Mayor of Boston

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City Seal
The first Mayor of Boston
The former Mayor of Boston, Thomas Menino.

The Mayor of Boston is the head of the municipal government in Boston, Massachusetts. Boston has a mayor-council system of government. The mayor's office is in Boston City Hall, in Government Center. The current mayor is Martin J. "Marty" Walsh.

History[edit]

Prior to 1822, there was no Mayor of Boston, because Boston was incorporated as a town. In Massachusetts, a town is typically governed by a town meeting, with a board of selectmen handling regular business. Boston was the first community in Massachusetts to receive a city charter, which was granted in 1822.

Under the terms of the new charter, the mayor was elected annually. In 1908, the Republican-controlled state legislature enacted charter changes it hoped would dampen the rising power of Democratic Irish Americans. These included extending the mayoral term to four years, and making the post formally non-partisan. The reforms did not work: the first mayor elected under the new charter was Democrat John "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald,[1] and every mayor since 1930, and all but one mayor since 1902, has been known to be a Democrat.

In a bid to temper the rising power of James Michael Curley, the state legislature in 1918 passed legislation forbidding city mayors from serving consecutive terms in office; consequently, none of Curley's four terms in office are consecutive. This law was repealed in 1938, after Curley's political career appeared to be in decline.[2] Another charter change was enacted in 1949, partly in response to Curley's fourth term, during which he served prison time for crimes committed in an earlier term. Because of this change, one term was shortened to two years; it was the first term of John B. Hynes (1950–1952).

Mayoral elections, like all municipal elections in Boston, are nonpartisan. The two candidates with the highest number of votes in the preliminary election run against each other on the general election ballot. There are no term limits. The general elections are held in November of odd-numbered years following presidential election years.

List[edit]

# Mayor Term start Term end Terms   Party
1 John Phillips May 1, 1822 May 1, 1823 1 Federalist
2 Josiah Quincy III May 1, 1823 January 5, 1829 6 Federalist
3 Harrison G. Otis January 5, 1829 January 2, 1832 3 Federalist
4 Charles Wells January 2, 1832 January 6, 1834 2 Whig
5 Theodore Lyman January 6, 1834 January 4, 1836 2 Democratic
6 Samuel T. Armstrong January 4, 1836 January 1, 1837 1 Whig
7 Samuel A. Eliot January 1, 1837 January 6, 1840 3 Whig
8 Jonathan Chapman January 6, 1840 January 2, 1843 3 Whig
9 Martin Brimmer January 2, 1843 January 6, 1845 2 Whig
10 Thomas A. Davis February 27, 1845 November 22, 1845 Partial Native American
11 Josiah Quincy, Jr. December 11, 1845 January 1, 1849 3 12 Whig
12 John P. Bigelow January 1, 1849 January 5, 1852 3 Whig
13 Benjamin Seaver January 5, 1852 January 2, 1854 2 Whig
14 Jerome V. C. Smith January 2, 1854 January 7, 1856 2 American
15 Alexander H. Rice January 7, 1856 January 4, 1858 2 Republican
16 Frederic W. Lincoln, Jr. January 4, 1858 January 7, 1861 3 Republican
17 Joseph Wightman January 7, 1861 January 5, 1863 2 Democratic
(16) Frederic W. Lincoln, Jr. January 5, 1863 January 7, 1867 4 Republican
18 Otis Norcross January 7, 1867 January 6, 1868 1 Republican
19 Nathaniel B. Shurtleff January 6, 1868 January 2, 1871 3 Democratic
20 William Gaston January 2, 1871 January 6, 1873 2 Democratic
21 Henry L. Pierce January 6, 1873 November 29, 1873 12 None
22 Samuel C. Cobb January 5, 1874 January 1, 1877 3 None
23 Frederick O. Prince January 1, 1877 January 7, 1878 1 Democratic
(21) Henry L. Pierce January 7, 1878 January 6, 1879 1 Republican
(23) Frederick O. Prince January 6, 1879 January 2, 1882 3 Democratic
24 Samuel A. Green January 2, 1882 January 1, 1883 1 Republican
25 Albert Palmer January 1, 1883 January 7, 1884 1 Democratic
26 Augustus P. Martin January 7, 1884 January 5, 1885 1 Republican
27 Hugh O'Brien January 5, 1885 January 7, 1889 4 Democratic
28 Thomas N. Hart January 7, 1889 December 31, 1890 1 Republican
29 Nathan Matthews, Jr. January 1, 1891 December 31, 1894 3 Democratic
30 Edwin Upton Curtis January 1, 1895 December 31, 1895 12 Republican
31 Josiah Quincy January 1, 1896 December 31, 1899 3 Democratic
(28) Thomas N. Hart January 1, 1900 January 7, 1902 2 Republican
32 Patrick Collins January 7, 1902 September 13, 1905 2 12 Democratic
33 John F. Fitzgerald January 5, 1906 January 1, 1908 2 Democratic
34 George A. Hibbard January 1, 1908 January 5, 1910 2 Republican
(33) John F. Fitzgerald January 5, 1910 January 1, 1914 1 Democratic
35 James M. Curley January 1, 1914 January 5, 1918 1 Democratic
36 Andrew J. Peters January 5, 1918 January 1, 1922 1 Democratic
(35) James M. Curley January 1, 1922 January 5, 1926 1 Democratic
37 Malcolm Nichols January 5, 1926 January 1, 1930 2 Republican
(35) James M. Curley January 1, 1930 January 5, 1934 1 Democratic
38 Frederick Mansfield January 5, 1934 January 1, 1938 1 Democratic
39 Maurice J. Tobin January 1, 1938 January 3, 1945 1 12 Democratic
(35) James M. Curley January 7, 1946 January 5, 1950 1 Democratic
40 John B. Hynes January 5, 1950 January 2, 1960 3 Democratic
41 John F. Collins January 2, 1960 January 5, 1968 2 Democratic
42 Kevin White January 5, 1968 January 2, 1984 4 Democratic
43 Raymond Flynn January 2, 1984 July 12, 1993 2 12 Democratic
44 Thomas Menino July 12, 1993 January 6, 2014 5 12 Democratic
45 Martin Walsh January 6, 2014 Incumbent Incumbent Democratic
Notes

Deceased/murdered in office.

Living former mayors[edit]

Currently, there is one living former mayor of Boston, Raymond Flynn. The most recent mayor to die was Tom Menino, on October 30, 2014.

Name Mayoral term Date of birth
Raymond L. Flynn 1984–1993 (1939-07-22) July 22, 1939 (age 78)

See also[edit]

Sources[edit]

  • Allison, Robert; Bulger, William (2011). James Michael Curley. Applewood Books. ISBN 9781933212753. 
  • O'Neill, Gerard (2012). Rogues and Redeemers. New York: Crown Publisher. ISBN 9780307405364. 

References[edit]

  1. ^ O'Neill, pp. 39–42
  2. ^ Allison and Bulger, pp. 86–87

External links[edit]