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Unit 7: The West, Gilded Age Politics and the Rise of Modern America Political Paralysis in the Gilded Age – Part 2.

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Presentation on theme: "Unit 7: The West, Gilded Age Politics and the Rise of Modern America Political Paralysis in the Gilded Age – Part 2."— Presentation transcript:

1 Unit 7: The West, Gilded Age Politics and the Rise of Modern America Political Paralysis in the Gilded Age – Part 2

2 Chapter Themes The serious issues of monetary and agrarian reform, labor, race and economic fairness were largely swept under the rug by the political system, until revolting farmers and a major economic depression beginning in 1893 created a growing sense of crisis and demands for radical change.

3 Class and Ethnic Conflicts  Depression, deflation and the panic of 1873  Heightened income inequality  Great Railroad Strike of 1877  Leaders of the four largest railroads cut employee wages by 10%  President Hayes called in federal troops  Strike sympathy spread nationwide  Violence led to >100 deaths

4 Government & Business Highlight the weakness of the labor movement Government uses power (courts, troops, police) to side with business

5 Labor Disunity Racial and ethnic divides within the labor movement created tensions and fissures within the labor movement – For example, Irish and Chinese workers in California

6 Chinese Immigrants By 1880 – Asian immigrants represented 9% of California’s population – Part of the Gold Rush – Worked on the transcontinental railroad Roughly 50% would return to China – Those who remain face discrimination, menial labor – Mostly men

7 Chinese Exclusion Denis Kearney and his followers resented the competition for cheap labor – Incited violence against the Chinese Chinese Exclusion Act – 1882 – Prohibited nearly all immigration from China – Stayed in effect into 1943

8 U.S. v. Kim Wong 14 th Amendment guaranteed citizenship to all persons born in the United States – “birthright citizenship” – Provided protection to immigrants communities

9 Election of 1880 Hayes was repudiated by the Republican Old Guard Republicans selected James Garfield from Ohio – Stalwart Chester Arthur as vice- president – Democratic opponent – Winfield Hancock – Slim popular vote victory, but solid electoral win

10 Assassination Stalwarts battle with reformers – Sec’y of State Blaine and Sen. Roscoe Conkling Charles J. Guiteau shot President Garfield – Caused a reevaluation of the spoils system (patronage)

11 Stalwart? Arthur Became a Reformer – Prosecuted several fraud cases Pendleton Act of 1883 – Civil service reform – Examinations replace “spoils” – Necessitated politicians look elsewhere for money Corporations Arthur angered Republican party

12 Election of 1884 James G. Blaine as Republican nomination – “Mulligan letters” caused some Republicans moved to the Democratic party Mugwimps Democrats nominated Grover Cleveland – Grover the Good”

13 Mudslinging Personalities and scandals dominated the campaign Blaine”s New York blunder New York and a strong showing in the South gave Cleveland a victory

14 Cleveland’s Administration Laissez-faire “Though the people should support the government, the government should not support the people” Named Confederates to his cabinet Wavered on civil service reform Military pension problems

15 Tariffs Tariffs were raised during the Civil War – Benefitted Republican party – Treasury surplus Big business favored keeping the tariffs Cleveland saw the economic benefits of tariffs – Blundered call for lower tariffs

16 Election of 1888 Tariff issue divided election Democrats re-nominated Cleveland Republicans nominated Benjamin Harrison – Raised $3 million to “purchase” election – Cleveland won popular vote, but Harrison won in the electoral college

17 Republican Congress Rep. Thomas Reed (R-ME) – Dominated “Billion Dollar Congress” – Civil War veterans pensions – Government purchase of silver – McKinley Tariff Act of 1890 48.4% on dutiable goods

18 Consequences of the Tariff Rising star republican McKinley of Ohio Problems for farmers – Purchase high priced American goods – Sell goods in unprotected markets Republican losses in 1890 Congressional elections

19 Populist Party Frustrated farmers sowed seeds of the Populist or People’s Party – Free coinage of silver (16 to 1 ratio to gold) – Graduated income tax – Government ownership of telegraph, telephone and railroad – Direct election of senators – One-term for the presidency

20 Populist Party Platform Immigration restriction, shorter workday, initiative and referendum to allow citizens to shape legislation Nominated General James B. Weaver, an old Greenbacker

21 Homestead Series of nationwide strikes during summer of 1892 Homestead Strike at Andrew Carnegie’s steel plant – Workers angry over pay cuts – Fisk called in armed Pinkerton detectives to stop the strike – Violent end

22 Election of 1892

23 Racial Politics Populists did well in the election Southern black farmers shared similar goals as Populists – Organized Colored Farmer’s National Alliance – Populist leaders recognized opportunity – “Bourbons” countered Populist appeal for interracial solidarity

24 Racial Intimidation Populists re-ignited concerns of potential black political strength – Literacy tests – Poll tests – Grandfather clause exempted anyone whose forebear had voted in 1860 Increased segregation Lynchings and intimidation By 1896, Populist Party became increasingly racist – Called for black disenfranchisement

25 Depression of 1896 Cleveland regains the presidency Depression of 1896 lasts four years – Overbuilding, speculation, labor disorders, agricultural depression – Free silver cries ruin American credit abroad Foreign banks call in U.S. loan – >8000 business failures

26 Treasury Problems Laissez-faire policies Deficit Treasury required to issue legal tender notes for the silver bullion it bought. Owners could then present it paper for gold – Endless chain of gold depletion Gold reserves fell below safe minimum Cleveland called for a repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890 Opposed by William Jennings Bryan Cleveland turned to J.P. Morgan

27 J.P. Morgan Banker’s banker Orchestrated a $65 million gold loan to Treasury – $7 million commission Deal was condemned by – “Morgan’s errand boy”

28 Additional Economic Legislation Wilson-Gorman Tariff – 1894 Democratic tariff that was intended to lower rates – Loaded with special interest protection that it barely lowered the high tariff rates – Included a 2% tax on incomes >$4,000 Struck down by Supreme Court Republican congressional victory in 1894

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