A Land of Immigrants
Close to the ports of Boston and New York, Connecticut saw its population of immigrants from southern and eastern Europe swell in the last decades of the century.
“Forget your past, your customs and your ideals. Select a goal and pursue it with all your might. No matter what happens to you, hold on. You will experience a bad time, but later you will achieve your goal.”
– A Russian immigrant’s advice to newcomers
to Connecticut, 1891
The Democratic Party Shattered
Known as the “Great Commoner,” Williams Jennings Bryan claimed to uphold the rights of sturdy farmers, workers and small business owners against the rapacious designs of big business. His candidacy for president in 1896 had an earthshaking effect on Connecticut’s cautious politics. The Democratic Party shattered as Yankees, who viewed Bryan as a dangerous radical, fled to the Republicans and left the party to the Irish. In 1896, Republican candidates swept the state Senate and won a commanding majority in the House.
This article is a panel reproduction from An Orderly and Decent Government, an exhibition on the history of representative government in Connecticut developed by Connecticut Humanities and put on display in the Capitol concourse of the Legislative Office Building, Hartford, Connecticut.