 ($279,000 today).

The stickpin is prominent in political cartoons in Harpers Weekly by Thomas Nast skewering him. Jailed in 1876, Tweed escaped and fled to Spain where he was arrested by a customs official who recognized him from Nast’s caricatures.

His jeweler was Thomas Kirkpatrick. As a boy Kirkpatrick worked for Ball, Black & Co., a leading 19th century jeweler. For years he took turns with another boy sleeping under the counter to guard against thieves. Kirkpatrick opened his own store in 1856.

“It was said that he was on friendly terms with more of the public men of the city than any other jeweler. The late “Boss” Tweed always bought his jewelry from Mr. Kirkpatrick.”
— From his obituary in the New York Times, December 28, 1906.

Copyright © 2013 Joseph Mirsky

May. 07 2014 10:08 AM

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