Harper’s Weekly – October 29, 1870

Nast knew that ridicule was probably the only effective way to attack the Ring, but there was no obvious approach. Tweed, Sweeny, Hall and Hoffman all had positive public images, while the press was largely controlled. Tammany excelled at keeping mouths and records closed, so meaningful information was hard to come by. In fact, until late 1870, Nast appeared unsure whether Tweed or Sweeny had the ultimate power within the Ring.

Shortly before that year’s election, Tweed made his first cartoon appearance in five months (Nast had been focusing on other topics). Now Tweed was the unmistakable Power Behind the Throne, although their respective headbands said “Sweed” and “Tweeny.” Nast turned the Tammany Kingdom into “Ringdom” by doctoring the K.

As a wary King Hoffman sat on his throne, Nast reminded him that “he cannot call his soul his own.” The Tammany Tiger evolved into a sharp-toothed snarler, and was the centerpiece in the royal seal of the “Kingdom of New York.”