Politics During the Gilded Age

During this time in America (The Gilded Age) politics were on the rise. African Americans and women were not even close to the rights they have today. In the 1890s African Americans were threaten living in the south by the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), so many African Americans moved north. With the country and cities changing and growing a couple questions came up, who is going to run this? Will African Americans and women have and say in the political process? 

With men running the government and working women had a bunch of free time. Many women joining clubs for social reform. This brought out the political side of women which would lead to the women’s’ suffrage movement. This was women trying to get the right to vote. Women had many bumps in the road and faced many problems, but by 1920 they achieved voting rights. 

With women not getting the right to vote until August 18, 1920 and African Americans not getting the right to vote until 1965 the rich white men on the time ran the government. They put poll taxes on voting so that you could only vote if you had money. Which no African Americans had money at that time because they were discriminated against and did not get payed much. Many African Americans were living better as a slave than a free man. With these rich white men running the government there was little women and minorities could do and then corrupt people established political machines. Political machines were “an urban organization designed to win elections and reward its followers, both rich and poor”. These organizations were ran by a corrupt political boss’ that would go around and do favors for anyone in exchange for votes. (McCollum). 

In the early 1900s political machines were on the downturn. With the form of the Progressive Era these bosses had a hard time getting votes from the people they tried to bribe. Less and less of these bosses lost political positions in the government which contributed to the fall of political bosses (Government).


Government, Politics “The 1900s, and Law: Overview.”. “The 1900s Government, Politics, and Law: Overview.” U*X*L American Decades, Encyclopedia.com, 2018. Print. 

McCollum, Jason. “Political Machine: Definition & History.” Study.com, Study.com, 2018. Print. 

9 thoughts on “Politics During the Gilded Age

  1. It’s unfortunate that so many African American people had to uproot their lives and move north to escape the threats of the Ku Klux Klan. Even after moving they still faced so much discrimination and racism in their new urban homes. Unfortunately, racism and discrimination still exist today even after all these years, you would think people would change but that hasn’t been the case.

  2. Women were given the right to vote before African Americans. This fact posed the question, how could so many African American women be part of the suffrage movement, yet be left out once women gained suffrage? Racism could be seen within the women’s suffrage movement. Many unions that fought for women’s suffrage encouraged separate unions for people of different races or ethnicities. One prominent suffragist was Anna Julia Cooper. She pushed the idea that African American women needed suffrage as well and required the ballet in order to counter the belief that “Black men’s” experiences and needs in our society were the same as those of the “Black women’s”.

  3. It’s amazing to see how far we’ve come in this great nation. As a nation that is “for the people by the people” how was it right and fair to not allow women or African Americans have the freedom and power to vote. Wasn’t that tyranny in its own form? Instead of this nation being ruled by a king, it was ruled by a tyranny of like minded people from the same background. That’s the beauty of how far our nation has blossomed. I don’t agree with many things happening in this nation at times. And I do believe there is a right and wrong opinion sometimes. But in this great nation we have the freedom to have that opinion(whether it is right or wrong) and express it. That was not always there. I am a grateful that women and African Americans fought for their rights to help run this country. For the people, by the people.

  4. The American government took every step they could to make African American voting legal on paper, but near impossible in practice. By adding a voting tax that most African Americans could not afford they blocked off the large group of African Americans in poverty. They would also add literacy tests for African Americans as an extra hurdle for them to pass to vote. Since many were illiterate it just made the African American voting population even smaller.

  5. It is critically important that we learn from the inhuman treatment our forefathers imposed on African Americans and women in our country. We were so self-righteous in wanting to leave the tyranny and oppression of the British government, and then we enacted even more cruel and oppressive rule over the very people we had fought to protect.

  6. I really like how detailed your blog was and how you went into depth when it came to discussing how African Americans were treated back in this time range. It’s sad to think of how mistreated men and women were treated just because of the color of their skin, I like how you told us (the readers) the dates of when women won the right to vote and how much longer it took for African American men and women the right to vote and even when the 15th amendment was created there was so many restrictions on what qualified the person to have the “right” to vote. One part of your blog really stood out to me and that was “African Americans were living better as a slave than a free man.” I agree 100% with that. Jumping to the fact that the rich people had a majority of the say in who got elected, by sending out men called machines to bribe the poor and give handouts to them. They played as the “good guy” but when it came to election time the machines made sure that the poor people they “helped out” voted for the particular person/party that the machines and the rich people wanted to win. Even in today’s world I feel like the wealthy people have big influences on vote gets elected, even though it is not as bad as it once was it is still around.

  7. Both parties had a very hard task ahead of them and the African Americans fight for the right to vote and be seen as equal in society seemed near impossible. I thought your point about slavery sometimes being a better life than freedom as an African American was very interesting and really put into perspective just how badly discriminated against they were. Huge strides were made for both women and African Americans during this time period and years after. Good work on the post.

  8. With the Ku Klux Klan being in the South and having so many African Americans fearing for their lives it makes sense that with a hate group as strong as that, that African American’s didn’t have the right to vote for so long. With so many people hating a race of people it’s tough to convince congress to pass a law to allow African American’s vote.

  9. Great post! You covered all the main points in this chapter. It’s always interesting reading about history so you can see how far we’ve come in comparison. When I was first reading this chapter, I couldn’t believe the tyranny involved with politics back then! It’s sad to learn how overpowering the rich white men of our society were in controlling who got to vote. Voting should be a right to all whether you are poor or of a different ethnicity. I am grateful for the movements that fought tirelessly to allow women and African Americans the right to vote.

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