6 questions / 10 minutes
Tammany Hall was the name given to the Democratic Party political machine
that dominated New York City politics from 1854 through 1934. That eighty-year
period marks the time in which Tammany was the city's driving political
Tammany is forever linked with the rise of the Irish in American politics.
Beginning in 1846, Irish immigrants fleeing the Irish potato famine began
arriving in New York. Equipped with knowledge of English and what some
have called a genius for politics, the Irish quickly assumed a key role
within Tammany. Viewing politics as a path out of poverty, they found in
Tammany an ally in the struggle to survive the hellish conditions of New
York slums. In exchange for jobs, loans, turkeys at Christmas and other
favors, they provided organizational skills, governing capacity and their
votes on Election Day. The Irish would come to dominate Tammany, supplying
its leaders from 1872 through 1924.
By 1854 Tammany's lineage and support from immigrants had combined to make
it a powerful force in New York politics. In that year, the group elected
its first New York City mayor. As its power grew, Tammany's "bosses,"
called the Grand Sachem, and their supporters enriched themselves through
means legal and illegal. Perhaps the most famous boss of all was William
M. "Boss" Tweed. Though not Irish himself, Tweed was elected with
the support of Irish immigrants. His outsized personality projected through
his 300 pound frame and gargantuan appetites – he was famous for devouring
steaks and oysters by the plateful at Delmonico's – made him a colorful if
not controversial figure. His infamously corrupt reign was brazen enough to
incite an attempt at reform in the early 1870s. Rutherford B. Hayes's involvement
in this effort contributed to his success in the presidential election of 1876. New York
minister Charles Henry Parkhurst publicly denounced the Hall in 1892, which
led to a Grand Jury investigation, the appointment of the Lexow Committee
and the election of a reform mayor in 1894.
1. The author is primarily concerned with which of the following?
(A) the plight of Irish immigrants in New York City
(B) an important time in the history of democracy
(C) a venue in which the Irish joined the political arena
(D) corruption in New York City politics
(E) New York City politics and how they differ from those of other cities
2. According to the passage, the Irish joined Tammany because:
I. They felt comfortable around other immigrants
II. Tammany helped the Irish meet their basic needs
III. Tammany provided the Irish with organizational skills
(A) I only
(B) II only
(C) I and II only
(D) I and III only
(E) I, II, and III
3. We can infer from the passage that:
(A) The Irish continued to dominate Tammany after 1924.
(B) Tammany helped the Irish in order to gain political power.
(C) The Irish immigrants learned to be politically savvy in Ireland.
(D) Tammany was located near the slums in which the Irish lived.
(E) Immigrant groups that were unfamiliar with English were not involved in
politics of New York City.
4. The tone of the passage is:
5. What does the author mean by “His infamously corrupt regime was brazen
enough to incite an attempt at reform” as used in the last paragraph?
(A) Tweed was a bold mayor who called for reform in New York City government.
(B) Tweed was a corrupt mayor and did his best to keep this out of the public
eye. However, he was unsuccessful.
(C) Tweed did much to help immigrants even though he was a corrupt leader.
(D) Tweed's corruption was so noticeable that other city officials decided to
take control of the situation.
(E) Tweed boldly chose to make reform Tammany during his time as mayor.
6. The author's primary objective in writing the passage is to:
(A) honor the great bosses of Tammany
(B) defend Tammany's political influence
(C) criticize political corruption
(D) present a new theory about immigrant self-empowerment
(E) illuminate a time in the history of politics