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Gilded Age Politics in America

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Title: Gilded Age Politics in America Author: Susan M. Pojer Last modified by: Bdaugherty Created Date: 2/9/2004 1:39:57 AM Document presentation format – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Gilded Age Politics in America


1
Gilded Age Politics Pt. 2
By Ms. Susan M. Pojer Horace Greeley HS
Chappaqua, NY with Additional Slides by Bob
Daugherty
2
The "Politics of Equilibrium"
3
Gilded Age
  • The term Gilded Age comes from Mark Twain as the
    title of one of his books
  • On the outside the wealth might have looked like
    gold but in reality was only a thin layer of gild
  • Politics of time is of little substance
  • Forgettable presidents who rarely serve two terms
  • Politicians and parties avoided taking stances
  • Problems were largely ignored

4
1. A Two-Party Stalemate
5
Two-Party Balance
6
  • Intense Voter Loyalty to the Two
    Major Political Parties
  • (brass bands, flags, campaign buttons, picnics,
    free beer!)
  • 80 of voters turned out!

7
3. Well-Defined Voting Blocs
Democratic Bloc
Republican Bloc
  • Northern whites (pro-business and pro-tariff)
  • African Americans
  • Northern Protestants
  • Old WASPs (support for anti-immigrant laws)
  • Most of the middle class
  • White southerners (preservation of white
    supremacy)
  • Solid South
  • Catholics
  • Recent immigrants (esp. Jews)
  • Urban working poor (pro-labor)
  • Most farmers

8
4. Very Laissez Faire Federal Govt.
  • From 1870-1900 ? Govt. did very little
    domestically.
  • Supreme Court opposed efforts to regulate
    business
  • Main duties of the federal govt.
  • Deliver the mail.
  • Maintain a national military.
  • Collect taxes tariffs.
  • Conduct a foreign policy.
  • administer the annual Civil War veterans
    pension.

9
Last Civil War Widow (and Pensioner) Alberta
Martin
She married a Confederate veteran in 1927 when
she was 21 years old. He was 81. He died four
years later. They had a son! She died in 2004
at age 97 (and was still collecting her pension).
10
5. The Presidency as a Symbolic Office
  • Party bosses Blaine and Conkling ruled.
  • Presidential candidates should avoid offending
    any factions within their own party.
  • The President just doled out federal jobs.

Blaine of the Halfbreeds
Conkling of the Stalwarts
11
6. Patronage
  • Politics meant getting elected, holding office
    and rewarding party faithful with government jobs
  • 1865 ? 53,000 people worked for the federal govt.
  • 1890 ? 166,000
  • Conkling controlled New York Customs House jobs

Senator Roscoe Conkling Leader of the Stalwart
Republicans
12
1880 Presidential Election Republicans
Half Breeds
Stalwarts
Sen. James G. Blaine Sen. Roscoe
Conkling (Maine)
(New York)
compromise
James A. Garfield Chester A. Arthur (VP)
13
1880 Presidential Election Democrats
14
Inspecting the Democratic Curiosity Shop
15
1880 Presidential Election
Garfield won by a mere 10,000 votes!
16
1881 Garfield Assassinated!
Shot by disappointed (really insane) office
seeker named Charles Guiteau Garfield lived for
eleven weeks Doctor's unsanitary practices
contributed to his death
Charles Guiteau I Am a Stalwart, and Arthur is
President now!
17
Chester A. Arthur The Fox in the Chicken Coop?
18
Chester A. Arthur A Pleasant Surprise
Most expected very little from Arthur Distanced
himself from Conkling and the Stalwarts by
refusing to hire Garfield's picks He began
building the US Navy that would win the
Spanish-American War Redecorated the White House
(by Louis Tiffany) Supported Civil Service Reform
(Only Nixon could go to China syndrome) Did not
get nominated for own term as president as a
result Died of Bright's Disease shortly after term
19
Pendleton Act (1883)
  • One good thing that comes out of Garfields
    assassination
  • Civil Service Act.
  • The Magna Carta of civil service reform.
  • 1883 ? 14,000 out of 117,000 federal govt. jobs
    required civil service exams
  • 1900 ? 100,000 out of 200,000 civil service
    federal govt. jobs required them

Civil Service employees could not make political
campaign donations Politicians would depend on
the rich and party workers to get elected
20
Republican Mugwumps
  • Reformers who wouldnt re-nominate Chester A.
    Arthur.
  • Reform to them ? create a disinterested,
    impartial govt. run by an educated elite like
    themselves.
  • Social Darwinists (the reason that some succeed
    and others fail is due to their character)
  • Laissez faire government to them
  • Favoritism the spoils system seen as govt.
    intervention in society.
  • Their target was political corruption, not
    social or economic reform!

21
The Mugwumps
Men may come and men may go, but the work of
reform shall go on forever.
  • Will support Cleveland in the 1884 election.

22
1884 Presidential Election
Grover Cleveland James Blaine
(DEM) (REP)
23
A Dirty Campaign
Cleveland had possibly fathered a child out while
single Could have been one of several other men
but he accepted responsibility and helped take
care of the child financially
Republicans Ma, Mawheres my pa? Democrats
Gone to the White House, ha ha ha!
24
Little Lost Mugwump
Blaine in 1884
25
Bravo, Señor Clevelando!
26
Rum, Romanism Rebellion!
  • Led a delegation of ministers to Blaine in NYC.
  • He made this remark in reference to the
    Democratic Party.
  • Deeply offended NY Democrats
  • Blaine was slow to repudiate the remark.
  • Cost Blaine the election Cleveland won NY by
    only 1149 votes!.

Dr. Samuel Burchard
27
1884 Presidential Election
28
Clevelands First Term
  • The Veto Governor from New York.
  • First Democratic elected since 1856!
  • Motto A public office is a public trust!
  • Did pass
  • a. Interstate Commerce Act (1887), the first
    attempt to regulate business
  • b. Dawes Act (broke up reservations and can
    plots of lands to individual lands)
  • His laissez-faire presidency
  • Opposed bills to assist the poor as well as the
    rich.
  • Vetoed over 200 special pension bills for Civil
    War veterans!

29
The Tariff Issue
  • After the Civil War, Congress raised tariffs to
    protect new US industries.
  • Big business wanted to continue this consumers
    did not.
  • 1885 ? tariffs earned the US 100 mil.
    in surplus!
  • Mugwumps opposed it
  • Tariffs became a major issue in the
    1888 presidential election.

30
Filing the Rough Edges
Tariff of 1888
31
1888 Presidential Election
Grover Cleveland Benjamin Harrison
(DEM) (REP)
32
Coming Out for Harrison
33
The Smallest Specimen Yet
34
1888 Presidential Election
35
Disposing the Surplus
  • First billion-dollar Congress. Did so by
  • Extra Civil War pensions
  • Increased purchases of silver

36
McKINLEY TARIFF (1890)
  • Based on the theory that prosperity flowed
    directly from protectionism.
  • Increased already high rates another 4!
  • Hurt farmers since they had to but protected high
    prices American goods but had to sell crops in
    competitive unprotected internatl mkts.

37
Changing Public Opinion
  • Americans began to want the federal govt. to
    deal with growing soc. eco. problems to
    curb the power of the trusts
  • Interstate Commerce Act 1887
  • Sherman Antitrust Act 1890
  • Rep. Party suffered big losses in 1890
    (even McKinley lost his House seat!) due to anger
    over tariff

38
1892 Presidential Election
Grover Cleveland Benjamin Harrison again!
(DEM) (REP)
39
1892 Presidential Election
40
Cleveland Loses Support Fast!
  • The only President to serve two non- consecutive
    terms.
  • Blamed for the 1893 Panic.
  • Defended the gold standard.
  • Used federal troops in the 1894 Pullman strike.
  • Refused to sign the Wilson-Gorman Tariff of 1894.
  • Repealed the Sherman Silver Purchase Act.
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