The Chaotic Roots of American Politics

An Adolescent Nation’s Partisan Divide Explodes.  The 19th century saw a raucous political culture characterized by hard cider bribery, polling place brawls, and consequently…very high voter turnout. In cities, armed gangs provided muscle for party bosses. The Bowery Boys, associated with New York’s firefighters and the nativist American Party, marched in intimidating election-eve midnight parades that sometimes ransacked…

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