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Election of 1896 and an Inefficient Congress

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The late nineteenth-century brought about many changes politically, economically and socially in America. Goldfield, et. al. (2010) state that a weakened presidency and inefficient Congress hampered the government's ability to resolve many issues.

Question: Why is the election of 1896 considered a watershed in American politics?

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Solution Summary

This solution discusses how the late nineteenth century brought about many political, social, and economic changes in America. Specifically, it focuses on an article by Goodfield et al. (2010) that discusses how an inefficient presidency and Congress impaired the government's problem-solving abilities, and how and why the election of 1896 (Bryan vs. McKinley) is considered a turning point in American politics.

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The election of 1896 reflected the "last, best hope" of rural, agrarian citizens against the growing influence of the expanding urban populations in America's eastern cities. The rural voters were energized by the extremely popular populist candidate, William Jennings Bryan. Bryan, often referred to as the "boy wonder of the prairie" put a serious scare into the Robber Barons, industrialists and good 'ol ...

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