Political machines were more successful than the social reformers in the late 1800s. During this time, many immigrants were coming to the United States, especially from South and East Europe. They settled in cities, often in ethnic neighborhoods. As the population of the cities rose rapidly, the city governments struggled...
Political machines were more successful than the social reformers in the late 1800s. During this time, many immigrants were coming to the United States, especially from South and East Europe. They settled in cities, often in ethnic neighborhoods. As the population of the cities rose rapidly, the city governments struggled to deal with the issues created by the rapidly increasing population. The political machines, led by the party boss, saw this as an opportunity to get power and control. These machines help meet the needs of the people living the cities. They provided food for the hungry, jobs for the unemployed, medical care for the sick, and often helped people who were in legal trouble. In return for this help, these people voted for candidates supported by the political machines.
Businesses often needed the help of political machines to get government contracts. By bribing the party boss or donating money to the political machine, these businesses were able to secure these contracts.
The social reformers had some successes during this time. Temperance laws were passed in some states that outlawed the sale of alcohol. However, this created more opportunities for the political machines, which began to provide alcohol illegally to those who wanted it. This activity made a lot of money for the political machines.
While the social reformers had some successes, many of their successes were achieved in the 1900s. New forms of city government were formed to try to reduce the corruption that existed. New political tools such as the referendum, recall, and initiative tried to give the people more of a role in government, especially at the state and local levels. The establishment of an income tax made it harder for political machines to hide the money they were making. As people became more educated, the power of the political machine began to decline. The number of civil service jobs increased, making it more difficult to give a job to a political supporter. Many of these activities occurred in the 1900s. In the late 1800s, political machines continued to be very successful and exerted a great deal of political power.