Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Political Science

Committee Chair

Dowell, Carol


McLaughlin, Lennie, 1900-; Democratic Party (Ky.)--History; Louisville (Ky.)--Politics and government; Women--Political activity--Kentucky--Louisville


This thesis seeks to examine the role of the Democratic Party organization in Louisville, Kentucky and its influence in primary elections during the period 1933 to 1963. A prominent party leader, Lennie McLaughlin, is the focal point of the study. McLaughlin was one of a few female party leaders who functioned as a party "boss" in a metropolitan area during that time. Included is an historical narrative of Louisville's Democratic organization during the McLaughlin era and an analysis of her organization's success in the selection of favored primary candidates. The Democratic organization's accomplishments in general elections are compared to contemporary general elections in the same locale. It is shown that during the McLaughlin era the organization controlled primary contests. The research further reveals that during the period 1933 to 1961 the normal voter turnout in local elections was above 60% and roll-off within an election remained consistently low. Comparative data from 1973 and 1977 local elections are analyzed.