Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: History, Politics and Education

Philadelphia is the largest city in the state of Pennsylvania, abbreviated as PA by ABBREVIATIONFINDER.


The Comcast Center under construction (February 2007). Once finished, it reaches a height of 297 meters. It is the symbol of Philadelphia’s economic renewal.

During the 18th century, Philadelphia had a pioneering role in the political birth of the country, but also in the economy. In this way, the traditional sectors founded in the colonial era have remained protagonists and forged the reputation of the city: Publishing, printing, the press, banking and health-related jobs are some examples.

In the 19th century, the exploitation of the coal of the Appalachian Mountains, the fuel of the railroads and the water transport placed Philadelphia at the top of the industrial metropolis, in the heart of the Manufacturing Bely. The industries of the Industrial Revolution and the agri-food industry were the forgers at that time of the city’s prosperity: metallurgical, textile, oil, shipbuilding, conververía, psychiculture. In turn, its geographical location, between New York and Washington DC, inspired the creation of numerous transportation companies. After 1945, with the decline of these traditional industries that affected the Manufacturing Belt, Philadelphia entered a phase of economic and social crisis. Many factories had to close, were restructured or emigrated, either to the South or the West of the country, or to other countries. Today, Philadelphia has diversified its activities and embarked on its economic renewal. Unemployment has decreased since 1993 and new skyscrapers were built on the land of the Central Business District. Philadelphia continues to be a premier financial decision-making center in the northeastern US.


The county and city limits of Philadelphia are the same since the Consolidation Act of 1854. All political functions have been performed by the municipality since 1952. The city is governed by a mayor elected for 4 years. Michael Nutter has held this position since 2008. The mayor cannot serve more than two consecutive terms. To stand for election, he must have held a seat on the City Council at least once. Since 1952, all the mayors of Philadelphia have been Democrats without exception and are largely in favor of public intervention in favor of the marginal classes: thus, the municipality does not impose any local taxes on basic necessities such as soap.

The Philadelphia City Council is the deliberative and legislative body of the city. It has 17 members: ten of whom are elected in the districts, the other seven represent the city as a whole and are elected by all citizens. The President of the Council is elected by the councilors; since 2000, this post has been held by Democrat Anna Cibotti Verna, known for her progressive positions. The directors’ mandate is four years, with no re-election limit. The municipal council meets once a week in the town hall. Decisions are made by majority. The mayor has the right of veto. But the council can overcome this right if a 2-thirds majority is achieved. In 2005, the municipality employed approximately 30,000 people.

The ordinary county court of appeals (Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas) is the court of law for Philadelphia. It is financed by municipal funds and works with city employees. The road contravention court deals with road code violations. Although the capital of Pennsylvania is located in Harrisburg, the Supreme Court, Superior Court, and Commonwealth Court are based in Philadelphia. The judges of these instances are chosen by the citizens of the city.

Between the Civil War and the middle of the 20th century, the municipality was dominated by the Republican Party. After the Great Depression of the 1930s, Democrats progressed and ended up holding the mayoralty in 1952. In the 2004 presidential election, Democratic candidate John Kerry won 80% of the vote in Philadelphia. Finally, Philadelphia sent four deputies to the House of Representatives of the United States Congress; in 2007 they were all Democrats. With the population decline since the second half of the 20th century, the number of electoral constituencies, and therefore the number of representatives in Washington, has gone from six to four.


The School District of Philadelphia operates public schools in Philadelphia.

Higher education

Philadelphia is a major university city that is home to thousands of students and numerous institutions of higher learning. The university campuses take part in the cultural dynamism of the agglomeration: in the University City neighborhood, west of the city center, 21 museums and galleries are open to the public. Universities and research centers work together with the main employers of the city: in this way higher education is particularly associated with the sectors of chemistry, science, history and art.

  • CountryAAH: Offers a full list of cities and towns in Pennsylvania, together with postal codes for each of them, and including capital city of Pennsylvania.

Founded in 1964, the Community College of Philadelphia awards 70 different diplomas and a vast panel of education from arts to studies, science to economics. It had 38,000 students in 2007, a fact that makes it the largest institution of higher education in the city.

The University of Pennsylvania is one of the oldest and most prestigious in the United States: founded by Benjamin Franklin in the 18th century, it is part of the famous Ivy League, an informal association regrouping the 8 most famous universities in the country. In 2007, the University of Pennsylvania was listed as one of the top ten universities in the country according to the US News & World Report. It currently has more than 19,800 students and, with its hospital, is the second largest employer in the city. The campus is located in the University City neighborhood. Temple University was opened in 1889 and groups approximately 33,600 students. The third university in the city by number of students is Drexel, with 17,000 students, followed by Saint Joseph (7,000) and La Salle (6,200).

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania