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Big Bill Thompson

Big Bill Thompson Political Button Museum
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Big Bill Thompson button back Political Button Museum
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Yellow hat under black text bellow yellow text over worn, blue background.

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Union Bug
3035-37 W. LAKE ST. 

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The hat illustrated on this button represents the famous hat worn by William Hale "Big Bill" Thompson (1869-1944). One major Chicago-area news source called Thompson Illinois's "most corrupt public official" in the state's history. He was the mayor of Chicago from 1915 to 1923, and again from 1927 to 1931. African-Americans often supported the Republican Party because it was the party of Lincoln, and Thompson exploited African-American support by granting special jobs to his black supporters while ostracizing working-class whites. Thompson's actions are stated to have contributed strongly to Chicago's 1919 race riot.  He socialized with and supported gangster Al Capone. During his re-election campaign, he promised to stop police raids related to Prohibition and won by a considerable margin.

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