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Chicago City Government Records

Bibliography of Chicago City Government Structure

To conduct research on Chicago, scholars will likely need to learn about the structure and function of different units of City government and how they have changed over time. While there are many works that offer insight into this question, the following books address it directly. Two of the studies, Property Rules and Rogues, Rebels, and Rubber Stamps, focus on the Chicago City Council. The Mayors, in turn, offers an assessment of the city's executive branch and the people who led it. The Crazy Quilt of Government paints a portrait of the overlapping units of local government. City of Courts offers a brilliant analysis of the evolution of judiciary at a crucial point in its history. Charter Reform in Chicago will, in turn, help researchers better understand the powers of City government with respect to those of the State of Illinois. Researchers who want to find a broader range of scholarly works about Chicago's history should consult this bibliography of studies of Chicago

Purpose of this section: 

The purpose of this section is to help researchers identify scholarly works that explain the structure of Chicago City government at various points in its history. 


Einhorn, Robin L. Property Rules: Political Economy in Chicago: 1833-1872. University of Chicago Press, 1991.

Flanagan, Maureen A. Charter Reform in Chicago. Southern Illinois University Press, 1987.

Green, Paul Michael, and Melvin G. Holli. The Mayors: The Chicago Political Tradition. Southern Illinois University Press, 2013.

Murphy, Linda, Lesia Okruch, Corey Wichmann, Dick W. Simpson, and Linda Moll. The Crazy Quilt of Government: Units of Government in Cook County, 1993. Office of Publications Services of the University of Illinois at Chicago, 1993.

Simpson, Dick. Rogues, Rebels, and Rubber Stamps: The Politics of the Chicago City Council, 1863 to the Present. Routledge, 2019.

Willrich, Michael. City of Courts: Socializing Justice in Progressive Era Chicago. Cambridge University Press, 2003.

Do you know of a title that should be on this list? If so, please email Edward Remus ( and Joshua Salzmann ( to suggest it.