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Democratic Party until the 1890s


Fenwick island Delaware
Fenwick island Delaware

In the years after the war the Democratic Party, consistently voted into office by the rural population of Kent and Sussex counties, won nearly every major election in Delaware and remained in power until the 1890s. It proclaimed itself the “white man’s party,” made it difficult for blacks to vote, and aligned itself with the Southern bloc of the party (the so-called Solid South) in Congress. Meanwhile, industry expanded rapidly in the northern part of the state, especially in the Wilmington area, which attracted immigrants from Ireland, Germany, Poland, Italy, and Russia. Wilmington consistently voted Republican.

In 1897 the state’s present constitution was adopted. It provided for the revision of the legislative and judicial systems, including reapportionment of the state legislature. Under the terms of the new constitution, New Castle County was given increased representation in the legislature, but the combined vote of the other two counties continued to control the legislature, and Wilmington’s representation actually decreased.

Meanwhile the Republican Party in Delaware was weakened by a struggle between supporters and opponents of John Edward O’Sullivan Addicks. A wealthy financier, Addicks campaigned as a candidate for the United States Senate for nearly two decades. He was never elected, but on several occasions his supporters caused a deadlock in the election of a senator. On one occasion the deadlock caused Delaware to be without a U.S. senator for two years, 1901 to 1903. After 1905, however, the Republican Party took the lead in state politics, supported by the wealthy du Pont family, and retained control of the government until 1936. "Delaware" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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