Urban Studies 600 Capstone


The Rise of Political Fragmentation in Metropolitan Milwaukee, 1892-1935


Emmajean Snook

Document Type

Capstone Project

Publication Date



This study uses an historical approach to answer: what factors led to political fragmentation within metropolitan Milwaukee? The dominant paradigm in today’s narrative is that the rise of suburbia and the decentralization of industry occurred post- World War II. However, many of the problems seen within post-WWII and up until today were issues that the city was struggling with as early as the 1890s, particularly through the desire to acquire badly needed land via annexation and consolidation. By studying the metropolitan area of Milwaukee, this study argues that more emphasis on the sources of political fragmentation will result in a re-examining of earlier time periods, such as the one discussed here between 1892 and 1935. Through this approach, a better understanding of earlier eras of decentralization and suburbanization will help draw conclusions around why metropolitan areas are so politically fragmented. Lastly, the only way to understand policy-making and how to create solutions is to understand the causes and factors that led to particular developments in the first place.