St. Louis Politics: The Triumph of Tradition

St. Louis Politics: The Triumph of Tradition


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781883982447
Publisher: Missouri History Museum Press
Publication date: 05/28/2002
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 14 Years

About the Author

Lana Stein is Professor and Chairperson of the Department of Political Science at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. She is the author of Holding Bureaucrats Accountable: Politicians and Professionals in St. Louis and co-author of City Schools and City Politics.

Table of Contents

An Introduction to St. Louis's Political Contextxv
Chapter 1Building St. Louis's Institutional Parameters, 1876-19141
Chapter 2Republicans, Race, and Realignment, 1914-193213
Chapter 3The Dickmann-Hannegan Years, 1933-1941: Almost a Political Machine27
Chapter 4Adjusting the Template, Not the Tenor: Civil Service and District Elections for Aldermen, 194149
Chapter 5Interregnum: From Party Competition to Democratic Factions, 1941-195367
Chapter 6The Tucker Years, 1953-1965: Renewal, Reform, and Race85
Chapter 7St. Louis and the Civil Rights Struggle121
Chapter 8Transitions Amidst Common Threads, 1965-1981137
Chapter 9The Schoemehl Years, 1981-1993: New Wines, Old Bottles189
Chapter 10The Advent of African American Mayors, 1993 and 1997227
Chapter 11Institutions and Governance in St. Louis249
AppendixSt. Louis Elected Officials255

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