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date: 19 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This essay follows political and policy change in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries by tracking the impact of Reconstruction and rapid industrialization on electoral politics and political development. The early-twentieth-century state developed gradually and unevenly, building on innovations of the 1880s and 1890s and debates that began during Reconstruction. Progressive reform moved in two directions: toward good government and efficiency, a line traceable to liberal Republicanism; and toward the amelioration of class tensions aimed more at curbing the arrogance of the rich than improving the lot of the poor. Policy reflected most of all southern and agricultural preferences, even as the great drama of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries had to do with industrial power and vicious labor conflict. This essay explores anomalies concerning the press, race, Progressivism and the South, and liberalism and conservatism.

Keywords: Progressivism, Gilded Age, Reconstruction, liberal Republican, newspapers, voting rights, electoral law, Democrats, Republicans, southern Politics

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