In dealing with the new urban environment of the late 19th century,which group was more successful:  Political machines or the social reforms?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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If we are bound by the time period, the political machines were much more successful and evident than the social reforms which came later on in the 20th Century.  In the final analysis, it would have to be the social and political reforms that ended up being more successful because the political machine that kept a very strong handle on urban politics was broken up and dissipated.  Yet, if we are examining in a strict construct of time in the late 19th Century, the political machine predated such change.  The political machine was seen as a way of consolidating control, providing jobs to those in need, and to ensure that the business approach in politics could be maintained.  The political boss had been seen as the center of urban politics for some time and had enjoyed the power that went along with it.  In this, greater success for the urban political machine was evident than the shrill voices of dissent that had been meekly heard at the time.  It was only until the turn of the century that political reforms had become evident, reforms that were aimed at breaking up the control of the bosses and ensuring that equity in politics and social frames of reference were to be evident.

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