The Tweed Ring ruled New York City in the 1860s and early 1870s like no political machine before or since. Payoffs, kickbacks, padded contracts, extortion, election fraud—they were all part of what came to personify corruption by errant public “servants.” William Marcy Tweed and the band of political henchmen who did his bidding ultimately stuffed their pockets with some $200 million taken from city taxpayers.