Although serious scandal erupted in Illinois Governor Richard Ogilvie’s administration— eight hundred thousand dollars mysteriously appearing in Secretary of State Paul Powell’s shoe boxes and other hiding places, the downfall of two Supreme Court justices for questionable stock dealings, corruption surrounding the Illinois State Fair— Ogilvie’s accomplishments, as Taylor Pensoneau demonstrates, rank him among the best governors in Illinois history.
Perhaps the most important of Ogilvie’s accomplishments during his single term in office (1969–1973) was the passage of the state’s first income tax in 1969. Supporting the income tax took political courage on the part of the new governor, but in doing so he saved the financially crippled state from economic disaster. He also looked far into the future; at a time when few politicians expressed concern with the environment, Ogilvie created an exemplary and hard-hitting antipollution program. He was in office during the Illinois Constitutional Convention in 1970 and was instrumental in the widespread restructuring of Illinois government.
Viewing Ogilvie as a pivotal figure in Illinois politics during a time of great social and political turmoil, Pensoneau provides a complete political biography. He sheds light on Ogilvie’s military heroics, his political career, and the Illinois elections of 1968, 1970, and 1972.