The Political Machine

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Political machines were supported by continuing immigration, sustained by patronage, enlarged by wealth, and in the end were weeded out by reformers progress for public rather than private good, and caused by the need for public works and skilled workers, after the population of cities expanded. The political machine was supported by continuing immigration from 1800 to 1920, when more than eighteen million European immigrants flooded into the Untied States in search of economic opportunity and political and religious freedom. At first they came from Northern and Central Europe and then largely from Eastern and Southern Europe. (New Colossus , Pg. 1) New York alone reported that by June 30, 1899 immigrant arrivals from the Russian Empire were around 90,787. Arrivals, from the same year, from all countries of persons of German race were 29,682 and Hebrew arrivals were 60,764. (Changing the Character of Immigration, Pg. 1) Unfortunately, with such a large influx in population during a short amount of time and other variables such as immigrants being unable to speak English, inadequate affordable urban housing, and insufficient jobs a large amount of immigrants ended up in growing slums without the feeling of security or knowledge of how to find help, if there was any, from an unrepresentative government. These factors transformed incoming immigrants into easy prey for patronage from the political machine and sustained it by giving their votes. In the 1930’s mass immigration had stopped and representative government had begun, leading to a decline in patronage needed by then integrated immigrants and a decline in votes for the machine. The principal jobs of the political machines were to seek out the needy and communicate an offer t... ... middle of paper ... ...hey knew nothing about. Therefore, civil service examinations were created in order to hire skilled professionals. These examinations were a needed stipulation for hiring during a time when more technical skills were needed. It also displaced unskilled workers, a number of which were put into place by the political machine. Civil service examinations hurt the machine in many ways. It released workers who were put in by the machine, and then taken out due to being unqualified, from voting in their favor. They created an atmosphere which made it difficult for the machine to use their patronage in order to place unskilled workers in a job. More importantly, it aided in the public realization that with the arrival of a more representative government for everyone, which didn’t ask for individual favors, political machines no longer appealed to them and were not needed.

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