EDIT: Tried tightening question to be less broad.

In the post Civil War era, I see the Republican Party and Democratic Party basically retreading the old questions of early republic political economy after the war. I see basically the old agararian, limited government party (Democratic/Jacksonian) vs. the pro industry, pro big business, expanded government controls party (Whig/Republican) but the platforms become pretty unclear, and you could say not really based on ideology as we accumulated more distance from the Civil War.

I see this model being kind of thrown into a loop when Teddy Roosevelt becomes president, though. He seems anything but advocating for an agrarian state, but he actively tries to curb the power of the monopolies and big business. Then Woodrow Wilson becomes a president and as a Democrat, he helps passes measures such as establishing an income tax and a national banking system that seem a little antithetical to the traditional tenets of old school Democrats. These two presidencies seem to be the output of a growing progressive current that wanted reform in American society and yet I'm not sure if if there's a conenction between here and the modern political parties in America today. My question is, what implications, if any, did these progressive presidencies have on the idealogies of the seemingly non idealogical Democrat and Republican parties at the time?

  • Both parties were somewhat schizophrenic from 1912 (Bull Moose run by TR) until 1980 (when the Conservative South swung hard to the GOP, and realigned everything through the current day): Conservative Southern and Liberal Northern Democrats allied together against Liberal and Black Southern Republicans allied with the Northern (Whig I think) rump of the GOP left after the Progressives largely broke away. Ultimately the parties re-aligned along Christian and Civil Rights lines during the Reagan years. – Pieter Geerkens Feb 17 '15 at 23:15
  • Extremely broad. Can you restrict the scope of your question to, say, an election cycle? Also: how had they reached this non ideological point after the Civil War? What allowed American politics to be polarized again? is two questions. – Semaphore Feb 17 '15 at 23:44
  • yeah, the parties shifted alot and many different things happened over this 80ish year period. imo a little to broad, may ask this in pieces and in smaller time frames. – Himarm Feb 17 '15 at 23:57
  • @Semaphore, sorry I'm new to this and I'm just trying to get a feel of the features of the period because I don't know too much about it. Is it not allowed to ask two questions? I just wanted understand what characterizes this periodization. I've tried to narrow it down to "the Progressive Era" if that helps. – Pender Feb 18 '15 at 0:43
  • Of course you are allowed to ask two questions. Use this link for each question you can think of. – Semaphore Feb 18 '15 at 1:05

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