New Rules

A Changing Society

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In the months leading up to the 1972 Democratic National Convention, the Democratic Party, hoping to ensure greater minority representation, adopted new rules for how delegates to its convention would be chosen.

When its delegates met at the convention in Miami Beach, Florida, the party refused to seat the fifty-nine Chicago delegates elected in the Illinois Democratic Party primary. Daley had slated these delegates, and the party leadership claimed that the slating process had violated the new rules. Instead, the party seated an alternate slate of delegates.

Certification of Richard J. Daley as an elected delegate to the Democratic National Convention, 1972. RJD_02_02_0013_0003_006

Certification of Richard J. Daley as an elected delegate to the Democratic National Convention, 1972. RJD_02_02_0013_0003_006

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Where I think he tended to make mistakes, it was that I think he had a fairly narrow group of advisors who were sometimes afraid of him and sometimes would be ‘yes’ men. I mean, somebody should have gone to the mayor and said, “These Democratic rules are a big problem. You’d better get on this thing.” Nobody did. Somebody should have gone to him before the convention and said, “You’re going to have a big problem here.” I don’t know that he welcomed some strong contrary advisors. But they certainly weren’t there. There was nobody who would say, “Mayor, you’re making a huge mistake here. Just wait a minute.” I don’t think he had that. So I think that was an error.

Newton Minow, Chair of Federal Communications Commission 1961-1963, interview excerpt, October 2, 2003

Notice to challenge the seating of the Illinois delegation to the 1972 Democratic National Convention

Notice of intent to challenge the seating of the Illinois delegation to the Democratic National Convention, March 31, 1972. RJD_02_01_0099_0010_003a

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Richard J. Daley at podium in Sherman House Hotel with Edward Kennedy(left) and Senator George McGovern

Richard J. Daley at podium in Sherman House Hotel with Edward Kennedy (left) and Senator George McGovern (right), ca. 1972. RJD_04_01_0052_0012_005

 My dad was thrown out of the convention. But that did not stop him from helping the McGovern candidacy. And I think if you look at it, Cook County was one of the few counties that had any activity for him after the convention for McGovern, and one of the few counties that carried him in the 1972 election. As I look back that changed the party and brought a number of new people and great diversity to the party.

John Daley, son of Richard J. Daley, interview excerpt, May 9, 2007

Letter to Richard J. Daley from a constituent, November 4, 1972.

Letter to Richard J. Daley from a constituent, November 4, 1972. RJD_02_01_0099_0004_001a