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Corruption and fraud affected politics at the national level as well as locally During the late 1800s national scandals exposed illegal financial practices.

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Presentation on theme: "Corruption and fraud affected politics at the national level as well as locally During the late 1800s national scandals exposed illegal financial practices."— Presentation transcript:


2 Corruption and fraud affected politics at the national level as well as locally During the late 1800s national scandals exposed illegal financial practices by high-ranking politicians Many Americans began to question the character of some elected officials

3 Scandal in the White House: (524-527) –Ulysses S. Grant becomes the President in 1869 –His fame as a Union army general made him a popular candidate. –With his slogan “Let us have peace,” Grant won the election

4 Scandal in the White House: (524-527) Grant’s first term: (524-525) –Grant’s first term in office was marred by several scandals. –FIRST SCANDAL: During the summer of 1869, financiers Jay Gould and James Fisk tried to gain a monopoly on the gold market. They wanted to drive up the price of gold. –Jay Gould and gold broker Abel Rathbone Corbin – President Grant’s brother-in-law – tried to convince Grant to stop selling gold from the U.S. Treasury –The president refused but Gould and Corbin spread rumors that the President did stop selling gold from the U.S. Treasury. –These rumors led to widespread, speculation, or buying and selling, in the gold market –When Grant learned of the rumors, he ordered his secretary of the treasury to sell $4 million of the governments gold. This resulted in BLACK FRIDAY, September 24, 1869, the price of gold fell sharply –Many Wall Street investors and speculators were ruined financially

5 Scandal in the White House: (524-527) Grant’s first term: (524-525) –SECOND SCANDAL: Grant’s vice president, Schuyler Colfax, was involved –Union Pacific Railroad had formed a construction company called Credit Mobilier of America. –The owners of Union Pacific Railroad gave or sold shares of stock in Credit Mobilier to congressmembers responsible for awarding federal land grants to the railroads –The Credit Mobilier stock proved to be a profitable deal for the members of Congress –Credit Mobilier was able to overcharge Union Pacific by more than $20 million because the U.S. government paid little attention Credit Mobilier’s operations –These excess profits went straight into the pockets o Credit Mobilier’s stockholders – such as Schuyler Colfax, who was then Speaker of the House. –Although the schemes took place before Grant became president, the subsequent scandal tarnished his administration’s image because Colfax’s position as Vice President

6 Scandal in the White House: (524-527) The Election of 1872: (525) –Because of the scandals against Grant’s administration opponents challenged Grant in the presidential election of 1872 –New York Tribune editor, Horace Greeley, was Grant’s opponent from his own Republican Party, though he called his party the Liberal Republican Party –Greeley ran on the idea of Civil service reform – to propose that applicants to government jobs be given to those who earned the highest grades on examinations –The Liberal Republicans saw the Credit Mobilier scandal as a nail in Grant’s political coffin –Grant won because he played on the image as a war hero –Greeley died just 24 days after the election and his party did not last much longer

7 Scandal in the White House: (524-527) Grant’s Second Term: (525) –Corruption continued during Grant’s second term –In 1874 a new scandal erupted over the taxation of whiskey. –Some officials at the Treasury Department, THE WHISKEY RING, were charged with taking bribes from distillers and distributors of whiskey. –In return, treasury officials reduced the amount of taxes that the whiskey distributors had to pay –Public exposure of the Whiskey Ring further encouraged reformers –No more spoils system, giving jobs to friends and contributors to politicians’ campaigns, and the scandal increased Americans’ distrust of politicians.

8 Scandal in the White House: (524-527) Politics of the Gilded Age: (527) –Americans are now becoming shocked and troubled over the politics and scandalous behavior of the members of our government –In 1873 Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner published a satirical novel called the GILDED AGE. The book examined the values of wealthy Americans and the nature of national politics after the Civil War. They found that in politics, corruption and greed lurked below the polite and prosperous luster of American society during the late 1800s –Mark Twain accused Americans of living by the motto: “Get Rich; dishonestly if we can, honestly if we must.” –Gilded Age: Americans began to push for political reforms

9 The Struggle for Reform (527- 529) –Reforming the Spoils System - politicians practice of giving government jobs to their supporters – became a major issue in the 1876 presidential campaign –Democrats nominated New York Governor Samuel J. Tilden as their candidate –Republicans nominated Ohio governor Rutherford B. Hayes, a well- known supporter of civil service reform. –Rutherford B. Hayes WINS

10 The Struggle for Reform (527- 529) A Republican Split: (527-528) –In June 1877 President Hayes issued an executive order prohibiting federal employees from participating in political campaigns –When two associates of New York senator Roscoe Conkling defied the order, Hayes demanded their removal –This demand provoked a bitter struggle between Hayes and Conkling and led to a split within the Republican Party. –Patronage, or rewarding political supporters with government jobs, was the issue

11 The Struggle for Reform (527- 529) A Republican Split: (527-528) –Led by Conkling, the Stalwrats strongly opposed civil service reform. –Stalwarts v. Half-Breeds: –The Stalwarts were upset when Hayes proposed awarding federal jobs based on examinations rather than patronage –Half-Breeds, led by James G. Blaine, members who strongly supported civil service reforms and those who did not completely oppose patronage jobs

12 The Struggle for Reform (527- 529) A Republican Split: (527-528) –Rutherford B. Hayes chose not to run for re-election in 1880. –At the Republican convention, the Half-Breeds won the battle to control the party ticket; they chose James A. Garfield –To satisfy the Stalwarts, they named Conkling’s political ally Chester A. Arthur the vice presidential nominee –Garfield WINS the election

13 The Struggle for Reform (527-529) Garfield’s assassination: (528-529) –On July 2, 1881 – less than four months after his inauguration – Garfield was shot –His assassin was Charles Guiteau, a mentally unstable man who had unsuccessfully sought a government job –Guiteau had believed that killing Garfield would further the Stalwart cause. –The shooting had the opposite effect; however, after Garfield’s death, Arthur, his successor, responded sympathetically to the calls for reform and abandoned his opposition to it

14 The Struggle for Reform (527-529) Reforms and Reactions: (529) –In 1883 President Arthur helped secure passage of the Pendleton Civil Service Act: the bill established the Civil Service Commission to administer competitive examinations to those people seeking government jobs –It established as law the idea that federal jobs below the policy-making level should be filled based on merit –However, the Pendleton Act was of limited value. They noted that it applied to only about 10% of all federal jobs

15 The Struggle for Reform (527-529) Reforms and Reactions: (529) –Angered by President Arthur’s reform efforts, many Stalwarts refused to support his bind for the 1884 Republican presidential nomination. Instead, they cast their votes for James Blaine, the leader of the Half-Breeds. –Blaine’s nomination upset Republican reformers. They (mugwumps) charged that the candidate “wallowed in spoils like a rhinoceros in an African pool.” –These reformers were called Mugwumps – the Algonquian word for “big chiefs” – these reformers supported the Democratic candidate, Grover Cleveland – Cleveland opposed Tammany Hall

16 The Struggle for Reform (527-529) Reforms and Reactions: (529) –Mudslinging dominated the campaign. –A bachelor, Cleveland was accused of fathering a child out of wedlock. Republicans criticized him for this saying he shouldn’t be president because of this – example of mudslinging –Cleveland refused to mudsling back –Grover Cleveland Wins the election for president

17 Advances and Setbacks: (529-530) –Proclaiming that “a public office is a public trust,” Grover Cleveland entered the White House determined to promote political reform –Cleveland hoped to end the days when government jobs were handed out in reward for political favors –Toward this end, he doubled the number of federal jobs requiring civil service exams –Cleveland’s support for many reform efforts outraged many Stalwarts and Democratic legislators –Although Cleveland’s stand on reform annoyed some party leaders, he won the Democratic presidential nomination in 1888. –To oppose him, Republicans chose Benjamin Harrison of Indiana. –Benjamin Harrison won the presidential election of 1888


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