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The Gilded Age 1870-1890.

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Presentation on theme: "The Gilded Age 1870-1890."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Gilded Age

2 Gilded means to cover something of poor quality with gold
Mark Twain Gilded means to cover something of poor quality with gold What does this imply about American Society?

3 Political Machines I don't care who does the electing, so long as I get to do the nominating. Boss Tweed The Brains Political Cartoon by Thomas Nast A Harper's Weekly political cartoon lampoons the corrupt New York administration led by "Boss" Tweed and the Tammany Society. Image: © CORBIS Creator Name: Thomas Nast Date Created: 1871

4 Political Machines Basics:
What? Political parties that controlled local and state government in late 1800s Why? Cities were growing fast! City government disorganized with few reliable services (police, fire, welfare) Immigrants wanted protection, help A political cartoon lampoons the corrupt administration in New York, New York, led by "Boss" Tweed and the "Tammany Society." Ca Image: © CORBIS Creator Name: Thomas Nast Date Created: ca. 1871

5 Political Machines Basics:
Where? Most large cities Ex. NY (Tammany Hall) Who? Political bosses helped their people get elected in return for jobs, city contracts Ex. Boss Tweed (Tammany Hall) pocketed around $200 million of public funds Can The Law Reach Him? The Dwarf and the Thief by Thomas Nast (

6 Political Machines Basics:
How? Traded favors for votes Ex. Immigrants were met at Ellis Island, shown where to get housing, jobs, and helped to become naturalized citizens (who could vote!) = Corruption Voting fraud Bribes Kickbacks Political Button Image: © William Whitehurst/CORBIS Photographer: William Whitehurst Date Photographed: June 30, 2003

7 Film

8 Exposed corrupt Boss Tweed Used political cartoons: citizens didn’t need to be able to read.

9 Boss Tweed and Tammany Hall

10 Does History remember the Real Boss Tweed?

11 Political Machines Still around?
Not really - Tweed brought down when public opinion went against him Things changed when the NY Times published expose & the public got interested in reforming politics Warrant for William M. Tweed Original caption: Warrant for the apprehension of William M. Tweed after his escape from N.Y. City jail, December 4, 1875. Image: © Bettmann/CORBIS Date Photographed: December 4, 1875

12 To the victor goes the spoils

Nationally, some politicians pushed for reform in the hiring system The system had been based on Patronage; giving jobs and favors to those who helped a candidate get elected Reformers pushed for an adoption of a merit system of hiring the most qualified for jobs The Pendleton Civil Service Act of 1883 authorized a bipartisan commission to make appointments for federal jobs based on performance Applicants for federal jobs are required to take a Civil Service Exam

14 Review Who was Boss Tweed?
What is the connection between Boss Tweed and Thomas Nast? What was Tammany Hall? Give two examples of graft. Were political machines good or bad for cities? Explain your response? What was the spoils system and what reform did it lead to?

15 Read Chapter 15, section 3 pp 452-454
Make sure that your lecture notes are complete and that all terms are defined

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