The Art of the Deal Politics in the Gilded Age ran like business – it was survival of the fittest. Politicians in power traded favors votes, and their friends’ votes for their party (Democrats). It began as immigrants acquired the right to vote, and all lived in a particular area called a precinct.
The Structure of the Machine BOSS PRECINCT CAPTAIN Citizens went to the Precinct Captains for favors, which got passed up the pipeline to the Ward Boss, who went to bat for you with the BOSS. WARD BOSS
Political Bosses Call Shots Helped those, best able to help Bosses. Reward subordinate bosses who deliver votes. Were “lobbyists” for business with government. Got “kickbacks” - $$$ - for favors, like contracts. Controlled city jobs - Police, Fire & Sanitation
Tammany Hall – 1860-1870 Not a place - an organization Boss Tweed most corrupt politician of the 19 th century. He could deliver votes to elected officials so he controlled their loyalty. He could deliver jobs to citizens so he controlled their loyalty too.
Served Constructive Purpose Despite corruption and personal gain, they did get things accomplished. Awarding government contracts helped develop cities, parks, roads and infrastructure Channeled city money quickly and efficiently into city construction projects.
Contracts They “Sold” Sewer digging projects Public Buildings Franchises to operate: water works electricity systems streetcar routes All for a modest commission to the Boss
How Were They Possible? Immigrants who needed jobs came for help and developed great loyalty for jobs found. Links to wealthy citizens who shared in the corrupt profits gained from the deals. Refused to end a “good thing” Weak government – power spread out among several city officials & limited by states.
Patronage Ends National politics too – since Andrew Jackson “Spoils Systems” put incompetent people in important jobs – hurt government functions. Rutherford B. Hayes started to change it – fired Chester A. Arthur from the NY Customs House – a high profile & profitable position.
James Garfield Tries Reforms Garfield continued civil service reforms but caused fights in the Republican party. Stalwarts – Republicans resisting reform vs. Half Breeds –wanted reform, but loyal Garfield appoints reformers to jobs then gets assassinated.
President Arthur Gets it Done Chester A. Arthur once fired by Hayes urges Congress to make the reforms necessary. Congress passes Pendleton Act of 1883. Civil Service Commission appoints people who will hold federal jobs. Merit System – Tests to qualify people for jobs