Chicago Politics

Topic Description

The political machine has been around since the late 18th century. Associated with a political party, the machine was often able to control the city government, and extend that influence to the state and federal level. The Chicago Democratic Machine maintained its influence well into the 20th century, led by mayor Richard J. Daley.  The lessons below will help explain the inner workings of the Chicago machine and paint a picture of machines, in general. The questions at the bottom link the Chicago machine  to the broader history of machines across the country.

Overarching Themes

  • Comparing the evolution of a city’s political machine over decades – compare 19th & 20th centuries
  • The tools and tactics of a political machine
  • Partisan similarities and differences
  • Comparing contemporary politics to historical trends in politics