American Notes: In Praise of Machines

Coming from Richard Hatcher, the black mayor of Gary, Ind., the analysis of urban machine politics was a bit startling. In an address in Washington, Hatcher said: "However well or poorly Mayor Daley may use his authority, the actions of America's last great political machine, in Chicago, demonstrate convincingly that patronage politics at least provides a way to get things done."

Hatcher's point was an interesting reversal of traditional liberal wisdom. "Unfortunately for America's urban black population," he continued, "their rise to large numbers in the cities comes as the machines and the many jobs they offer have largely...

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