Boss Tweed, New York City, and the Political Machine
Does democracy always foster moral success, or can the systems in place actually help those with devious intentions? To kick off our first episode of season three, Mary, Gary, and Eryn explore these questions by examining the life of Boss Tweed and why the backdrop of Gilded Age New York City was a perfect setup for the corrupt politician to seize power. How did Tweed manipulate each sector of society--from the police to groups of immigrants--to control an entire city?
Additional BRI Resources
The Story of “Boss” Tweed | BRI’s Homework Help Series
This first in our new Homework Help Evidence of History series tells the story of William "Boss" Tweed. Tracing his rise to political power in post Civil War New York City, a metropolis whose population was booming from an influx of European immigrants, this video explores the question of whether Tweed was a hero, a villain, or something in between. Examine the evidence and decide for yourself.
William “Boss” Tweed and Political Machines
By the end of this section, you will explain the similarities and differences between the political parties during the Gilded Age.
Thomas Nast Takes on Boss Tweed | BRIdge from the Past: Art Across U.S. History
What is the role of the press in a democratic republic? In this video, Mary and Liz explore another one of Thomas Nast’s political cartoons, “The Tammany Tiger Loose" (1871). This striking image aided in the downfall of the corrupt de facto controller of the New York City Democratic Party, William “Boss” Tweed. Knowing both the positive and negative impact that Tweed had on NYC, do you believe Nast’s depiction of Tweed was fair?
“Boss” Tweed and Avarice
Students will explore the vice of greed in civil society in this lesson on civic virtue. Students will examine “Boss” Tweed and his corrupt New York political machine, and how the vice of greed affected politics and civil society. They will read a historical narrative and review a discussion guide and contemporary political cartoons by Thomas Nast. Students will also analyze vice by examining its opposites, contribution and philanthropy.