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Urban Life, 1860-1900
Guide: Machine Politics and Bossism

These resources explain the factors that led to the development of 19th-century political machines. Use these resources to support student evaluation of political machines and their impact on daily and political life. Use the Export to My Lists button above to turn this into a research list for your students.

Time Period Key Understandings

  • Opportunities have been extended to certain groups of Americans while denied to other groups.
  • Social and economic changes due to technological advancement can have positive and negative effects.
  • Wealth can be used to influence people and politics in positive and negative ways.
  • Immigrants' decisions to leave their homeland are based on push and pull factors.
  • Organizations and people can advocate for and obtain social change.

Key Questions

  • What is a political machine and how does it function?
  • What was Tammany Hall? What types of services did Tammany Hall provide to its club members?
  • The chief of Tammany Hall claimed his machine was supported by honest, not dishonest, graft. What is graft? In your opinion, was Tammany Hall mostly honest or dishonest in its efforts to support Irish immigrants?


  1. Overview: Machine Politics and Bossism
  2. Visuals: Machine Politics and Bossism (Visual)
  3. Outlines: Outline
  4. Transcripts: Transcript
  5. Lesson: Introduction
  6. Lesson: 1-Tammany Hall
  7. Lesson: 2-The Bosses and Opposition
  8. Lesson: 3-Immigration and the Machine
  9. Lesson: Closing
  10. Glossary Terms: Political Machines and Political Bosses
  11. Reference Articles: Bosses and Machines
  12. Reference Articles: Harlem Hellfighters
  13. Reference Articles: Tammany Hall
  14. Reference Articles: Committee on Public Information
  15. Biographies: Tweed, William Magear
  16. Political Cartoons, Posters & Document Images: Political cartoon: Tammany Hall
  17. Political Cartoons, Posters & Document Images: Political cartoon: The Downfall of Tammany Hall's Boss Tweed

MLA Citation

"Machine Politics and Bossism." History Hub, ABC-CLIO, 2019, historyhub.abc-clio.com/Support/Content/2153117?cid=256. Accessed 15 Oct. 2019.

Entry ID: 2153117

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