Tammany Hall (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
Political machines have traditionally wielded influence in U.S. society, and one of the most
notorious was Tammany Hall in New York. Controlled by the DEMOCRATIC PARTY, the power of Tammany Hall grew to such an extent that its members dominated New York government for nearly two centuries.
Founded by William Mooney in 1789, Tammany Hall was originally a fraternal and patriotic organization first called the Society of St. Tammany, or the Columbian Order. The name Tammany evolved from Tamanend, a legendary Delaware Indian chief, and the members of Tammany Hall used many Indian words to designate their various titles. Each trustee was a sachem, and the presiding officer was a grand sachem; the only person to receive the honor of great grand sachem was a president of the United States. The member who served as secretary was known as a scribe, and the building that housed the Tammany meetings was called a wigwam.
From these innocent beginnings, Tammany Hall grew into a political force. Affiliates of the organization actively participated in...
(The entire section is 423 words.)
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