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Gilded Age Politics


James Garfield 1880-81. Chester Arthur 1881-1884. Garfield was a Half Breed ... Presidential Candidate, James B. Weaver, received 10 percent of vote ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Gilded Age Politics

Gilded Age Politics
Do you know who these people are?
Campaign Issues
  • Pseudo Issues
  • Waving the bloody shirt
  • The party of Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion
  • Name calling
  • Party Issues
  • Tariff
  • Gold Standard
  • Civil Service Reform
  • Veterans Pensions
  • Real Issues? What were they?

Party Affiliation
  • Determined by
  • Region
  • Religion
  • Ethnic Group
  • Who belonged to the Republican party
  • Who belonged to the Democratic party?
  • Who were the Stalwarts, Half Breeds, and

  • Giving government jobs to supporters who helped
    candidates to win election. Not always qualified
    or honest
  • Reformers wanted to end patronage and adopt a
    merit system for civil service jobs (government
  • Today, Federal Service Entrance Exam

Rutherford B. Hayes (1876-1880)
  • Challenged the power of Congress over patronage.
  • He fought with powerful Roscoe Conkling, head of
    the Stalwarts and was not renominated.

James Garfield 1880-81 Chester Arthur 1881-1884
  • Garfield was a Half Breed
  • Chester Arthur (Stalwart) was Garfields Vice-
  • Charles Guiteau shot Garfield because he was a
    Stalwart and wanted Arthur to
  • be president.
  • Led to Civil Service Reform

Pendleton Civil Service Act of 1883
  • Bipartisan civil service commission to make
    appointments to federal jobs. Merit system based
    on candidates performance on examination.
  • 40 of federal jobs were classified as civil
    service by 1901.
  • Politicians had to go to other sources for
    campaign donations.

Grover Cleveland (1884-1888, 1892-1896)
  • The only Democrat in the White House between 1860
    and 1912
  • Party Issues
  • Vetoed claims for Union veterans pensions
  • Challenged Congress to lower the tariff
  • Interstate Commerce Act, 1887

Benjamin Harrison (1888-1892)
  • Republicans won
  • both houses of
  • Congress

Political Issues from 1888 to 1892
  • Party issue the Tariff
  • Congress passed the 1890 McKinley Tariff (nearly
    50 percent on foreign goods) eliminated the
    treasury surplus
  • Congress passed Civil War Pension Act, Sherman
    Silver Purchase Act, Sherman Anti-Trust Act
  • Congress defeated Lodge Bill and Blair Education
  • Public called it the Billion Dollar Congress
  • Elected Grover Cleveland in 1892

Wheat Harvesting on a Bonanza Farm, c. 1891
North Dakota Institute for Regional Studies,
North Dakota State University, Fargo
Farmers Revolt
  • Farmers Alliances 2.5 million members in 1890
  • (Black Farmers Alliance 1 million members,
    White Farmers Alliances 1.5 million members)
  • Farmers wanted farm co-operatives
  • and government control of railroads and banks

Origins of the Populist Movement
Frustrated with the laissez faire attitude of
the federal government, the cycle of falling
grain and cotton prices, railroads prices, scarce
money, and debt, farmers in the West and the
South organized the Populist Party in St. Louis
in 1892.
Populist Party Platform, 1892
  • Subtreasury Plan
  • Tariff reduction
  • Free and Unlimited Coinage of Silver, 16 to 1
  • Increase the circulation of money
  • Postal Savings Banks
  • 8-hour work day
  • Graduated income tax
  • Direct election of U.S. senators
  • Public ownership of railroads
  • Government owned utilities (telephone,
  • Prohibit foreigners from owning land
  • Restrictions on Immigration
  • Secret Ballot
  • Initiative and referendum

1892 Elections
  • Populists
  • --Presidential Candidate, James B. Weaver,
  • received 10 percent of vote
  • -Elected 5 senators, 3 governors, 1,500 state
  • legislators
  • Grover Cleveland elected
  • Panic of 1893
  • Overextended Debts
  • Failure of Railroads
  • Gold Reserves Dwindle
  • Stock Market Crashed
  • Depression Followed

James B. Weaver
Battle of the Standards
  • Silver had become the crucial issue in the
    Depression of 1893.
  • Farmers and miners wanted bimetallism both gold
    and the free and unlimited coinage of silver.
  • The Democratic party stole the silver issue
    from the Populists and ran with it in the 1896
  • Sound money men Republican party wanted a
    Gold Standard, money backed only by gold
  • Republicans run William McKinley Democrats run
    William Jennings Bryan

William Jennings Bryan (1860-1923)
BryansCross of Gold Speech
  • Having behind us the producing masses of this
    nation and the world, supported by the commercial
    interests, the laboring interests and the toilers
    everywhere, we will answer their demand for a
    gold standard by saying to them You shall not
    press down upon the brow of labor this crown of
    thorns, you shall not crucify mankind upon a
    cross of gold.

Election of 1896
  • William Jennings Bryan, Democrat, with 500,000,
    traveled everywhere making speeches.

William McKinley, Republican nominee, with 3.5
million spoke from his front porch
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Legacy of Populism
  • Democratic Party adopted many of the Populist
    reforms for their platform
  • Downtrodden can organize and have political
  • Agenda of reforms were enacted in the
    20th Century
  • Southern state legislators disfranchised black
    citizens, adopted Jim Crow laws

Intensification of Race Hatred
  • Lynching
  • Disfranchisement
  • Grandfather clauses
  • Literacy tests
  • Poll taxes
  • All-white primaries
  • Segregation Plessy v. Ferguson, 1896

Number of Persons Lynched by Region and by Race
for Five-Year Periods, 1889-1928
  • Thousands gathered in Paris, Texas, for the 1893
    lynching of Henry Smith.

Protestors and Accommodationists
  • Ida B. Wells
  • (1862-1931)
  • Southern Horrors
  • Lynching in All Its Phases
  • (1892)

Booker T. Washington (1856-1915)
  • Atlanta Compromise Speech, 1895
  • Plea for racial cooperation in the face of
  • rising race violence
  • and Jim Crow laws.

The decade of the 1890s
  • Farmers Revolt
  • Depression of 1893 5 years, 20 percent
  • Labor Bashing
  • Rise in Racism pseudo-scientific rationales for
    racism, lynching, and segregation, upheld by the
    U.S. Supreme Court
  • War with Spain

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1896 Election