chapter  Chapter 9
53 Pages

The Cities of the Prairie and the American Partnership

WithDaniel J. Elazar

The cities of the prairie, as civil communities, possess reasonably complex and actively functioning political systems of their own. The need for collaboration between federal, state, and local governments has been generated by the emergence of frontier-created problems which stem from a universality of experience that to some meaningful extent transcends the country’s very real sectional and subcultural differences. The political structure of the civil community seems sufficiently complicated by the “vertical” fragmentation of governmental activities brought on by federal and state involvement locally. Direct state action in the local community represents a fourth field of state involvement locally. The uniqueness of the American city, in contrast to the model or paradigm of “the city” familiar in the cities of the classical world and Europe, has much to do with the characteristically American relationship between the states and their creature civil communities. By and large, the medium-size civil communities and their smaller counterparts benefit considerably from association with their states.