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Politics in Chicago have a long history of being dominated by one enigmatic leader and a host of supporting local business leaders, elected officials and their appointees. This system has been termed a "political machine" and Chicago's is perhaps the most notorious gaining the nickname "the Chicago Machine". Its heyday was from the 1930s to 1970s in which the Democratic Party ruled supreme, but suffered from factions along ethnic lines - the Irish, Polish, Italian, and other groups each controlling politics in their neighbourhoods. Eventually Anton Cermak was able to bring the different sides of the Democratic Party together and gain the nomination and win in 1931. However, politics continued to be contentious as Cermak was assassinated two years later and more races were added to the mix, including the African-Americans. Richard J. Daley was the basis for the longest run of stability in the Chicago machine as he became mayor in 1955 and was able to stay in power for the next twenty years. Daley was known as one of the "last of the big city bosses".

Daley's death in 1976 and racial tension seemed to rob the machine of it's power in the 1970s. However, the election of Richard Michael Daley, the former Mayor's son, seems to indicate that the machine never went away. Politics in Chicago are still dominated by the Democrat party, but there is less evidence of corruption and more credibility then in its history. Today's Chicago holds a reputation as a cultural mecca, with world-class museums, restaurants, theater, and arts. The "other side" of Chicago is not as shiny, in terms of poverty-stricken housing projects and high crime, but city politics is fighting back.

The current Mayor Daley is a Democrat, former state senator and couty prosecuter. To read his full biography and accomplishments, check http://egov.cityofchicago.org.

To contact Chicago's city government:

City Clerk of Chicago
121 N. LaSalle Street - Room 107
Chicago, IL 60622
(312) 744-6861

Chicago Mayor's Office
1615 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
(312) 746-7777

The official City website: http://egov.cityofchicago.org


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