Chicago: A Biography

Chicago: A Biography

Dominic A. Pacyga

Language: English

Pages: 472

ISBN: 0226644286

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Chicago has been called by many names. Nelson Algren declared it a “City on the Make.” Carl Sandburg dubbed it the “City of Big Shoulders.” Upton Sinclair christened it “The Jungle,” while New Yorkers, naturally, pronounced it “the Second City.”

At last there is a book for all of us, whatever we choose to call Chicago. In this magisterial biography, historian Dominic Pacygatraces the storied past of his hometown, from the explorations of Joliet and Marquette in 1673 to the new wave of urban pioneers today. The city’s great industrialists, reformers, and politicians—and, indeed, the many not-so-great and downright notorious—animate this book, from Al Capone and Jane Addams to Mayor Richard J. Daley and President Barack Obama. But what distinguishes this book from the many others on the subject is its author’s uncommon ability to illuminate the lives of Chicago’s ordinary people. Raised on the city’s South Side and employed for a time in the stockyards, Pacyga gives voice to the city’s steelyard workers and kill floor operators, and maps the neighborhoods distinguished not by Louis Sullivan masterworks, but by bungalows and corner taverns.

 Filled with the city’s one-of-a-kind characters and all of its defining moments, Chicago: A Biography is as big and boisterous as its namesake—and as ambitious as the men and women who built it.

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roll, the introduction of various committees and a few speeches as a schooner waited to take delegates on an excursion on Lake Michigan. The real politicking took place that evening as delegates gathered at the various hotels. In what would become a long-standing Chicago tradition of political maneu­vering, Judge David Davis, Lincoln’s campaign manager, gathered his forces at the Tremont Hotel and moved to stop any momentum that Seward’s forces might have shown at the Wigwam. The judge understood

they influenced Lincoln’s approach to the war. Democraticcontrolled state legislatures in Illinois and Indiana both called for an immediate end to the fighting. Storey then raised again the specter of the Midwest leaving the Union if the war did not quickly come to an end. After General Ambrose E. Burnside arrested Clement L. Valandigham, a former Ohio congressman and antiwar Democrat with eyes on the governorship, Storey jumped to his defense and attacked Burnside, calling the arrest the

Eight Hour May Day celebrations, mass strikes and violence spread, followed by a three-day general strike. Outdoor laborers and unskilled workers roamed the streets in working-class neighborhoods, particularly Bridgeport where many brickyard, lumberyard, and other industrial workers lived, calling out nonstriking workers and clashing with police. Chicago’s business leaders called for military action to stop the bands of workers. Mayor The Era of Urban Chaos Rice threatened to use force against

in their views and added that they had “enthusiasm and vivacity enough to inspire a neighborhood.21 Addams and Starr quickly created a series of social programs and opened Hull-House to their immigrant neighbors. A little more than five years after it opened, Hull-House continued to fascinate the city as a whole. The Chicago Tribune likened the settlement house to a theater, claiming that it seemed unreal to the “denizens” of the Nineteenth Ward. The article pointed to the books, paintings,

supporting the lesser of two evils. The MVL saw itself as a machine of the righteous, supporting no party but only individual candidates. It did not prove very effective outside of the traction issue.12 The transit issue gave rise to the political career of Edward F. Dunne, Chicago’s one truly Progressive mayor, elected in 1905. Dunne, the only person to serve both as mayor of Chicago and governor of Illinois, was the first child of Patrick W. Dunne and Mary Lawlor. His father took part in Irish

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