From Ohio History Central
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During the late 1800s, city bosses commonly assumed control over city governments. They did not gain power legally. The bosses were not elected to office. They used blackmail and bribery to convince legal city officials to grant favors to and to follow the wishes of the city bosses.
By 1905, Cox's dominance of Cincinnati government began to fall apart. Over the next several years, Cox encouraged his supporters in the city government to annex surrounding communities. Many of the people in these neighborhoods were middle-class residents. They opposed Cox's political corruption. Many of these people were supporters of the Progressive Movement and sought to return Americans to traditional and more moral values. With this influx of new voters -- voters that Cox could not control -- the city boss failed to have his candidate elected mayor of Cincinnati in 1911. City bosses maintained their power by guaranteeing that they could fulfill their promises to candidates. Cox failed to do this in 1911, and his machine quickly deserted him. During the early 1900s, Progressive reformers also hired city managers -- college-educated specialists in city operations -- to assist mayors and city councils in meeting the needs of the cities' residents. Typically, city managers had earned college degrees in business. As city governments improved conditions within cities, bosses quickly lost their power.
[[Category:Industrialization and Urbanization]]