Posted - 10 months 19 Hours ago
Hey Pawn Stars! Did you know that between the Civil War and the Great Depression, America's two major political parties swapped platforms? In 1936, the Great Depression was entering its eighth year and Democratic incumbent Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal policies were extremely popular. The New Deal expanded federal power in order to regulate financial institutions, found welfare and pension programs, and invest in infrastructure development to create jobs. FDR was nominated... once more at the Democratic National Convention that year, before winning re-election in a landslide. But hold on... during the Civil War, the Democrats of the South were the ones advocating for smaller government while Republicans in the North wanted to abolish slavery, right? So what happened? A confluence of factors around the turn of the century began to reorient the political landscape, kicked off by the economic chaos from the Panic of 1893. Widespread discontent with the parties of the time, as well as the competition to attract the Western and Midwestern swing states, drove both parties to adopt different strategies. Democratic nominee William Jennings Bryan made his appeal to the working man, while Republican nominee William McKinley forged a conservative coalition of businessmen, professionals, and skilled factory workers. McKinley was victorious in the elections of both 1896 and 1900 while leading a successful economic recovery, but over time, voters from both parties began to embrace the progressive reforms Bryan had championed. It wasn't for another few decades that the political parties would eventually solidify into what we know them as today. And even though current party system is made up of entirely different people facing entirely different challenges, it will always be important to understand what led up to the moment we're in today. Starting this week, you can own a memento from one of these historic races! A campaign umbrella from 1900 made for William Jennings Bryan, or a stack of tickets for the 1936 Democratic National Convention. (Just in time for this year's DNC!) Okay voters, Pawn On!
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