Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Bruce Bigelow

Second Advisor

Sally Childs-Helton

Third Advisor

John Ramsbottom


Unigov is one of the most significant pieces of legislation in Indianapolis and Indiana history. In the often times hostile environment of Indiana politics it is nothing short of a miracle that the leaders in the Republican Party were able to get the Unigov bill approved and have it be as successful for the city as it has been. Unigov also created a modern day political machine for the Republican Party of Indianapolis. The new city of Indianapolis under the leadership of Republican Mayors Richard Lugar and William Hudnut has earned national name recognition on the convention circuit and for hosting amateur athletics events. Over time the growth attributed to Unigov has proven to be unsustainable. Unigov has also been inefficient at solving many of the social problems the city had when it was created.

Unigov and the initial growth of the city from its consolidation were dependent on the suburban tax base that used to exist in the outer townships of Marion County. Unigov has had the effect of pushing that tax base even further out from the central business district. Many of the problems Indianapolis faces today were the same problems it faced when Unigov expanded the city. This has had the effect of building a new city on old problems. As the suburbs have expanded they now compete directly with Indianapolis for jobs, entertainment, and cultural events. The goal of this paper is to better understand the need for Unigov, how it fits into a national context, and how the city has fared over the first twenty-two years since its enactment.