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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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The Native-Born Protestant Elite’s Bid for Control in the 1870s

The Native-Born Protestant Elite’s Bid for Control in the 1870s

(p.72) Chapter 4 The Native-Born Protestant Elite’s Bid for Control in the 1870s
The Rise of the Chicago Police Department

Sam Mitrani

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines how the Chicago Police Department figured in the native-born Protestant elite's attempt to control urban life in the city during the 1870s. In the 1870s, it became increasingly clear that the promise of “free labor” would not be met. Native-born Protestant urban elites across the country felt as if the cities were slipping into the grasp of immigrant workers and unemployed vagrants. This chapter describes the efforts of Chicago's traditional native-born, Protestant urban elite to enforce stricter temperance laws, regulate economic life, especially construction, and gain tighter control over the municipal government itself. It begins with a discussion of the responses of Chicago's business elite and politicians, the city government, and the police to the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 as well as to the fear of crime that gripped Chicago in the summer of 1872. It then considers the Committee of Seventy's attempts to control the police and their divided stance over temperance and concludes with an assessment of the power struggle in the Chicago Police Department that would continue through 1873.

Keywords:   business elite, Chicago Police Department, Protestant elite, free labor, temperance, Chicago, Great Chicago Fire, crime, Committee of Seventy, immigrant workers

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