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Corruption and Politics in the Gilded Age

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1 Corruption and Politics in the Gilded Age

2 The Politicians of the Gilded Age
Compared to Abraham Lincoln Presidents of the Gilded Age ( ) seemed especially weak, both in gaining the presidency and in their actions as president. One Exception: Grover Cleveland, who maintained a reputation for integrity through two terms ( & )

3 Corruption in Gilded Age Politics
This time was possibly the most corrupt period in American politics. Spoils system – awarding government jobs to loyal party workers, no matter qualified (or unqualified) they were President Grant’s Administration was especially well known for corruption during his tenure as President (Remember Grantism?):

4 Credit Mobilier The Credit Mobilier was a French construction company that had helped build the Union Pacific RR. The heads of the company were also stock holders of Union Pacific stock, and steered large, fraudulent contracts to their company. They ended up stealing a lot of money from Union Pacific and the government who helped fund the building of the RR. To make sure they didn't get caught, they transferred some of their stock to big-wig congress members. In 1872, congress went to investigate and found that Schuyler Colfax, Grant's VP had accepted stock from the deal. It made the Republican party look super corrupt. Whether Grant knew of this, who knows. .

5 Whiskey Ring The Whiskey Ring of 1875, exposed by Secretary of the Treasury Benjamin H. Bristow, involved diversion of tax revenues in a conspiracy among government agents, politicians, whiskey distillers, and distributors. Over $3 million in taxes were stolen from the federal government with the aid of high government officials. Orville E. Babcock, the private secretary to the President, was indicted as a member of the ring but escaped conviction because of a presidential pardon.

6 The Belknap Scandal Indian Bureau Contracts
Grant’s Secretary of War, William Belknap, was caught taking bribes to sell lucrative Native American trading posts in Oklahoma to his cronies. Grant let him resign (just before he was to be impeached) and get away with the crimes.

7 Political Machine An unofficial organization that worked to keep one politician or political party in power. Ex. Tammany Hall/the Tweed Ring kept William Tweed in power in New York. Most large cities were run by political machines at the turn of the century.

8 How the Political Machine Worked
The machine decided who got hired for what jobs within the city and who got contracts for stuff like roadwork. In return the machine (and its leaders) got paid with kickbacks (bribes) This form of corruption is called Graft Political Machines were kept in power by ward bosses who “served the concerns of the poor urban citizens” and would then tell them who to vote for

9 How a Political Machine Worked .
The most infamous example of machine politics was Tammany Hall, headquarters of the Democratic Party in New York City. Headed by William Marcy Tweed, the Tammany Hall political machine of the late 1860s and early 1870s used graft, bribery, and rigged elections to bilk the city of over $200 million. Some of this money went to create public jobs that helped people and supported the local economy. Some went into constructing public buildings at hugely inflated expense, thus lining the pockets of building contractors and suppliers of materials. But contractors and suppliers, and anyone else doing business in the city, had to give kickbacks to the bosses in order to stay in business. Many machine bosses, including Boss Tweed, amassed fortunes as a result of kickbacks and bribes.

10 The Tweed Ring In New York Gave 50,000 to the poor
2 million for schools orphanages and hospitals Ran the city’s debt up to 70 million with its graft and illegal practices.

11 Thomas Nast His political Cartoons helped to bring down Boss Tweed and his ring. Political/editorial cartoon is an illustration containing a commentary that usually relates to current events or personalities. They typically combine artistic skill, hyperbole and biting humour in order to question authority and draw attention to corruption and other social ills.[1] Also created the Modern Santa Claus





16 ENTRY # 25 Draw a political Cartoon and then explain it. You may use either a current issue or an issue from the time period that we have been studying. In your explanation include the issue and how you represented the issue in pictures.

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