2 Politics of StalemateNo more than 1% of the popular vote separated the candidates in 4 of 5 electionsThe 5 presidential elections from 1876 to 1892 were the most closely contested elections everCongress was split as well:Democrats controlled the HouseRepublicans held the SenateThis “stalemate” made it difficult for any of the 5 presidents or either party to pass significant legislation for 20 yearsPendleton Civil Service Act of 1883Interstate Commerce Act of 1887Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890McKinley Tariff Act of 1890
5 A Two-Party StalemateRepublicans & Democrats were closely divided in New York, Ohio, & Indiana—these 3 states swung the 5 presidential electionsAs a result, 16 of the 20 presidential & VP candidates were from NY, Ohio, or Indiana
6 Well-Defined Voting Blocs Democratic BlocRepublican Bloc“Waving the Bloody Shirt” continued:Every state that seceded from the United States was a Democratic State…every man that tried to destroy this nation was a Democrat. Every man that loved slavery more than liberty was a Democrat. The man that assassinated Lincoln was a Democrat…Soldiers, every scar you have got on you heroic bodies was given to you by a Democrat.—Col Robert Ingersoll to Union veterans during the 1876 presidential electionSupported by white southerners, farmers, immigrants, & the working poorFavored white supremacy & supported labor unionsSupported by Northern whites, blacks, & nativistsSupported big business & favored anti-immigration laws
7 “I am a Stalwart, and Arthur is president now!” Civil Service ReformThe most important political issue of 1880s was civil service reform:Republicans were split among Mugwumps (supported reform), Stalwarts (opposed reform), & Half-Breeds (split on reform)Republican James Garfield was elected in 1880 but was soon killed by Charles GuiteauIf the spoils system could kill a president, it was time to end it“I am a Stalwart, and Arthur is president now!”
8 Civil Service ReformState & local governments mirrored these civil service reforms in the 1880s & 1890sPresident Arthur & Congress pushed for the Pendleton Act (1883) for competitive exams for civil service jobsRepublicans chose James Blaine over Arthur as its nominee in 1884 against Grover ClevelandCleveland won & became the 1st Democrat to be elected president in 28 years
10 Ma, Ma…where’s my pa? He’s going to the White House, ha… ha… ha…! A Dirty CampaignMa, Ma…where’s my pa? He’s going to the White House, ha… ha… ha…!
11 The Tariff of Abominations in 1828 Tariffs & TrustsCleveland sought to reduce gov’t spending & lower the tariffBenjamin Harrison narrowly defeated Cleveland in 1888 & Repubs took control of Congress:Passed the McKinley Tariff of 1890; highest tariff since 1828This “Billion-Dollar” Congress expanded gov’t activitiesThe Tariff of Abominations in 1828
13 Tariffs & TrustsFrom , 28 state commissions were created to regulate industry, especially RRs:In 1870, Illinois declared RRs to be public highways; this was upheld by Munn v. Illinois (1876)But was overturned in Wabash v. Illinois (1886): only Congress can regulate interstate tradeSupreme Court ruled: “private property affecting public interest” can be “controlled by the public for the common good”Munn case “ private property affecting public interest” can be “controlled by public for the common good”
14 Tariffs & Trusts Congress responded by creating: This was the 1st attempt by the federal gov’t to regulate big businessThe ICC became the model for future regulatory agenciesCongress responded by creating:The Interstate Commerce Commission in 1887 to regulate the railroad industryThe Sherman Antitrust Act in 1890 which made it illegal to restrain trade (punishable by dissolution of the company)US v. E. C. Knight Co (1895) was the 1st test of antitrust lawThe Supreme Court ruled that manufacturing monopoly do not restrain trade because making a good is not the same as selling it
15 The Depression of 1893-1897 Voters hated the Republican tariff: Voted for a Democratic majority in Congress in 1890 & for Cleveland for president in 1892In 1893, a collapse in the stock market spiraled the economy into a severer 4-year depression:500 banks & 1,500 businesses failed; 20% unemploymentPresident Cleveland & Congress responded with the Wilson-Gorman Tariff Act that reduce tariffs & created a slight income tax (did not help)
16 The Depression ofIn 1894, there were 1,400 strikes led by hordes of unemployed people demanding gov’t relief:Jacob Coxey led an “army” from Ohio to D.C to convince Congress to create jobs by spending $500 million on new roads
17 The Depression ofWhen the Pullman Car Co cut wages & laid off workers, the American RR Union, led by Eugene V. Debs, joined the strike:The Pullman Strike crippled rail traffic & western farmersCleveland issued an injunction & sent US troops; led to violenceIn re Debs in 1895, the Supreme Court upheld the injunction since the strike restrained US tradeThis was a clever application of the Sherman Antitrust ActIn re Debs made the Sherman Act a great anti-labor toolDebs was arrested for violating injunction & gained popularity; turned to socialism in jail & went on to found Socialist Party of America—mixed success in early 1900s(!)
18 The Farmers’ Movements & the Rise of the Populists
19 The Farm ProblemBy the 1870s, discontent among farmers was growing due to:Harsh farming conditionsDeclining grain & cotton pricesRising RR rates & mortgagesGovernment deflation policiesFarmers lashed out at banks, merchants, railroads, & the US monetary system
20 Price Index for Consumer & Farm Goods (1865-1915)
21 Credit & MoneyGrant’s decision to reduce the # of greenbacks after the Civil War deflated the money supply:By 1879, the US was restored to the international gold standard & stabilized the US economyBut this policy made money more scarce & limited credit which hurt western farmers
22 Greenback & Silver Movements This would lead to inflation & someone would consistently buy silver from minersMany farmers supported the “free silver” movement:The US minted silver & gold coins at a 16:1 ratio, but stopped in 1873 due to an oversupply of goldBut western miners found huge lodes of silver & wanted “free silver”—the gov’t should buy all silver from miners & coin itIn 1878, Congress passed the Bland-Allison Act to coin between $2-4 million in silver coins In 1890, Congress passed the Sherman Silver Purchase Act to increase silver coinage but not to 16:1 (the act was repealed in 1893)Bland-Allison Act was not successful in deflating the US money supply—hence the frowny face
24 The Farmers’ AllianceIn 1890, the Nat’l Farmers’ Alliance was formed to establish farm cooperatives & provide social gatheringsIn 1890, made Ocala Demands:Allow farmers to store crops in gov’t silos when prices are badFree-coinage of silver, a federal income tax, & no national bankDirect election of US senatorsTighter regulation of RRs
25 The Populist PartyIn 1890, the Peoples’ Party (Populists) was formed & elected several state & national legislatorsBy 1892, the Populists ran James Weaver for president; his platform was the Ocala DemandsPopulists were not happy with the results
26 The Election of 1892 Even Midwestern farmers did not vote Populist Southern Democrats used racism & intimidation to remind whites of the “bloody flag”The Election of 1892Upon his election, Cleveland called for and received the repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act which alienated Southern & Western Democrats from the partyBlack farmers voted Republican & did not support the Populists
27 Populist Allegory—The Wizard of Oz What does each character represent?What about the “Yellowbrick Road” and the “Ruby Slippers”?
31 The Election of 1896A Populist-Democrat merger looked possible in 1896 when William Jennings Bryan received the Democratic nomination against Repub William McKinley:Called for free silver & income tax; attacked trusts & injunctionsBryan visited 26 states on his whistle-stop campaign to education Americans on silver“Having behind us the producing masses…we will answer their demand for the gold standard ‘You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns, you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.’”
32 The Election of 1896Advised by RNC chairman, Mark Hanna, McKinley waged a “front porch” campaign from OhioAided by the press, McKinley’s message reached as many voters:Advocated economic, urban, & industrial growthAroused fear that a “free silver” victory would result in 57¢ dollar
33 Bryan: The Farmers’ Friend 18,000 miles of campaign “whistle stops”
34 The election of 1896 killed the Populist Party, although key platform ideas (income tax, secret ballot, direct election of Senators) would be enacted by other partiesThe Election of 1896
36 The McKinley Administration Republicans benefited from an improving economy, better crop production, & new discoveries of gold:Election of 1896 cemented Republican rule for 30 years & became party of prosperityFrom , Republicans had promoted industry; by 1900, it was time to regulate it
37 The McKinley Administration McKinley was an activist president and perhaps was the first “modern” president:He communicated well with the pressThe Spanish-American War brought the USA respect as a world powerThe Gold Standard Act (1900) ended the silver controversyWas McKinley the 1st modern president??
39 Conclusions: A Decade of Changes The economic hardships of the Depression of 1893 forced people to rethink industry, urbanization, & the quality of American lifeMany embraced the need for reform; Led to the beginning of the Progressive Era
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