He was elected governor of Massachusetts in 1919 and in 1920 was reelected under circumstances that attracted nation-wide attention.
He was elected to the Canadian House of Commons in the general election of 1908, and was reelected in 1911 and 1917.
He was an ardent Liberal in politics, and in 1880 he was elected to parliament for the Tower Hamlets division of London; in 1885 he was returned for South Aberdeen, where he was reelected on succeeding occasions.
He was elected governor of Iowa in 1902 and reelected for two succeeding terms. He filled the unexpired term of Senator Allison in 1908, and was reelected to the U.S. Senate in 1909 and 1915.
In 1377 it was ordered that aldermen could be elected annually, but in 1384 the rule was modified so as to allow an alderman to be reelected for his ward at the expiration of his year of office without any interval.