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- DescriptionThis is the most thoughtful and intensive analysis of the emergence of a political machine of any written in recent years. McCaffery has mastered the theory and historiography of the political machine in general and applied this to a wealth of sources in Philadelphia. His questions are rigorously formulated, exhaustively researched, and convincingly stated.-Terrence J. McDonald, University of Michigan In 1903, Muckraker Lincoln Steffens brought the city of Philadelphia lasting toriety as "the most corrupt and the most contented" urban center in the nation. Famous for its colorful "feudal barons," from "King James" McManes and his "Gas Ring" to "Iz" Durham and "Sunny Jim" McNichol, Philadelphia offers the historian a classic case of the duel between bosses and reformers for control of the American city. But, strangely eugh, Philadelphia's Republican machine has t been subject to critical examination until w. When Bosses Ruled Philadelphia challenges conventional wisdom on the political machine, which has it that party bosses controlled Philadelphia as early as the 1850s and maintained that control, with little change, until the Great Depression.According to Peter McCaffery, however, all bosses were t alike, and political power came only gradually over time. McManes's "Gas Ring" in the 1870s was t as powerful as the well-oiled machine ushered in by Matt Quay in the late 1880s. Through a careful analysis of city records, McCaffery identifies the beneficiaries of the emerging Republican Organization, which sections of the local electorate supported it, and why. He concludes that genuine boss rule did t emerge as the dominant institution in Philadelphia politics until just before the turn of the century. McCaffery considers the function that the machine filled in the life of the city. Did it ultimately serve its supporters and the community as a whole, as Steffens and recent commentators have suggested? No, says McCaffery. The romantic image of the boss as "good guy" of the urban drama is wholly undeserved.
- Author BiographyPeter McCaffery is Assistant Dean in the School of Creative Cultural and Social Studies at Thames Valley University in London, UK.
- Author(s)Peter McCaffery
- PublisherPennsylvania State University Press
- Date of Publication15/11/1993
- SubjectRegional History
- Place of PublicationPennsylvania
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintPennsylvania State University Press
- Content Noteblack & white illustrations
- Weight426 g
- Width152 mm
- Height229 mm
- Spine16 mm
- Format DetailsTrade paperback (US)
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