Why were political machines effective?

1 Answer
Mar 27, 2017

They consolidated power and energized the masses.


A famous example of this is John Fitzgerald, grandfather to John F. Kennedy. Honey Fitz, as he was called, appealed to the masses of Irish and Italian immigrants who lived in his district to vote Democrat. At the time, early 1900s, Massachusetts was overwhelmingly Republican in its government. Fitz, a ward boss, knew that there were more votes to be had among the new immigrants and therein lay the ability to wrest control of government from the well entrenched Boston Brahmins.

The same sort of organizing was done is many American cities, in particular, New York and Chicago.