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William Marcy ‘Boss’ Tweed

Tweed, William Marcy ‘Boss’ (1823–78), U.S. politician. Born in New York City, Tweed was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives (1853–55). Afterwards, he held various powerful positions in New York City politics, including New York City school commissioner (1856–57) and commissioner of public works (1870). Through his control of the Tammany organization, he affected nominations and patronage in New York City Democratic politics. From 1867 to 1871, he served as a state senator. He is best known as the leader of the Tweed Ring, a group of New York City politicians infamous for swindling the city treasury out of millions of dollars through contracts for city improvements. Due in large part to the efforts of the magazine Harper's Weekly and political cartoonist Thomas Nast, the Tweed Ring was finally exposed, and Tweed himself was convicted and jailed in 1873 on charges of corruption. He died in jail.

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