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POLITICAL REALIGNMENTS IN THE 1890s America: Past and Present Chapter 20.

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Presentation on theme: "POLITICAL REALIGNMENTS IN THE 1890s America: Past and Present Chapter 20."— Presentation transcript:

1 POLITICAL REALIGNMENTS IN THE 1890s America: Past and Present Chapter 20

2 Politics of Stalemate n Politics a major fascination of late nineteenth century n White males make up bulk of electorate –Women may vote in national elections only in Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, Colorado –Black men denied vote by poll tax, literacy tests

3 The Party Deadlock n Post-Civil War Democratic party divides electorate almost evenly with Republicans n One-party control of both Congress, White House rare n Federal influence wanes, state control rises

4 Experiments in the States n State government commissions investigate, regulate railroads, factories n Munn v. Illinois (1877) upholds constitutionality of state investigations n Wabash case (1886) prompts establishment of Interstate Commerce Commission

5 Reestablishing Presidential Power n Presidency hits nadir under Johnson n Later presidents reassert executive power – Hayes ends military Reconstruction – Garfield asserts leadership of his party – Arthur strengthens navy, civil service reform – Cleveland uses veto to curtail federal activities

6 Republicans in Power: the Billion-Dollar Congress n Republicans control both White House and Capitol Hill n Adoption of Reed rules permits enactment of “billion dollar” program

7 Tariffs, Trusts and Silver n McKinley Tariff raises duties to historic high n Sherman Anti-Trust Act regulates big business n Sherman Silver Purchase Act backs paper money with silver n By million Union pensions granted

8 The 1890 Elections n Republicans also assert activist government policies on state level – Sunday closing laws – prohibition – mandatory English in public schools n alienated voting blocks turn out Republican legislators

9 The Rise of the Populist Movement n Discontented farmers of West and South provide base of support n The National Farmers' Alliance and Industrial Union the result

10 The Farm Problem n Worldwide agricultural economy causes great fluctuations in supply and demand n Farmers’ complaints – lower prices for crops (actual prosperity rising) – rising railroad rates (rates actually declining) – onerous mortgages (loans permit improvement) n Conditions of farmers vary by region n General feeling of depression, resentment

11 Selected Commodity Prices

12 The Fast-Growing Farmers' Alliance n 1875—Southern Alliance begins n 1889—Southern Alliance absorbs Northwestern Alliance n Alliance Captures local Democratic parties in South n After 1890 Runs its own candidates in North and West

13 Ocala Demands, 1890 n System of government warehouses to hold crops for higher prices n Free coinage of silver n Low tariffs n Federal income tax n Direct election of Senators n Regulation of railroads

14 The People's Party n Southern Alliance splits from Democrats to form Populist party n Southern Populists recruit African-Americans, give them influential positions n Populist presidential candidate James Weaver draws over one million votes n Alliance wanes after 1892 elections

15 The Crisis of the Depression n Democrats sweep elections of 1890, 1892 n Control both the White House and Congress during Panic of 1893

16 The Panic of 1893 n February failure of major railroad sparks panic on New York Stock Exchange n Investors sell stock to purchase gold n Depleted Treasury shakes confidence n May, market hits record low, business failures displace 2 million workers n corn crop fails

17 Coxey's Army and the Pullman Strike n Jacob Coxey leads “Coxey’s Army” to Washington to demand relief n Pullman strikes by Eugene Debs’ American Railway Union close Western railroads n President Cleveland suppresses strikes with federal troops

18 The Miners of the Midwest n United Mine Workers strike 1894 n “Old miners”--English and Irish workers, owners of small family mines n “New miners”--1880s immigrants n Strike pits new miners against old

19 A Beleaguered President n Cleveland repeals Sherman Silver Purchase Act to remedy Panic of 1893 n Repeal fails to stop depression n Repeal makes silver a political issue n Democrats renege on promise of lower tariff

20 Breaking the Party Deadlock n Election of 1894 reduces Democrats to a sectional southern organization n Republicans sweep congressional elections n Republicans become majority elsewhere

21 Changing Attitudes n Depression of 1893 forces recognition of structural causes of unemployment n Americans accept the need for government intervention to help the poor and jobless

22 “Everybody Works but Father” n Women and children paid lower wages, displace men during depression n Employers retain women and children after depression to hold down costs

23 Changing Themes in Literature n Depression encourages “realist” school n Mark Twain’s characters speak in dialect n William Dean Howells, Stephen Crane portray grim life of the poor n Frank Norris attacks power of big business n Theodore Dreiser presents humans as helpless before vast social, economic forces

24 The Presidential Election of 1896 n Free coinage of silver the main issue – Boost the money supply – Seen as solution to depression n Silver symbolizes America, common people

25 The Mystique of Silver n “Free and independent coinage of silver” –Set ratio of silver to gold at 16:1 –U.S. mints coin all silver offered to them –U.S. coins silver regardless of other nations’ policies n Silverites believe amount in circulation determines level of economic activity n A moral crusade for the common people

26 Republicans and Gold n Candidate: William McKinley n Silverite Republicans defeated on convention floor n Promises gold standard to restore prosperity

27 The Democrats and Silver n Candidate: William Jennings Bryan n Free silver promised in "Cross of Gold" speech n Democrats enthusiastic

28 Campaign and Election n Populist party endorses Bryan n Bryan offers return to rural, religious U.S. n McKinley defends urban, industrial society n Election is a clear victory for McKinley, utter rout of Populist party

29 The McKinley Administration n McKinley takes office at depression’s end n An activist president n Dingley Tariff raises rates to record highs n U.S. placed on gold standard n McKinley wins landslide reelection against William Jennings Bryan

30 A New Century and a New President n September, McKinley assassinated n Theodore Roosevelt becomes president


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