Discuss and Analyze the Urban Political Machine. Describe the Causes of Its Formation, What It Did, and Its Effectiveness.

Urban Political Machines emerged in major cities, such as Baltimore, New York, and San Francisco after the Civil War. They were built largely on the votes of diverse immigrant populations. They dispensed jobs and assorted welfare benefits while offering avenues of social mobility at a time when local governments provided a small amount of such services. They were run by city bosses who controlled access to government jobs and business licenses and influenced the courts and other agencies. Some of the biggest supporters were corrupt and even members of organized crime. They were involved in gambling, prostitution and other vices. Some of the immigrants got help with their most urgent problems. City bosses offered them jobs, housing, or help with becoming full citizens in exchange for their votes. For this reason, many immigrants supported the political machines. Some immigrants worked their way up in the political machine organization. Their knowledge of the needs and language of immigrants put them in a good position to secure the immigrants’ votes. Middle Class Reformers wanted city government to be more efficient and responsive to citizens. They distrusted immigrant’s powers in politics. Cities adopted council manager forms of government. Citizens elected a city council, which appointed a manager. Usually, the manager was someone trained in public administration. Some mayors instituted reforms and encouraged citizens to take an active role in managing cities. By the 1960’s this form of politics died because only one third of the population was first or second generation immigrants.