How the balance of power has shifted between the Republicans and Democrats.
From 1894 to 1896, Republicans expand their footprint. The economic panic of 1893 ushers in rising disaffection with the administration of Grover Cleveland (D). The young leader of the populist wing of the Democratic Party, William Jennings Bryan, moves it to the left on economic issues. The realignment makes the Republicans the clear majority party through the early 1900s.
• Teddy Roosevelt (R), who becomes the youngest president at 42 upon the assassination of William McKinley, serves from 1901 to 1909. An ardent reformer, he fights monopolistic corporations, becomes the first president to call for universal healthcare, and promotes conservation.
In 1912, Republicans are splintered between the conservative followers of William Howard Taft and Roosevelt’s progressive wing. Woodrow Wilson (D) wins the election and is narrowly voted to a second term in 1916. In 1919, Wilson is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in creating the League of Nations. He establishes the Federal Reserve Board and passes labor and child-welfare laws. But his tenure is an aberration in a GOP era. Prosperity during World War I turns into postwar depression. Strikes and race riots erupt. This leads to a high point for the Republicans in the 1920s. They rule the White House for the next 12 years – with large successive victories by Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover.
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