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Politics in the Gilded Age 18691889


Politics in the. Gilded Age. 1869-1889. The American Pageant. Chapter 24 'Bloody Shirt' Grant was most popular Northern hero from War, but had no political ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Politics in the Gilded Age 18691889

Politics in the Gilded Age 1869-1889
  • The American Pageant
  • Chapter 24

Bloody Shirt
  • Grant was most popular Northern hero from War,
    but had no political experience.
  • 1868 Reps (no more Union party) nominate Grant
    for president.
  • Platform military reconstruct.

Bloody Shirt (2)
  • But Grant responded Let us have peace became
    cam-paign slogan, later on tomb.
  • Dems split on monetary policy rich, eastern Dems
    wanted bonds redeemed in gold, mid-western Dems
    wanted more paper money in circulation.

Bloody Shirt (3)
  • Dems nom. Horatio Seymour, sided with gold
    advocates, sinking Dem popular appeal/ election
  • Reps campaign for Grant by waving bloody shirt
    - saying vote as you shot.

Bloody Shirt (4)
  • Newly freed slave vote gives Grant margin of
    victory, votes from MS, TX, VA not counted.
  • Lesson for Republicans to remain in power, they
    must keep vote in hands of blacks, continue to
    control South.

Era of Good Stealings
  • Era after War became known for corruption,
    bribery, graft, e.g. millionaires Fisk Gould.
  • 1869 Fisk Gould plan to corner gold market,
    needed Fed. treasury to not sell gold.
  • Got assurances from Grant through his

Era of Good Stealings (2)
  • 9/24/1869, Black Friday Fisk, Gould bid up
    price of gold, plan failed when Treas-ury
    released gold into market.
  • Brokers who bought rising gold on margin were
    ruined when gold price collapsed.

Era of Good Stealings (3)
  • Congressional probe Grants actions not illegal,
    only unwise.
  • Boss Tweed essentially ran NYC, taking 200M
    from city.
  • 1871 NY Times and cartoonist Nast refused
    bribes, published evidence, Tweed convicted.

Carnival of Corruption
  • Grants cabinet largely corrupt, e.g., Crédit
    Mobilier scandal.
  • Union Pacific Railway insiders formed Crédit
    Mobilier as RR construction co., then hired
    themselves to build RR with large fees.

Carnival of Corruption (2)
  • Feared getting caught distrib-uted shares of
    company to members of Congress.
  • 1872 Newspaper exposes scandal, implicates VP,
  • 1875 Whiskey Ring scandal Grants private
    secretary involved, who Grant protected.

Carnival of Corruption (3)
  • 1876 Sec. of War Belknap impeached/resigned for
    pocketing 24,000 in bribes.
  • Grant accepted resignation with great regret.

Liberal Rep. Revolt
  • By 1872, some Reps upset w/ corruption, form
    Liberal Republican party.
  • Nominate Horace Greeley for president erratic,
    dogmatic NY Tribune editor.
  • Shock Dems endorse Greeley.

Liberal Rep. Revolt (2)
  • Greeley had reached out to Dems, clasping hands
    across the bloody chasm.
  • Reps renominate Grant.
  • Campaign mud Greeley atheist, communist, signed
    Jeff Daviss bail bond.

Liberal Rep. Revolt (3)
  • Mud Grant called ignoramus, drunk, swindler.
  • Greeley ended up losing election, wife, job,
    mind, life.
  • 3rd party encouraged reforms Congress passed
    civil service reforms, restored political rights
    to many Confederates.

Demands for Inflation
  • Credit-based overproduction in economy caused
    panic of 1873.
  • Panic initiated with collapse of Jay Cooke Co.
  • 15,000 businesses bankrupt.
  • Freedmens Savings Trust lost 7M in deposits
    blacks lost confidence in banks.

Demands for Inflation (2)
  • Debtors began to demand inflation in order to
    more easily pay back debts desired issuing of
    more greenbacks
  • Hard money advocates (creditors) were
    advocating the end of paper altogether.

Demands for Inflation (3)
  • 1874 Hard money supporters won victory with
    passage of Resumption Act more greenbacks to be
    withdrawn, paper money to be redeemed for gold at
    face value.
  • New discoveries of silver put pressure on govt
    to coin silver.

Demands for Inflation (4)
  • Instead, Treasury began to accumulate gold,
    resulting in contraction, deflation.
  • Contraction a sound money success restored govt
    credit rating, brought value of greenback up to
    that of gold.

Demands for Inflation (5)
  • 1878 Bland-Allison Act struck compromise govt
    to buy coin 2-4M in silver per month.
  • Govt disappointed soft-money by only buying
  • Backlash to Rep policies House went to Dems in
    1874, spawned Greenback Labor Party (1878).

Politics in the Gilded Age
  • 1869-91 control of House switched parties 6x,
    presidential elections close.
  • Dems and Reps agreed on most national matters
    (tariff, civil service reform, currency), but
    were fiercely competitive well organized.

Politics in the Gilded Age (2)
  • Voter turnout reached 80, ticket splitting was
  • Difference between parties was ethnic/cultural/rel
  • Rep traced roots to Puritanism, personal
    morality, govt involvement in moral/economic

Politics in the Gilded Age (3)
  • Dems mostly Lutheran/Catho-lic, resisted single
    moral standards, affirmed toleration.
  • Issued like prohibition, education produced
    contentious campaigns at the local level.
  • Dems strong in South, northern cities

Politics in the Gilded Age (4)
  • Reps strong in Midwest, rural Northeast
    (generally won Northeast states), among freedmen
    in South, GAR.
  • Patronage was lifeblood of both parties
    reformers believed spoils system was cause of

Politics in the Gilded Age (5)
  • 1870-80s led to Rep. infighting Stalwart
    faction led by Sen. Conkling embraced patronage
    Half-Breeds, led by Blaine considered civil
    service reform but were really interested in
    using patronage for own benefit as well.

Hayes-Tilden Standoff
  • House (233-18) discouraged Grant from 3rd term.
  • Stalwarts Half-Breeds compromised on Rutherford
    B. Hayes as candidate for 1876.
  • Hayes appealed to veterans, was from swing vote
    state of Ohio.

Hayes-Tilden Standoff (2)
  • Dems chose Samuel J. Tilden, who had prosecuted
    Boss Tweed in NY.
  • Campaigned against Rep. scandal, for civil
    service reform.
  • Tilden received one EC vote less that needed to
    win, 20 EC votes from 4 states disputed.

Hayes-Tilden Standoff (3)
  • LA, SC, FL still had Recon-struction govts,
    submitted two sets of election returns (Dem
    Rep) to Congress.
  • Constitutional question who counts EC ballots?

Compromise of 1877
  • Election deadlock partially broken by Electoral
    Count Act created 15 member commission to settle
    dispute of returns.
  • Dems intended 15th member to be independent
    Justice Davis, who leaned Democratic, how-ever
    Davis takes Senate seat.

Compromise of 1877 (2)
  • Only remaining Sup. Ct. justices are Reps, so
    commis-sion ends up 8 Reps, 7 Dems.
  • Dems threaten filibuster, but avoided by
    Compromise of 1877 Hayes (R) elected in re-turn
    for removal of Fed. troops from South, Southern

Compromise of 1877 (3)
  • Reps commitment to blacks further hurt by Sup.
    Ct. strik-ing down Civil Rights Act of 1875,
    which tried to guarantee equal accommodations.
  • Recons. state govts in LA, SC, FL immediately
    collapsed, replaced by redeemer govts.

Compromise of 1877 (4)
  • Reconstruction ends, and white Dems resume power
    in South.
  • Blacks effectively disenfranchi-sed through
    fraud, intimidation.
  • 1890s Southern states add literacy tests, poll
    taxes, other voter reg. laws to further
    disenfranchise blacks.

Compromise of 1877 (5)
  • Blacks, poor whites forced into sharecropping
    tenant farming, often through crop-lien system.
  • 1896 Sup. Ct. in Plessy v. Ferguson validated
    Jim Crow laws with separate but equal.
  • Lynchings at record levels.

Class Conflicts
  • Hard times after 1873 resulted in class warfare,
    esp. with RR workers.
  • 1877 4 largest RRs agree to cut wages 10, Pres.
    Hayes had to call in troops to quell unrest, put
    down strike over 100 killed.

Class Conflicts (2)
  • Failure of RR strike showed labor movement was
    divided racially, esp. Irish Chinese in CA.
  • 1880 CA had 75,000 Chinese came to work in
    gold mines, lay RR tracks. About half returned
    home once work dried up.

Class Conflicts (3)
  • Remaining Chinese had few opportunities, took
    menial jobs.
  • Irish-American Denis Kearney incited followers to
    violence against Chinese, who were resented due
    to job competition.
  • 1879 Congress attempted to limit Chinese

Class Conflicts (4)
  • However, Hayes vetoed the bill due to treaty
    violation CA residents burned him in effigy.
  • 1882 After Hayes left office, Congress passed
    Chinese Exclusion Act kept Chinese out until

Cold Water
  • Hayes legitimacy in office was questioned - His
  • However Hayes, a man of honor, was hurt by
  • Hayes was temperance advo-cate, served no alcohol
    - called cold-water administration.

Cold Water (2)
  • But Hayes accomplished little, and was eventually
    denounced even by own party.
  • Had declared intention for single term only,
    which was expedient b/c he probably could not
    have won nomination of party for 2nd term.

Garfield Interlude
  • Though StalwartHalf-Breed standoff made things
    difficult, Reps finally chose dark horse James
    Garfield (OH).
  • Born into poverty, good Civil War record.
  • Platform protective tariff, half-hearted support
    for civil service.

Garfield Interlude (2)
  • Dems nominate Civil War general Winfield Hancock,
    who had been fair to South as head of military
  • Platform tariff for revenue only, for civil
    service reform.
  • Rep strategy bloody shirt.

Garfield Interlude (3)
  • Dem strategy tie Garfield to Crédit Mobilier
    scandal (329).
  • Garfield won close election.
  • Besieged by office seekers, and awarded
    Half-Breed leader Blaine sec. of state.
  • Crazed Stalwart Guiteau assassinates Garfield

Garfield Interlude (4)
  • Garfields death shocked politicians into finally
    taking action to correct the abuses of the spoils

Arthur Takes Command
  • VP Arthur (Stalwart) not regarded as qualified to
    be pres.
  • But Arthurs promise showed in prosecuting fraud,
    cold shoulder to Stalwart office seekers.
  • Supported civil service reform, Rep party jumped
    on band-wagon (had lost maj. in House).

Arthur Takes Command (2)
  • Pendleton Act of 1883 finally brought civil
    service reform.
  • Established merit system of making appointments
    for many posts, Civil Service Commission to
    administer exams.

Arthur Takes Command (2)
  • Former spoilsman Arthur executed law
    aggressively By 1884 14,000 offices had been
    classified (about 10).
  • Unintended effect parties had to look to big
    corps. for money.
  • Reforms offended too many Reps, Arthur not

Blaine-Cleveland Mud
  • Blaine clear choice of Reps for 1884, but party
    reformers were upset publicized Mulligan
  • Some reformers bolted to Dems, called Mugwumps.
  • Dems chose reformer Grover Cleveland honest

Blaine-Cleveland Mud (2)
  • Reps discovered that Cleveland had fathered
    illegitimate son, but did take care of him
    Cleveland refused to lie about it.
  • In NY, Rep clergyman condemned Dems as party of
    Rum, Romanism, Rebellion in Blaines presence.

Blaine-Cleveland Mud (3)
  • Blaine did not immediately repudiate RRR phrase
    so many concluded that he agreed.
  • Cleveland wins election by about 1000 votes in
  • Voters had choice between dishonesty and private

Grover Takes Over
  • Cleveland 1st Dem pres. in 28 yr.
  • Cleveland advocate of laissez-faire, liked by
    business banks.
  • Named only 2 former Confederates to cabinet
  • Desire for merit system, but eventually fired
    almost 2/3 of 120,000 Fed employees.

Grover Takes Over (2)
  • Civil War pensions system was aggressively abused
    by congressman using private bills to award
    pensions to individuals (inc. some deserters,
  • Cleveland carefully read bills, and vetoed
    hundreds of them.

Battle for Lower Tariff
  • Demands for govt revenue during war and
    Republican desire to protect industry resulted in
    very high tariff.
  • 1881 Treasury running annual surplus of 145M.
  • 2 options spend surplus on war veterans/pork, or
    lower tariff.

Battle for Lower Tariff (2)
  • Cleveland studied issue, impressed that lower
    tariff would mean lower prices for consumers,
    less protection for monopolies, and consistent
    with his smaller govt principles.
  • Dems encouraged him to avoid tariff issue

Battle for Lower Tariff (3)
  • 1887 Went against party and proposed lower
    tariff to Congress in State of the Union address.
  • Reps rejoiced Blaine said Theres one more
    President for us in tariff protection.

Harrison Ousts Cleveland
  • Dems renominated Cleveland in 1888, Reps picked
    Benjamin Harrison (grandson of Tippecanoe).
  • Tariff was main campaign issue.
  • Sackville-West letter greatly hurt Cleveland
    campaign, esp. among NY Irish.

Harrison Ousts Cleveland (2)
  • Big business, afraid of lower tariff, helped Reps
    raise 3M.
  • Some votes (IN) actually purchased for as much as
  • Harrison beats Cleveland in EC by 7,000 votes in
    NY, despite pop. vote win.

Harrison Ousts Cleveland (3)
  • Clevelands accomplishments Dawes act to
    regulate Indian affairs, Interstate Commerce Act
    to curb RRs (1887).
  • Politics of age dominated by local affairs
    Congress best men were in industry - resulted in
    forgettable presidents.

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