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The Rise of the Chicago Police DepartmentClass and Conflict, 1850-1894$
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Sam Mitrani

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780252038068

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252038068.001.0001

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1877 and the Formation of a Law-and-Order Consensus

1877 and the Formation of a Law-and-Order Consensus

(p.112) Chapter 5 1877 and the Formation of a Law-and-Order Consensus
The Rise of the Chicago Police Department

Sam Mitrani

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines the role of the Chicago Police Department in putting down the massive strikes that erupted in 1877 as well as the response of the city's business elite to the crisis. The strikes marked a turning point for the department and its response provides a vivid illustration of how the Chicago police reconciled democratic politics with the industrial capitalist order through violence. In these strikes, the most dramatic and disorderly they had yet to confront, the police seemed little more than hired thugs of the city's businessmen. In part, the police played this role because Chicago's businessmen organized themselves as never before. This chapter explores how the breakdown of ethnic solidarity and the beginnings of relatively coordinated working-class action pushed Chicago's businessmen to consolidate around a law-and-order program as never before by forming new powerful organizations, including the Citizens' Association of Chicago and the Commercial Club of the City of Chicago, that solidly supported law and order.

Keywords:   business elite, Chicago Police Department, strikes, violence, democratic politics, businessmen, Citizens' Association, working-class action, law and order, ethnic solidarity

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