The Influence Of Machine Politics In New York City

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New York City, being a natural port, has drawn to its shore waves of immigration throughout its existence. Largely in part to growing ethnic populations, utilizing ethnic solidarity as a platform to mobilize a political system has been common. This tactic was most prevalent during the late nineteenth century and later on during the 1960s in the form of machine politics. Machine politics as a system relied heavily upon voter loyalty through the distribution of petty material goods and services or patronage (Merton 101). This political system has often been rendered as faulty and a direct cause of two financial crises in New York City history. During the prevalence of machine politics, “to many middle and upper-class Americans, the cities seemed…show more content…
Additionally, the petty favors and patronage they provided was thinly spread amongst their beneficiaries to maximize voter support and loyalty. According to some urban scholars such as Steven Erie, this system did little to provide a real basis for social upward mobility for its immigrant constituents. Eventually, the gross mismanagement of limited governmental funding coupled with the persistent demands of a growing immobilized immigrant population left this system vulnerable to being solely accountable for the financial crises which occurred in New York City. Despite its overall contrary portrayal, machine politics gained power because it provided a…show more content…
There are several contextual events which heavily influenced the transformation of New York City’s political system. Many social forces such as “migration of capital, jobs, people . . . [and] technological changes” also heavily contributed to the fiscal crisis during the 1970s (Tabb 324). The exodus of jobs and higher skilled workers coupled with the presence of a large unemployed population in New York City created a declining tax base. Additionally, the general devolution of the federal government interest in local politics and the general shift in considering the urban fiscal crisis as more an individual problem rather than a systemic problem, also mean less funding from the federal government to help balance the city’s budget. During this process, however, the degradation of power and authority was relayed from the federal to state. Cities still remained responsible for the balancing their budget without having much authority (Eisinger 309). With a growing impetus to create a fiscal balance and increased globalization, cities have more heavily relied on the business community to provide

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