Frank Hague
Mayor of Jersey City
1917-1947

Copyright 2005
By Anthony Olszewski

More on Jersey City Mayor Frank Hague
I am the Law!
Two boys both under sixteen . . . were apprehended by the authorities for truancy. The Mayor happened to be in one of his police-station hideouts when they were brought in. The boys told him that they preferred jail to school; so he took up their case with Doctor Hopkins, suggesting that jobs be found for them. Doctor Hopkins said that it could not be done because of the New Jersey Working Papers Law. Then the Mayor said to him: `Listen, here is the law! I am the law! These boys go to work!'
From
The Boss by David Dayton McKean
Frank Hague was Mayor of Jersey City from May 15, 1917 until his retirement on June 17, 1947. His name is synonymous with that early 20th century urban American blend of political favoritism and social welfare known as bossism.

It's generally conceded that Hague's influence was a factor in the election of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Mayor Hague and President Roosevelt
Many of Frank Hague's activities were, in a narrow sense, not illegal, for no relevant laws were then in place. Hague ruled during an era of massive social upheaval: unrestrained capitalism, violent labor movements, economic depression, and world war. Organized crime grew ever more powerful. Foreign -isms attempted to gain American support. The social safety net basically did not exist. During this period Jersey City was relatively calm.

Mayor Hague retired in 1947. His nephew, Frank Hague Eggers, succeeded him as Mayor of Jersey City. The public generally saw this "coronation" as a ruse that enabled Hague to retain power while at the same time limiting his exposure to the many irritations – both major and minor – of day-to-day operations.

Frank Hague's second in command, John V. Kenny, opposed Egger's intallation by organizing a broad-based coalition. After a heated election, John V. Kenny became Mayor of Jersey City in 1949. John V. Kenny replaced the self-limiting and chauvinistic corruption practiced by Hague with a political machine of unprecedented venality and rapacity. Kenny's political system retained power until dislodged through a series of Federal convictions in 1972.

Frank Hague ruled for more than thirty years.
On June 17, 1947, he turned the reins of power over to his nephew, Frank Eggers.

Online Video: Thomas Fleming Speaks About the Rise and Rule of Jersey City Mayor Frank Hague

Hudson County Politics