Did the Gilded Age party system have any strengths to compensate for its weaknesess?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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On the whole, I would say that there was not.  This was a very corrupt and venal time in American politics.

However, if I had to argue that there was a strength, I would say that it lay in the intense interest that people had in politics.  Today, we tend to bemoan the fact that very few people vote.  We see it as evidence that people do not care and that our democracy is weakening.  This was not the case in the Gilded Age.  In those days, presidential elections got turnouts near to 80% of those eligible to vote.  You could argue that this popular enthusiasm for politics was a good thing about the Gilded Age.

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