Richard Joseph Daley was born in Chicago in 1902 and grew up in the Irish Catholic Nativity of Our Lord parish.
His political career began by serving as manager and then President of the Hamburg Athletic Club--one of many such clubs in Chicago that provided the foundation for the enormous Democratic political machine. He rose through the ranks eventually being elected to the Illinois House of Representatives form 1936 to 38 and the State Senate from 1939 to 46.
As mayor of Chicago from 1956 until his death in 1976 and chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party, he headed the powerful machine that effectively dominated much of Chicago. His administration was marked by accusations of unscrupulous practices including "throwing" the Illinois vote to John F. Kennedy in the Presidential elections of 1960 and, more visibly, his police department brutally subdued demonstrators at the Democratic National Convention in 1968.