Pendergast Machine

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PENDERGAST MACHINE. From 1890 to 1939 a Democratic political organization called the Pendergast machine dominated politics in Kansas City, Mo. From the time of his appointment to a county judgeship in 1922 until his election to the U.S. Senate in 1934, Harry S. Truman, a Missouri Democrat, was a beneficiary of the vote-getting ability of the machine, but he avoided involvement in the machine's corruption. Throughout the 1930s Thomas Pendergast, the machine's boss, controlled enough votes to direct state politics, but the machine came to an end when he went to prison for tax fraud in 1939.


Dorsett, Lyle W. The Pendergast Machine. New York: Oxford University Press, 1968.

McCullough, David. Truman. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1992.

Lyle W.Dorsett/a. g.

See alsoDemocratic Party ; Kansas City ; Machine, Political ; Missouri .