Change is coming
Thomas Pendergast's story begins in st Joseph, Missouri, in 1873. While Pendergast was born in st Joseph, he later in his life he moved permanetly to Kansas city in 1894, where he joined his brother James. James was a former packinghouse employee and iron worker, before he rose up and became a succesfull buisnessman, owning The American House, a hotel and saloon, giving Thomas a job in the saloon. though james was a businessman, he also got in politics. In 1892, James was elected alderman of Kansas City's first ward. During those years, he gave Thomas small jobs in government. though James was becoming a local booming business man and politician, he was slowed by illness in 1900, and during this time Thomas stepped in as alderman. Eventually James died in 1911, and when he died, tom ran for his brothers seat in city council and won. As alderman, Tom saught to control democratic politics power in Kansas City, though a man named Joseph Shannon, stood in his way for democratic power. To prevent a conflict, the 2 sides made a what is known as the 50/50 comprimise, splitting control of democratic political jobs. Over time, the comprimise broke, and pendergast took control. Pendergast used his idea of supporting the low class to help the city but mainly to gain votes and to make his political machine grow. Though pendergasts power locally was strong, he also spread his power nationaly, by helping local politition harry Truman get into senate. Pendergasts machine slowly began to end when local politician he helped make govener llyold c stark, also wanted influence in senate. His plan of doing that, was weaking trumans biggest supporter, tom pendergast. After a federal prosacuter found that pendergast used voting frauds, stark ordered an investigation, also finding out that pendergast was stealing from nsurance companies, and also from 1935 to 1936 he failed to pay half a million dollars in taxes. in turn, he was sentenced over a year in jail and fined 10000 dollars. years after being released from prison, pendergast, at age 72 died.
Thomas pendergast made a huge impact in government locally and nationally, spreading his political machine across the country, and helping politicians like harry Truman make his name
Thomas pendergast, and his close friend harry truman
Thomas pendergast and enemy llyold c stark
james pendergast, toms brother and the man who started toms political career
The Kansas City Mafia and the Pendergast Machine