At the turn of the century, politics became increasingly important. As this era became so ethnically diverse, blurred lines began to materialize as far as the government understanding what their role was, and how they should be regulating the economy. There are quite a few different key components when considering who made an impact to political standards, how that was achieved, and the timing of these historical time periods. Those key components include the growth of the urban population in the United States, the emergence of the political machine, arrival of nativism, the formation of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), and the development of the People’s Party.
The increase in the urban population occurred due agriculture becoming more mechanized and the rise of manufacturing since these new developments had replaced jobs in rural areas such as farming and homemade clothes and goods. The Great Migration of approximately 300,000 African Americans relocating to the North another major contribution to the rise in urban population. Finally, the mass immigration from Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Asia alone brought in 28 million people drawn to economic opportunity. Development of political machines had an enormous impact on the political process. As the urban population continued to grow, the rise in crime, poverty, and disorder led them to being at the political machines mercy. Machines basically took advantage of these folks by offering jobs, cash handouts, legal assistance, and other rewards with the expectancy that they will gain their vote. To gain these votes, they did not stop at bribery, but also took it a step further by intimidating these folks into voting.
Naturally, the wealthy and native-born Americans (or I’d like to call the white supremacists) did not much care for this new rule by the foreigners. They then began to lobby for stricter immigration laws known as the American Protective Association which eventually led to the development of the Ellis Islands which it’s sole purpose was to weed out unfit immigrants that they decidedly found to be a likely contribution to the urban population. Reformers began to challenge the view of why folks in the urban population were in poverty. Jacob A. Riis was a key figure in portraying a more sympathetic view of poverty, and got an incredible amount of publicity with his findings in his book “How the Other Half Lives: Studies among the Tenements of New York”. This influenced the development of settlement houses dedicated to providing both social and educational support and services.
The rise of activism of women in college level education and involvement in the General Federation of Women’s clubs “gave women opportunity to exert political influence, build leadership skills, and learn from networks of other activist reform-minded women” (Pearson, Page 516). Excluded from these white activist clubs, African American women also developed clubs such as the National Association of colored Women” which launched a national campaign against lynching.
With the Republican party for the white native-born population, and the Democratic party for the poor (even though their tactic is manipulative to gain votes), there arises the 3rd party, also know as the People’s Party. This party was initiated by farmers who felt taken advantage of and exploited due to the excessive interest rates banks charged them and the outrageous rates to transport their produce. The People’s Party also included support for all those struggling such as the industrial workers whom work long hours for little to nothing pay. Although eventually the People’s Party dies out, many of it’s core ideas and values were adopted into the Democratic party, which eventually became one of the two newly developed political alignment party’s, the Republican which dominated the Midwest and Northeast, and the Democrats which dominated the South and West.