Anton Cermak

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Anton (Tony) Joseph Cermak (Czech: Antonín Josef Čermák, pronounced [ˈantɔɲiːn ˈjɔzɛf ˈtʃɛrmaːk]; May 9, 1873 – March 6, 1933) was the mayor of Chicago, Illinois, from 1931 until his assassination by Giuseppe Zangara in 1933.


Early life and career

Born in Kladno, Austria-Hungary (now in the Czech Republic), Cermak emigrated with his parents to the United States in 1874. He began his political career as a precinct captain and in 1902 was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives.[1] Seven years later, he would take his place as alderman of the 12th Ward Cermak was elected president of the Cook County Board of Commissioners in 1922, chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party in 1928, and mayor of Chicago in 1931.[2] In 1928 he ran for the United States Senate and was defeated by Republican Otis F. Glenn, receiving 46% of the vote.

Campaign for Mayor

His mayoral victory came in the wake of the Great Depression and the deep resentment many Chicagoans had of Prohibition and the increasing violence resulting from organized crime's control of Chicago, typified by the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.

The many ethnic groups such as Poles, Czechs, Ukrainians, Jews, Italians, and African Americans that began to settle in Chicago in the early 1900s were mostly detached from the political system, due in part to lack of organization which led to underrepresentation in the City Council. As an immigrant himself, Cermak recognized Chicago's relatively-new immigrants as a significant population of disenfranchised voters and a large power base for Cermak and his local Democratic organization.

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