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This Day in History, 1876

I'm big into New York City history...

"Boss" Tweed Delivered to Authorities

William Marcy "Boss" Tweed, leader of New York City's corrupt Tammany Hall political organization during the 1860s and early 1870s, is delivered to authorities in New York City after his capture in Spain.

Tweed became a powerful figure in Tammany Hall--New York City's Democratic political machine--in the late 1850s. By the mid 1860s, he had risen to the top position in the organization and formed the "Tweed Ring," which openly bought votes, encouraged judicial corruption, extracted millions from city contracts, and dominated New York City politics. The Tweed Ring reached its peak of fraudulence in 1871 with the remodeling of the City Court House, a blatant embezzlement of city funds that was exposed by The New York Times. Tweed and his flunkies hoped the criticism would blow over, but thanks to the efforts of opponents such as Harper's Weekly political cartoonist Thomas Nast, who conducted a crusade against Tweed, virtually every Tammany Hall member was swept from power in the elections of November 1871.

All the Tweed Ring were subsequently tried and sentenced to prison. Boss Tweed served time for forgery and larceny and other charges but in 1875 escaped from prison and traveled to Cuba and Spain. In 1876, he was arrested by Spanish police, who reportedly recognized him from a famous Nash cartoon depiction. After Tweed's extradition to the United States, he was returned to prison, where he died in 1878.


You may want to read "The Ophiuchi Hotline" by John Varley. It's one of his best books, and a major character is based on Tweed.
I read it many years ago, when it first came out, and have no recollection of the details. I'll look for it again.

By the way, Varley just published an excellent short story collection.
I have all his older collections ("Blue Champagne", "Persistance of Vision"), so I likely have a lot of what's in there. But it look slike a biig book, so I'll check it out anyway.

December 2016

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