Political machine

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A political machine (sometimes called just machine in politics) is a political organization where a person or small group with authority has enough votes or popularity to have control over the political administration of any type of government in a city, county, or state.[1]A machine can have a "boss", where they make the important decisions in running the machine's image and appointing officials. The boss usually has to find ways to keep his secret backers happy, often by exchanging favors.

Machines are often criticized for placing the ruling party's well-being over that of the citizens. They are viewed by some as corrupt and undemocratic, one example being in appointing officials because they are friends with the boss or can contribute a lot to the party instead of having the right experience or helping the people. Machines never try to become too popular because they do not want to share their rewards with newcomers.

The term political machine has been used mostly since the 19th century in the United States, used to describe machines like Tamanny Hall who stayed in control mostly because of the large support from the immigrants in Manhattan during the 19th century. Many immigrants saw machines as their only voice in politics, but some groups became more powerful than others and began shouting down other immigrants. Middle class people did not like machines because they saw them as corrupt, but also because they did not need the money.

References[change | change source]

  1. "Political machine -- Britannica Online Encyclopaedia". http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/467617/political-machine. Retrieved 15 January 2011. "political machine, in U.S. politics, a party organization, headed by a single boss or small autocratic group, that commands enough votes to maintain political and administrative control of a city, county, or state."