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NO. 23. ECONOMICS, POLITICAL SCIENCE, AND HISTORY SERIES, VOL. 2, NO. 2, PP. 75-188.
MUNICIPAL HISTORY AND PRESENT ORGANIZATION
OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO
SAMUEL EDWIN SPARLING, Ph. D.
Assistant in Political Science.
A THESIS SUBMITTED FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY IN THE
DEPARTMENT OF POLITICAL SCIENCE
monthly by authority of law with the approval of the Regents of the University and entered at the post office at
Madison as second-class matter
There are certain inherent difficulties in the preparation of a monograph of this character. In the first place the vast ac
. cumulation of materials that form the basis of such a study, renders it exceedingly difficult to secure system and to trace definite tendencies in the midst of the ceaseless change that is, and ever has been manifest throughout the municipal history of Chicago. The unsatisfactory state of knowledge concerning the American city is chiefly due to the fact that a careful study of the sources of municipal government has been confined to a very few cities, and to a still smaller number of the state systems. Not until the monographic period of investigation has yielded its slow and painstaking results will the subject of municipal government be placed upon a firm and safe basis for generalization. The question of selection and emphasis there fore becomes of primary importance and affords a wide latitude for differences of opinion. In the midst of a vast accumulation of codes, special laws, charters, ordinances, etc., we were gradually led to the view that the purposes of this study would be best conserved by the presentation of the outlines of the institutional development and present structure of the city to the exclusion of a treatment of the many important problems of the current administration.
In order to assist in a more minute study of special phases of the city administration, as well as to relieve the body of the text from an accumulation of footnotes, a carefully prepared bibliography of the primary sources has been made.
In the second place the determination of what materials were organic in reference to the municipality and what were supplementary, has not always been an easy task. Many legislative enactments affected as deeply the organization of the city as the change from charter to charter. This problem became still more complicated in pointing out the organic relation existing between the institutions of the city and its varied social and administrative needs.
After the manuscript had passed to the printer the legislature in special session for 1897–98 passed two acts which have modified two important sources of the municipal weakness of Chicago. These acts reorganized the system of taxation, and prescribed the methods of making party nominations. Some of the defects of the former system have been removed by this legislation. These changes will be noted in the appendix.
In the preparation of this monograph I have received helpful suggestions from Professors Richard T. Ely and Frederick J. Turner, both of the University of Wisconsin; Judge M. F. Tuley of the Cook County Circuit Court of Illinois also kindly consented to read the manuscript.
It must however be borne in mind that the writer assumes all responsibility for any error in the statement of facts and of conclusions.
SAMUEL E. SPARLING. University of Wisconsin.