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The American Pageant Chapter 23 Political Paralysis in the Gilded Age, 1869-1896 Cover Slide Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

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Presentation on theme: "The American Pageant Chapter 23 Political Paralysis in the Gilded Age, 1869-1896 Cover Slide Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved."— Presentation transcript:


2 The American Pageant Chapter 23 Political Paralysis in the Gilded Age, 1869-1896 Cover Slide Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. Adapted from: Ms. Susan M. Pojer Horace Greeley HS Chappaqua, NY


4 The 1868 Republican Ticket

5 The 1868 Democratic Ticket

6 Waving the Bloody Shirt!

7 Republicans nominated Civil War General Ulysses S. Grant –great soldier –had no political experience Democrats? –could only denounce military Reconstruction –couldnt agree on anything els e= were disorganized.

8 Waving the Bloody Shirt! The Republicans got Grant elected (barely) by waving the bloody shirt –=reliving his war victories used his popularity to elect him popular vote was only slightly ahead of rival Horatio Seymour. Seymour = Democratic candidate –didnt accept a redemption-of-greenbacks-for- maximum-value platform, and thus doomed his party. Since election = close Republicans could not take future victories for granted.

9 1868 Presidential Election

10 President Ulysses S. Grant

11 The Era of Good Stealings Despite the Civil War, the population grew –Partially due to immigration politics became very corrupt Railroad promoters cheated gullible customers. Too many judges and legislators put their power up for hire.

12 The Era of Good Stealings Jim Fisk and Jay Gould –notorious millionaires –In 1869, they concocted a plot to corner the gold market –Plan would only work if the treasury stopped selling gold –they worked on President Grant directly and through his brother-in-law –plan failed when the treasury sold gold.

13 The Era of Good Stealings Tweed Ring (AKA, Tammany Hall) of NYC –Headed by Boss Tweed Used bribery, graft, and fake elections to cheat the city of as much as $200 million caught when The New York Times secured evidence of his misdeeds died in jail.

14 The Tweed Ring in NYC William Marcy Tweed (notorious head of Tammany Halls political machine) [Thomas Nast crusading cartoonist/reporter]

15 Who Stole the Peoples Money?

16 A Carnival of Corruption Grant –failed to see corruption going on –many of his friends wanted offices –his cabinet was totally corrupt

17 Credit Mobilier railroad construction company that paid itself huge sums of money for small railroad construction Tarred Grant NY newspaper reported it 2 members of Congress were formally censured –company had given some of its stock to the congressmen –Vice President was shown to have accepted 20 shares of stock

18 Whiskey Ring 1875- public learned that the Whiskey Ring had robbed the Treasury of millions –group of officials were importing whiskey & using their offices to avoid paying the taxes on it, cheating the treasury out of millions of dollars. –when Grants own private secretary was shown to be one of the criminals, Grant retracted his earlier statement of Let no guilty man escape. –1876, Secretary of War William Belknap was shown to have pocketed some $24,000 by selling junk to Indians

19 And They Say He Wants a Third Term

20 The Election of 1872 Rumors of corruption during Grants first term discredit Republicans. Horace Greeley runs as a Democrat/Liberal Republican candidate. Greeley attacked as a fool and a crank. Greeley died on November 29, 1872!

21 1872 Presidential Election

22 Popular Vote for President: 1872

23 Causes: –Unrestrained speculation on the railroads –Too easy credit Started when… –failure of the NY banking firm Jay Cooke & Company, which was headed by the rich Jay Cooke, a financier of the Civil War. The Panic of 1873

24 Depression, Deflation, & Inflation Greenbacks that had been issued in the Civil War were being recalled –but now, during the panic cheap-money supporters wanted greenbacks to be printed en mass again, to create inflation. – supporters of hard-money (actual gold and silver) persuaded Grant to veto a bill that would print more paper money

25 Resumption Act of 1875 government would withdraw greenbacks & maKe all further redemption of paper money in gold at face value, starting in 1879. Debtors now cried that silver was under-valued (another call for inflation), –Grant refused to coin more silver dollars, which (stopped in 1873) new silver discoveries in the later 1870s shot the price of silver way down. Grants name remained fused to sound money, though not sound government. Depression, Deflation, & Inflation

26 greenbacks regain their value –few greenback holders exchange their more convenient bills for gold when Redemption Day came in 1879 1878, the Bland-Allison Act instructed the Treasury to buy and coin between $2 million and $4 million worth of silver bullion each month. The minimum was actually coined and its effect was minimal on creating cheap money.

27 Depression, Deflation, & Inflation Republican hard-money policy, –led to the election of a Democratic House of Representatives in 1874 –Spawned the Greenback Labor Party in 1878 primarily composed of prairie farmers who went into debt during the Panic of 1873 fought for increased monetary circulation through issuance of paper currency and bimetallism (using both gold and silver as legal tender) supported inflationary sought benefits for labor such as shorter working hours and a national labor bureau. wanted the government to print more greenbacks.


29 Definition: Gilded Age The Gilded Age, –term coined by Mark Twain –times looked good, yet if one scratched a bit below the surface, there were problems. –corruption.


31 Northern Support Wanes Grantism & corruption. Panic of 1873 [6-year depression]. Concern over westward expansion and Indian wars. Key monetary issues: * should the government retire $432m worth of greenbacks issued during the Civil War. * should war bonds be paid back in specie or greenbacks.

32 1876 Presidential Tickets

33 Regional Balance?

34 1876 Presidential Election

35 The Political Crisis of 1877 Corrupt Bargain Part II?

36 Hayes Prevails

37 Alas, the Woes of Childhood… Sammy TildenBoo-Hoo! Ruthy Hayess got my Presidency, and he wont give it to me!

38 A Political Crisis: The Compromise of 1877


40 1. A Two-Party Stalemate

41 2. Intense Voter Loyalty to the Two Major Political Parties

42 3. Well-Defined Voting Blocs Democratic Bloc Republican Bloc White southerners (preservation of white supremacy) Catholics Recent immigrants (esp. Jews) Urban working poor (pro-labor) Most farmers Northern whites (pro-business) African Americans Northern Protestants Old WASPs (support for anti-immigrant laws) Most of the middle class

43 4. Very Laissez Faire Federal Govt. From 1870-1900 Govt. did very little domestically. Main duties of the federal govt.: Deliver the mail. Maintain a national military. Collect taxes & tariffs. Conduct a foreign policy. Exception administer the annual Civil War veterans pension.

44 5. The Presidency as a Symbolic Office Party bosses ruled. Presidents should avoid offending any factions within their own party. The President just doled out federal jobs. 1865 53,000 people worked for the federal govt. 1890 166,000

45 The Birth of Jim Crow in the Post-Reconstruction South Reconstruction ended …military returned northward –whites asserted their power. –Literacy requirements for voting began, –voter registration laws emerged –poll taxes began –targeted at black voters.

46 Most blacks became sharecroppers –providing nothing but labor Or tenant farmers –if they could provide their own tools Plessy v. Ferguson: –1896, the Supreme Court ruled in the case of that separate but equal facilities were constitutional Jim Crow segregation was legalized. The Birth of Jim Crow in the Post-Reconstruction South

47 Class Conflicts & Ethnic Clashes Railroad Strike: –Background: 1877, the presidents of the nations 4 largest railroads decided to cut wages by 10%. –Workers struck back, stopping work –President Hayes sent troops to stop this, –violence erupted –more than 100 people died in the several weeks of chaos.

48 Class Conflicts & Ethnic Clashes Failure of the railroad strike? –showed weakness of the labor movement –Note: this was partly caused by friction between races, especially between the Irish and the Chinese. In San Francisco, Irish-born Denis Kearney incited his followers to terrorize the Chinese

49 Anti-Chinese sentiment: –1879-Congress passed a bill severely restricting the influx of Chinese immigrants (most of whom were males who had come to California to work on the railroads Hayes vetoed the bill –Said that it violated an existing treaty with China –After Hayes left office, the Chinese Exclusion Act, passed in 1882, was passed, barring any Chinese from entering the United Statesthe first law limiting immigration. Class Conflicts & Ethnic Clashes

50 James A. Garfield 1880 : Republicans nominated James A. Garfield –from Ohio rose to the rank of major general in the Civil War –as his running mate, a notorious Stalwart (supporter of Roscoe Conkling) was chosen: Chester A. Arthur of New York Democrats chose Winfield S. Hancock, –Civil War general (appealed to the South) due to his fair treatment of it during Reconstruction & a veteran who had been wounded at Gettysburg, and thus appealed to veterans.

51 1880 Presidential Election

52 –campaign avoided touchy issues –Garfield squeaked by in the popular vote (the electoral count was wider: 214 to 155). Garfield was a good person, but he hated to hurt peoples feelings and say no. –Garfield named James G. Blaine to Secretary of the State he made other anti-Stalwart acts, but on September 19, 1881, Garfield died after having been shot in the head by a crazy but disappointed office seeker, Charles J. Guiteau, who, after being captured, used an early version of the insanity defense to avoid conviction (he was hanged anyway). James A. Garfield

53 Republican infighting Stalwarts Republicans fighting for civil service reform during Garfield's term; they supported Cleveland. Half-breeds Favored tariff reform and social reform, major issues from the Democratic and Republican parties. They did not seem to be dedicated members of either party

54 1881: Garfield Assassinated! Charles Guiteau: I Am a Stalwart, and Arthur is President now!

55 Chester Arthur Chester Arthur surprised many –Gave cold shoulder to Stalwarts (his chief supporters) –called for reform Republican party slowly embraces reform

56 Pendleton Act (1883) Civil Service Act. The Magna Carta of civil service reform. 1883 14,000 out of 117,000 federal govt. jobs became civil service exam positions. 1900 100,000 out of 200,000 civil service federal govt. jobs.

57 Republican Mugwumps Reformers who wouldnt re-nominate Chester A. Arthur. Reform to them create a disinterested, impartial govt. run by an educated elite like themselves. Social Darwinists. Laissez faire government to them: Favoritism & the spoils system seen as govt. intervention in society. Their target was political corruption, not social or economic reform!

58 The Mugwump s Men may come and men may go, but the work of reform shall go on forever. Will support Cleveland in the 1884 election.

59 1884 Presidential Election Grover Cleveland James Blaine * (DEM) (REP)

60 A Dirty Campaign Ma, Ma…wheres my pa? Hes going to the White House, ha… ha… ha…!

61 Little Lost Mugwump Blaine in 1884

62 Rum, Romanism & Rebellion! Led a delegation of ministers to Blaine in NYC. Reference to the Democratic Party. Blaine was slow to repudiate the remark. Narrow victory for Cleveland [he wins NY by only 1149 votes!]. Dr. Samuel Burchard

63 1884 Presidential Election

64 Clevelands First Term The Veto Governor from New York. First Democratic elected since 1856. A public office is a public trust! His laissez-faire presidency: Opposed bills to assist the poor as well as the rich. Vetoed over 200 special pension bills for Civil War veterans!

65 The Tariff Issue After the Civil War, Congress raised tariffs to protect new US industries. Big business wanted to continue this; consumers did not. 1885 tariffs earned the US $100 mil. in surplus! President Clevelands view on tariffs???? wasnt really interested in the subject at first, but as he researched it, he became inclined towards lowering the tariff, so in late 1887, Cleveland openly tossed the appeal for lower tariffs into the lap of Congress.

66 The Billion Dollar Congress Speaker of the House, Thomas B. Reed= tremendous debater & very critical man. –To solve the problem of reaching a quorum (having enough voters to vote) in Congress, Reed counted the Democrats who were present yet didnt answer to the roll call, and after three days of such chaos, he finally prevailed, opening the 51st, or Billion Dollar Congressone that legislated many expensive projects.

67 Filing the Rough Edges Tariff of 1888

68 1888 Presidential Election Grover Cleveland Benjamin Harrison (DEM) * (REP)

69 Disposing the Surplus


71 Price Indexes for Consumer & Farm Products: 1865-1913

72 Founder of the National Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry (1867)

73 The Grange Movement First organized in the 1870s in the Midwest, the south, and Texas. First organized in the 1870s in the Midwest, the south, and Texas. Set up cooperative associations. Set up cooperative associations. Social and educational components. Social and educational components. Succeeded in lobbying for Granger Laws. Succeeded in lobbying for Granger Laws. Rapidly declined by the late 1870s. Rapidly declined by the late 1870s.

74 Begun in the late 1880s (Texas first the Southern Alliance; then in the Midwest the Northern Alliance). Begun in the late 1880s (Texas first the Southern Alliance; then in the Midwest the Northern Alliance). Built upon the ashes of the Grange. Built upon the ashes of the Grange. More political and less social than the Grange. More political and less social than the Grange. Ran candidates for office. Ran candidates for office. Controlled 8 state legislatures & had 47 representatives in Congress during the 1890s. Controlled 8 state legislatures & had 47 representatives in Congress during the 1890s. The Farmers Alliances

75 Platform of Lunacy

76 James B. Weaver, Presidential Candidate & James G. Field, VP Founded by James B. Weaver and Tom Watson. Founded by James B. Weaver and Tom Watson. Omaha, NE Convention in July, 1892. Omaha, NE Convention in July, 1892. Got almost 1 million popular votes. Got almost 1 million popular votes. Several Congressional seats won. Several Congressional seats won. The Populist (Peoples) Party

77 Omaha Platform of 1892 Politically: –Direct election of US Senators –Enacting state laws by voters themselves Economically: –Unlimited coinage of silver increase money supply –Graduated income tax –Govt. ownership of RRs, telephone & telegraph companies. –Loans and federal warehouses for farmers to enable them to stabilize prices for their crops –8 hour day for industrial workers

78 Govt.-Owned Companies

79 1892 Election


81 Causes of the 1893 Panic Begun 10 days after Cleveland took office. Begun 10 days after Cleveland took office. 1. Several major corps. went bankrupt. Over 16,000 businesses disappeared. Over 16,000 businesses disappeared. Triggered a stock market crash. Triggered a stock market crash. Over-extended investments. Over-extended investments. 2. Bank failures followed causing a contraction of credit [nearly 500 banks closed]. 3. By 1895, unemployment reached 3 million. Americans cried out for relief, but the Govt. continued its laissez faire policies!! Americans cried out for relief, but the Govt. continued its laissez faire policies!!

82 Here Lies Prosperity

83 When the banker says he's broke And the merchants up in smoke, They forget that it's the farmer who feeds them all. It would put them to the test If the farmer took a rest; Then they'd know that it's the farmer feeds them all. Written by a Farmer at the End of the 19c

84 Jacob Coxey & his Army of the Commonweal of Christ. March on Washington hayseed socialists! Wanted govt to relieve unemployment Coxeys Army, 1894

85 Populist vote increased by 40% in the bi-election year, 1894. Democratic party losses in the West were catastrophic! But, Republicans won control of the House. Result of Election Returns


87 Gold / Silver Bug Campaign Pins

88 The Great Commoner William Jennings Bryan (1860-1925)

89 Revivalist style of oratory. Prairie avenger, mountain lion, Bryan, Bryan, Bryan, Bryan, Gigantic troubadour, speaking like a siege gun, Smashing Plymouth Rock with his boulders from the West. William Jennings Bryan

90 Bryants Cross of Gold Speech You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns; you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold!

91 18,000 miles of campaign whistle stops. Bryan: The Farmers Friend (The Mint Ratio)

92 Platform tariff reductions; income tax; stricter control of the trusts (esp. RRs); free silver. Democratic Party Taken Over by the Agrarian Left

93 Mark Hanna: The Front-Porch Campaign


95 William McKinley (1843-1901)

96 Mark Hanna to Candidate McKinley

97 A Giant Straddle: Suggestion for a McKinley Political Poster

98 Joshua A. Levering: Prohibition Party

99 Into Which Box Will the Voter of 96 Place His Ballot?

100 1896 Election Results

101 Why Did Bryan Lose? His focus on silver undermined efforts to build bridges to urban voters. He did not form alliances with other groups. McKinleys campaign was well- organized and highly funded.

102 Gold Triumphs Over Silver 1900 Gold Standard Act confirmed the nations commitment to the gold standard. A victory for the forces of conservatism.

103 The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

104 Populism: A political philosophy supporting the rights and power of the people in their struggle against the privileged elite.

105 The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was written as an allegory to the situation that was happening in the Midwest. Every main character can be traced to either a particular person or group of people. Even the word Oz is used to represent the measurement of gold.

106 Dorothy: Represents everyman. She is an innocent Midwest girl who is able to see what is really going on in Oz.

107 Munchkins: Represent the common people, controlled by the Wicked Witch of the East (who represented the Eastern Industrialists and Bankers.

108 Scarecrow: Represents the wise but naïve western farmer, taken advantage of by the industrialists and bankers.

109 Tinman: Represents the dehumanized industrial worker. He is turned into a machine back the industrialists because of his hard work ethic and not having another craft to succeed in. He eventually becomes unable to love.

110 Cowardly Lion: Represents William Jennings Bryan, having a loud roar but was unable to back it up (bite).

111 Wicked Witch of the West: Represents the Western industrial influence and is ultimately destroyed by water (representing pure nature, a removal of machines).

112 "Your Silver Shoes will carry you over the desert.....If you had known their power you could have gone back to your Aunt Em the very first day you came to this country." Glinda explains, "All you have to do is knock the heels together three times and command the shoes to carry you wherever you wish to go." (p.257).

113 "The Silver Shoes had fallen off in her flight through the air, and were lost forever in the desert" (p.259). The drive for the gold standard to be replaced with silver was lost when Bryan lost the election and the Populist party lost its motivation or drive.

114 Although the silver had been lost, the important message is a return to the Midwest farmer/family. It is where true happiness remains. Back in Oz, the Scarecrow now runs the Emerald City, the Tinman rules in the west, and the Lion rules over smaller animals in the forest. Power has been returned to the people.

115 1964: Henry Littlefields Thesis?

116 Map 18.4 The Heyday of Western Populism, 1892 (p. 537) This map shows the percentage of the popular vote won by James B. Waver, the Peoples Party candidate in the presidential election of 1892. Except in California and Montana, the Populists won broad support across the West and genuinely threatened the established parties in that region.

117 Why Did Populism Decline? 1. The economy experienced rapid change. 2. The era of small producers and farmers was fading away. 3. Race divided the Populist Party, especially in the South. 4. The Populists were not able to break existing party loyalties. 5. Most of their agenda was co-opted by the Democratic Party.

118 Map 18.5 The Elections of 1892 & 1896 (p. 540) In the 1890s the age of political stalemate came to an end. Compare the 1892 map with the 1888 map an note especially Clevelands breakthrough in the normally Republican states of the upper Midwest. In 1896 the pendulum swung n the opposite direction, with McKinleys consolidation of Republican control over the Northeast and Midwest far overbalancing the Democratic advances in the thinly populated western states. The 1896 election marked the beginning of forty years of Republican dominance in national politics.

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