Q:

How were political machines corrupt in the late 1800s?

A:

Quick Answer

Political machines allowed themselves to be bribed by wealthy business owners and contractors in the late 1800s. The bribery gave away to the rise of gangs, which ruled slums. This lead to gerrymandering and cooping.

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Full Answer

The rise of industry in the late 1800s opened new opportunities for earning money and truly made it possible for anyone to become rich. Cities were growing at a fast rate, which required the distribution of a lot of contracts to build facilities using tax dollars. Business owners soon learned that the more influence they had with politicians, the more money they could potentially earn. So they began bribing politicians by offering them money or guaranteed votes in exchange for contracts to build. They also began paying politicians money to look the other way in regard to the poor treatment of workers and shady business practices. As their wealth grew, extremely wealthy men employed "bosses" within areas that they owned property to take care of smaller tasks, such as collecting rent money or loan payments. They were also charged with keeping workers under control, particularly those who seemed unhappy about working conditions or wages. Through their relationships with wealthy business men who controlled gangs, politicians were able to expand their territories through force on behalf of the gangs in the form of violence or forced voting. The era earned the name the Gilded Age because there was vast corruption hidden underneath great wealth and opulence.

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