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Politics, Immigration, and Urban Life


Politics, Immigration, and Urban Life Chapter 8 (modern) America: Pathways to the Present Politics in the Gilded Age Gilded Age - covered with a thin layer of gold ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Politics, Immigration, and Urban Life

Politics, Immigration, and Urban Life
  • Chapter 8 (modern)
  • America Pathways to the Present

Politics in the Gilded Age
  • Gilded Age - covered with a thin layer of gold
  • Wealth and prosperity and progress
  • VS.
  • Urban, labor, and farming problems and big
    business corruption

Gilded Age Politics
The Business of Politics
  • Laissez-faire
  • Government should play a very limited role in
  • Favored high tariffs on imports (to protect
    American businesses)
  • Government subsidies
  • payment by government to encourage development of
    certain businesses and/or industries (I.e. RR)

Credit Mobilier Scandal
  • Govt awarded Union Pacific (UP) RR loans and
    land to build Transcontinental RR
  • Credit Mobilier company - hired to build RR
  • Credit Mobilier charged UP way too much .
  • In order for Congress to keep funding, Credit
    Mobilier offered cheap shares of stock to
    Congressmen who agreed to support continued
  • Investigated in 1872 - both parties, lots of
    indivuduals - guilty

Every Public Question With an Eye Only to the
Public Good
Harper's Weekly March 15, 1873
Spoils System - Patronage system
  • Started in American politics with Andrew Jackson
  • To the victor, go the spoils of war
  • Giving of jobs as a reward for loyalty - even to
    unqualified people

Political Parties in the Gilded Age
  • Republicans
  • Appealed to industrialists, bankers, and eastern
  • Strongest in N and upper Midwest
  • Favored tight money supply backed by GOLD
  • High tariffs
  • High pensions for Union soldiers
  • Govt aid to RR
  • Strict limit on immigration
  • Enforcement of blue laws - prohibited private
    activities many considered immoral
  • Democrats
  • Attracted those less privileged
  • Northern immigrant workers, laborers, southern
    planters, western farmers
  • Claimed to represent ordinary people
  • Favored increased money supply backed by SILVER
  • Lower tariffs
  • Higher farm prices
  • Less govt aid to big business
  • Fewer blue laws

Spoils System Reform
  • 1877 - President Rutherford B. Hayes refused to
    use patronage system
  • Began attempt at CIVIL SERVICE reform
  • Split his party (Republicans) in 1878

Rutherford B. Hayes and Civil Service Reform
Republican split
  • Stalwarts - Sen. Conkling - defended spoils
  • Half-Breeds - Sen. Blaine - reform spoils system
    but maintain party loyalty
  • Independents - opposed spoils system entirely

James Garfield 1880-1881
  • Elected 1880
  • Half-Breed faction - to reform spoils system but
    maintain party loyalty
  • Assassinated by Stalwart supporter - Guiteau -
    (who expected a job from Garfield and didnt get

Garfield and the Pendleton Act
Chester Arthur
  • VP w/ Garfield
  • Became president after assassination
  • Beneficiary of patronage in NY
  • Pendleton Civil Service Act of 1883

Pendleton Civil Service Act
  • Civil Service Commission set up
  • Tested applicants
  • Fed employees not required to contribute campaign
  • Could not be fired for political reasons

Election of 1884 - Grover Cleveland
  • Grover Cleveland - Democrat
  • Cleveland heavily criticized
  • Issues
  • Favored tight money policies
  • Opposed high tariffs
  • Took back 80 million acres from RR
  • Supported more govt regulation of RR

RR Regulation
  • Many complaints of questionable RR practices
  • Rebates - partial refunds to favored customers
  • 1877 - Munn v. Illinois - Supreme Court decision
    allowed states to regulate certain businesses
    (including RR)
  • 1886 - decision limited state control in Wabash
    v. (interstate commerce still unregulated)
  • 1887 - Interstate Commerce Act set up Interstate
    Commerce Commission (ICC)
  • Usually had to file suit against RRs and until
    1905, lost 15 of 16 cases before the Supreme Court

President Benjamin Harrison - 1888
  • Republican - supported business interests
  • Favored on an increase in tariffs
  • Awarded huge pensions to dependents of Civil War
  • Hurt the economy in the long run
  • Major Achievement
  • Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890

Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890
  • Outlawed any combination of companies that
    restrained interstate trade or commerce
  • Proved ineffective for over 15 years
  • Vague wording - enforced rarely
  • Courts pro-business

Clevelands second term - 1893-1897 (unpopular)
  • Panic of 1893
  • Millions of workers lost jobs or had wages
  • 1894 - Coxeys army demanded govt create jobs
    for unemployed
  • Repealed Sherman Silver Purchase Act
  • Sent federal troops to Chicago during the Pullman
    strike of 1894

Election of 1896
  • Populists - Democrats William Jennings Bryan
  • Working class and farmers
  • Free silver
  • Labor reform
  • Cross of Gold speech
  • Republicans William McKinley
  • New tariff bill (raised)
  • Stronger gold standard
  • A Full Dinner Pail

Election of 1896 Realignment
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