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Join us for Front Row with the Faculty featuring: 

Michael C. Connolly, Ph.D.
Emeritus Professor of History and Political Science

Serving the Public, Then and Now: Big City Mayors versus the Modern Civil Service System

The 19th and early 20th centuries in American politics witnessed many big city powerful mayors who stayed in office due largely to strong ethnic support and well-oiled political machines. Boston’s James Michael Curley was one of the last, and a colorful figure to say the least. His greatest biography is Jack Beatty’s The Rascal King. I will attempt to compare and contrast the effectiveness of the old political machines versus the modern civil service in delivering much-needed economic and social help, especially to America’s urban poor. Dr. Connolly will use brief snippets from John Ford’s homage to Curley in his film The Last Hurrah (1958) starring Spencer Tracy as the “fictitious” Mayor Frank Skeffington of “a New England City.”