Then & Now
The Civil War cast a long shadow over the future development of American government and politics in Pennsylvania. A long period of Republican Party dominance followed the war at the federal and state level. The party’s ability to “wave the bloody shirt” and remind voters of its support of the Union cause, in contrast to the Democratic Party’s alleged lack of patriotism and association with traitors, greatly benefited the Republicans.
The party’s firm advocacy of high tariffs to protect industrial jobs from foreign competition was also popular among Pennsylvania industrialists. In Pennsylvania, large corporations—particularly railroads—gained vast political influence following the war. Thomas Scott, president of the Pennsylvania Railroad, exerted great influence over the Pennsylvania legislature during the “Gilded Age” in the late 19th century.
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