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Virtue in Action – “Boss” Tweed and Avarice

Strive to be a model of selflessness and charity for others in your daily life.

  • Think about ways in which Boss Tweed deceived himself into thinking that we was serving others when he was really serving his own interests. Identify ways that you can avoid that vice in your own life.
  • When working on a group project in class, make sure that you contribute to the effort and give credit to others for their contributions.
  • If you play a team sport, play the game selflessly that contributes toward a team victory rather than trying to win all the glory as an individual.
  • Think of ways that you can volunteer your time to a local charitable cause with a family member or friend.
  • Work with the student council or a teacher to organize a project to help a local charity.
  • In your classes, be respectful and civil when having a debate or discussion. Listen carefully to others and value their contribution, rather than dominating a conversation.
  • At home, think of ways that you can selflessly contribute by doing extra chores or serving your family in some small way.

Sources & Further Reading

Ackerman, Kenneth D. Boss Tweed: The Rise and Fall of the Corrupt Pol Who Conceived the Soul of Modern New York. New York: Carroll and Graf, 2005.

Allswang, John M. Bosses, Machines, and Urban Votes. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986.

Lynch, Dennis Tilden. Boss Tweed: The Story of a Grim Generation. New Brunswick: Transaction, 2002.

Trachtenberg, Alan. The Incorporation of America: Culture and Society in the Gilded Age. New York: Hill and Wang, 1982.