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Political Paralysis of the Gilded Age 1869-1896 Chapter 23.

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Presentation on theme: "Political Paralysis of the Gilded Age 1869-1896 Chapter 23."— Presentation transcript:

1 Political Paralysis of the Gilded Age Chapter 23

2 Population After the Civil War, population vaulted upwards despite the loss of many young men 1870 – 39 million people in US because of immigrant surge US – 3 rd largest Western nation behind Russia and France

3 Corruption Under Grant Waste, extravagance, speculation, and graft Grant – great soldier, but bad politician War hero – presented with house and $105,000 for saving Union

4 Election of 1868 Republicans nominate U.S. Grant Democrats – former NY Gov. Horatio Seymour Grant wins easily in E.C. “waving the bloody shirt” 500,000 former slaves vote for Grant

5 Era of Good Stealings Era was a very corrupt time Railroads, stockmarkets, judges, legislators

6 William “Boss” Tweed 240 lbs. Head of crooked Tweed Ring in NYC Bribery, graft, fraudulent elections Milked NYC for $200 million Protestors had their taxes raised

7 Tweed Ring NY Times – published damning evidence in 1871 and courageously ran it in the paper despite bribe Cartoons by Thomas Nast NY attorney Samuel J. Tilden prosecuted Tweed and sent him to jail Tweed died in prison shortly after

8 Grant’s Cabinet Grafters, corrupted, incompetent Dent Family – Grant’s in-laws received dozens of high level positions Spoils system at its worst

9 Credit Mobilier Union Pacific Railroad created the Credit Mobilier company and hired itself with government $ to build railroads at inflated prices Up to 348% inflation on prices and distributed shares of stock to congressmen Led to censure of two congressmen

10 Whiskey Ring Robbed the treasury of millions in alcohol excise taxes Grant’s own personal secretary was implicated in the crime Grant had to write a letter of pardon for him

11 Liberal Republicans 1872 – some Republicans became disgusted with Grant A reform party began – Liberal Republicans

12 Horace Greeley Nominated to run for office on Liberal Republican ticket in 1872 Editor of NY Tribune Dogmatic, emotional, petulant, and unsound

13 Greeley Office hungry Democrats also nominated Greeley to run for president “ate crow” – they were seen as traitors Greeley was called a communist, free- lover, vegetarian, brown-bread eater Grant won

14 Depression of 1873 Economic Panic Bankers made bad loans that weren’t repaid Credit houses crashed 15,000 businesses went bankrupt Black Americans hit hard – lost $7 mil in investments – began to distrust banks

15 Greenback Debtors clamored for paper money Greenbacks printed during war 1874 – hard money advocates convinced Grant to veto a bill that would print more money

16 Resumption Act of 1875 Government pledged to pull more paper $ while redeeming it in gold at face value Silver – Congress formally stopped coining silver in 1873 Protest over money lasted throughout the late 1860s and all of the 1870s

17 “Gilded Age” Gold on the outside, but cheap metal on the inside Coined by Mark Twain in 1873 The three decades after the Civil War

18 Gilded Age Every presidential election was a squeaker House switched hands 6 times from Democrats and Republicans were not that much different from one another They were competitive with fierce loyalty

19 Republicans Puritan lineage Strict code of personal morality Government should play a role in economy and society Blacks voted Republican

20 Democrats Lutheran and Catholic Less stern view on human weakness Toleration of differences Solid base in the South and Northern Industrial cities

21 Republicans The Republican Party had two factions Stalwart Half-Breeds

22 Stalwart Faction Led by Roscoe “Lord Roscoe” Conkling US Senator from New York Swapped civil service jobs for votes

23 Half-Breeds Led by James G. Blaine US Congressman from Maine Flirted with civil service reform They stalemated each other and deadlocked the party

24 Election of 1876 Grant toyed with idea of running for 3 rd term Congress passed a reminder of Washington’s 2 term precedent Republicans nominated Rutherford B. Hayes – “The Great Unknown” from OH Democrats – Samuel J. Tilden (NY) – man who bagged “Boss” Tweed

25 Hayes – Tilden (1876) 185 electoral votes needed to win the presidency Tilden got votes from 4 states in doubt because of irregular returns Each state sent 2 sets of returns 1 Republican and 1 Democrat

26 Compromise of 1877 Electoral Count Act – set up an electoral commission w/ 15 men from Senate, House, and Supreme Court Feb – Senate met to determine the president Agreed by partisan vote 8-7 to give the election to Hayes

27 Rutherford B. Hayes Democrats reluctantly agreed to allow Hayes the presidency Only if federal troops were removed from the South Reconstruction was officially over

28 Republicans lose the South With the end of the bayonet backed Republican regimes in the South, blacks were left without political power White Democrats (Redeemer) resumed power in South and used it to force blacks into unemployment, eviction, and physical harm Sharecropping and tenant farming at mercy of former masters (manipulated the system to keep blacks in debt)

29 Jim Crow Laws Systematic state-level codes of segregation, literacy requirements to vote, poll taxes, grandfather clause Hatred and segregation turned into state laws

30 Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) Supreme Court case that ruled “separate but equal” facilities were constitutional Reality: facilities were never equal Blacks were separated into inferior schools, public facilities, railroad cars, theatres, and restrooms Second-Class Citizens

31 Chinese in California 75,000 Asians in California by 1880 Poor, uneducated, single males, mostly from Guangdong Province Came to find gold or work on railroads Extraordinary hardships “not a Chinaman’s chance”

32 Election of 1880 Hayes was denounced by the Republican Party Republican candidate – James A. Garfield Democrat – Winfield Scott Hancock, a Civil War hero Garfield wins

33 James A. Garfield Energetic and capable However, on September 19,1881 Charles J. Guiteau shot and killed Garfield Guiteau was insane, and killed Garfield because he didn’t get a government job Guiteau found guilty and hanged

34 Chester A. Arthur Becomes president (VP) Was corrupt b4 he was president Surprised critics by prosecuting fraud cases and turning his shoulder to old cronnies Garfield’s death shocked politicians into reforming spoils system

35 Pendleton Act (1883) Made campaign contributions from federal employees illegal and established the Civil Service Commission to appoint people to government jobs based on test scores and abilities, not “pull”

36 Election of 1884 Republicans – nominate James G. Blaine (not honest) Democrats – Grover Cleveland (NY) Bachelor, lawyer, 47 years old “Grover the Good” had an illegitimate son (8 years old) whom he paid money for – Cleveland decided to “tell the truth”

37 Grover Cleveland Republican slogan: “Ma, ma, where’s my paw…Gone to the White House, ha, ha, ha!” Cleveland won st Democratic president in 28 years Man of principle, in favor of laissez-faire, outspoken, unbending, hot-tempered

38 The Tariff Issue Tariffs on foreign imports were extremely high (protective of American business) Drove prices of domestic goods sky high 1881 – US Treasury had a surplus of $145 million/year from tariff Cleveland supported lowering the tariff

39 Election of 1888 Republicans – for high tariff Democrats – wanted to lower tariff 1 st issue that really divided parties Democrats – Grover Cleveland Republicans – Benjamin Harrison (grandson of William Henry Harrison) Harrison won Cleveland 1 st president voted out since Van Buren

40 Benjamin Harrison McKinley Tariff Act of 1890 Boosted tariff to 48.4% Hurt farmers who had to buy expensive domestic goods, but sell their crops internationally They were taxed by other foreign tariffs 1890 Congressional Election – Reps – lost all but 88 seats to Dems 235 seat

41 Populist Party 1892 – est. by frustrated farmers in the West and South Demanded inflation through coinage of silver. 16 oz silver = 1 oz gold Graduated income tax Govt. ownership of RR, telegraph, telephone Direct election for US Senators 1 term limit for President

42 Election of 1892 Populist – Gen. James B. Weaver (22) Republican – Benjamin Harrison Democrat – Grover Cleveland Cleveland won, becoming the only president re-elected after defeat

43 William Jennings Bryan Democratic Congressman from Nebraska Silver tongued Championed cause of free silver

44 Depression Of 1893 Economic panic that lasted 4 years 8,000 businesses collapsed Hoboes and “tramps” wandered the countryside Nation = no more surplus Gold reserve dropped below $100 million safe mark

45 J.P. Morgan Feb – gold reserve dropped below $41 million Cleveland had to borrow $65 million in gold from Morgan, a giant banker Loan restored confidence in US currency


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