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Title: Lesson 4

Lesson 4
  • Democracy and Empire
  • 1870-1900

A Growing Government
  • Prior to the Civil War governments depended upon
    private companies to provide services.
  • After the War this began to change as cities
    began operating their own fire departments,
    libraries, schools, roads, etc.
  • State governments also started growing.
  • Began overseeing banking, transportation, major
    construction within the states.

A Growing Government
  • The federal government grew during this period.
  • The demand for resources and supplies during the
    War required growth.
  • The federal government continued to grow after
    the War.
  • During this period, many of the modern
    departments, bureaus, and cabinets took shape.

A Growing Government
  • The Department of Interior.
  • The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA).
  • U.S. Geological Survey.
  • Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC).
  • Prohibited discriminatory rates by railroads.
  • Set precedent for future regulation of trade and
    the establishment of rules for businesses that
    superseded state laws.

The Machinery of Politics
  • The Republicans continued to run on Civil War
  • The Democrats sought ways to reduce the influence
    of the federal government and protect states
  • Neither party would enjoy a clear majority until
    the close of the 19th century.

The Machinery of Politics
  • Most Presidents during this period yielded power
    to Congress and state legislatures.
  • Democrats controlled the House of
  • Republicans controlled the Senate.
  • Congress passed little meaningful legislation
    before 1890.

The Machinery of Politics
  • The issue of the tariff divided the parties.
  • Tariff a tax levied by the government on
    imported goods (customs duty).
  • Manufacturing regions (N.E.) supported the
  • Southern/Western agricultural regions opposed the
    tariffs (claimed that the tariff were unfair on
    famers (etc) who needed to import necessities).
  • Democrats argued for reductions in tariffs to
    save the agrarian way of life.

The Machinery of Politics
  • Republicans raised tariffs during the War and
    retained high tariffs as long as they held power.
  • Republicans/Democrats mainly operated on the
    local level.
  • By 1870s, partisan politics was a full-time job.
    Local officials running for office every two

The Machinery of Politics
  • Voter turn out was high despite gridlock in D.C.
  • Partisans embraced the donkey or elephant as
    symbols of their party.
  • Powerful bosses, who operated at the local level,
    and political machines begin to dominate both
  • On the Federal level, jobs changed hands each
    time the Presidency passed from one party to

The Spoils System and Civil Service Reform
  • 1865 Thomas Jenckes (R RI) proposed a bill for
    civil service reform. It was defeated.
  • Group of professors, newspaper editors, lawyers,
    and ministers organized The Civil Service Reform
  • George Pendleton (D OH).
  • January 1883 bipartisan majority passed the
    Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act.

The Spoils System and Civil Service Reform
  • The Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act
  • Prohibited government workers from making
    political contributions.
  • Created the Civil Service Commission which
    established a system of standards for federal
  • Instituted open, competitive examinations for
    testing the fitness of applicants for public
  • Barred political candidates from funding their
    campaigns by assessing a tax on the salaries of
    holders of party-sponsored government jobs.

The Spoils System and Civil Service Reform
  • Patronage did not disappear.
  • Many federal departments took on a professional
  • Circuit Courts of Appeals Act of 1891
  • Congress granted the U.S. Supreme Court the right
    to review all cases at will.
  • Still, many observers viewed government as

The Grange and the Farmers Alliance
  • 1867 Patrons of Husbandry
  • Formed by white farmers in the Midwest.
  • For their own social, intellectual, and moral
  • Formed as a national organization of farm owners.
  • Also known as Grangers.
  • Launched an assault on the corrupt railroad

The Grange and the Farmers Alliance
  • Railroads bribed state legislators.
  • They received discriminatory rate policy.
  • Charged farmers more to ship their crops short
    distances than over long distances.
  • 1874 Granger Laws
  • Established maximum shipping rates.
  • Grangers also complained about the price-fixing
    policies of grain wholesalers and operators of
    grain elevators.
  • 1873 Illinois legislature passed the Warehouse
  • Established maximum rates for storing grain.
  • In other states, Grangers ran banks as well as
    fraternal life and fire insurance companies.

The Grange and the Farmers Alliance
  • Mid-1880s The Supreme Court overturns most of
    the key legislation regulating railroads.
  • The idea of an activist government would remain
    at the heart of the farmer-worker protest
  • Anger moved South.
  • Falling price of cotton caused the farmers to
    turn their anger into loyalty to the one
    organization pledged to improve their situation
    The Southern Farmers Alliance.

The Grange and the Farmers Alliance
  • The Southern Farmers Alliance
  • Formed to advance the interests of small farmers.
  • For a period of time it was the alternative to
    the capitalist marketplace.
  • Winter blizzards 1886/1887.
  • Summer droughts 1886/1887.
  • Reduced wheat harvests by one-third on the Great
  • Wheat prices fell sharply.

The Grange and the Farmers Alliance
  • 1889 Regional organizations joined forces
  • The National Farmers Alliance and Industrial
  • Entered electoral races. By 1890, had won several
    local and state elections.
  • Gained control of the Nebraska legislature. Held
    the balance of power in Minnesota and South
  • Worked to lower tariffs, to restrict land
    ownership to citizens, and easier access to
    money through the free and unlimited coinage of

Labor Parties and Womens Alliances
  • Workers launched labor parties in industrial
    towns and cities.
  • By the late 1880s, labor parties won seats on
    many city councils and state legislatures.
  • Victories caught the attention of farmers.
  • New party lost.
  • Local successes nurtured hopes for a viable
    political alliance of the producing classes,
    both rural and urban.

Labor Parties and Womens Alliances
  • Women activists helped build the labor and
    agrarian protest movements.
  • Women in the Knights of Labor and the Farmers
    Alliance looked to Frances E. Willard as their
  • From 1878 until 1897, Willard presided over the
    Womans Christian Temperance Union (WCTU).
  • Dedicated to abstinence from the consumption of
  • Members visited schools, prisons, and mens
    meetings, teaching about the evils of alcohol.

Labor Parties and Womens Alliances
  • Willard understood that for women to participate
    in politics they needed the right to vote.
  • The WCTU became a major force for womens
    suffrage. Far surpassing its two rival
  • American Woman Suffrage Association
  • National Woman Suffrage Association
  • 1890 Merged to form The National American Woman
    Suffrage Association.

  • Political philosophy supporting the rights and
    power of the people in their struggle against the
    privileged elite.
  • During the 1890s, mass movement that formed on
    the basis of the Southern Farmers Alliance and
    other reform organizations.

  • December 1890
  • Farmers Alliance called a meeting at Ocala,
  • Press for the creation of a third party (Peoples
  • Risky since the organization had hoped to control
    the Democratic Party. Many farmers were
  • Established its own parties in some areas.
  • Presented candidates for local elections.
  • Won majorities in state legislatures.
  • Sent a representative to Congress.

  • The Peoples Party
  • Government ownership of railroads, banks, and
    telegraph lines.
  • Prohibition of large landholding companies.
  • Graduated income tax.
  • Eight-hour workday.
  • Restriction of immigration.
  • Most ambitious plan called for the federal
    government to build local warehouses where
    farmers could store crops until prices reached
    more acceptable levels.

  • A universal suffrage proposal failed to pass.
  • July 1892
  • Met in Omaha.
  • Nominated James Baird Weaver (Iowa) for President
    and Confederate veteran James G. Field (Virginia)
    for Vice President.
  • Populists Supporters of the Peoples Party.
    Became a major force in American politics.
  • Party won numerous local elections.

Financial Crisis 1890s
  • Several events in the late 19th century shook any
    confidence people had in the government.
  • The most serious was the economic depression of
  • European depression caused markets for American
    goods to shrink.
  • Financial panic spread and British investors sold
    their stock to get cash.

Financial Crisis 1890s
  • Helped bring about the collapse of the U.S.
  • Tight credit
  • Falling agricultural prices
  • Weak banking system
  • Overexpansion in railroad construction
  • May/June 1893 Stock market crash. American
    economy came to a halt.

Financial Crisis 1890s
  • Unemployment reach 25 in many areas.
  • Millions suffered unable to purchase food,
    clothes, or household items.
  • Families learned to get by on little.
  • Public anger grew.
  • Coxeys Army
  • Miners Union bomb mine
  • The Pullman Strike

Financial Crisis 1890s
  • Eugene Debs, leader of the Pullman Strike,
    believed socialism was Christianity in action.
  • Many clergy shared his views.
  • Social Gospel leaders
  • Called upon the American government to be more
    responsible for its most impoverished and
    unprotected citizens.
  • Petitioned the government to regulate
    corporations and place limits on profits.

Financial Crisis 1890s
  • Social Gospel movement was guided by women.
  • Women raised money to establish inexpensive
    residential hotels for working women.
  • YWCA (Young Womens Christian Association)
  • Sponsored services for needy protestant women,
    elderly, and unwed mothers.
  • Provided vocational training.

Financial Crisis 1890s
  • Catholic nuns and lay women served the poor women
    of their faith.
  • Operated schools, hospitals, and orphanages.
  • African-American women (Baptist)
  • Sponsored self-help programs.
  • Emphasized the importance of education
  • Organized their own YWCA chapters.
  • Formed nurseries, orphanages, hospitals, and
    nursing homes.

Political Reforms
  • Economic crisis brought about crisis in two-party
  • Election of 1896.
  • Displayed the American peoples desire for a
    stronger and more involved federal government.
  • Brought to office national political who
  • Saw a link between domestic problems and the
    growth of overseas markets.
  • Were willing to put their vision into action.
  • Events that led up to the election of 96.

Political Reform
  • Free Silver Issue
  • President Glover Cleveland (D) 1892 victory
    owed to
  • The predictable votes of Southern Democrats.
  • Unanticipated support of some Northern states
    (whose German born voters turned against nativist
  • Financial collapse put pressure on Democrats.
  • President Cleveland called for a special session
    of Congress to reform the nations currency.
  • Background
  • Many sought soft currency.
  • Federal Govt created national currency

Political Reform
  • Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890
  • Directed Treasury to increase the amount of
    currency coined from silver.
  • Permitted the U.S. to print paper currency back
    by silver.
  • President Cleveland tried to repeal Act.
  • Supported the gold standard to bring the nation
    out of economic ruin.
  • President Cleveland had the Act repealed
    October 1893.
  • Ruined his chances for re-nomination.

Political Reform
  • Silver Democrats looked to the Populist who
    favored free silver.
  • 1894 (mid-term elections) brought about the
    largest shift in congressional power in American
  • William Jennings Bryan (D Populist)
  • Champion of free silver.
  • Democratic nominee for 1896 election.
  • Populist Party nominated Bryan for President and
    Tom Watson for V.P.
  • Bryan/Sewall ignored the Populist nomination.

Political Reform
  • Presidential Election of 1896
  • Democrats
  • William Jennings Bryan and Arthur Sewall.
  • Republicans
  • William McKinley and Garret Hobart.
  • Republicans avoided the silver issue.
  • McKinley defeated Bryan.
  • The Populist movement faded away.
  • Bryans defeat ended the popular challenge to the
    nations growing system.

Political Reform
  • President McKinley
  • Strengthened the Presidency.
  • Promoted pro-business and expansionist measures.
  • By the close of the 19th century, the nation was
    seeing a return of prosperity.
  • McKinley won re-election in 1900.
  • Assassinated September 5, 1901.
  • Leon Frank Czolgosz

Nativism and Jim Crow
  • Bryan nor McKinley dealt with the issue of racism
    and Nativism.
  • Close of 19th century
  • Many began to note that the nations patriotic
    fever took on a nationalistic and antiforeigner
  • Many blamed the nations problems on foreigners.
  • Southern States placed racist and nativist views
    into law by passing discriminatory and
    segregationist legislation.
  • Jim Crow Laws.

Nativism and Jim Crow
  • Jim Crow Laws had a major impact on
  • White southerners imposed firm standards of
    segregation and domination to prevent any
    appearance of equality between the races.
  • Southern states enacted new laws to cover
    facilities such as public transportation,
    restaurants, and drinking fountains.

Nativism and Jim Crow
  • Jim Crow Laws were upheld by the U.S. Supreme
    Court when it
  • Overturned the Civil Rights Act of 1875.
  • Ruled that Louisiana could segregate railroad
    passenger cars (Plessy v. Ferguson).
  • Political equality and Social equality separate
  • Basis for segregation.
  • Cumming v. Richmond County Board of Education.
  • Separate schools.

Nativism and Jim Crow
  • Southern states enacted literacy tests and
    property qualifications for voting.
  • Louisiana used Grandfather Clauses to prevent
    African-Americans from voting.
  • Rise in racial violence
  • Race riots.
  • Wilmington, N.C.
  • The Wilmington Massacre
  • Lynching were very common.
  • Became public (and family) events.

Nativism and Jim Crow
  • Ida B. Wells
  • Launched an anti-lynching movement.
  • Her cause was taken up by the National
    Association of Colored Women.
  • Few southerners stepped up to defend
  • Many believed their future depended upon white

Spanish-American War
  • Prior to the Civil War, Southerners pushed for
    the acquisition of Spanish Cuba.
  • Wanted to expand slavery into its sugar mills,
    tobacco plantations, and mines.
  • United States failed to purchase the island.
  • Settled for status quo and agreed to protect
    Spains sovereignty over Cuba.
  • Mid-1860s
  • Independence movement began in Cuba.
  • Response to high taxes.

Spanish-American War
  • The Independence Party
  • Suffered a series of defeats.
  • Rallied under the leadership of Jose Marti.
  • Marti killed in 1895.
  • 1896 Spain appointed General Valeriano Weyler as
    governor giving him full authority to crush the
  • Forced civilians into concentration camps.
  • February 1898 USS Maine destroyed.

Spanish-American War
  • April 11, 1898
  • President McKinley asked Congress for a
    declaration of war against Spain.
  • August 12, 1898
  • United States secured Cubas independence from
  • Platt Amendment
  • Cuba required to
  • Provide land for American bases.
  • Devote national revenues to pay back debts to
  • Sign no treaty that would be detrimental to
    American interests.
  • To acknowledge the right of the U.S. to intervene
    at any time to protect interests in Cuba.

Spanish-American War
  • Some were not happy with Americas actions in
    Cuba and in the Philippines (see textbook).
  • No mass movement to stop U.S. expansion.
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