|—n , pl -men|
|1.||(in England and Wales until 1974) one of the senior members of a local council, elected by other councillors|
|2.||(in the US, Canada, Australia, etc) a member of the governing body of a municipality|
|3.||history a variant spelling of ealdorman|
|[Old English aldormann, from ealdor chief (comparative of eald|
A member of a city council. Aldermen usually represent city districts, called wards, and work with the mayor to run the city government. Jockeying among aldermen for political influence is often associated with machine politics.
member of the legislative body of a municipal corporation in England and the United States. In Anglo-Saxon England, ealdormen, or aldermen, were high-ranking officials of the crown who exercised judicial, administrative, or military functions. Earls, the governors of shires (counties), and other persons of distinction were among those who received the title of alderman. Later the title was used to designate the chief magistrate of a county or group of counties. Under legislation that reformed English local government in the 19th century, the term alderman was used to designate one type of membership in borough, municipal, and county councils. Of these councils' two types of members, councillors were elected by the voters, while aldermen were elected by the councillors. These aldermen had legislative, administrative, and some judicial functions. Because it was viewed as undemocratic, the office of alderman was abolished throughout England (except in the government of the City of London) by the Local Government Act of 1972.
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