Pushing for Political Reform.
At the dawn of a new century the desire for political change was growing in the United States. Many Americans believed that democracy could be improved, that politics could be freed from the grasp of the corrupt political machines and "bosses" who had controlled the major political parties for the last several decades. Special-interest groups emerged to lead reform movements at the city, state, and federal levels, but there was no cohesive, national agenda, no single source of reform. Reform groups ran the political and socio-economic gamut, as businessmen, unskilled workers, farmers, settlement-house workers, populists, antimonopolists, socialists, and anarchists all worked for reform, and nearly every aspect of life was touched by their efforts. Cleaning up city governments was no longer enough. State governments had granted city charters and were the only entity with legal power to rewrite them. Thus,...
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