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Politics in the Gilded Age

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Presentation on theme: "Politics in the Gilded Age"— Presentation transcript:

1 Politics in the Gilded Age
The Emergence of the Political Machine Municipal Graft and Scandal Civil Service Replaces Patronage Business Buys Influence

2 The Emergence of the Political Machine
An organized group that controlled the activities of a political party in a city. Offers services to voters and businesses in exchange for political or financial support. Controlled most local / city governments Organized like a pyramid.

3 Local Precinct Workers
Pyramid Structure City Boss Ward Boss Local Precinct Workers and Captains Immigrants / Working Class

4 Role of the Political Boss
Controls thousands of city jobs Police, fire, and sanitation departments Controls business licenses and inspections Influences courts and municipal agencies Uses power to build public works Water works, parks, schools, hospitals etc.

5 Motives of Political Bosses
Money - business would pay for the bosses support or to look the other way Votes – did good things for people living in their district to reinforce voter loyalty Influence and Power Political Support

6 Immigrants and the Political Machine
Bosses frequently 1st or 2nd generation immigrants Raised in poverty Worked their way up the machine Speak the language and understand the challenges for immigrants Help immigrants find place to live, get them jobs, and to become naturalized In return the immigrant provides votes

7 Municipal Graft and Scandal
Election Fraud and Graft Fraud – fraudulent votes cast by ineligible voters i.e. dogs, children, deceased. Graft – illegal use of political influence for personal gain. Kickbacks – illegal payments

8 The Tweed Ring Scandal Tammany Hall – New York City’s powerful Democratic Political Machine Boss Tweed – William Marcy Tweed, head of Tammany Hall and leader of the Tweed Ring Tweed Ring – group of corrupt politicians who pocketed as much as $20 million in kickbacks and payoffs.

9 Tweed Ring Scandal New York County Courthouse cost taxpayers $13 million, actual construction cost $ 3 million Thomas Nast – political cartoonist who blew the whistle on the corruption of the Tweed Ring and Boss Tweed by publishing telling cartoons about their illegal activities.

10 Thomas Nast Cartoon

11 Who Stole the People’s Money by Thomas Nast

12 Thomas Nast Cartoon

13 Tweed Ring Broken Tweed indicted on 120 counts of fraud and extortion
Sentenced to 12 years Served 2 and escaped only to be recaptured in Spain because someone ironically recognized him from a Thomas Nast cartoon.

14 Civil Service Replaces Patronage
Patronage – giving of government jobs to people who helped get a candidate elected Spoils System – “To the Victor goes the Spoils” – the system of rewarding one’s political supporters

15 Problems with the Spoils System
Some government employees were not qualified for their positions Some used their positions for personal gain Interfered with daily functioning of government because with each change 1000’s of positions had to be filled, meaning very little got done because the politician spent his time making appointments to the 1000’s of positions

16 Call for Civil Service Reform
Civil Service – government jobs Merit System – filling government jobs based on qualification, regardless of political views or affiliation

17 Hayes the Reformer Named independents to his cabinet
Named independents to his cabinet Fired workers who had nothing to do Set up commission to investigate the national customhouses Fired the top two officials in New York City’s customhouse based on report Cleaned up nations customhouses Upset many in the Political Machine

18 Election of 1880 After much debate between Stalwarts and Mugwumps Republicans compromise Stalwarts – oppose changes to the spoils system. Supports the use of Patronage. Mugwumps – want civil service reform Republicans nominate independent James A. Garfield for President Nominate Chester A. Arthur for V.P. with ties to the political machine

19 Garfield Wins Presidency
Gives most of patronage jobs to Reform Republicans (Mugwumps) Garfield is shot twice at a train station by man upset about not getting a government job. Assassin was a Stalwart and wanted Arthur to become President. Garfield dies of his wounds 2 ½ months after incident and Arthur becomes President.

20 Arthur Turns Reformer Arthur calls for passage of the Pendleton Act.
Pendleton Act – authorized a bipartisan civil service commission to make appointments to federal jobs through the merit system based on performance on an exam. 40% of federal jobs covered then 90% of federal jobs covered today

21 Consequences of Pendleton Act
Increased # of federal jobs held by qualified people Public administration became more honest and efficient Politicians had to seek other sources for campaign contributions since they could pressure people with promises of jobs The alliance between big business and politics become much stronger

22 Efforts to Regulate Tariffs Fail
Tariff – Tax on imports 1884 Grover Cleveland (Democrat) wins Presidency Supports Tariff Reform (lower tariffs) Does not have congressional support

23 Election of 1888 Cleveland (Dem) v. Benjamin Harrison (Rep)
Harrison has backing of big business and wins Cleveland had more popular votes, but Harrison captured more electoral votes Harrison supports high protective tariffs McKinley Tariff Act of 1890 – raised tariffs to highest level ever

24 Cleveland Tries Again in 1892
Cleveland ran and won in 1892 Only President to serve two non-consecutive terms (22nd & 24th Pres.) Supported the Wilson-Gorman Tariff Act to lower tariffs, but refused to sign it when congress added a provision to raise federal income tax. Wilson-Gorman Tariff became law w/o signature.

25 Election of William McKinley
The election of McKinley in 1896 killed tariff reform, because upon his inauguration tariffs were raised again. However the spirit of reform would live on in the new century.

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