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by 1880, from an earlier noun, bulldose "a severe beating or lashing" (1876), literally "a dose fit for a bull," a slang word referring to the intimidation beating of black voters (by either blacks or whites) in the chaotic 1876 U.S. presidential election. See bull (n.1) + dose (n.). Related: Bulldozed; bulldozing.
To intimidate; overcome by force •Early use of the term is connected with Southern politics of the Reconstruction period and describes the intimidation of black men who wished to vote: to bulldoze employees
[1870s+; fr bulldose, ''to beat, flog with a strip of leather,'' perhaps fr the notion of the dose of force needed to cow a bull]