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Morning Glories:
Municipal Reform in the Southwest
Amy Bridges

Winner of the 1997 Best Book in North American Urban History Award, Urban History Association
Winner of the 1998 Best Book Award, Urban Politics Research Section of the American Political Science Association

Paperback | 1999 | $38.95 | £32.95 | ISBN: 9780691010090
264 pp. | 7 3/4 x 10 | 20 tables
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Reviews | Table of Contents

George Washington Plunkitt once dismissed municipal reformers as "morning glories" who "looked lovely in the mornin' and withered up in a short time, while the regular machines went on flourishin' forever, like fine old oaks." Although this remark rings true for the Northeast in the days when Tammany Hall ruled New York City, municipal reformers have governed the big cities of the Southwest for most of this century. Obscuring this fact and ignoring the Southwest in general, familiar accounts of municipal reform have focused on small towns and suburbs as the only locations where reformers achieved their goals. Amy Bridges redresses this neglect by tracing the reform politics and government in large Southwestern cities since 1901, thereby giving a more complete account of municipal reform.

In the Southwest, municipal reformers got everything they wanted: nonpartisanship, city managers, citywide elections, civil service, and a government with few social service responsibilities. Successful at limiting popular participation and at carefully targeting amenities to their core supporters, incumbents in big cities counted on re-election as confidently as could any machine politician. Urban leaders were aggressive in their pursuit of urban growth and very popular with the people who did vote, but the political community remained small. Not until the 1970s did growth and exclusionary practices combine to uproot the vigorous "morning glories" of the Southwest.


"What makes Morning Glories a compelling account is the sophistication of the political understanding that guides it.... In short, Morning Glories is a major contribution to the fields of urban politics and urban political history and a model of how to do a sophisticated analysis of urban political development."--Clarence N. Stone, Political Science Quarterly

"[An] excellent comparative study of municipal reform in the large cities of the Southwest.... Bridges's work is especially valuable for what it tells us of Southwestern patterns and how regional forms modify growth-centered approaches to city politics."--Patricia Evridge Hill, H-Urban, H-Net Reviews

"A rich and detailed picture of city governance. . . . This book has been recognized by awards from both urban historians and scholars of urban politics. It is indeed a model of meticulous research and nuanced analysis within a broad interpretive framework."--Carl Abbott, American Historical Review


"Morning Glories is a tour de force, a book that is certain to change the literature on urban politics. Amy Bridges takes on an important topic, advances a powerful argument, and backs it up with original archival research. This superb work will be the first to comprehensively examine reform in the urban Southwest. With the publication of Morning Glories, the standard account of American urban reform will need to be substantially revised."--Dennis R. Judd, University of Missouri at Saint Louis

Table of Contents:

List of Tables
One Southwestern Cities and the Course of Reform
Two Small but Ambitious
Three Setting Forth Cheerfully
Four Sure Defeat
Five The Little Movement Becomes Respectable
Six The Statesman Joins It
Seven And Takes the Credit
Eight The Politician and the Crowd
Nine Morning Glories
Appendix: Notes on the Choice of Cases


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File created: 7/11/2017

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