Jurgis’s naturalization to become an American citizen, which might otherwise be seen as an encouraging step on his way toward achieving the American Dream, is tainted with corruption. The democratic process is entirely besmirched by politicians with hands caught in the deep pockets of big capitalists. Elections are rigged through an extensive vote-buying scheme, and members of the Chicago criminal underworld take advantage of ignorant, impoverished wage laborers to pervert the democratic process according to the wishes of big businessmen and their cronies.