The government in those days was at least as democratic as our government today. Of course you can argue that it did some undemocratic things. You can argue, for example, that its reactions to things like the Homestead Strike were antidemocratic. However, you can always claim that some things the government does are antidemocratic (such as denial of the right to gay marriage, for example). The government of these times was just as democratic as today in that it was democratically elected. In fact, electoral turnout in those days was much higher than it is today. The 1888 presidential election, for example, had a turnout of 79%, which is much higher than the 57% who voted in the 2008 election.