Name:  John Thompson Hoffman

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Born:  January 10, 1828
Died:  March 24, 1888
Complete HarpWeek Biography:
John Hoffman was born into a family of professionals; his father was a physician and his grandfather had been a lawyer. Young Hoffman graduated from Union College with honors, delivering an oration on "Sectional Prejudices" for the occasion. He then began the study of law. Hoffman entered politics early in his life, and at the age of twenty became a member of the state central committee for the Democratic party. After being admitted to the state bar on his twenty-first birthday, he moved to New York City to establish the law firm of Woodruff, Leonard & Hoffman. In 1860 Hoffman was elected the youngest recorder (judge) in the city's history and presided over the Draft Riot trials in 1863. His reputation was so high that he was endorsed for reelection by the Republican party as well as both factions of the Democratic party (Tammany and Mozart), and received nearly 95 percent of the vote total.

In 1865 Hoffman defeated three other candidates to become mayor of New York City. In 1866, while still serving his first mayoral term, he ran unsuccessfully for governor as the Democratic challenger to Republican incumbent Reuben Fenton. After being reelected mayor in 1867, he again ran for governor in 1868, this time defeating his Republican opponent, John Griswold, by a comfortable majority. Hoffman was reelected governor in 1870, but thereafter his reputation became tainted by his association with the corrupt Tweed Ring. At the end of his second term, Hoffman retired from active politics and returned to the practice of law.











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