Age of Acrimony: How Americans Fought to Fix Their Democracy, 1865-1915

Thursday July 29

5:30 PM  –  6:30 PM

Jon Grinspan, National Museum of American History

Democracy was broken. Or that was what many Americans believed in the decades after the Civil War. Shaken by economic and technological disruption, they sought safety in aggressive, tribal partisanship. The results were the loudest, closest, most violent elections in U.S. history, driven by vibrant campaigns that drew our highest-ever voter turnouts. At the century's end, reformers finally restrained this wild system, trading away participation for civility in the process. They built a calmer, cleaner democracy, but also a more distant one. Americans' voting rates crashed and never fully recovered. In telling the tale of what it cost to cool our republic, historian Jon Grinspan reveals our divisive political system's enduring capacity to reinvent itself.

Free
Loading...