Richard J. Daley

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Worth, Illinois

Richard Joseph Daley (May 15, 1902 – December 20, 1976) served for 21 years as the mayor and undisputed Democratic boss of Chicago and is considered by historians to be the "last of the big city bosses." He played a major role in the history of the Democratic Party, especially with his support of John F. Kennedy in 1960 and of Hubert Humphrey in 1968.

Daley was Chicago's third mayor in a row from the working-class, heavily Irish American Bridgeport neighborhood on Chicago's South Side, and he lived there his entire life.

Daley had two bases of power, serving as a Committeeman and Chairman of the Cook County Democratic Central Committee from 1953, and as mayor of Chicago from 1955. He used both positions until his death in 1976 to dominate party and civic affairs. Daley's well-organized Democratic political machine was often accused of political corruption and though many of Daley's subordinates were jailed, Daley was never personally formally accused of corruption.

He is remembered for doing much to avoid the declines that some other "rust belt" cities like Cleveland, Buffalo and Detroit experienced during the same period. He had a strong base of support in Chicago's Irish Catholic community, and he was treated by national politicians such as Lyndon B. Johnson as a preeminent Irish American, with special connections to the Kennedy family.

He is the second longest-serving Chicago mayor in history. Richard M. Daley, his son, is the current and longest-serving mayor of Chicago.[1]


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