The Shame of the Cities

Lincoln Steffens, The Shame of the Cities. March 1904. Introduction: “When I [Steffens] set out to describe the corrupt systems of certain typical cities, I meant to show simply how the people were deceived and betrayed. But in the very first study–St. Louis–the startling truth lay bare that corruption was not merely political; it was financial, commercial, social; the ramifications of boodle were so complex, various, and far-reaching, that one mind could hardly grasp them….” The seven articles in The Shame of the Cities appeared first in McClure’s in 1902 and 1903 in the following order: “Tweed Days in St. Louis;” “The Shame of Minneapolis: The Rescue and Redemption of a City That Was Sold Out;” “The Shamelessness of St. Louis” (a sequel to “Tweed Days”); “Pittsburgh: A City Ashamed;” “Philadelphia: Corrupt and Content;” “Chicago: Half Free and Fighting On;” and “New York: Good Government in Danger.”

[Read more…]