Roger C. Sullivan and the Triumph of the Chicago Democratic Machine, 1908–1920


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About the Book

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.

About the Author(s)

Richard Allen Morton is a professor of history at Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia and is the author of several publications on American political history. He lives in Mableton, Georgia.

Bibliographic Details

Richard Allen Morton
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 225
Bibliographic Info: 36 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2019
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7501-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3450-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Foreword by Frank Sullivan 1
Preface 3
Introduction: “The Benevolent Boss” (April 1920) 5
1. Before (1861–1908) 13
2. The “most vilified man in public life in Chicago” (1908) 24
3. “I am not a boss” (1909–1910) 42
4. The Battle of the Seventh Regiment Armory (1911–1912) 58
5. Roger C. Sullivan and the Democratic Convention (1912) 82
6. “A Man of Belial” (1913–1914) 102
7. The Triumph of the Chicago Democratic Machine (1915–1916) 125
8. “Grand Dukes and Bolsheviki” (1917–1919) 146
9. “Time for younger men” (1919–1920) 164
Afterword: The House Sullivan Built (1920–1955) 176
Chapter Notes 185
Bibliography 203
Index 213

Book Reviews & Awards

Superior Achievement—Illinois State Historical Society