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Governor Richard Ogilvie

In the Interest of the State

Taylor Pensoneau

Publication Year: 2009

Viewing Ogilvie as a pivotal figure in Illinois politics during a time of great social and political turmoil, Pensoneau provides a complete political biography. He sheds light on Ogilvie’s military heroics, his political career, and the Illinois elections of 1968, 1970, and 1972.

Published by: Southern Illinois University Press


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Title Page

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Copyright Page

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pp. vii

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pp. ix-x

A few weeks before the end of 1972, I stood alone on a frosty evening at Meigs Field in Chicago waiting for a flight that would take me home to Springfield. Staring at Lake Michigan from the terminal, I failed to notice an individual who rather suddenly had approached and was standing by my side. When...

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1. Turning Points: 1944 and 1969

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pp. 1-10

Nineteen forty-four. The things people remember about that year. It was the one and only time the Cardinals and the Browns, the two professional baseball teams from St. Louis, ever met in the World Series. Naturally, the Cards won. The mighty Army backfield tandem of Doc Blanchard and Glenn Davis...

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2. Inauguration and Transition: The Early Days of Ogilvie's Governorship

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pp. 11-28

A lot of the festivities marking the inauguration of a new governor of Illinois have the trappings of New Orleans's celebration of Mardi Gras - one dance after another, private parties, sometimes even marching bands. Nothing about his inaugural could have been sweeter for Ogilvie, though, than the concert by...

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3. A Political Career on the Line

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pp. 29-37

While just about everybody was reasonably sure it was coming, shock waves still were inevitable when Governor Ogilvie really did it. On April I, 1969, the April Fools' Day of his first year in office Ogilvie asked the General Assembly to approve the imposition of a state income tax. For years, no subject...

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4. From Sheriff to Cook County Board President

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pp. 38-58

Decades after Ogilvie's governorship, Brian Whalen could not resist now and then sitting back in his office at Navistar International Transportation Corporation in Chicago's NBC Tower to reflect on his years as Ogilvie's righthand man...

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5. The Accardo Case: Taking on the Big Tuna

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pp. 59-64

Throughout his eighty-six years of life, Tony (Big Tuna) Accardo boasted that he never spent a night in prison. The blame for this could not be placed on Richard Ogilvie. On November II, 1960, Accardo, a onetime associate of Al Capone, was convicted of income...

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6. The 1968 Campaign and Vote

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pp. 65-81

The story of the 1968 election in Illinois could not have been more aptly illustrated than by the movement of two campaign trains that rumbled through the state that year, one carrying the Republican state candidates and the other a major Democratic contender...

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7. Bourbons in the Senate, Scandal in the High Court

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pp. 82-94

No way could Ogilvie's push in 1969 for enactment of the state income tax not ignite political drama. Too much was at stake, and besides, the cast of players with a big say in the matter was dominated by strong-willed and even explosive characters. More than a few of them were found in the most exclusive...

Gallery [Electronic Rights Unavailable]

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8. Proposed, Debated, Passed: The State Income Tax

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pp. 95-107

Courage. It sure took courage. After Ogilvie decided to propose the income tax, he threw himself into the politically dangerous fight to attain the levy without blinking an eye. Ignoring those who admonished him to wade in cautiously, Ogilvie moved with extraordinary haste to consolidate support for the...

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9. More Ogilvie Coups

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pp. 108-118

So far, so good. No, more than that. The governorship of Richard Ogilvie was the talk of the town. In just six months in office, Ogilvie had already tasted victory on enough of his bulging agenda to guarantee his brand on Illinois government...

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10. The Constitutional Convention: A Triumph amid Setbacks

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pp. 119-144

The Illinois Constitutional Convention of 1970 had a good run. Convention delegates pieced together a new governing charter for the state that was accepted by the voting public, something that had not happened in a hundred years. Aside from ceremonial moments, the working of the convention hardly...

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11. War on Polluters

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pp. 145-159

Richard Ogilvie, the pollution fighter. Should that have been surprising? No, not at all. The story line was familiar. A problem-shabby treatment of the environment-had long festered in Illinois. State government either had looked the other way or, as in this case, had only danced around the issue, throwing a...

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12. Campus Riots and the Guard

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pp. 160-170

It was as if all hell broke loose. Protesters, mostly students, went on a rampage, pelting state and local police with stones,bottIes, and bricks and randomly smashing windows of university buildings and businesses on Green Street near the campus. Plenty were arrested on charges ranging from mob...

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13. Winning Control of the Budget

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pp. 171-187

Don Perkins often got calls out of the blue from his pal Dick Ogilvie after he became governor. This time, Ogilvie was telling Perkins he needed somebody to chair the Illinois Board of Higher Education-someone who would not be snowed by the academic jargon from the muck-a-mucks at the universities...

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14. Ogilvie in Person and in the Press

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pp. 188-208

The sorts who snuggle close to officialdom-reporters, lobbyists, holders of government contracts~knew John McCarter was right. Individuals in important positions of public trust were fallible all right, leading them to many decisions that were neither good nor indifferent but simply bungled. During...

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15. Prisons, Highways and Other Ventures

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pp. 209-225

"There are no neat, well-adjusted or humble leaders," lamented Life magazine in an essay on the "dramatic lack of great political figures on the world scene" in its October 8, 1971, issue. As for the United States, essayist Brock Brower stated, "We in this country, with far more expansive political hopes...

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16. Dorothy Ogilvie

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pp. 226-233

No matter how far her husband's political career might take them, Dorothy Ogilvie was determined to keep her feet on the ground. She also knew she had to be prepared to face anything at anytime. But did she foresee being stuck in an elevator at the Vatican? She definitely had not anticipated that....

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17. Powell's Cash and Racetracks: Public Anger Boils

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pp. 234-246

The political climate in Illinois was poisoned, pure and simple, by the disclosure that Paul Powell left an $800,000 cash hoard. This occurred halfway through Ogilvie's term as governor, triggering public indignation that spared few persons in office, justified or not. The resulting climate could not have been...

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18. Political Death

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pp. 247-260

The 1972 election year was one for the book in Illinois. Dan Walker's success could not have been more sweet for him. By early I972, the political establishment had rated his chance of winning the governorship still as zilch. As for Ogilvie? Well, he conceded early on in the election cycle that he was...

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pp. 261-268

On January 7, 1973, the last full day of his governorship, Ogilvie bade farewell to Illinoisans with a communique that was Ogilvie to a tee. The mechanism was a constitutionally required State of the State message, an epistle formally penned for the General Assembly that would have to serve as...


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pp. 271-284

Select Bibliography

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pp. 285-286


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pp. 287-293

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Author Bio

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pp. 294

Taylor Pensoneau, retired president of the Illinois Coal Association, spent twelve years as the Illinois political correspondent for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. During this time, he covered the administrations of five governors, including that of Richard Ogilvie. Pensoneau has ...

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780809386567
E-ISBN-10: 0809386569
Print-ISBN-13: 9780809321483
Print-ISBN-10: 0809329077

Page Count: 314
Illustrations: 15 b/w halftones
Publication Year: 2009