Political Machine:

As a result of the rapid growth of urban cities in the late 19th century, political machines entered US politics. According to politicians, a Political machine is an organization that has a longstanding role within the structure of representative democracy, by doing favors for supporting workers in exchange for votes. Political machines often relied on strong whip party structure, patronage of their supporters, and the use of the spoil system (rewarding supporters of winning candidates and party appointed offices). Political machines were ran by a few leaders that formed their own committee, or one "boss" that had all control. Although political machines had benefits such as helping the restructure of city governments, they were on the whole bad for American citizens. Political machines had three major flaws to them: the jobs they financed were done poorly, they were full of corruption, and there were racial and ethnic discrimination.

Here are some of the more popular political machines in American Politics:


· Tammany Hall- Founded in May 1789, started as a small social club in NYC that discussed politics of the new nation. Eventually gained widespread power throughout NYC in the 19th century.

· Cook County Democratic Organization- Commonly called “The Chicago Democratic Machine,” has dominated Chicago politics since the 1930s. The CCDO consolidated all ethnic groups into one political organization.

· James Pendergast and the Democratic City Convention(Kansas City)- First political boss of a machine in Kansas City, Missouri.

· The Byrd Organization- Led by Harry Byrd Sr., dominated Virginia Politics for much of the middle portion of the 20th century.

http://library.umkc.edu/spec-col/parisoftheplains/webexhibit/political/bigpics/01/4-machine-cartoon.JPG
external image 4-machine-cartoon.JPG

Boss Tweed and the Tweed Ring:

William “Boss” Tweed was born on April 3, 1823. Tweed, the leader of Tammany Hall, became a symbol of corruption in politics in New York. Tweed worked in many fields before becoming the leader of Tammany Hall in the early 1950s. Tweed worked as a carpenter’s assistant, volunteer fireman, Congressman, and state Senator before becoming the first political “boss” of Tammany Hall.
The Tweed Ring began in 1866, and was later tightened in 1869. Tweed arranged that all bills in the city were 50 percent fraud, later raised to 85%. The extra money was split between Tweed and his cronies. Tweed also paid off high class businessmen and officials, so they would back up his scheme. From 1866 to 1871, Tweed took 40-100 million dollars from New York City. When one of the men didn’t get as much money as promised, he told the New York Times about Tweed’s fraud. Tweed was then sentenced to jail for 12 years, but was freed in 1875. Tweed was arrested again for further charges after fleeing to Spain, died in jail in 1878.


Sources:

http://www.bookrags.com/biography/william-marcy-tweed/
http://profiles.incredible-people.com/boss-tweed/
http://www.answers.com/topic/political-machine

http://history1800s.about.com/od/thegildedage/a/tammanyhall01.htm