This is the story of a self-educated, charismatic, gifted leader who overcame personal tragedy in childhood and was elected the youngest mayor of a major city in America at age twenty-six. It is the story of a reformer who possessed a genius for politics. James K. McGuire (1868-1923) was elected mayor of Syracuse three times as a Democrat in a Republican bastion. As a candidate for governor in 1898, he nearly derailed the rise of Theodore Roosevelt. His ideas and positions informed the candidacy of William Jennings Bryan in his quest for the presidency and the platform of the Democratic Party in those elections.
Fahey narrates McGuire's remarkable rise to become a major figure in national politics as well as his questionable business dealings along the way. Indicted twice during his life, he was investigated by Congress and the Department of Justice for his advocacy of Irish freedom. McGuire befriended and aided Eamon de Valera and the Irish freedom fighters of that time, using his influence at the highest levels of the American government to further the cause of Ireland. This fascinating portrait reveals a complex man who earned a place on the national political stage and battled for the causes in which he deeply believed.
Joseph E. Fahey is a judge in the New York State Unified Court System and an adjunct professor of law at Syracuse University College of Law, USA. He is a member of the American Conference of Irish Studies, the American Irish Historical Society, and the Irish American Cultural Institute.