how did mayor bill thompson personify the corruption in chicago
All rights reserved. He intensely disliked Robert R. McCormick who published the Chicago Tribune. The voters were fed up with the bootleggers' violence and Thompson's reported connection to Al Capone's gang. In 1993, a panel of distinguished historians named Chicago’s own William Hale Thomspon the worst mayor in American history. During that year's primary season, Thompson carried two rats in a bird cage to his campaign appearances. Thompson blamed Ruth Hanna McCormick's lack of support for his loss at the 1928 Republican National Convention, and he returned the favor during her 1930 campaign for the United States Senate. [9] Early in his mayoral career, Thompson began to amass a war chest to support an eventual run for the Presidency, by charging city drivers and inspectors $3 per month. Can you picture a World's Fair mayor with a name like that? Long before Donald Trump started bad-mouthing Mexicans and Muslims, Chicago had a mayor who could match the most narrow-minded politicians of any era in chest-thumping xenophobia. Yet there was a kernel of truth in Thompson's paranoia. [25] He was buried in Oak Woods Cemetery in a solid bronze casket. [26][27] Once the money was uncovered, the Internal Revenue Service took their share in taxes, and Maysie Thompson lived off of the rest until her death in 1958. Chicago City Council. ", Martin, Edward M. "Our American mayors XIII. Thompson promised his supporters, many of whom were Irish, that if they ever met, Thompson would punch the king in the nose, or at other times, that he would arrest His Majesty. A broad-brimmed hat was a fixture on Thompson's head when he returned to Chicago and entered politics. Because he was Al Capone’s man in City Hall. Thompson was born in Boston, Massachusetts to William Hale and Mary Ann Thompson, but his family moved to Chicago when he was nine days old. [12] Two years later, he was named a member of the Cook County Board of Commissioners. That’s a pretty big claim given Chicago’s history of double-dealing public servants, and it’s true that much of Thompson’s corruption was of the patronage-and-mismanagement type Chicagoans often shrug off. William Hale Thompson of Chicago: The saga of a sombrero.". Buy this book! The political duo, according to most citizens, worked very well together earning them the title the "Gallagher and Shean of Chicago Politics". Also, due to the rapidly changing city, Thompson proposed a zoning bill to regulate and create commercial, industrial, and residential areas. German American Fred Busse (1907–1911), the first mayor to serve a four-year term, was a saloonkeeper politician and the first Chicago mayor without British ancestry. I do not intend to exceed the rights and privileges of the executive nor transgress upon the legislative or judicial functions. William Hale Thompson (May 14, 1869 – March 19, 1944) was an American politician who served as mayor of Chicago from 1915 to 1923 and again from 1927 to 1931. As the rats shtick demonstrates, Thompson loved stage props, his favorites being horses and boats. Tied to a dock, it carried the colors of the Fish Fans' Club. “It’s true I didn’t come over on the Mayflower, but I came over as soon as I could.”. One of Big Bill's favorite ships never left Belmont Harbor. During World War I, he was so anti-English and pro-German that his enemies called him “Kaiser Bill.”, Unable to run for re-election in 1923, after his campaign manager was implicated for shaking down school supply vendors for bribes and political contributions, Thompson withdrew from the race, guaranteeing the victory of Democrat William Dever. "The Most Corrupt Public Official In Illinois History: William Hale Thompson. It was Thompson’s last term. Mayor William Hale Thompson in an undated photo. ", Thompson lost the election and didn't get to cut the ribbon at the 1933 Century of Progress. He made Chicago a byword for the collapse of American civilization. He was fairly rational during his first term, perhaps because he had presidential ambitions. Thompson was meant to attend Yale but instead moved to Wyoming at the age of 14, where he became a cowboy and cattle owner and traveled across Europe, taking up ranching in Texas and New Mexico later on in his life. The boat was seized by the club's creditors, and Thompson returned to a more relaxed attitude toward alcohol. According to Thompson, the biggest enemy the United States had was King George V of the United Kingdom. Known as "Big Bill", he is the most recent Republican to have served as mayor of Chicago. Eric Holcomb Wins 2nd Term Over 2 Challengers, NBC News Projects, West Town Polling Place Relocated After Sprinkler System Activates, Officials Say, Copyright © 2020 NBCUniversal Media, LLC. Which Chicago mayor reformed the police and quit? Illinois always deserves to win any worst-politician sweepstakes, but why was Thompson the baddest of our bad lot? It’s called ‘zozobra’, Commentary: Chicago’s police must do more to protect human rights, Commentary: The many ways a ‘fair tax’ would worsen Illinois’ economic woes, Illinois election live updates: Polls close across state as Chicago-area voters shatter records and city on pace for turnout over 70%. Chicago City Council. [4] However, others recognize the effectiveness of his political methods and publicity-oriented campaigning, acknowledging him as a "Political Chameleon" and an effective political machine.


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