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An honest politician in Chicago?

Started by brandm24, January 19, 2020, 12:41:34 AM

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Morris B. Sachs was the epitome of the self-made man with a rags-to-riches story to match. He arrived in the United States at age 13 in 1910 with almost nothing. He would go on to become a highly successful businessman, philanthropist, radio personality, and a man who dabbled in politics as an "amateur."

But I think his most enduring legacy was his honesty. In 1955 he was appointed city treasurer of Chicago. Sachs was a straight shooter in a city where honesty in government was a rare commodity. Unfortunately, Chicago government is as corrupt today as it ever was...probably the worst in the country. In any case, Sachs made a herculean effort to clean up his department, but the old time pols like Mayor Richard Daley would have none of it. He didn't last long. Sadly, there was no place in that city for an honest politician.

The token is 31 mm and appears to be bronze. The portrait of President Roosevelt (?) helps date the piece from the mid 1930s to the Early 1940s. In my opinion the portrait doesn't look anything like Roosevelt, so maybe it's Sachs himself.

More here about Morris B. Sachs.   Chicago Tribune - We are currently unavailable in your region


More about this extraordinary man
Always Faithful


I'd argue that it's a bad portrait of Roosevelt. The medal clearly has commercial intent - a loyalty programme. To have your own portrait surrounded by the name and title of a president would be a commercial risk, while to have Roosevelt on the token could only be taken as a sign of patriotism. Moreover, from what little I know about Sachs, his political views would be largely in line with those of Roosevelt. It is one of the more baffling ironies of history that those Americans who today believe that Sanders, Warren, Pelosi and Ocasio-Cortez are "far left" would be appalled by the texts on the Roosevelt monument in Washington, which IMHO are farther to the left (but still moderate in the framework of a European country) and Roosevelt was a very popular president indeed.

The Daley dynasty is indeed a shameful period, the more so since they were courted by both major political parties. I am uplifted by Sachs' story, even though it is a bit naive to think you can introduce honesty when the boss is corrupt and getting support anyway. I'd just like to note that such semi-criminal dynasties are not a US monopoly. The M├ędecin dynasty (Jean and Jacques) in Nice matches the Daley dynasty practically point for point, except that - how French can you be - Jacques authored a successful book on the regional cuisine of Nice. :)

On lying, your link got me the message Chicago Tribune - We are currently unavailable in your region. That means: the EU has introduced GDPR to protect privacy and give users some basic rights. That's unacceptable to us. Go away. Note that your privacy is up for grabs at the Chicago Tribune. Daley would have approved.

An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.


Sorry to hear that you couldn't view the article in the Chicago Tribune. Daley is indeed in agreement.

The grip of corruption is difficult to loosen and I'm sure that Sachs had little expectations of doing so. I give him a lot of credit for his attempt though. From everything I've read about him it seems he was a decent man and should be remembered for that. While it's nearly impossible to "reform" a corrupt man, one can at least conduct himself in an exemplary manner. A good example can send a powerful message.

Always Faithful


It must be a bad likeness of Roosevelt, Peter. Here's an old image of Morris B. Sachs and the portrait on the token certainly isn't him. Not nearly enough hair. :)

Always Faithful