Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Harl Dalstrom

Second Advisor

Dr. Tommy Thompson

Third Advisor

Dr. Orville Menard


Historians have frequently examined reforms of government in the Progressive Era. The stated purpose of these modifications, particularly the commission and city manager plans, was "to make elected representatives more responsive to the wishes of the voters." Under the commission, a board of five or seven commissioners elected at-large replaced a council with members chosen by ward. The small number of representatives allowed citizens to pinpoint responsibility since each man was in charge of one city department. The manager plan simply added a hired city manager who implemented the commissioners' policies. Samuel P. Hays and James Weinstein have challenged this view of structural reform and instead found that rather than returning political control to the people, the elite businessmen and professionals who backed these changes succeeded in establishing their own class in power.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of History and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright Garneth Oldenkamp Peterson May, 1980

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