Presentation on theme: "Unit Two: Rise of Modern America Gilded age Politics."— Presentation transcript:
Unit Two: Rise of Modern America Gilded age Politics
The Gilded Age The Gilded Age was the time period between 1870 and 1900 that developed Modern America. The term Gilded Age was coined by Mark Twain in his book The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today describing the epoch not as a golden age but rather gilded (covered in a thin layer of gold to hide the metal underneath). The point Mark Twain was making was that society seemed to be better with the massive growth in the GNP and a raise in the general standard of living, but did not show the other “negative” factors involved with the growth.
The New Political Arena After the Civil War national politics changed with a focus placed more on the northern states due to the rise in voters (immigrants), so between 1876 to 1908 the presidential and vice presidential candidates (native sons) came from these close states. (mostly Ohio, New York, and Indiana) The Republican North was controlled by the growing business class which supported tight money supply (gold), high tariffs, government aid to business, and limitation on immigration. The “Solid” Democratic South developed after the end of Reconstruction when the Democratic “Redeemers” took back power, making the Republican party in the south basically useless. – Yellow Dog Democrats- “I would vote for a yellow dog before I would vote Republican” – In general the Democrats (poorer class, farmers, immigrants, laborers) supported increased money supply (silver), lower tariffs, inflation, and less government aid to business and more to the people.
How the System Works During the Gilded Age government at all levels, Federal, State, and Local were seen as corrupt and controlled by a Plutocracy (wealthy elite) created by growth of the large corporations and the Political Party Bosses. The Political Party was controlled by a non- elected person called a Political Boss from each region, state, or district. A political boss ran an organization called a political machine (big city organization run by bosses who won elections by controlling poor and immigrant voters)
How the System Works The political bosses gained the votes of the poor and immigrants by either scare tactics or social welfare programs. – Bosses would help them find housing, a job, money, food, and helped with troubles with the law. To control the election the bosses would have people vote for their candidate (sometimes more than once), threaten voters, beat up competition, or control the election through the counting of the votes.
How the System Works During this time politicians rose in America to power through the political party by a process of appointments called patronage also known as the Patronage system or Spoils System (government jobs given to political allies or close friends) usually from the Boss. – Political Bosses used elections to reward friends and line their own pockets. The political bosses ran the large cities even to the police, fire departments, and other organizations.
How the System Works Once the politician was elected he took his orders from the boss, all received and committed what was seen as corrupt actions. (politics for profit) – Bribes – taking money or gift to perform an action – Graft- use of position for personal gain – Kickbacks – money received from overinflated government contracts – Extortion- to coerce someone to give money, property, or services – Cronyism- giving friends government positions. (spoils) – Embezzlement – stealing money or property from government – Nepotism- hiring family
How the System Works The most recognized political machine was Tammany Hall located in New York City. – Tammany Hall had been run by many infamous bosses such as William “Boss” Tweed, Richard Croker, and George “Honest Graft” Plunkitt. Other major political machines were Thomas and James Pendergast (Kansas City, Missouri), George B. Cox (Cincinnati, Ohio), Ed Crump (Memphis, Tenn.), and others.
Issues Within Politics During the Gilded Age many issues arose due to America becoming a modern nation, such as immigration, political corruption, labor issues, racial issues, industrial issues, agricultural issues, and money questions. At this time neither the Democrats nor Republicans wanted to make a huge stand on any of the major issues and became “fence riders”, so there was little difference seen between the two parties during this time. The major issues that the two parties did “try” to attempt to appease the citizens were over the tariff, the national monetary policy, and civil service reform.
Gilded Age Politics During the Gilded Age, national, state, and local politics were seen as pro-business and prone to corruption, the Election of 1876 is seen as the capstone of corruption. The Election of 1876 is seen as the beginning of a new focus in politics off of the Civil War and Reconstruction to a new modern nation. The Election of 1876 was primarily between Republican Rutherford B. Hayes and Democrat Samuel J. Tilden. During the election other minor parties fielded candidates such as the Green Back Party (Peter Cooper), Prohibition Party (Green Clay Smith), and the American National Party (James B. Walker). (these third parties will also be around for the next four elections)
The Election of 1876 Tilden ran as a reform candidate against the corruption of the Grant administration, civil service reform, and an end to reconstruction. (Tilden had been responsible for the arrest of William “Boss” Tweed of NY) In the South the Democrats used paramilitary groups such as the redshirts and white leagues to scare Republican voters, mostly blacks. (differed from KKK) Hayes ran also as a reform candidate for civil service reform, an end to reconstruction, and used the “bloody shirt tactic” blaming the Democrats for the Civil War. (most people North and South were tired of Reconstruction)
Compromise of 1877 When the votes were tallied Hayes received 165 electoral votes to Tilden’s 184, but there was a discrepancy in the votes from Florida, South Carolina, Louisiana, and Oregon. (no Constitutional procedure to deal with it) To settle the issue a special electoral commission was formed combining five House, Senate, and Supreme Court Members. (7 Dem./8 Rep) A deal was finally reached by the Republicans and the Democrats at the Wormly Hotel giving Hayes the Presidency kwon as the Compromise of 1877.
Points of the compromise: – The removal of all federal troops from the former Confederate States. (Troops remained in only Louisiana, South Carolina, and Florida, but the Compromise finalized the process.) [Ended Reconstruction] – The appointment of at least one Southern Democrat to Hayes's cabinet. (David M. Key of Tennessee became Postmaster General.) – The construction of another transcontinental railroad using the Texas and Pacific in the South (this had been part of the "Scott Plan," proposed by Thomas A. Scott, which initiated the process that led to the final compromise). – Legislation to help industrialize the South and get them back on their feet after the terrible loss during the Civil War. (New South) When Hayes took office his administration was in constant question because he did not have a mandate from the people by not being truly elected. The Election of 1876
The Tariff The tariff (tax on imports) became a major issue during the gilded age because of the massive influence large corporations had on the Federal government. The large corporations wanted higher and higher protective tariffs to keep foreign imports from being able to compete with domestic products. The high tariffs though helpful for the industrial sector, hurt the agricultural sector leading many farmers to support lower tariffs or free trade. – Republicans- High – Democrats- Low
The Money Problem The Monetary policy of the U.S. at this time was based on specie (gold and silver), Hard money (gold and silver certificate that could be traded for its equal amount in specie), and greenbacks (paper money which value is set by the government and backed by it). The issue was if less money was in circulation it would cause deflation (prices fall- value of money increases) supporting the industrial sector; if more money was in circulation it would cause inflation (prices rise- value of money decreases) supporting the agricultural sector. During the Gilded Age the national government slowly tried to phase out greenbacks “retiring the greenbacks”, thus reducing the money supply until 1879 when to appease the farming factions made greenbacks convertible into gold. In the late 1800s the new argument was between Gold bugs (supporters of Gold), Silverites (supporters of silver), and Green backers (supporters of greenbacks). Many people supported a bimetallic standard based on gold and silver, this became mostly an argument between industrialist and bankers versus farmers.
Money Problems William Jennings Bryan “Cross of Gold” Speech
Civil Service Reform One of the biggest issues that developed during the Gilded Age was the move toward Civil Service Reform, due to the increase in government bureaucrats (non-elected workers). Many people called for an end to patronage (awarding government jobs to political or personal supporters) for a move toward a merit system (government appointments and promotions based on ability, not political connections). The reasons for civil service reform were so that better qualified people were hired, give more stability, and end political corruption. (first true move toward reform was the Pendleton Act)
The Issues on the National Stage At the National level Gilded Age politics was between the Presidencies’ of Rutherford B. Hayes and Grover Cleveland (2 nd term). The Gilded Age administrations were characterized as laissez- faire (“hands off”- government plays a limited role in citizens and business life), but government did pass legislation in many cases in favor of big business and for the wealthy. The issues of the Tariff, Civil Service Reform, and Monetary Issues directed the Presidential Campaigns up to William McKinley, who was considered the change from laissez-faire polices to social reforms.
Gilded Age Presidents Hayes Garfield Arthur Cleveland Harrison McKinley
The Issues on the National Stage Hayes started his presidency for a drive to reform civil service, with removing the patronage from Presidential appointments. (he made the most influential “Boss” in America Roscoe Conkling (NY) angry, removing Chester A. Arthur from the NY Custom’s House) Hayes actions split the Republican party into the Stalwarts (supporters of patronage and disagreed with the end of Reconstruction) and the Half-Breeds (supporters of civil service reform). In 1878 legislation called the Bland-Allison Act was presented to support farmers by coining more silver, increasing money supply, and cause inflation. – Hayes vetoed this act, but was overrode by Congress. (Hayes limited its effect through the Treasury Department)
The Issues on the National Stage In the Election of 1880, the Republican party was divided into three groups: Stalwarts (Roscoe Conkling), Half-Breeds (James G. Blaine), and “GooGoos”/ Mugwumps (Republicans who voted Democrat). In the Election to balance the ticket Republicans chose (P) James A. Garfield (HB) and (Vp) Chester A. Arthur (S) to run against democrat General Winfield Scott Hancock. Garfield won the election and began to push for civil service reform, but his presidency was cut short on July 2, 1881 at the Washington D.C. Railway station he was assassinated by Charles Guiteau saying, “I am a Stalwart and Arthur is now President”. (Garfield lasted three months)
The Issues on the National Stage After Garfield’s death Chester A. Arthur became president, following the national cry for civil service reform supporting the Pendleton Act of 1883. The Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act setup a three panel civil service commission to classify government jobs and test applicants, also dropping the party affiliation qualification. Others issues during Arthur’s term were opening trade with Latin America, immigration restrictions, Indian wars, and civil rights issues for the black community (only focused on South). Arthur due to health issues and also lack of support within his party chose not try to get elected on his own.
The Issues on the National Stage The Election of 1884 was between Democrat Grover Cleveland “Veto Governor” and Republican James G. Blaine “Plumb Knight”. (Both candidates tried to be seen as above and against political corruption) Both parties practiced mudslinging techniques: Blaine accused of corruption with Credit Moblier Scandal and Cleveland with an illegitimate child. (“Ma, Ma Where’s My Pa”) The Republicans lost for three main reasons: a speech by Dr. Samuel Burchard’s three R’s Speech, Cleveland’s “Tell the Truth” campaign, and Mugwumps voted for Cleveland. (Blaine also lost anti-liquor vote too) Cleveland became the first (D) President since before the Civil War (1856).
The Issues on the National Stage The main issues during Cleveland’s Administration were Railroad regulation, Union Strikes, Tariff, Pensions, Immigrant Restriction, Civil Rights, and Pensions. The Grand Army of the Republic (group of civil war veterans) wanted to receive pensions (retirement payment) for service, Cleveland vetoed all legislation for it. (he believed in the limited role of gov.) The regulation of Railroads started with states which led to the Supreme Court case of Wabash vs. Illinois, to counter act the court’s ruling Cleveland signed the Interstate Commerce Act (1887). Cleveland also pushed for a lower tariff.
The Issues on the National Stage The Election of 1888, Cleveland was nominated for a second term against Republican Benjamin Harrison. (main difference Tariff: Higher or Lower) Cleveland won the popular vote, but lost the electoral college to Harrison due to his backing by the wealthy. (Harrison won using the “Front Porch” Campaign) Harrison was also backed by a (R) Congress so much legislation was passed during his term: McKinley Tariff, pension laws, and Sherman Anti-trust Act (regulate monopolies).
The Issues on the National Stage In Election of 1892 Harrison ran again against Grover Cleveland, the difference in this election was the growth of a third party candidate James B. Weaver with the Populist Party (People’s/Farmers). Cleveland second term (only to serve non- consecutive terms) was hit by the Panic of 1893 which caused many people to question government’s role in economy. A group of unemployed workers led by marched on Washington D.C., the protest fell apart Jacob S. Coxey called Coxey’s Army after Coxey’s arrest. (drew national attention and sympathy for people affected by the depression and against Cleveland)
The Issues on the National Stage Cleveland angered the Populist movement by repealing the Sherman Silver Purchase Act. Cleveland also angered the union movement by supporting business owners against unionism and protests with his actions toward the Pullman Strike. Cleveland’s second term is seen as the transition away from the laissez-fare policies of the Gilded Age and the Election of 1896 will be the first move toward national intervention on behalf of the people.