Changes in American City Government

Archive Report

In 1888 Lord Bryce wrote that “the government of cities is the one conspicuous failure of the United States.” Thirty-three years later he spoke of the council-manager form of local government, which had evolved in the meantime, as “the latest word in municipal reform,” Fundamental changes which had been going on in the organization of American city government since 1900 required the author of The American Commonwealth to revise his earlier indictment. Precipitated by the disastrous Galveston flood, the commission plan of city government had risen and flourished during the first decade of the new century. After 1910 the city-manager plan made rapid pains at the expense of other forms. The rise and decline of the commission and the development of the manager plan ...

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