Blog #2: Politics


In the late 1800s the US political process was complicated and often corrupted. The rise of cities led to Political Machines that often controlled parts of cities. As of the 1820s there was universal white man suffrage meaning all white men could vote, even working class men. However the working class still struggled to be heard in American politics. The People’s Part was established by farmers and industrial workers to challenge the Republican’s and Democrats and because of the political system’s corruption and failure to address major issues. The People’s Part succeed in place members in Congress and state legislators but it never won the presidency and untimely fell apart after 1896. Women were becoming more and more active in the suffrage movement by the 1890s. They formed the National American Women Suffrage Association (NAWSA) and won the right to vote in a couple states by 1896 but total suffrage wouldn’t be achieved until the Nineteenth Amendment passed in 1920. African American men and women also began to take a more active role in the fight for suffrage as well as anti-lynching campaigns. During the Gilded Age the voter turnout increased to over fifty percent. Presidential elections were extremely close and major issues weren’t being resolved. Hundreds of impoverished Americans marched on D.C. advocating the government to abandon Laissez-Faire and created public works projects. Several activists were arrested and several others attempted similar marches but all were met with inaction.

I think working men and minorities began to have more of an influence on the US political system but they were far from having their voices heard. Their efforts were met with inaction that created more frustration. The political system was easily controlled by rich white men who could easily bribe both voters and officials. Little change took place during this time despite the best efforts of working men and minorities.

Keene, Jennifer D., Cornell, Saul, and O’Donnell, Edward T. Visions of America: A History of the United States, Volume 2, 3rd ed. 2019.

8 thoughts on “Blog #2: Politics

  1. I agree with what you said. The political machines were a huge part in the “fraud” of the votes. “In Counting There Is Strength” which refers to the tactic of using the police and boards of elections to manipulate the outcome and ensure the victory for their party.

  2. I think that it is terrible that women and minorities had no say in government and politics. Imagine if those brave pioneers would have never stood up to the inequality. Comparing modern times to then, society has come a long way and has become much more accepting of diversity. Although I still believe that society has a far way to go before diversity is normalized and embraced. Great blog post!

  3. In the late 1800’s the political process was extremely corrupted like you said. It was a good thing that men and women, especially the minorities, kept on fighting for what they believed in. Being continually brought down by the rich white men, I imagine it was very tough for those people to keep fighting for suffrage and equality. Being a part of politics and having a voice be heard is extremely important and what people came to America to have. It was crazy to think that women and even poor men were having this freedom withheld from them. It is sad that little change took place despite the efforts.

  4. I completely agree with your opinion on how working men and minorities still did not have a voice as to what decisions were being made. Yes, now we are given the opportunity but I still feel the same now. It takes a lot of guts to stand up to our government and even higher authority in general, so reading more about the women’s suffrage is empowering as well. The political machines were corrupting everyone, so to know that people back then were there to say no and to fight for there rights gives me hope for the future. I hope that we will continue to have people who are passionate enough for our future to fight and stand up to those who make our system unjust!

  5. The late 1800’s were full of political corruption and this post did a good job of highlighting this. Rich white men controlled politics and the people that were really affected had no say. This was people such as working men and minorities. It must have been very difficult to have no say in times like this especially when many people had so much to say with no input. America was supposed to be built on having a voice and being free, but it got turned into all politics that only involved the type of people they wanted involved. Many efforts were taken to get this changed and it is incredible with how much they tried how little things changed as of that time.

  6. Great job describing the political corruption that plagued the late 1800s. I agree with your comment about working men and minorities beginning to have more of an influence on the US political system. I have one question, you mentioned that white men easily manipulated voters, how did they do this? why do you think people fell for everything they said so easily? Good work, Molly:)

  7. I believe that your blog did a wonderful job of emphasizing how corrupt politics were in the 1800’s. I liked your point about working class men, although being able to vote, not being heard as well as those of the wealthier classes. I also was very intrigued to read about how women didn’t play a role in this corruption because all women couldn’t even vote until 1920. I have a question as to why things weren’t getting done. Do you think that these major things weren’t getting done due to the President being inactive and not fulfilling their promise during elections or due to the fact they were trying to solve issues that were not as important as others?

  8. You did a good describing how the 1800’s. It was a bad and good time for women suffrage. Its a shame that in 1820 only white men were allowed to vote. It wasn’t until 1890 where women became active in the suffrage moment. Good job overall, very well written.

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