Philadelphia has a long and captivating history when it comes to politics. From its opposition to slavery, to its emergence as a major Republican city, to its role in the Spanish-American revolutions of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, Philadelphia has been at the forefront of political change in the United States. In the 1950s and 1960s, Philadelphia became a center for the defense of fair housing, and in 1951, Joseph Clark (1901-90) became the city's first Democrat mayor in more than six decades. This ushered in a new era of liberal reform that addressed the city's racial tensions in a variety of ways. After the Civil War, Pennsylvania fell into the hands of Philadelphia-based Republican political machines that were becoming increasingly sophisticated in their methods of manipulating political processes.
At this time, Philadelphia's African-American population was growing and gaining political influence. Around 1900, Philadelphia had been described as “corrupt but content”, but this status quo was challenged in 1939 when a group known as the Young Turks began to campaign for reform. The wave of reforms that swept the City Council in the mid-20th century owed much of its power to the Greater Philadelphia Movement (GPM), a voluntary group of corporate leaders who believed that the city's scandalous political corruption threatened its economic future. As Philadelphia expanded physically following the consolidation of the city and county in 1854, construction contractors exercised a greater degree of political power. The Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC) was formed in 1958 to support existing businesses and attract new ones by offering land and low-cost financing for for-profit and not-for-profit businesses. On October 4, 1779, the home of James Wilson (1742-9) became a source of tension for Philadelphians, divided by politics and class. Published in Philadelphia in its first edition in January 1776, Thomas Paine's Common Sense became one of the most widely disseminated and read political treatises in history.
The Philadelphia Mint plant (commonly known as the Philadelphia Mint) remained the largest coin producer in the country. Philadelphia has hosted national political conventions from the time of the Revolution to the modern era. The First and Second Continental Congresses, held in Philadelphia in 1774 and 1775-81, addressed the complex politics surrounding independence and highlighted the city's role at a time that changed the world. As “the cradle of freedom” in the United States, Philadelphia was also “the cradle” of the political parties that emerged during this period. In addition to its role as an important center for politics throughout history, Philadelphia has also been home to some of America's most influential politicians. Joseph Clark (1901-90), who served as mayor from 1951 to 1956, was an important figure in civil rights reform.
He was also instrumental in creating a more equitable education system for all Philadelphians. Another prominent figure was Thomas Paine (1737-1809), whose pamphlet Common Sense helped spark revolution against British rule. Philadelphia has also been home to some of America's most influential political organizations. The Greater Philadelphia Movement (GPM) was formed in 1958 to support existing businesses and attract new ones by offering land and low-cost financing for for-profit and not-for-profit businesses. The GPM also worked to reduce corruption within local government. The city has also been home to several national political conventions throughout history.
The First and Second Continental Congresses were held here in 1774 and 1775-81 respectively. These conventions addressed issues such as independence from Britain and highlighted Philadelphia's role at a time that changed world history. Philadelphia is an important part of American history when it comes to politics. From its opposition to slavery, to its emergence as a major Republican city, to its role in Spanish-American revolutions, it has been at the forefront of political change throughout history. It has also been home to some of America's most influential politicians and organizations such as Joseph Clark (1901-90) and Thomas Paine (1737-1809).
Additionally, it has hosted several national political conventions throughout history.