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In the late 19th and early 20th century, American cities faced challenges which arose from the effects of industrialization and urbanization. During this time, three groups were active to do what they thought was best for themselves and society. These groups were immigrants, political machines, and reformers. Political Machines put an effect on the government and the society in the late nineteenth century. Did these political machines have more of a positive or a more of a negative effect on the society? They participated in many corrupt bargains. They also attacked those disloyal towards these political machines. I also add that they helped many of the poor civilians and helped many immigrants gain citizenship, but was this all for the society or was this just for them? Their opposing group was the reformers who hated the Political Machines. In my opinion, I believed that these political machines stood for a more negative effect towards the society and the government because all of their actions were for their own personal gain. (Document 1, #5)
What were Political Machines? What did they do? Political Machines were groups that were designed to keep a particular political party or group of people in power. Political Machines controlled the major cities by offering a helping hand with political and/or financial support. The way Political Machines rose at a more of an ease is the challenges that major cities dealt with since more immigrants and farmers moved to the North for a better pay and open jobs. Political Machines arose when these major cities increased taxes and set up new offices to provide help to those of need of it. These Political Machines assisted many of these people in need, but for the people or themselves? In another point, these political machines not only used the people they helped for their own but they stole millions of dollars from taxpayers.
To do this they formed a graft to steal these millions of dollars. Also; the Political Boss, the leader of the Political Machines, received 65% of these public funds which ended in his own pocket for his own benefit. (Document 1, #5, Paragraph 6) To hide these negative events, they pretended to build construction projects to fake the society that the money they spend would go towards to the society but the money they spent on taxes went to the Political Machines own use. They used mostly all the money they earned for the campaign so that they could win the election. The reason I believe these Political Machines have a more negative effect is because they stole these millions and millions of dollars and used it for themselves instead of the society. These actions created a major down set on the society’s economic system. (Document 3, #13)
Political Machines went after disloyal citizens for not gaining their vote. Ward bosses helped the poor and gained their vote by doing favors or providing services such as food, clothing, and temporary housing when needed. They also used their power to expand public-works projects such as building bridges, parks, and waterworks. All the immigrants that the political machines assisted to help gain their citizenship. These Political Machines would be greedy and vindictive towards disloyal voters. Meaning, that if a person went against the political machines, voting against them, they would punish these disloyal voters. The reason the political machines did this was because they only helped the immigrants and the poor to gain their vote in the election. (Document 1, #5)
In another point, the ward boss was put on trial more than once. This made the political machines look bad towards the citizens. The Reformers, opposing side of the political machines, had some of the same points as the political machines like helping the poor. These reformers fought for social justice and a push for greater morality. One of these reformers, Thomas Nast, helped expose Boss Tweed and bring him down by his effective political cartoons. Reformers believed that the majority of the voters would vote for more responsible electives other than the political machines instead of the corrupt political machines.
I would side with the reformers because I believe that they played a more positive effect on the society rather than the political machines and their negative effects. (Document 2, #9, Paragraph 1,2,3) In conclusion, I believed that Political Machines had more of a negative effect because they stole millions from taxpayers and were vindictive towards “disloyal” citizens. Even though they assisted many citizens that were immigrants and/or poor, they still were just using these people for their gain of their vote. From all these negative actions that the political machines commit, I believe that these reformers were actually working for the common good rather than the political machines. (Document 3 #13, Document 5 Page 14)