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POLITICS/LAW

Charles J. Bonaparte (1851-1921) As Attorney General during Theodore Roosevelt’s administration, Bonaparte established a special investigative force that was to become the Federal Bureau of Investigation. With a law degree from Harvard University, Bonaparte started a private practice in Maryland in 1874. Shortly after, he became involved in civic reform, and was one of the founders of the National Civil Service Reform League and the National Municipal League, an organization established to promote honesty in government.

Bonaparte was a member of the Indian Rights Association and the Board of Indian Commissioners. He was Secretary of the United States Navy and in 1906, he was appointed Attorney General. It was during his term as Attorney General that he established the foundation for the FBI. Bonaparte was the great grandnephew of Napoleon.

Charles J. Bonaparte

Bonaparte Founded G-Men

Letter from Charles J. Bonaparte to Theodore Roosevelt

Justice Honors Founder of FBI

Bonaparte Family Crest

 

Geraldine Ferraro (1935-2011) The first woman nominated on a major party ticket as Vice President of the United States. Teaching during the day and studying law at night, Ferraro earned her law degree from Fordham University Law School, one of two women in her graduating class of 1960. She practiced law, then joined the New York District Attorney’s Office in Queens, establishing the Special Victims Bureau. In 1978, she was elected to the House of Representatives, serving three two-year terms, and in 1984 she was nominated as Vice Presidential candidate in Walter Mondale’s bid for Presidency. In her acceptance speech, she addressed her ethnicity by stating, "Tonight, the daughter of an immigrant from Italy has been chosen to run for vice president in the new land my father came to love …"

Ferraro has written several books and occasionally appeared as a political commentator on television news shows. She was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1994. In 1998, she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. She became a volunteer to raise awareness of the disease and later became a Member of the Honorary Board of Directors of the Mutiple Myeloma Research Foundation. In 2007, a rose was named in her honor.

Then & Now: Geraldine Ferraro, CNN (2005)

A Rose for Geraldine

1984 Acceptance Speech

TIME Magazine Cover (1984)

 

Ella T. Grasso (1919-1981) Known for her close family ties and a commitment to the people she served, Grasso was the first woman in America to become state governor in her own right. She started her career as an elected politician in 1952, in the Connecticut House of Representatives, serving two terms. In 1956, she became Chair of the Connecticut Democratic State Platform Committee, continuing in that position until 1968. In 1958, she was elected Connecticut Secretary of State, a position she held until her election into the U. S. House of Representatives in 1970. She was elected for a second term in the House and in 1974, Grasso was elected Governor of Connecticut. Halfway into her second term as Governor, she resigned due to illness. In Grasso’s active political career, she won every election. In 1993, Grasso was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

The Education of Ella Grasso (Her Italian Culture)

TIME Magazine: Connecticut’s Favorite Daughter (1981) 

Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame

 

Fiorello H. La Guardia (1882-1947) Known for his strong support of fair government, La Guardia was the first three-term Mayor of New York City, and is credited for changing its landscape and building the foundation for the city’s growth after the Depression. Born in New York, La Guardia spent his early years in the west and southwest with his family, following his father’s career as a member of an Infantry Band. The family moved to his mother’s homeland of Trieste, Austria-Hungary (now Italy) after his father retired in 1898. From 1901 to 1906 he served in the American Consular Service in Budapest, Hungary, Trieste.

He returned to New York in 1907 and worked for U. S. Immigration at Ellis Island as an interpreter while he completed his law degree at the New York University Law School. After graduating, La Guardia began to practice law and became Deputy Attorney General of New York in 1915. A year later he was elected to the U. S. House of Representatives, but left to serve in the army during World War I. In 1922 he ran again and was elected to five consecutive terms in the House of Representatives. During his last term, he co-sponsored the Norris-La Guardia Anti-Injunction law, a law that allowed workers to join unions.

In 1933, La Guardia was elected Mayor of New York City, and during his 12 years as mayor, the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, Triborough Bridge, East River Drive, West Side Highway, and airport – which now bears his name – were built.

Fiorella La Guardia on Prohibition

La Guardia and Wagner Archives

La Guardia, Fiorello Henry, U.S. Congress (Short Bio)

New York Times Articles about La Guardia

Fiorello H. La Guardia Foundation

Achille La Guardia: Bandmaster of the 11th U. S. Infantry

 

Filippo Mazzei (1730-1816) Befriended by Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, in 1773, Mazzei – a physician, horticulturist, and merchant in Italy – came to America to establish vineyards in Virginia. Through his friendships with Franklin and Jefferson, Mazzei became acquainted with George Washington, James Monroe, Thomas Paine, Patrick Henry, and John Adams; and Mazzei also became a supporter of American freedom. His collaboration with Jefferson led to the inclusion of "all men are created equal" into the Declaration of Independence, a paraphrase of Mazzei’s "All men are by nature equally free and independent."

In 1778, Mazzei returned to Italy to help raise money and gain information to assist Virginia during the Revolutionary War. He went back to America after the war, then in 1785 returned to Europe. In 1788, he published The History and Politics of the United States of America, which was widely accepted as the source of accurate information about the Revolution.

His friendship with Jefferson continued, and led to the publication of a letter – known as the Mazzei letter – written by Jefferson that criticized American politics.

 

Thomas Jefferson and Philip Mazzei

Thomas Jefferson’s Viticulturists Celebrated in Northern Italy

Papers of Thomas Jefferson: Mazzei Letter

The Italian Collections at the Library of Congress

Original Artwork – U.S and Italian Stamp (1980)

Fonterutoli

Castellodi Fonterutoli

 

 

Charlie Angelo Siringo (1855-1928) Cowboy, businessman, and one of the first Pinkerton undercover detectives, Texas-born Charlie Angelo Siringo, also wrote several books and is attributed as a leading figure of cowboy heroes of the American West. Siringo’s Italian father had immigrated to America, but died when Charlie was a young child.

By his mid-teens, Charlie Siringo was working as a cowboy at various ranches in Texas and then became a cattle driver, herding them North to Kansas along the Chisholm Trail. In 1884, he wrote A Texas Cowboy, or Fifteen Years on the Hurricane Deck of a Spanish Pony, an autobiographical account of his life as a cowboy; Will Rogers claimed it as "The Cowboy's Bible."

 

In 1886, Siringo moved to Chicago and, with an interest in law and politics, joined the Pinkerton Detective Agency. For the next 20 years, Siringo traveled throughout the United States working mostly undercover.

Charlie Siringo

Old West Legends: Cowboy Detective

Charles Angelo Siringo

Excerpt from Two Evil Isms: Pinkerton and Anarchism

 

Giuseppe Maria Francesco Vigo (c.1740-1846) In Vincennes, Indiana, on the bank of the Wabash River, the granite statue of an American patriot and businessman faces south, looking down river. The statue, and the name of the county of the capital city, Terre Haute – a few hours drive north – are in honor of Italian-born Giuseppe Maria Francesco Vigo, better known as Francesco Vigo or Francis Vigo. 

Vigo befriended General George Rogers Clark, and helped him capture Fort Sackville from the British, a major victory for the American colonies during the Revolutionary War.

 

 

Joseph Maria Francesco Vigo

 

George Rogers Clark National Historic Park

 

Francis Vigo Papers

 

Battle of Vincennes

 

 

 

 

 
 

 
 
Copyright 2007-2014 Janice Therese Mancuso
 
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without permission except when published with this credit: Excerpt from Thirty-One Days of Italians, 2014 Janice Therese Mancuso.