At the beginning of the Twentieth Century, so many things were looking up for America and its citizens. There was growth in the urban industries with the factories becoming popular, more housing was being offered, and safer jobs were available for those who were working in the factories. Even though all of these positive things make it look like the United States was really thriving, underneath the surface there were millions of Americans who were struggling to get through the day.
One of the main reasons so many Americans were struggling was because of the political system and the people who were acting in it. Americans had the right to vote at this time and to have their vote count to those who were going to be serving them, but Political Machines were hindering this process. Political machines were basically just someone breathing on your neck everywhere you would go. They would influence how you would vote, work, and potentially treat your family (Keene, Cornell, O’Donnell. 2012, Pg. 508).
These machines made going to work for many Americans stressful because they knew that if they messed up one bit, they could lose their potential to work and no money. This did not mean much though because at this time, employees earned very little money in the first place. The little money that they had helped fuel their poor living conditions, which then made them sick. It was just a large chain reaction that kept getting worse and worse.
If this were the situation today, with the government and their figures basically confining us into these horrible conditions, I would have found any way to get out. I think that is what the American people at that time tried to do, but the government was just stronger than they were. The people could not get the message across without having a machine getting in the way in the first place. This made it a very odd situation to be in.
Overall the United States recognized this problem and tired to make a solution, but after there being many trial and error processes, they finally got it. The decline of these machines happened by many people contributing efforts, but one person, Thomas Nast, had a big part to do with it. He would make comics that would show the severity of the issues. After the comics and cartoons got so popular, the government finally decided go try to end the corruption in the larger cities. This did not fully end them, but at least it was a start.
The reason I talk about these machines so much is because when Americans were living then, this was a very hard thing to have impact their work and their life. I think that work today is hard enough, then having politics directly impact how I live my life getting in the way would be too much. These machines went on for too long and it began to get out of hand before the government stepped in, but thankfully they did. I could not imagine what it would be like today if we had them integrated into our political system as much as they did.
Keene, Cornell and O’Donnell. Visions of America: Chapter 17
http://www.socialstudieshelp.com/usra_pol_machines.htm (photo credit)