James Michael Curley
There has never been a mayor like James Michael Curley. He was one of the greatest political figures ever, and at the same time, was the one of the worst. He dramatically improved the City of Boston and the lives of the people in it. His accomplishments were as great as any mayor of any city in the country. At the same time, as a politician, he took money for his own personal use and twisted the truth to help him get what he wanted. To the lower class Irish voters of Boston he gave them jobs and the kind of life they had only dreamed about. James Michael Curley built much of the Boston we know today.
James Michael Curley was born at home in Boston, Massachusetts on the cold, snowy day of November 20th, 1874, to Irish immigrant parents. His mother, Sarah moved to America from Connemara, Ireland in 1865 at the age of twelve.
She worked as a domestic and cleaning woman her whole working life. His father, Michael Curley, also immigrated to America in 1865 when he was just fourteen. He worked in as a laborer in construction.
Boston in the late 1800's had two classes. The Yankees were in the upper class and the Irish were the lower class. There was a lot of discrimination and it was hard for the Irish to earn money to take care of their families. The Irish learned to depend on each other not trusting outsiders. Where possible they opened their own businesses, including Irish pubs and clubs. There were many nicknames for the Irish. One common one was paddy. The paddy wagon got named from the stereotype that the Irish were troublemakers and often taken to jail. Other nicknames were mick and mucker. Muckers...