Municipal Reform
The Reform came in two phases, the first was the municipal reform.
  • The first progressive-era reform topics were ones about transportation networks and utilities.
    • Many corporations owned and operated street railroads and electrical and gas systems
      • Many used their monopoly to charge high prices
      • They often won their power through bribing city officials
        • Often achieved generous reductions in real estate taxes too
    • The first attack on them started getting momentum in 1890
    • In Detroit, Mayor Hazen S. Pingree led successful fights
      • Managed to control gas, electricity, and trolly companies
    • In Chicago in 1896 and 1987 Carter Harrison was elected
      • Promised to protect Chicago's streetcar riders from exploitation
    • In Cleveland, Tom Johnson was elected as mayor in 1901
      • Brought honest and efficient government
  • City Commisions
    • First introduced in Galveston, Texas in 1890
    • The new system split the power from strictly the mayor into five different people
      • Each person was in charge for his or her own department
      • The Galveston commities managed to get many things done
        • Got out of bankruptcy
        • Improved the city's harbor
        • Built a seawall
        • All accomplished on a budget that had been cut one-third
    • Other cities started applying this technique
      • They managed to strengthen their financial health, expand city services, and improve urban infrastructure
    • By 1913, over 300 cities adopted this plan
  • City Managers
    • Politicians at that time were heavily influenced by pressure from the public
    • City Managers were hired to manage the city on a daily basis
      • It freed them of the pressure the mayor would recieve
      • Helped bring a fair system of government
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