The Rise of the Chicago Police Department

The Rise of the Chicago Police Department : Class and Conflict, 1850-1894

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In this book, Sam Mitrani cogently examines the making of the police department in Chicago, which by the late 1800s had grown into the most violent, turbulent city in America. Chicago was roiling with political and economic conflict, much of it rooted in class tensions, and the city's lawmakers and business elite fostered the growth of a professional municipal police force to protect capitalism, its assets, and their own positions in society. Together with city policymakers, the business elite united behind an ideology of order that would simultaneously justify the police force's existence and dictate its functions. Tracing the Chicago police department's growth through events such as the 1855 Lager Beer riot, the Civil War, the May Day strikes, the 1877 railroad workers strike and riot, and the Haymarket violence in 1886, Mitrani demonstrates that this ideology of order both succeeded and failed in its aims. Recasting late nineteenth-century Chicago in terms of the struggle over order, this insightful history uncovers the modern police department's role in reconciling democracy with industrial capitalism.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 272 pages
  • 160.02 x 233.68 x 25.4mm | 521.63g
  • Baltimore, United States
  • English
  • New
  • 0252038061
  • 9780252038068

Review quote

"A valuable, well-informed examination of the formative period in the development of the American police."--The Journal of American History

"This excellent book leaves no doubt that in Chicago, 'a military-style police department' emerged not as a general manifestation of the modernization of urban services but 'to keep order in the face of the threats posed by a mobile class of wage workers.'"--The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era "The author tells a compelling story. Richly researched and nicely written it can be recommended to all interested in Chicago political labor history. It shows how the police were created and developed due to immigrant workers and new ideologies finding their way in America."--Journal of Illinois History

"Sam Mitrani's The Rise of the Chicago Police Department: Class and Conflict, 1850-1894 offers a timely consideration of the relationship between democracy, industrial capitalism, and state building... The result is a well-argued and researched analysis with important insights for those interested in questions related to the late nineteenth-century capitalism, the rise of the state, and the diminishing of democracy."--Labor "A fine contribution to police history. Recommended."--Choice

"Sam Mitrani's excellent book, The Rise of the Chicago Police Department: Class and Conflict, 1850-1894 provides a very timely analysis of the growth of the professional police force in the United States... Mitrani's analysis provides a crucial view into the 'messiness and contradictory nature of state building' and highlights how such institutions are shaped, and reshaped by specific interest in order to meet their needs. This book is a must for students of organized labor, police power, and urban development alike."--Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society
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About Sam Mitrani

Sam Mitrani is an assistant professor of history at the College of DuPage.
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Rating details

5 ratings
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3 20% (1)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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