Democratic Machine has become a fixture in American political history. Under Mayor Richard J. Daley, it acquired almost mythical (perhaps notorious) status. Yet its origins have remained murky--some say it began as a shady enterprise during the ethnic upheaval of the late 1920s. Based upon new research, this book offers a fresh perspective. Formed through factional warfare and consolidated with methods borrowed from the business world, the machine grew out of the unfettered capitalism of the late 19th century. Its principal founder and first "boss," Roger C. Sullivan, represented a generation of businessmen-politicians who emerged in the 1880s. Sullivan and his allies created an informal public power structure that, while serving their own interests, also made government more functional. The machine is a product of America's Gilded Age and the Progressive Era and offers a lesson in the advantages and limitations of representative government.
Between 1908 and 1920, Roger C. Sullivan and his political allies consolidated their control of the Chicago and Illinois Democratic parties, creating the enduring structure known as the “Chicago Democratic machine.” Not a personal faction nor tied to any cause, it was a coalition of professional political operatives employing business principles to achieve legal profit and advantage. Sullivan was its chief organizer and first “boss,” rising to primacy after many political battles—with William Jennings Bryan, among others—and went on to become a kingmaker who helped Woodrow Wilson win the presidency. By the time of his death, Sullivan was widely respected, his achievements recognized even by those who deplored his politics. Based upon new research, this first comprehensive study of Sullivan and the early days of the Chicago “machine” focuses on the daily realities of the city’s politics and the personalities who shaped them.
Examines the structures and ideologies of Illinois black club women, looks at the activities of some rural and urban clubs, and describes individual women's work in the areas of child and health care, establishing settlement houses, and suffrage efforts.