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“Political Realignments in the 1890s”
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It is clear from the readings that the political realignments in the 1890s were majorly caused by a devastating economic depression. Politics was also a fascination and political ideology never determined how people voted. It is evident that bulk of the voters was made by white males as black men were denied voting rights by literacy tests or by poll tax while women were not allowed to vote in most national elections. After the civil war, Democratic Party and Republican Party divided the electorate almost into equal halves. While Democrats emphasized the right of the state, Republicans saw it as an agent that can be used to promote morality, wealthy, civil rights and protection.
It was in the experimentation of the states that the Munn v. Illinois case that the constitutionality of state investigations was upheld. Later, there was the reestablishment of the presidential power that led to later presidents reasserting the executive power. The future policy of the nation was shaped by adoption of the Red Rules that permitted the enactment of the “billion dollar” program. It was during this time that tariffs, trusts and silver came into being to regulating businesses. The rise of the populist movement especially from the south farmers meant politicizing the farmer through the Farmer’s Alliance.
But economic changes during the period were brought about by the crisis and panic as most businesses went into debt. The Democrat president got beleaguered and Republicans took advantage to renege on better terms. Republicans won congressional elections and became majority while Democrat was reduced to a southern party. Women and children replaced men as laborers because they could be paid less. The presidential elections in 1896 saw new voting patterns and the republican through McKinley swept to power and later placed the U.S. on Gold standard that enabled him to win reelection the same year against Jennings. In 1901 McKinley was assassinated and Theodore Roosevelt succeeded him.
The 1890s was a decade that saw dramatic changes in America’s politics.