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James Thompson - Governor Jim Thompson Project

James R. Thompson, known to Illinoisans as Big Jim, served as the state's governor from January, 1977 to January, 1991, a total of fourteen years. Thompson first came to prominence when he was U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and especially when he successfully prosecuted former governor Otto Kerner on corruption charges. During his long tenure as governor, he developed a reputation as a moderate Republican who was a fiscal conservative, but also a friend of labor and a builder, with Build Illinois being his administration's signature achievement. He traveled the world promoting Illinois and its products. He also had a passion for history and antiques, and thus created the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency in support of those passions. Following his many years in office, he worked in the private sector, serving as the chair of the important Chicago law firm, Winston and Strawn for many years. He also found time to serve on the 9/11 Commission, and helped defend his long-time friend, Governor George Ryan during Ryan's corruption trial. Thompson has maintained a high profile and been highly popular throughout his long career.

Interview Links

Feature Excerpts 01 (Audio)

Beers During Parades

Feature Excerpts 02 (Audio)

Sales Pitch to Mitsubishi

Abstract

Interview Session 01 (Audio)

Early childhood and education

Interview Session 02 (Audio)

States Attorney work in early 1960s and teaching at Northwestern U. Law School

Interview Session 03 (Audio)

Years with U.S. Attorney’s Office (Northern District), 1970-1976

Interview Session 04 (Audio)

Prosecution of former Governor Otto Kerner, 1970-1973

Interview Session 05 (Audio)

Late 1960s violence in Cairo, IL, the Cement Bribery Scandal, and more

Interview Session 06 (Audio)

Decision to run for governor and the election of 1976

Interview Session 07 (Audio)

More on the 1976 election, and setting up the Thompson administration team

Interview Session 08 (Audio)

Thompson’s first year - 1977

Interview Session 09 (Audio)

Thompson administration in 1978 and gubernatorial election with M. Bakalis

Interview Session 10 (Audio)

The 1978 election cont., and the Thompson administration in 1979

Interview Session 11 (Audio)

Chicago schools, 1981 budget negotiations, and 1980 presidential election

Interview Session 12 (Audio)

Staff changes, selection of IL Senate president, and administration in 1981

Interview Session 13 (Audio)

Election of 1982 against Democratic candidate Adlai Stevenson III

Interview Session 14 (Audio)

Election of 1982, cont.

Interview Session 15 (Audio)

Thompson and the press, Tylenol scare, and administration’s year in 1983

Interview Session 16 (Audio)

Economic crisis of 1983, 1984 budget, pension payment and collective bargaining

Interview Session 17 (Audio)

1984 presidential election and early 1985 legislative year

Interview Session 18 (Audio)

Build Illinois, 1985 Educational Reform Act, IHPA, and Dana Thomas House

Interview Session 19 (Audio)

Creation of IHPA, and election campaign of 1986 against Adlai Stevenson

Interview Session 20 (Audio)

Staff changes following reelection, budget talks, and 1987 attempt to raise taxes

Interview Session 21 (Audio)

Thompson administration in 1988 and funding for new White Sox stadium

Interview Session 22 (Audio)

1989 budget year, DCFS and mental health, and passage of income tax surcharge

Interview Session 23 (Audio)

Thompson administration in 1990, RUTAN, patronage & gubernatorial election

Interview Session 24 (Audio)

A review of fourteen years in office, and Thompson’s move into retirement

Interview Session 25 (Audio)

Thompson’s career at Winston and Strawn law firm during the 1990s

Interview Session 26 (Audio)

Reflections on state and national level politics during the 1990s

Interview Session 27 (Audio)

2000 Presidential election, Navy Pier, 1990s terrorism and 9/11

Interview Session 28 (Audio)

Serving on the 9/11 Commission and review of the Commission findings

Interview Session 29 (Audio)

Thompson’s relationship with George Ryan and Ryan’s corruption trial

Interview Session 30 (Audio)

Hollinger International board, Rod Blagojevich years and 2004 Senatorial election

Interview Session 31 (Audio)

Illinois politics since 2008 and closing reflections

Related Materials

Transcript

Vol I: Thompson's Pre-gubernatorial Carreer, Sessions 1-5

Transcript

Vol II: Taking the Reins and the Long Campaign, Sessions 6-9

Transcript

Vol III: First Full Term and the Re-election Fight of 1982, Sessions 10-14

Transcript

Vol IV: The Third Term and Running for an Unprecedented Fourth Term, Sessions 15-19

Transcript

Vol V: The Fourth and Final Term, Sessions 20-24

Transcript

Vol VI: The Post-gubernatorial Years, Sessions 25-31

Videos


Photos

Caption

Thompson greets people on the street during the 1976 campaign for Governor.

Where:

Unknown

When:

1976

Ownership:

Unknown

Caption

Thompson sits atop a horse during the 1978 campaign for Governor.

Where:

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When:

1978

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Caption

Inauguration of James Thompson after his victory in the 1978 election.

Where:

Springfield, Illinois

When:

1978

Ownership:

Unknown

Caption

James, Jayne, and “Gov” Thompson

Where:

Springfield. Illinois

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

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Caption

Where:

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When:

Unknown

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Caption

James and Samantha Thompson at the Chicago Cubs baseball game.

Where:

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Caption

James and Jayne Thompson walk in a parade.

Where:

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Caption

James Thompson official photo.

Where:

Unknown

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Caption

James Thompson during an interview with Mark DePue in 2015

Where:

Unknown

When:

2015

Ownership:

Unknown



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