By Robert H. Ferrell
No section of the political profession of Harry S. Truman was once extra fraught with drama than his dating with Thomas J. Pendergast. in a single in their earliest conferences, the 2 males have been momentarily at odds after Truman, who used to be then presiding pass judgement on of Jackson County, gave a $400,000 street agreement to a development corporation in South Dakota, and Pendergast, the boss of Kansas urban, wasn't more than happy approximately it. He had another person in brain for the agreement. Their organization therefore had its disagreements, yet their universal curiosity in politics used to be sufficient to set up an enduring relationship.In 1934, after contemplating fourteen different males, Pendergast subsidized Truman for the Senate. even though Truman had frequently cooperated with Pendergast on patronage matters, he had by no means concerned himself within the illegalities that will finally wreck the Pendergast computing device. actually, Truman had no concept how deeply the Boss had engaged in corruption in his own affairs, in addition to in coping with the govt of Kansas urban. whilst the Boss used to be despatched to Leavenworth for tax evasion in 1939, Truman was once astonished.Despite Truman's honesty, his dating with Pendergast virtually triggered his defeat through the Missouri senatorial basic in August 1940. the most challenger for Truman's Senate seat used to be the formidable governor of Missouri, Lloyd C. Stark, who after destroying Truman's sponsor, the Pendergast computer, denounced Truman as "the Pendergast senator." in the back of the governor used to be President Franklin D. Roosevelt, whom Stark grew to become opposed to Truman. Roosevelt sought after Missouri's electoral votes in his impending bid for a 3rd time period, and he believed that Stark may possibly provide them to him.Because of the stigma of Truman's Pendergast connection, the 1940 Democratic fundamental used to be the tightest election in his whole political profession. He gained by way of fewer than 8 thousand votes. In Truman and Pendergast, Robert H. Ferrell masterfully offers Truman's fight to maintain his Senate seat with out the help of Pendergast and regardless of Stark's enlistment of Roosevelt opposed to him. Ferrell indicates that Truman received the election in his average fashion—going on to the folks, conversing in truth and prefer one in all them.
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Additional resources for Truman and Pendergast
The individual responsible, Aylward, was an independent Democrat rather than a machine man; indeed he had been a Shannon supporter, a rabbit rather than a Pendergast goat, to use the Kansas City descriptions. He brought the Democratic factions together in the city election of 1926, electing a majority of the council under the revised charter. He held no public office. He was a protégé and law partner of Kansas City’s most prominent attorney, Frank P. Walsh, who during the World War was a national figure as co-chairman, with former president William H.
That year Pendergast’s statehouse nominee, Stark, received 19,202, his opponent 12. The population of the second ward—men, women, and children—was 18,478. In the election of 1936 precinct captains and heelers showed almost no willingness to be careful, to spread addresses: at 912 Tracy Street a house contained 141 registered voters, at 700 Main Street, 112 voters lived in a vacant lot. On the day of that election spooks, sleepers, and riders appeared everywhere. The dead were easiest to vote. ” Sleepers once resided in their precincts but moved, their names remaining on lists.
Nonetheless, the arrangement meant some cooperating. Truman was careful to give county jobs to deserving Democrats, which meant Pendergast Democrats, for they could do the work as well as ordinary Democrats, certainly as well as Republicans, of whom there were not all that many in the county. For Truman, another embarrassment was that Pendergast could count on the presiding judge’s reputation for honesty to assist whatever projects the boss had in mind in the city. 9 Still another was that despite the judge’s best efforts some of the grafting, not much but a little, spilled over into county business.