The Southern Democratic Political Machine in North Georgia

Today in America, the South is associated with the Republican party. In most elections, the South will vote for Republican candidates most of the time. However, during the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, the South was heavily Democratic, particularly in Georgia. According to, Georgia voted Democratic in every presidential election from 1876 to 1920. This level of extreme democratic control can be credited to the Bourbonism Democrats. These Democrats were extremely wealthy and influential people. 

Along with major influential figures, the Ku Klux Klan also had an impact on the Democratic party during this time period, as they would use violence and intimidation to terrorize citizens that the Democratic party did not favor. During the Progressive Era, the Klan was in the second wave and was created in order to be a political machine. Political candidates on all levels were involved in the Klan, and most politicians that weren't were afraid to denounce them. President Woodrow Wilson held a screening of Birth of a Nation, a movie romanticizing the Ku Klux Klan, in the White House. 

Part of the reason the South was heavily democratic during these times is due to the party's racial policies. The republican party was seen as the party of Lincoln and associated with freeing the slaves, a notion that did not sit well with the South at this time. Also, the democratic party was seen as the common man's party in the South, which appealed to Southern voters. 

Towards the middle of the 20th century, the switch in party dominance commenced. Since then the South has been viewed as predominately Republican, voting regularly for the party in elections. However, some argue the political dominance of the Republican party today does not compare to the level of dominance seen during the Gilded Age and Progressive era. 


Walker P