Illinois History Minutes

July 15 Illinois History Minute


It’s July 15th, and the 1940 Democratic National Convention opened on this day in Chicago, one of 11 Democratic conventions the Windy City has hosted since 1864. President Franklin Roosevelt planned to run for an unprecedented third term. But he didn’t want to seem too eager. On the convention’s first day, delegates heard a statement sent by Roosevelt saying they should feel free to vote for any candidate they wanted. But then, a voice rang out through the Chicago Stadium’s public address system, chanting “We want Roosevelt!”. It was Chicago Sanitation chief Thomas Garry, speaking from another room. Mayor Ed Kelly had arranged it, along with the same chant from hundreds of city workers and precinct captains, and soon, hundreds of delegates. The not-so-spontaneous outbreak worked, and President Roosevelt was renominated on a unanimous vote.