Political Dominance Of The Republican Party 1865 1912 Durham Sixth Form Centre, A Level History Essay

1339 words - 6 pages

“The political dominance of the Republican party was due to the internal divisions of its opponents 1865-1912” Assess the validity of this view.
In the years 1865-1912, the political dominance of the Republican was partly due to the internal divisions of the Democrat party at this time. These internal divisions were caused by the weaknesses of President Cleveland and the rise of Populism splitting the party. However, there were other factors that allowed the Republican party to dominate such as their pro-business policies, gaining votes from African-Americans, and embracing Progressivism in the early 1900s. Overall, these factors, especially being pro-business and Progressive were more significant than the Democrat party’s internal divisions in causing the political dominance of the Republican Party from 1865-1912.
One factor that contributed to the political dominance of the Republican party was the internal division in the Democrat party that was caused by the weaknesses of President Cleveland. Cleveland’s weaknesses were caused in part by his attitudes being more pro-business than a Democrat would ordinarily be. These attitudes were shown for example by repealing silver coinage. This repeal was supported by big business and some Republicans. However, small business owners, especially farmers, liked having silver as it benefited them over big business, it was also popular against many Democrat voters. Cleveland also proved himself to be more pro-business by borrowing $62 million from J.P. Morgan to help the government during the depression in the 1890s. His pro-business attitudes lost him support within the Democrat party as the Democrats traditionally fought for the little man (and against big business) and his going against this meant that voters felt they couldn’t trust him to fight for them in the way that he should have done. This allowed the Republicans to dominate as the Democrats received less votes than they may have done if Cleveland had shown more support for the little man instead of big business.
Another internal division of the Democrat party that allowed the Republican party to dominate was caused by the rise of Populism. The Populist party formed in 1892 and split the Democrat vote at the 1896 election where a million people voted for the Populist candidate Bryan. Populism split the voters as they had policies that would help the little man such as supporting the introduction of silver currency to the USA. This policy was controversial so some voters chose to vote for the Populists, and others continued voting for the Democrats who were less pro silver than the Populists were. The Populists had other aims such as graduated income tax, regulation on railroad prices, and eight hour working days. These aims were popular with many voters who had felt that by both the Republicans and President Cleveland, their concerns had been ignored. This allowed the Republicans to dominate in the 1890s as the Democrat vote was then split between...

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