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Mugwumps - Essay Example

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However, when referring to the gilded age of politics in the United States, Merriam Webster dictionary defines the term as, “a bolter from the Republican party in 1884” (Merriam Webster)…
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Download file to see previous pages There were massive amounts of government corruption during the Grant administration and the resulting problems drove a wedge in the Republican Party, the Mugwumps supported Democratic reform candidates such as Grover Cleveland. According to Gerald W. McFarland, “Between 1870 and 1896, the Mugwumps, most of whom were members of the Republican party’s reform faction, frequently engaged in protests against “unsuitable” party candidates” (McFarland 40). These protests helped bolster the chances of those candidates running on a reform platform and partially assisted in the election of Grover Cleveland. However, the decision to go against ones political party was not taken lightly, as Allan Peskin writes, “To be a Republican or to be a Democrat-these were not lightly-made decisions but were shaped by self-interest, ethnicity, and, above all, history, most notably the polarizing trauma of the Civil War” (Peskin 703).
As a result of the election fraud and other types of corruption that caused the backlash and mugwumps to begin their attempts at reform. The infamous Tammany Society was extremely influential during this time period as well, primarily in New York which following the Civil War had an inordinate amount of influence on national elections and politics. This was in no small part due the large influx of immigrants through Ellis Island.
According to Peter Argersinger, “The highly competitive political system of the late nineteenth century, as Samuel T. McSeveny has written, “led to repeated charges, countercharges, and denials of corruption, coercion, bribery, and fraud-allegations that have been echoed by subsequent political biographers and historians. Taken at face value, these outcries would lead one to believe that the two parties alternated in cheating their opponents out of deserved victories” (Argersinger 669)
It is no small wonder then that so many individuals ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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