When the Pendergast machine was at the height of its power, Kansas City’s economy was dominated by major industries related to railroads, stockyards, garment manufacturing, agricultural production, automobiles, and more. Several local industries were among the largest of their type, which gave national significance to the many local disputes between labor and management.
According to a May 29, 1928, editorial in the Kansas Citian, the Republican National Convention promised to “bring more influential people in industry, business, and financial circles than ever brought here by a convention.” Local leaders envisioned the 1928 Republican National Convention raising the national and regional profile of Kansas City in two related ways. First, delegates and visitors attending the convention could see the city’s growth in person. Second, and perhaps more importantly, the event and subsequent attention would bolster the city’s standing, particularly in relation to regional rivals such as Cleveland and St. Louis.