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AMERICAN HISTORY.  Before the Civil War, most cities were small and easily managed by part-time politicians  Late 1800s – part-time politicians were.

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Presentation on theme: "AMERICAN HISTORY.  Before the Civil War, most cities were small and easily managed by part-time politicians  Late 1800s – part-time politicians were."— Presentation transcript:


2  Before the Civil War, most cities were small and easily managed by part-time politicians  Late 1800s – part-time politicians were losing control of their cities  POLITICAL MACHINE—an informal group of professional politicians who controlled local government

3  Political machines often resorted to corrupt methods  IMMIGRANTS AND POLITICAL MACHINES  Political machines made a special effort to reach out to immigrants  They helped newcomers find jobs or housing

4  They supplied coal in the winter and provided turkeys for holiday dinners  They helped immigrants become naturalized citizens  In return for this help, politicians expected the people they assisted would vote for them and rally broader community support.  James Pendergast—popular Kansas City, MO politician

5  He gained loyalty of local immigrants by giving money to those in need  He ran for ALDERMAN (city council) and soon controlled Kansas City politics  Stephen Powers and James B. Wells, Jr. set up a machine in Cameron County, TX in the 1870s  In exchange for votes, they helped Mexican Americans with costs of weddings, funerals, and living expenses

6  Immigrants also became part of the political machine  Irish Americans rose through the ranks of the Boston political machine  Two second-generation Irish immigrants even became mayor: John F. Fitzgerald (JFK’s grandfather) & James Michael Curley

7  CORRUPTION  Political machines used illegal tactics to maintain control  Machine bosses bought votes with jobs and favors  Election fraud  People were hired to vote, change their appearance (different clothes or haircut, etc.) and then they would vote again

8  Many politicians practiced GRAFT – using their position to gain money and power dishonestly  THE TWEED RING  The most notorious political machine was Tammany Hall, which ran the democratic Party in NYC.

9  1863—William Marcy Tweed became the powerful head of Tammany Hall  Boss Tweed used his position to acquire riches  Ex. – The city paid $13 million to build a new court house which was several times the actual cost  Tweed and associates pocketed the difference.

10  Tweed controlled elections, corrupt judges, and big business in the city  His power was unbreakable until 1871  A new bookkeeper gave information to the NY Times newspaper proving how much Tweed had stolen  A cartoonist, Thomas Nast, published artwork about Tweed in Harper’s Weekly magazine. Tweed demanded the cartoons be stopped.

11  1873—Tweed convicted of fraud and corruption and sentenced to 12 years in jail  Tweed escaped but was located in Spain and put back in jail  1878—Tweed died in a NY City jail

12  The dominant image of government in the late 1800s was a smoke-filled back room  SCANDALS OF THE GRANT ADMINISTRATION  1869—Ulysses S. Grant becomes President  Several scandals during his administration  1860s—The Credit Mobilier scandal

13  Union Pacific railroad set up a construction company called Credit Mobilier to build part of the transcontinental railroad  Credit Mobilier charged taxpayers $23 million more than it actually cost  The extra money went into bank accounts of Union Pacific and Credit Mobilier  1872—NY Sun revealed that Credit Mobilier had given stock to members of Congress and even Vice President Schuyler Colfax

14  1875—A new treasury secretary revealed a conspiracy to divert tax collections into private hands  The Whiskey Ring, a group that included Grant’s private secretary, whiskey distributors, and distillers, and government officials, stole millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money  Whiskey producers paid bribes to government officials

15  In return liquor tax money was kept by producers instead of going into the U.S. treasury  PRESIDENT HAYES AND REFORM  Reformers wanted to end fraud under the spoils system  Rutherford B. Hayes became President in 1877 and wanted reform

16  Executive Order—government officials could not manage political parties or campaigns  NY Customs House—corrupt Republicans controlled the jobs and ignored Hayes’ order  They were fired  STALWARTS—lead by Roscoe Conkling—wanted to continue the spoils system

17  1880—Hayes decides not run for a 2 nd term. Republicans compromise on James A. Garfield  GARFIELD’S SHORT PRESIDENCY  Garfield wins election but angers Stalwarts  He did not give Conkling a cabinet appointment  July 1881—Garfield is shot at a Washington, DC train station

18  The President died in September 1881  The assassin was Charles Guiteau—an unstable character who had been denied a government job  Guiteau thought he was helping the Stalwarts by killing Garfield but the opposite happened  Chester A. Arthur becomes President  Arthur supported the Stalwarts initially but now turned against the spoils system

19 PPresident Arthur (R) operated independently of the Republican Party 11883—Pendleton Civil Service Act – Promotions must be based on merit, not political connections OOnly applied to 10% of the federal workforce IImportant first step TTo Be Continued…

20  Calls for reform started coming from farmers  FARMERS’ HARDSHIPS  Late 1800s – crop prices falling  Farmers had borrowed large sums of money for equipment  24 acres of cotton in 1894 was worth LESS than 9 acres of cotton in 1873

21  Farmers had increased trouble paying their debts  Railroads charged enormous fees to transport crops to market  Smallest farmers had to pay the highest rates  Everybody making money at the farmer’s expense: farm equipment seller, banks, railroads  Farmers that worked every day were nearly penniless

22  THE NATIONAL GRANGE  Farmers decided to organize themselves  Groups provided emergency aid and other assistance  Local groups combined to form national organizations  First major group—Order of Patrons of Husbandry (aka National Grange)

23  Founded by Oliver Hudson Kelley in 1867  Farmers after the Civil War were downtrodden and needed to be supported  The Grange tried to unite farmers and eliminate regional rivalries  Within a few years, membership exploded  Farmers realized they had to fight railroads, grain elevators

24  Late 1870s—Grange succeeded in persuading state legislatures in IL, IA, MN, WI to regulate railroads and grain elevators  Businesses opposed regulation because it hurt their profits  1877—Munn v. Illinois – Supreme Court decided state legislatures had the right to regulate businesses that involved the public interest

25  1886—Wabash v. Illinois—Supreme Court ruled that the federal government had the power to regulate railroad traffic moving across state boundaries  Interstate Commerce Act of 1887—first time for federal regulation of any industry  ICA wanted to make rates fair for all customers  Large shippers were no longer given favorable rates

26  Railroads forbidden from charging more for short hauls than long hauls along the same rail line  Interstate Commerce Commission created to regulate railroads  Congress did not give ICC power to enforce regulations until 1906

27  THE ALLIANCE MOVEMENT  Other farmers formed organizations in TX and NY  These groups combine to form the Farmers’ Alliance  Helped farmers with practical needs—buying equipment or marketing farm products

28  1890—1 million+ farmers are members from different regions  Leaders of the Southern Alliance restricted their membership to whites  African Americans formed the Colored Farmers’ Alliance in 1890 (>1 million members)  This group also fought prejudice

29  THE MONEY SUPPLY ISSUE  Farmers’ Alliance wanted the money supply to increase (have the government print more money)  More money in circulation would inflate prices  1873—Congress adopts the gold standard  No more money than there was gold in the treasury

30  Gold standard reduced amount of money in circulation and farmers were concerned  Farm groups wanted money backed by silver, too  Alliance members became active in the election of 1890  They supported any candidate the agreed with farmers’ position

31  Alliance-backed candidates won more than 40 congressional seats and 4 governorships  THE POPULIST PARTY  Alliance leaders decided to form a national political party  July 1892—Omaha, NE—Populist Party formed

32  Populist Party supported National Grange and Alliance  Party platform called for an income tax, bank regulation, government ownership of railroad and telegraph companies, and the free (unlimited) coinage of silver  Election of 1892—James Weaver (Pop.) & Benjamin Harrison (R-I) & Grover Cleveland (D)

33  Cleveland won the election  Populists won several seats in Congress as well as several state offices  THE PANIC OF 1893  May 1893—leading railroad fails  Investor pulled out of the stock market

34  Thousands of businesses collapsed  End of 1893—3 million people were unemployed  Strikes and protests swept across the country  One reason for panic was the Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890  Law required government to pay for silver purchases with paper money redeemable in gold or silver

35  This put a huge strain on the gold reserves  Congress repealed the act and the USA remained on the gold standard  THE ELECTION OF 1896  Democrats didn’t want Grover Cleveland to run again because he was unpopular after the Panic of 1893  William McKinley (R-OH) vs. William Jennings Bryan (D-NE)

36  Bryan supported the free (unlimited) coinage of silver  Because the democrats supported free silver, the Populists also supported the democrats  Business leader contributed millions of dollars to Republican McKinley’s campaign  McKinley won the election

37  Free silver by itself was not important enough to help win a national campaign  The Election of 1896 was the high point for the Populist Party, which soon faded away  Populist reforms would be enacted by the government over time  Many politicians suggest that they support ordinary people, not special interests  THE END

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