Presentation on theme: " The population after the Civil War was reported over 39 million people in the 1870’s, which was a gain of 26.6 percent. The United States was now the."— Presentation transcript:
The population after the Civil War was reported over 39 million people in the 1870’s, which was a gain of 26.6 percent. The United States was now the 3 rd largest nation in the Western World. The Civil War sparked waste, extravagance, speculation and graft. Disillusionment ran deep in America. Instead a new birth of freedom, they got a bitter does of corruption and political stalemate. The next president Grant was a great soldier but not a great politician.
General Grant was by far the most popular northern hero to emerge from the war. His once was cast for the presidential democratic ticket in 1856. He once reportedly remarked that Venice would be a fine city if only it were drained. However democrats nominated Horatio Seymour, and the Republicans whipped up enthusiasm for Grant by waving the bloody shirt, which was reviving memories of the Civil War, which became the slogan for the presidential campaign. Grant won with 214 electoral votes to 80. Most white voters supported Seymour; over 500,000 former slaves gave Grant his margin of victory.
In this era there were two millionaire partners, Jim Fisk and Jay Gould. The planned a plot in 1869 to corner the gold market. This plan would only work if the federal treasury would not sell gold. These men worked on President Grant and also his brother in law who got 25,000 for him knowing. For weeks Fisk and Gould bit the price of gold skyward so they could profit for it’s heighten value. But the bubble broke when the Treasury was compelled to release gold. The gold plunged and scores of honest businesspeople were driven to the wall. No charges were put on Grant, but he did act stupidly and indiscreetly. The infamous Tweed Ring in New York City displayed ethics or lack there for that age. Boss Tweed who was 240 pounds, who was employed bribery, graft, and fraudulent elections to milk people out of 200 million dollars. Tweed’s luck finally ran out. The New York Times had evidence in 1871 and published it. They were offered 5 million not do to so. New York attorney headed the attack, and put Tweed behind bars.
More serious that Tweed was the corruption of the federal government. President Grant’s cabinet was incompetent and were always favor seekers which will haunt the White House. The easygoing Grant was tarred by the Credit Mobilizer Scandal, which came in 1872. The union Pacific railroad created this company and inflated prices to 348 percent. Fearing that they were going to be turned it, the company gave key stock to key congressmen. When people found out, two key congressmen and the Vice President were involved. Not to mention as well the alcohol scandal. There was a whisky ring that robbed the Treasury of millions of tax revenues. Grant did say that he wanted them to be punished. More scandal erupted when secretary of war was accepting bribes from a supplier to an Indian reservation.
Democrats chose Greenly and Republicans chose Grant. Grant will win another term, and pulled through on an electoral count of 286 to 66. Liberal Republicans were a new political group that will leave imprints in this election, but it won’t last.
Grant’s presidency worsens by the panic of 1873. The reasons for the panic were: the roller coaster economy trying to expand. Over-reaching promoters had laid more railroad track, sunk more mines, and made more factories and sowed more grain fields than existing markets could bear. Bankers were making to many loans to finance enterprises, and when loans went unpaid, everything went downhill. Black Americans were the hardest hit, because the Freedman savings had made unsecured loans. Black Americans deposited and entrusted over 7 million to the bank and lost their savings. This downfall of depressions, deflations and inflations helped elect the democratic House of Representatives in 1874 and 1878, and this also helped create the Greenback Labor party, which polled over a million votes and elected 14 members of Congress. The Contest over monetary policy was far from over.
The political seesaw was balanced throughout most of the Gilded Age, which name was given by mark twain during the 3 long decade of the post-Civil War era.
With the election of 1876 in view, Grant would not run for a third term. The Republicans turned to Rutherford B Hayes who was known as the Great Unknown. His qualifications were that he served 3 terms as governor of Ohio, which is a huge swing state. The Democratic nominee was Samuel Tilden who rose from fame who helped Boss Tweed in New York. Tilden racked up 184 electoral votes of the needed 185, with 20 votes in four states and three of them in the South. Both side sent people to submit who they wanted for president. One democratic state and one republican state: which at this point they could trust anyone to count them.
There was a chance that there would be no President for their Inauguration day unless there was a compromise. They gradually hammered out a compromise. The Compromise of 1877 stated that the election would be broken by an electoral count act. This compromise is consisted an electoral commission consisting of 15 men selected from the Senate, the House, and the Supreme Court. In February 1877 the Senate and the House met together to settle the dispute. Behind closed doors they agreed that if Hayes took the presidency that Hayes would withdraw federal troops in two states. Also the Republicans assured Democrats a place at the presidential patronage and support a bill to construct a southern transcontinental railway line. This compromise was settled just 3 days before the new president was sworn into office.
Many blacks were forced into sharecropping and tenant farming. Former slaves often found themselves at the mercy of former masters who were now their landlords and creditors. White southerners back in the political saddle, grew daily discriminatory against blacks. What had started this was an informal separation known as the legal codes of segregation known as Jim Crow laws. Southern states enacted literacy tests for voter registration laws, and poll taxes to ensure separation of the South’s freedmen. The Supreme Court also validated this with the case of Plessey v. Ferguson. The court ruled that “Separate but equal” were constitutionally under the equal protection clause of the 14 th amendment. But what people didn’t realize is that their lives were already unequal to whites. Inferior schools and separated public facilities, including railroad cars, theaters, and all public facilities. To ensure this stability, southern whites dealt with a racial code of conduct. A record number of blacks were lynched during the 1890’s most often for the crime of asserting themselves as equals.
The presidential campaign of 1880 approached and Rutherford B Hayes was a man without a party. The Republican Party sought a new man and they wanted James Garfield, and Chester A Arthur was his vice president. Garfield squeaked out a victory over the Democratic Party, Winfield Hancock. He won the electoral vote of 214 to 155. The new president created political conflict. Republican factions and tensions were high and a disappointed and mentally deranged someone shot president Garfield. Garfield stayed for 11 weeks and then died. Arthur is now the President. Garfield’s death had one positive outcome: they were now going to reform the shameful spoils system. Arthur surprised his critics by prosecuting several fraud cases and giving his former pals the cold shoulder. The Republican Party created the Pendleton Act. It made compulsory campaign contributions from federal employees illegal, and it established the Civil Service Commission to make appointments to federal jobs on the basis of competitive examinations rather than the pull. President Arthur’s surprising display of integrity offended too many powerful Republicans. His party turned him out to pasture, and in 1866 he died of a cerebral hemorrhage.
Blaine was the Presidential nominee of the Republican Party in 1884, while Grover Cleveland took the Democratic Party nominee. Cleveland was a burly bachelor with a soup-staining mustache and a taste for chewing tobacco. He was also solid but not so brilliant lawyer of 47. He was the governor of New York and was known as Grover the Good. Cleveland’s admirers soon got a shock, because when they started to dig for dirt they found out that he had been involved in an affair with a widow. She had a son, who was 8 years old. His people urged him to lie, and he wanted to tell the truth. The campaign of 1884 sank to perhaps the lowest level in American experience, as the 2 parties grunted and shoved Garfield through office. Cleveland’s paper thin plurality gave him about a thousand votes in New York State, which was enough to give him the presidency. He won the electoral vote with 219 to 182.
Cleveland was now the president in 1885, and a huge question marked his presidency, which was could he be trusted to govern the Union. Grover was 5 feet 11 inches and 250 pounds. Cleveland was a man of principles, and caused bankers and businessmen to deal with contentment. Military pensions gave Cleveland some of his most painful headaches. The Grand Army of the Republic lobbied hundreds of private pension bills. Benefits were granted to deserters, to bounty jumpers, and to men who never served, and also to men who have disabilities that in no way was connected to war service. Cleveland was in a very weird position and he read each bill carefully and vetoed several hundred of them, and the penned individual veto messages for Congress.
He also put his neck out when he dealt with the tariff issue. During the Civil War the tariffs were high to raise revenues for the military. Most of the government’s income in those pre-income tax days came from the tariff. Cleveland tossed an appeal for the lower tariff in the late 1887. The response that he got was electric. Democrats were frustrated and Republicans rejoiced at his recklessness. For the first time there was a real political issue that divided the political parties, with the election coming into view. Democrats nominated Cleveland and Republicans nominated Benjamin Harrison. The tariff was the main issue. Republican spurred into action and raised a war chest of some 3 million by going to certain businesses, and some of that money was used to purchase some votes for Harrison. On Election Day Harrison barely beat Cleveland with 233 to 168 electoral votes. A slight change in New York dealing with 7000 votes would have changed everything.
The tariff issue was solved by passing the McKinley Tariff Act of 1890, which boosted rates to their highest peacetime level ever, which was on the average of 48.4 percent on goods. But this brought on tough times for farmers. Farmers now had to buy manufactured goods from high priced protect American industrialists. They were also compelled to sell their own product, but they were unprotected. Mounting discontent caused these rural farmers to rise in wrath.
Because of the discontent, there was a newly formed People’s Party or they were called Populists came upon the scene. This political party was tired of the governmental injustices. Their demands: 1- They demanded inflation through a free and unlimited coinage of silver at the rate of 16 ounces of silver to one ounce of gold 2- They further called for a graduated income tax. 3- Further government ownership of the railroads, telegraph, and the telephone. 4- The direct election of US senators, one term limit on the president, and allow citizens to shape legislation more directly, shorter work day and immigration restrictions.
The populists made a great showing in the 1892 presidential election and were involved in the Homestead Strike. The homestead strikes were angry steel workers who became mad when they received a pay cut. The strike caused a vicious battle that left ten people dead and some 60 wounded. Southern blacks were heavy losers as well and the populists inspired reminders of potentially black political strength will lead to near total extinction of what little African American suffrage remained in the South. Besides the poll taxes and literacy tests they put the grandfather clause which exempted from those requirements anyone whose forbearer had voted in 1860, but at that time slaves could not vote. It will be another half of a century when more blacks will be able to vote. The crusade to eliminate the black vote also had consequences for the Populist Party, and even its leaders will abandon interracial and become racist themselves. After 1896, the party will lapsed because of how racist they will become.
Grover Cleveland took the office once again in 1893, the only president to be elected after defeat. At this point, Cleveland was now with a little more weight, polish, conservative, self-assertive, but still the same old Cleveland. The country though was not the same. A depression hit the country in 1893 and lasted about 4 years. The causes were overbuilding and speculation, labor disorders, and ongoing agricultural depression and unlimited coinage which damaged America’s credit. Early in 1895 Cleveland turned to JP Morgan out of desperation and the head of Wall Street. After long negotiations at the White House, the bankers agreed to lend the government 65 million in gold. The loan, at least for now helped restore confidence in the nation’s finances.
The deal blew up in Cleveland’s face. Morgan and others were told that they were sell outs when it came to the national government, but in Cleveland’s mind he was certain that he had done nothing wrong. More embarrassment came when he passed the Wilson-Gorman Tariff in 1894 which lowered tariffs, but it didn’t make a dent in the McKinley Tariff high rates. Despite his integrity Grover failed utterly to cope with the serious economic crisis that fell upon the country in 1893. He was tied down in office by the same threads that held all the politicians and these presidents were called the forgettable presidents. What little political vitality existed in Gilded Age America was to be found in local settings of in Congress which was overshadowed by the White House for the most of this period.