During the late nineteenth century, political parties were very dominant in the political process of the day. Americans had the idea that politics meant being aligned to a particular political party, and they therefore chose which party to support by looking at how it was organized and structured. Men were expected to have strong attachments to the party they supported, and women were not allowed to vote.
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The two major political parties were democrats and republicans. The democrats were considered to have been the faction that had not defended the United States during the cold war; thus they were regarded as cowards, while the republicans consisted of those who were the patriotic citizens, who fought to defend their country (Katz & Crotty 67).
Democrats sought to have a reduction of the government’s involvement in how the economy was run and also called for white domination, meaning that they were against the fight for equal rights for all. Their major supporters were the Catholics, and immigrants of German and Irish descent.
Republicans on the other hand fought for the minorities’ rights and for the provisions of pensions for those who fought in the war. Thus their main supporters were the poor, African Americans and veterans of the war (Berkin et al. 55).
Comparing the understanding gained about the two political parties, to the current government in power in the United States, it is a clear indication that it is not who has the most influential or the richest members, but it is the one who has the interest of the many at heart, who finally comes out victorious.
The progressive movement
This was not really a single movement, but it was the first of many reformist movements, aimed at bringing change to the devastating conditions, such as poor working conditions and poor wages, that people faced at work. It came with the introduction of urban centers and industries in the United States, at the beginning of the twentieth century (Boyer et al 77).
How it started
The movement was started by the more influential middle class men and women. These were lawyers, teachers, managers and teachers. They were viewed as ambitious and well- informed people who could generate new ideas on dealing with the issues, which workers faced. The idea of reform came from private groups of the middle class citizens, women’s organizations, and the workers themselves. Some managers also worked with their employees in trying to figure out ways of improving the working conditions in their places of work.
Some reformists wanted stricter rules enforced on how business deals were conducted, in such ways as introducing heavier taxes, so as to regulate business. Others sought to protect the working population, and the poor, while others wanted the government restructured especially at the municipal level, so as to decrease such vices as corruption (Boyer et al 77).
Finally, there were those who wanted the government to instill stricter immigration rules. They also wanted rules put in place, to control the social disorder that was being experienced, and curb immorality and other social evils.
Reformers aimed at making the conditions better, not by enforcing what they wanted done on the government of the day, but by conducting peaceful demonstrations and go slows, in order to reach their desired end.
Berkin, Carol, et al. Making America: A History of the United States: Since 1865. Boston: Cengage Learning, 2010. Print.
Boyer, Paul, et al. The Enduring Vision: A History of the American People. Volume 2: from 1865, concise. Boston: Cengage learning, 2009. Print.
Katz, Richard, and Crotty William. Handbook of Party Politics. London: SAGE, 2006. Print.