CHAPTER FIVE The Age of Bosses SUMMER ONE 2012 BROOKLYN COLLEGE HISTORY 3480: HISTORY OF NYC SECTION T1E (0852) BRENDAN O’MALLEY, INSTRUCTOR BOMALLEY@BROOKLYN.CUNY.EDU Fernando Wood (1812-1881) William Magear Tweed (1822-1886) “Honest” John Kelly (1822-1886) CHAPTER FIVE The Age of Bosses The New York Crystal Palace built in 1854 Built in 1853 as a part of the Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations next to the Crystal Palace, it burnt down in 1858, two years after the Latting Observatory. It was in imitation of the London Crystal Palace, which was built in 1851 for an exhibition. CHAPTER FIVE The Age of Bosses The Latting Observatory Built in 1853 as a part of the Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations next to the Crytsal Palace, it burnt down in 1856. It could handle 1,500 people at a time was later dubbed New York’s first skycraper. CHAPTER FIVE The Age of Bosses Nast Self-Portrait The view from the Latting Observatory, 1855 CHAPTER FIVE The Age of Bosses CHAPTER FIVE The Age of Bosses • The idea of the Common Council as a den of “forty thieves” and rampant corruption in city government was was not new in the 1850s as indicated by this cartoon from 1840, but the emergence of a political “boss” was a new phenomenon. • The word “boss” is of Dutch origin and was mostly associated with the captain of a ship in the 1600s. It came into wide use in the U.S. during the long transition from the old apprenticeship system to a “free labor” wage system, one theory holds, because it sounded more egalitarian than the word “master,” with its associations with slavery. • Lankevich puts forth the idea that Fernando Wood was the first modern political boss in New York. Wood served as Mayor of New York from 1855 to 1857 and from 1860 to 1862. • What caused Wood’s transition from “model mayor” to “spoiler” according to Lankevich? • When Wood broke from Tammany after his first term, he created his own political machine known as “Mozart Hall.” CHAPTER FIVE The Age of Bosses • What arguments does Lankevich put forth about why “bossism” emerged in the 1850s? What was it about the particular political environment of that decade that enabled the rise of bosses? • What was the relationship between Whig Mayor Ambrose Kingsland (18511853) and the Tammany-controlled Common Council? • What was the role of the Citizens’ Association and its leader, Peter Cooper, in revising the City Charter in 1853? Peter Cooper (1791-1882) CHAPTER FIVE The Age of Bosses Plymouth Church Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887) 75 Hicks Street in Brooklyn Heights CHAPTER FIVE The Age of Bosses Fernando Wood (1812-1881) CHAPTER FIVE The Age of Bosses “The Great New York Police Riot” on June 16, 1857 CHAPTER FIVE The Age of Bosses The Rise of Tweed • E.L. Godkin (1831-1902), founding editor of The Nation, wrote, “If Wood was the Caesar of the Ring, than Tweed was its Augustus.” • Leader of the “Big Six” Americus Engine Company; fire brigades were often a route to Tammany Hall leadership. • Elected to the Board of Aldermen in 1851 and active in the activities of the “Forty Thieves.” • Elected to Congress in 1853, but disliked Washington, returning to NYC in 1855. • Worked on the Board of Education from 1855 to 1857. • Worked as Supervisor of Public Works from 1857 to 1870. • Made chairman of the Democratic Central Committee of New York County in 1860. • A. Oakey Hall becomes attorney general in 1862, protecting “the ring” from prosecution. • In January 1863, Tweed becomes permanent chairman of the Executive Committee of the Tammany Society, and then Grand Sachem in July. • The ring’s control of the judiciary and ability to conduct “mass naturalizations” of immigrants cemented its control. • Becomes state senator in 1867 and helps big businessmen like Jay Gould and Cornelius Vanderbilt obtain state charters for their corporations. CHAPTER FIVE The Age of Bosses The Tweed Ring in Its Glory • Graft becomes bureaucratized under “The Ring”—becomes business as usual. • Andrew J. Garvey, favorite henchman of the ring, received most plastering contracts from the City of New York. Became known as “the Prince of Plasterers,” charging $3 million for his work, and kicking back 60 percent to “The Ring.” • The Courthouse in City Hall Park: First budgeted at $350,000, it cost nearly $13 million by the tie of its opening. •Dead men were put on the city payroll. • Metropolitan Fire District (1865): Old system of volunteers replaced by a professional force in Manhattan and Brooklyn. • Metropolitan Sanitary Commission and new Board of Health created (1866). • As state senator, Tweed oversaw the incorporation of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New York Stock Exchange, and the Lenox Library. •“Tweed Charter” of 1870: Centralized control under the mayor, abolished the Metropolitan Police, and guaranteed many other aspects of “home rule.” CHAPTER FIVE The Age of Bosses The Tweed Ring in Its Glory • The Ring elects two mayors: John T. Hoffman in 1865 and Abraham Oakey Hall in 1869, known as “Elegant Oakey,” who remained in office until after the fall of the Ring in 1872. Tammany succeeded in having Hoffman elected to the governorship in 1868, and replacing him as mayor with the Shakespeare-quoting Hall. Cartoon depicting “Elegant Oakey” and Lucifer from Punchinello, April 1870 CHAPTER FIVE The Age of Bosses The Fall of the Ring • Thomas Nast begins his campaign against the Ring’s plundering ways in 1870. “I don’t care what people write, for my people can’t read, but they have eyes and can see as well as other folks,” says Tweed about the cartoons. • In 1871: The Ring makes a mistake by making an enemy out of New York Sheriff Jimmy O’Brien, who wanted a $250,000 payment that was denied. For revenge, O’Brien turned over hard evidence to the editor of the New York Times, George Jones. • The Ring tried to pay off Nast and failed, and then did the same to Jones, and Jones refused, starting to publish the evidence in July 1871. • Evidence was clear that the ring had stolen at least $6 million, but later historians put the figure as ranging from $30 to $200 million. CHAPTER FIVE The Age of Bosses Nast Self-Portrait Thomas Nast (1840-1902) CHAPTER FIVE The Age of Bosses “That’s What’s the Matter,” Harper’s Weekly, January 1, 1870 CHAPTER FIVE The Age of Bosses “Two Great Questions” published in Harper’s Weekly, August 9, 1871. In July 1871, the New York Times ran a series uncovering massive corruption in municipal government and the Tammany Democratic machine run by Boss Tweed. Cartoonist Thomas Nast, who previously targeted Tweed, intensified his campaign and played a vital role in the fall of the “Tweed Ring.” The top cartoon asked, “Who is Ingersoll’s Co.?” James Ingersoll’s name was used for a fake company to which many fraudulent city bills were paid; Ingersoll was convicted of forgery in late 1872 and spent two and half years in jail. From leftto-right, the bottom cartoon shows Tweed, Peter Sweeny (head of the Public Parks Department), City Comptroller Richard Connolly, and Mayor Abraham Oakey Hall in the glasses. CHAPTER FIVE The Age of Bosses “The American River Ganges,” Harper’s Weekly, September 30, 1871 CHAPTER FIVE The Age of Bosses Cartoon published in Harper's Weekly, October 21, 1871 CHAPTER FIVE The Age of Bosses “The Tammany Tiger Loose,” Harper’s Weekly, November 11, 1871 CHAPTER FIVE The Age of Bosses “He Tries To Steal Away,” Harper’s Weekly, July 17, 1875 – Commentary on how Tweed could basically come and go as he pleased while in jail. Tweed actually made a break on December 5, 1875, while taking one his sojourns, and fled to Cuba and then to Spain. Spanish authorities arrested Tweed, identifying him using a Nast cartoon, and extradited him back to the U.S. CHAPTER FIVE The Age of Bosses “Honest” John Kelly (1822-1886) • Emerges as head of Tammany in the post-Tweed era in part. • Had been a part of Tammany leadership until and was expecting to be appointed police commissioner in 1863, but was not given it, so he broke from Tammany and put much of the Irish vote behind independent German Democrat, C. Godfrey Gunther, who won. • To mollify him, Tammany had him elected sheriff. When his post was not renewed, he broke from Tammany again in the 1868 election, but was “paid” to go away by Tammany. • Had been in Europe during the height of the Tweed Ring (1868-1871) on account of his health, so was perceived as untainted. • Develops the system of what becomes known as “honest graft”: more disciplined system of kickbacks and payoffs that did not get under control as under Tweed. • Consolidates his rule over Tammany in 1874 and holds on to it until 1886.