2 Gilded Age 1877-1900 “The Gilded Age” – coined by Mark Twain Outside appearance disguised “rotten to the core” realityCharacteristics:Rapid Industrialization, Growth of Businesses, Immigration, Growth of Cities, Development of Leisure Culture, Corruption in politicsPoliticsEven balance between Republicans and DemocratsNot much difference between parties, resulted in high voter turnouts and increased competition between partiesRepublicans got strength from Protestantism, strict morality and government role in economy, base in Midwest and small town areas of NortheastDemocrats got strength from immigrants, mostly Catholics; against one moral code; laissez faire economic attitude. Base was in South and Northern industrial citiesPatronageGiving government jobs in exchange for votes and support“Stalwarts” led by Sen. Roscoe Conkling supported patronage“Half Breeds” led by James G Blaine supported Civil Service Reform
3 Era of Good StealingsCorruption was very common in business and politics in post-war America“Jubilee Jim” Fisk and Jay Gould attempted to manipulate price of gold causing U.S. Treasury to interveneBoss Tweed – political boss of New York CityStole so much he almost bankrupted the cityWas brought down by Thomas Nast, cartoonist for Harper’s WeeklyMany corrupt officials in Grant administrationCredit Mobilier Scandal 1872Union Pacific insiders used phony Credit Mobilier construction company to scam money from shareholdersGave stocks and cash to Congressmen to avoid investigation and prosecutionWhiskey Ring,Excise taxes were stolen from TreasurySalary GrabsPoliticians voted to give themselves large raises
4 Election of 1876 Rutherford B Hayes (R) Union General Sam Tilden (Democrat)Rutherford B. Hayes(Republican)Rutherford B Hayes (R)Union GeneralWas a compromise, unknown candidate between Conkling and BlaineCould help deliver OhioSamuel Tilden (D)With Thomas Nast brought down corrupt Tweed ring in NYCNo Democrat had been elected President since Buchanan in 1856Tilden was winning 184 to 165 in electoral college!South Carolina, Louisiana, and Florida elections were disputed and gave two sets of returnsElectoral Count Act (1876) created the Electoral Commission to count votes and determine who won disputed elections5 Representatives, 5 Senators, 5 Justices; 8 Republicans, 7 Democrats; Gave FL, SC and LA to Hayes based on partisan vote and compromiseHayes wins in the Electoral College!
5 Compromise of 1877 Democrats let Hayes win if: Federal troops leave southSoutherners appointed to CabinetSouthern Democrats get greater access to patronageHayes supports internal improvements in SouthIncluding Texas-Pacific Railroad through the SouthHayes was winnerCompromise of 1877 ends ReconstructionAlso ended political protection of freedmen in the SouthCivil Rights Cases (1883) later ruled the Civil Rights Acts (1866, 1875) unconstitutionalSaid 14th Amendment prohibited governmental violations of civil rights, not violations by individuals
6 Segregated South “Redeemer” Governments White southerners reclaimed political power in the SouthSharecropping and tenant farmingCrop lien systemTennant would work farm and pay rent, food, supplies with part of cropCreated ongoing cycle of poverty in SouthBlacks did not have land to work onWhites did not have money to pay for laborJim Crow Laws – 1890’sMade segregation official policy of state governmentSegregationlegal separation of the racesLiteracy tests, poll taxes and voter registration laws were used to disenfranchise blacksPlessy v Ferguson (1896)Plessy refused to sit in colored train car, took case to Supreme CourtSupreme Court rule “separate but equal” was okJustified and defended segregation as legal
7 Lynchings Lynching Public murder of a person by hanging Occurred in every state in the SouthUsed to intimidate black people and their white supportersUsed terror to stop people from voting and to reinforce traditional white dominated cultureTargeted blacks who owned land, people who educated blacks and fought to protect their rights
8 Class Conflict and Ethnic Clashes Railroad Strike of 1877 – railroads were losing money so cut back wages by 10%Workers went on strike in West Virginia and spread to other areasHad support of poor and working classesWorkers and railroad officials fought for controlPresident Rutherford B Hayes called in the army to put down strike, several hundred people diedDemonstrated weakness of labor movementEthnic divisions within labor especially between Irish and ChineseDenis Kearney led anti Chinese movement and encouraged attacks against them to stop competition for jobs and opportunitiesChinese Exclusion Act 1882Law to stop Chinese immigrationNativists opposed Chinese taking jobsRacists didn’t like Chinese cultureUS v Wong Kim Ark (1898)Ruled 14th amendment applied only to born in America (jus soli citizenship)
9 Attacking the Spoils System So much corruption that people begin demanding reform of current systemReformers attack spoils system because unqualified people get jobsWant merit-based civil service systemCivil Service jobs are appointed not elected; “who you know, not what you know”
10 James Garfield, 20th President (1881) Chester A James Garfield, 20th President (1881) Chester A. Arthur, 21st President ( )James Garfield was Republican candidate and “Stalwart” Chester A Arthur was Vice PresidentDemocrats nominated Winfield Scott HancockGarfield wins and appoints “best candidates” rather than those most loyal to his campaignPresident Garfield assassinated by Charles Guiteau in Buffalo, NY who wanted a civil service jobGuiteau was a Stalwart and supported continuing the patronage systemPresident Chester A. ArthurWas a former political boss from NYCPendleton Act in 1883requires people to take a test to get a civil servant jobforbid firing of employees because of political beliefsEffect of reform was to shift politicians focus from patronage to financial support from corporations and lobbyists
11 1884 ElectionJames Blaine chosen by Republicans to replace Chester A ArthurHad a reputation of being a corrupt politician who supported patronage“Mugwumps” were Republicans who opposed Blaine joined DemocratsBlaine supporters attacked Cleveland for having an illegitimate child and labeled Democrats as party of “Rum, Romanism and Rebellion” (alienated Irish voters)Grover Cleveland nominated by DemocratsPopular reformer who wanted to end protectionist tariffsAttacked Blaine for “Mulligan letters” showing corrupt relationship with businessCleveland won the election by carrying New YorkFirst Democrat President since Buchanan!
12 Grover ClevelandBelieved in laissez-faire economics, did not believe government should support individualsHad support of “Mugwumps” that demanded civil service reform, but gave patronage positions to DemocratsResisted pension bills for Civil War veterans that were unwarrantedWanted to reduce tariffsTariffs had protected and encouraged northern industries to raise prices on consumersHad created excessive federal budget surplusesCongress refused to support tariff reformElection of 1888Cleveland nominated by Democrats; Benjamin Harrison by RepublicansBig Business gave lots of money to Harrison to help defeat Cleveland and stop tariff reformBought votes with power and influenceHarrison won election, Cleveland was first incumbent to lose since 1840!Grover ClevelandBenjamin Harrison
13 Billion Dollar Congress Republicans controlled Congress. Speaker Thomas “Czar” Reed used authoritarian, partisan tactics to limit Democrats influenceEnds deadlock in politics as Republicans dominateGovernment spends so much it is known as “Billion Dollar Congress”Pensions for Civil War veteransIncreased purchases of silverMcKinley Tariff (1890) increased tariffs to highest levelsHelped industry but hurt farmers because it discouraged importsBegan political activism of farmers including creating the Grange and the National AllianceCooperatives (Farmers Alliances)Businesses, owned by groups of farmers, were created to buy and control resourcesFarmers elected politicians that would support their needs“Granger Laws” limited railroad shipping and storage rates
14 Populist Party “People’s Party” Populist Party created as a third party to argue for farmers needsSpawned from concerns of Farmer’s AllianceThird parties are rarely successfulCan make major parties address their needsPopulists favor debtors instead of creditorsMost popular in West and SouthPopulist demandsfree and unlimited coinage of silvergovernment ownership of railroads, telephone and telegraphDirect election of SenatorsInitiative, referendum and recallImmigration restrictionsShorter work dayAttempted to address needs of both factory workers and farmers
15 Homestead Strike Homestead Strike – 1892 Against Carnegie’s steel plants in PennsylvaniaMill operators would only deal with one worker at time; anti-unionUnion protest so company “locked out” unionLock out – when company doesn’t allow workers to come to workStrike – when workers refuse to come to workPinkerton Agentsprivate police force hired by mill operators to break strikefought with strikers and several were injured and/or killedGovernor finally called in militia to break strike
16 Election of 1892 Democrats nominated Grover Cleveland (again!) Republicans nominated Benjamin Harrison for re-electionPopulists nominated General James WeaverCleveland won (again!)Populists lose but do well in South and West!Make major parties pay attention to needs of PopulistsEastern workers did not support Populists for fear of losing jobsWhite backlash against black support for Populists in the South caused Populists to turn away from blacks
17 Cleveland and Depression Depression of 1893Overbuilding, speculation, labor unrest and farming problems led to depressionLaissez faire attitude made government unwilling to assist with effects of depressionRepeal of Silver Purchase Act of 1890Passed in 1893 to protect the gold reservesReverse effect happened!Cleveland had to borrow $65 million in gold from J.P. Morgan to protect the American currencyOpponents of Cleveland felt move represented inappropriate connection between government and bankersWilson Gorman Tariff (1894)Established an income tax and only some lower tariffs over Cleveland’s vetoSupreme Court ruled income tax unconstitutionalMade Populists feel government was controlled purely by financial interests
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