The turn of the century from 1800-1900 was considered the Gilded Age.  During this age it was not uncommon for politics to be corrupt.  Congress was known as the “rich man’s club” and political favors where traded.  Even the President once elected had barely enough power to repay the favors they owed the individuals who got them into office. Their years in office consisted of repaying favors and trying to manage the powerful relationships that they had put into office as repayment for being elected as President. During this time there was no voting regulation. Party names could be easily dropped or added on the ballot.  Important issues could easily loose due to manipulation of the ballots.  Fraudulent or bogus ballots were not uncommon.

The largest women’s suffrage group called National American Woman Suffrage Association was developed during this age. They did public rallies and took their cases to the streets and demanded to vote. In 1918 Woodrow Wilson endorsed the woman’s suffrage and Congress adapted the 19th Amendment that was ratified in 1920. This was the final victory for woman to vote. Although this Amendment included all women regardless of race, African American women were granted voting right in name only and they continued to fight for the right to vote. After women were enfranchised, candidates catered to women in order to get elected and women took advantage, advocating for laws that would allow them to have economic security like divorce and inheritance.

In 1870, the 15th Amendment was ratified.  This was the right for US citizens of all citizens to vote including minorities. More than half million blacks became voters during the 1870. They cast their votes Republican, the party of Abraham Lincoln. Even though blacks voted freely and in large numbers, whites were still elected to a large majority of state and local offices.





Keene, Jennifer D., Saul T. Cornell and Edward T. O’Donnell. Visions of America: A History of the United States, Combined Volume, 3/e. Boston: Pearson, n.d.

Politics in the Gilded Age:Retrieved from https//www.SageAmericanHistory>topics>gildedage.





  1. “Congress was known as the “rich man’s club” and political favors where traded. “
    Unfortunately that statement this is still true today in my opinion. And it doesn’t matter what party is in office. The question should always be is congress truly serving the people or are they serving themselves and their friends? Politics will always be corrupt as long as the people allow themselves to be divided.

    1. I completely agree. I believe the rich have the most pull in politics. They’re the ones that are able to give the most donations to their desired campaigns. Politics have been corrupt and will continue to be.

      1. I agree with you. The rich seem like they have always had the most say in government and politics. It really is sad how money defines how much say you have in the world in general because money is not everything.

    2. I also agree with you, and find it unsettling. No matter who is involved politics will continue to be corrupt. Money is power and power is key to more votes. How unfortunate it is that history seems to repeat itself, or that we never seem to learn from our mistakes.

  2. I think that this says a lot about today’s world as well. You can really see history repeating itself when you think about those in authority being referenced as the “rich man’s club”. Unfortunately this is the way it is because money makes the world go around and it definitely did back then as well. As far as the favors go, you do still see that in today’s world as well. However, it is more of repaying favors to the people rather than others in authority.

  3. This corruption is still occurring today and it makes me wonder what decisions would’ve been different had there not been the rich using money to change politicians’ votes. I think now we do a much better job of keeping our votes fair and regulated. We also see history repeating itself as there were the rallies then and we have Women’s Marches now. Even though they were from different causes, both show women fighting for what they deserve.

    1. Without trying to dredge up too much political debate. This country almost feels like an entirely different climate with the current administration. Like we’ve all taken a collective step back… for the wrong reasons. The problem with laws and regulations is that they always look good on paper, but promised equal rights does not me every other citizen in the country will agree. One thing I’ve seen not be mentioned in these posts is the effort put in post ratification to prevent minorities from voting regardless of what the government says. Maybe the real problem is people, and not the government itself, perhaps we just need to fix the educational system and everything else with smooth out. Who knows.

      1. That is an interesting view. I never really considered the education system being an issue but it makes sense. People are becoming less educated on many aspects in this country. A lot of people do not even understand our political system and what they are voting on. Honestly I do not think many people were educated during the Gilded Age either. It will always be a struggle for everyone to be on the same page about politics and that is why we have the voting system. I think this country started seeing some change once women were given rights and I believe this country needs more change to make things better.

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