||In the final weeks of the election, cartoonist Thomas Nast played up Republican nominee James Blaine's connection to wealthy financier Jay Gould, who had an unsavory reputation. In 1868, Gould joined forces with Jim Fisk in a hostile takeover of the Erie Railroad Company, for which Gould served as president (1868-1872). In 1869, Gould and Fisk tried to corner the gold market, resulting in the "Black Friday" crisis which left some investors and businesses in financial ruin. Meanwhile, the "Erie Ring" became notorious for brazenly bribing members of the New York state assembly and judiciary in return for legislation and rulings favorable to their interests. Gould was also affiliated with Tammany Hall during the height of the Tweed Ring corruption. In 1872, Fisk died, reformers broke the Erie Ring, and Gould lost his position with the company. He moved to the West to invest his considerable fortune in railroads with Jay Cooke. Later, Gould returned to New York City, purchased the New York World newspaper, and sat on the board of the Western Union Telegraph Company, of which he was a major stockholder.