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The United States Grows
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William "Boss" Tweed - How to Make Money in Politics



William "Boss" Tweed - How to Make Money in Politics
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 7 to 9
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.72

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    alderman, blatant, business-wherever, city-construction, graft, like-had, mob-like, overcharge, post-Civil, payoff, unassailable, corruption, patronage, tenure, stint, amongst
     content words:    York City-the, New York, William Tweed, Tammany Hall, Democratic Party, Grand Sachem, Public Works, New York City, Andrew Garvey, In Boss


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William "Boss" Tweed - How to Make Money in Politics
By Toni Lee Robinson
  

1     New York City — the name evokes images for people all around the world. Today, New York is a whirlwind of flashing lights, streams of people, and the rush of thousands of vehicles. In the 1860s, New York scenery was a bit different. The only vehicles were horse-drawn, and gas street lamps lit the streets with a soft glow.
 
2     But there were many similarities. The New York of the post-Civil War era bustled with industry and new ideas. Then, as now, the city surged with the ups and downs of its feisty politics. And immigrants from all over the world, especially from Ireland, poured in, looking for a better chance at life than they had at home. They were players in a high stakes game, these newcomers, having given up everything familiar, hoping to win jobs, homes, maybe even fortunes.
 
3     In New York, it didn't take long to figure out who dealt the cards. Politics, government, or business—wherever you turned, you soon ran into the "Boss." William Tweed seemed a model of the American success story, a man who had risen to the heights of power and success in New York.
 
4     Tweed had worked as a chair maker and a bookkeeper. An early stint as a volunteer fireman produced a network of friendships amongst the high and low of New York society. Tweed parlayed these connections into a position as city alderman. More importantly, his associations won him a place in the influential political society called Tammany Hall.
 
5     Tammany was a fraternal organization, a social club of sorts for the Democratic Party. Tweed rose through the ranks of this organization. He became its head, or Grand Sachem. He formed the group into what is known today as a "political machine." The purpose of this type of group is to win votes for a political candidate. Some groups use honest methods such as political ads and fundraising. The Tammany group under William Tweed employed different means.

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The United States Grows
(1865-1900)

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(1865-1900)



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