City of Big Shoulders: Chicago Governance Shaping City Geography
"Vote early, vote often, this was the phrase that the Chicago mobsters told its "employees to do in early Chicago political elections (www.cfmedia). This idea is one that can help to emphasize the amount of corruption in Chicago governance. This paper will be looking at not only corruption in governance, but also issues in city finance, and the city's role in planning and development. This paper will look more at the business and industry aspect of Chicago governance, with the underlying theme that because of the city's actions in some way or another, the physical shape and geography of the city is a manifestation of city activities in governance.
Corruption in Chicago is not a thing of the past. Corruption exists in all time periods of Chicago history. For the sake of this paper, time periods of corruption will be broken down to the time before 1975 and the time from 1975 to present day. This allows for a better look of how corruption had an effect on the geography of Chicago.
As seen with the opening quote of this paper, corruption was a part of early Chicago history. The most significant and noticeable source of corruption in early Chicago dealt with the Chicago gangsters and prohibition. In 1920, the eighteenth amendment and the Volstead Act ended the legal production, consumption, and sale of alcohol in America, including Chicago (Spinney 176). Prohibition now promoted and glamorized the consumption of alcohol and gave way to illegal activities. Through these illegal activities, gangsters took control of the alcohol industry in Chicago. Alcohol created a booming business in the 1920s, and men such as Al Capone and "Big Jim Colosimo were the kings of bootlegging, prostitution, and gambling orders in Chicago. This corruption helped to shape the city of the past. "Chicago Police Chief Charlie Fitzmorris reported that sixty percent of h