Political Machine

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  • The name given to politicians who engage in rampant patronage, usually associated with bribery and corruption (also known as political bosses). This practice was common in the northeastern cities of the United States from the early 20th century until the 1940s. Industrialization coupled with large-scale immigration created a fertile ground for political machines. The demand for jobs for the new immigrants and the advent of civil service positions allowed politicians to offer jobs in exchange for votes. Since the early 1950s, reforms and the increased intervention of state and federal governments in local politics have largely curbed the practices of political machines.

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