The turn of the century was an amazing time in history. It gave us the Industrial Revolution which created bigger cities, made more jobs, and made things like hospitals and education to more people. Having more people closer together made things like voting and the news more accessible to people who otherwise wouldn’t have been exposed to politics. The Industrial Revolution also created big business and Political Machines that gave large donations to political parties to support or oppose their special interest. “Political paralysis stemmed from the power of corporate interests to use huge donations to political parties and bribery of lawmakers to stymie legislation they deemed harmful to their interests”(Keene, Cornell, & O’Donnell, 2012, pg. 522). Even though more people were voting the issues they cared about where not being addressed by there representatives.
This was caused in part by big business but also by evenly divided electorate so that neither party had major control of either house. Big business stood in the way of lowering tariffs to make there products more appealing. “Industrial workers saw themselves as victims of corporate power”(Keene, Cornell, & O’Donnell, 2012, pg. 522). People also saw trusts as threat to democracy itself. In 1890 congress passed a act that was supposed to let the federal government crack down on trust and monopolies but due to big business the act had little affect. In fact, the 1890s had high numbers of mergers. Big business also weakened labor unions.
Upset with the government the people start the Peoples Party movement. Which sought out to stand against big business, destroy monopolies, and supporting equality. The other parties started to run campaigns against the Peoples Party. “In the end, the People’s Party was no match for the established parties”(Keene, Cornell, & O’Donnell, 2012, pg. 525). Although they won over a thousand state positions they didn’t win the presidency. The Peoples Party died out soon after.
Big Business made politics a game only for the rich. A game in which monopolies always won and the working class always lost. Putting special interest above the people and shut down those who opposed them, like the Peoples Party. Monopolies are bad for the working class and don’t help new businesses grow.