The Tammany Society was founded in New York City by William Mooney, a
Revolutionary War soldier, as a patriotic fraternal order in opposition to the
Society of the Cincinnati, an organization of officers. This volume records its
first meetings. In order to mock the aristocratic Cincinnati, the society was
named for Tammany, an Indian chief, and used American Indian names, imagery and
ceremonies. Focused on youth, young men who could not normally participate in
political events could experience something of politics within the society, and
it developed into a political club, its clubhouse known as Tammany Hall.
Led by Aaron Burr, the Society helped to carry New York for Thomas
Jefferson in the election of 1800. It became increasingly political by the
nineteenth century and enjoyed the support of newly arrived immigrants through
its program of aiding and helping them to become citizens. "Boss" William M.
Tweed, the society's most powerful member, ruled New York like a despot, and
Tammany Hall became synonymous with City Hall. Tammany retained considerable
influence into the twentieth century until Robert Wagner was elected mayor on an