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Bosses and Machines

1. Define the conditions that enabled political "bosses" and "machines" to organize city voters? Identify some of the "bosses" and explain their reaction to reform movements.

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1. Define the conditions that enabled political "bosses" and "machines" to organize city voters,

According to Shannon (n.d), bossism, with all its color and corruption and human drama, was a natural and perhaps necessary accompaniment to the rapid development of cities. The new urban communities, for example, did not grow slowly and according to plan. Instead, huge conglomerations of people from all over the world and from widely varying backgrounds came together suddenly, and in an unplanned, unorganized fashion fumbled their way toward communal relationships and a common identity. The political bosses emerged to cope with this chaotic change and growth. Acting out of greed, a ruthless will for mastery, and an imperfect understanding of what they were about, the bosses imposed upon these conglomerations called cities a certain feudal order and direction. By 1890 virtually every sizable city had a political boss or was in the process of developing one. Thus, the big city and the political boss grew up together in America. (1)

These conditions paved the way for the political bosses and machines to organized city voters. For example:

1) Newcomers to cities often were loyal to the boss out of clannish solidarity, and thus voted for the political bosses

According to Shannon (n.d), for example, the newcomers to the American cities had nothing in common with one another except their poverty and their hopes. They were truly "the uprooted." The food, the customs, the holidays, the politics, was alien. For example, Shannon reports that the Native Americans migrating to the cities from the countryside experienced their own kind of cultural shock: they found themselves competing not with other Americans but with recently arrived foreigners, so that despite their native birth they, too, felt displaced, strangers in their own ...

Solution Summary

Defines the conditions that enabled political "bosses" and "machines" to organize city voters. It also identifies some of the "bosses" and explains their reaction to reform movements. Supplemented with a related article.