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The Early Career of Mayor Frank Hague

Chapter 4 - Hague’s Career at its Nadir
Part 7

By Mark S. Foster

Copyright 1967

Web version, edited by GET NJ.
Copyright 2002

Wilson's victory at the convention undoubtedly helped thwart Hague's drive for county leadership. Wittpenn was also busy working against Hague. If he could not be county leader, he was still willing to share leadership in order to keep Hague from the top spot. Wittpenn formed what was called a "Big Four" alliance with three other powerful Democrats in the county. Not to be outdone, Hague formed his own alliance which later was labeled the "Big Five". Each side claimed control of the county leadership, calling the other group a bunch of "bosses using machine tactics."21

Finally, Wilson's victory in Baltimore must have caused Hague to take a closer look at the methods Wilson had used to achieve his remarkable political rise. From being far removed from politics as president of Princeton, Wilson had risen in the space of three years to nominee for the highest office in the country. Since Theodore Roosevelt was at the same time trying to round up delegates in order to oppose Taft, it appeared that the Republicans might be split wide open. In this event, Wilson had to be considered the favorite. Hague knew firsthand that Wilson was a crafty politician; this was one quality they shared. Hague must have learned from his observations that the big factor in Wilson's phenomenal rise was his progressive record as governor. If progressive actions had worked for Wilson, Hague reasoned, then why couldn't they work for him?

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