St. Louis Politics: The Triumph of Tradition
There are two defining moments in St. Louis political history: the 1876 divorce of the city from its county and the 1914 charter adoption. The institutions created at these times produced a factional and fragmented city government, thoroughly grounded in machine politics.Stein examines major themes in urban politics over the last century: race, redevelopment, suburbanization, and leadership. St. Louis mayors must deal with the comptroller and the president of the board of aldermen plus twenty-eight aldermen elected from wards. State law says the city must also have eight county offices—offices that perform county functions for the city. Power is difficult to amass in this factional and fragmented universe. In St. Louis politics, consensus building and alliances can prove to be more important than election-night victory.St. Louis's political culture stems from the city's fragmented nature. Its philosophy is often: “you go along to get along” or “go home from the dance with the guy that brung you.” Individual friendships are of great importance. Within this environment, class and racial cleavages also affect political decision making. Although St. Louis elected its first African American official in 1918, genuine political incorporation has been long in coming. Several decades ago, issues of class and race prevented St. Louis from adopting a new charter, with more streamlined public offices.Today, some St. Louisans cry out for home rule and governmental reform. Stein's work helps to demonstrate that institutions structure political behavior and outcomes. Changing institutions can make a difference, after political culture adapts to the new playing field.
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A. J. Cervantes administration African American alderman aldermanic president allies areas ballot became began Bill Clay board of aldermen Bosley's Callanan campaign candidates central corridor Cervantes charter Chicago circuit clerk city Democratic committee City Hall city's citywide Civic Progress civil service civil-rights committeeman comptroller contests continued Conway county officeholders county offices court Darst defeated Democratic Party Democratic primary district downtown elected officials electoral endorsed factionalism federal Freeman Bosley Hannegan Harmon incumbent institutions John large At large leaders Louis County Louis Globe-Democrat Louis politics Louis Post Louis Post-Dispatch Louis's Louisans machine politics major March mayor Missouri municipal Negro neighborhood newspapers patronage percent Poelker police politicians population programs race racial Raymond Tucker redevelopment reelection reform Republican residents Saint Louis Saint Louis University Schoemehl Shenker Slay Steamfitters structure traditional twenty-eight wards University urban renewal vote voters ward organizations ward politics