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POLITICS: LOCAL, STATE, AND NATIONAL Political Strategy and Tactics major parties normally avoid taking stands on controversial issues, but that tendency reached ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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  • Political Strategy and Tactics
  • major parties normally avoid taking stands on
    controversial issues, but that tendency reached
    abnormal proportions in the late nineteenth
  • a delicate balance of power between the parties
    as well as new and difficult issues, to which no
    answers were readily available, contributed to
    the parties reluctance to adopt firm positions

Voting Along Ethnic and Religious Lines
  • more often than not, a voters ethnic origins,
    religious ties, perception of the Civil War, and
    whether he lived in a rural or urban setting
    influenced his decision to vote Republican or

City Bosses
  • stresses of rapid urban growth, strain on
    infrastructures, and exodus of upper and middle
    classes all led to a crisis in city government
  • this turmoil gave rise to urban political bosses
  • these bosses provided social services in exchange
    for political support
  • money for these services (and to enrich
    themselves) came from kickbacks and bribes

Boss Tweed
  • In April 1870, Tweed secured the passage of a
    city charter putting the control of the city into
    the hands of the mayor, the comptroller, and the
    commissioners of parks and public works. He then
    set about to plunder the city. The total amount
    of money stolen was never known, but was
    estimated at between 30 and 200 million. Over a
    period of two years and eight months, New York
    City's debts increased by 81 million, with
    little to show for the debt.

  • despite their welfare work and popularity, most
    bosses were essentially thieves
  • the system survived because most comfortable
    urban dwellers cared little if at all for the
    fate of the poor
  • many reformers resented the boss system mainly
    because it gave political power to people who
    were not gentlemen

Party Politics
  • Sidestepping the Issue
  • the South was solidly Democratic
  • New England and the Trans-Mississippi West were
    staunchly Republican
  • New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Ohio, Indiana,
    and Illinois usually determined the outcome of
  • only three presidential candidates between 1868
    and 1900 did not come from New York, Indiana,
    Illinois, or Ohio and all three lost partisan
    politics was intense in swing states

Lackluster Leaders
  • Americas presidents of the day demonstrated
    little interest in dealing with the urgent issues
    confronting the nation
  • Rutherford B. Hayes, 1877 to 1881,
  • Hayes favored tariff reduction, civil service
    reform, and better treatment for blacks in South
  • however, he made little progress in any of these

Lackluster Leaders
  • Republican party split in 1880 between
    Stalwarts and Half-Breeds, and James A.
  • emerged as a
  • compromise candidate
  • Garfield was
  • assassinated

President Garfield's assassination depicted in
engraving from 1881 newspaper.
1881 Garfield Assassinated!
Charles Guiteau I Am a Stalwart, and Arthur is
President now!
Lackluster Leaders
  • his successor, Chester A. Arthur, defended of the
    spoils system
  • as president, however, Arthur conducted himself
    with dignity, handled patronage matters with
    restraint, and gave nominal support to civil
    service reform

Pendleton Act (1883)
  • Civil Service Act.
  • The Magna Carta of civil service reform.
  • 1883 ? 14,000 out of 117,000 federal govt. jobs
    became civil service exam positions.
  • 1900 ? 100,000 out of 200,000 civil service
    federal govt. jobs.

Republican Mugwumps
  • Reformers who wouldnt re-nominate Chester A.
  • Reform to them ? create a disinterested,
    impartial govt. run by an educated elite like
  • Social Darwinists.
  • Laissez faire government to them
  • Their target was political corruption, not
    social or economic reform!

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

Lackluster Leaders
  • Arthur also favored regulation of the railroads
    and tariff reductions
  • nevertheless, he was a political failure the
    Stalwarts would not forgive Arthur for his
    desertion, and the reformers would not forget
    his past
  • his party denied him its nomination in 1884
  • the election of 1884 revolved around personal
    issues and was characterized by mudslinging on
    both sides
  • Grover Cleveland, former Democratic governor of
    New York, defeated James G. Blaine by fewer than
    25,000 votes Ma Ma, Wheres my Pa? Gone to the
    White House, Ha Ha Ha!

1884 Presidential Election
Grover Cleveland James Blaine
A Dirty Campaign
Ma, Mawheres my pa? Hes going to the White
House, ha ha ha!
Lackluster Leaders
  • Clevelands was an honest, if unimaginative,
  • his emphasis on the strict separation of powers
    prevented his placing effective pressure on the
    Congress, and thus he failed to confront the
    issues of the day
  • in 1888, Benjamin Harrison, a Republican from
    Indiana, defeated Cleveland. Harrisons election
    elevated a human iceberg and fiscal
    conservative to the presidency

1888 Presidential Election
Grover Cleveland Benjamin Harrison
Lackluster Leaders
  • during Harrisons term, Congress raised the
    tariff to an all-time high, passed the Sherman
    Antitrust Act and the Silver Purchase Act, and
    enacted a force bill to protect the voting
    rights of southern blacks
  • Cleveland reclaimed the presidency from Harrison
    in 1892 (22nd and 24th President)
  • by the standards of the late nineteenth century,
    Clevelands margin of victory was substantial

1892 Presidential Election
Grover Cleveland Benjamin Harrison again!
Crops and Complaints
  • the economic and social status of farmers
    declined throughout the late 19th century and
    their discontent forced American politics to
    confront the problems of the era
  • American farmers suffered from low commodity
    prices, restrictive tariff and fiscal policies,
    competition from abroad, and drought.

Using all the farm for crops planting corn up
to the front door. Custer County, Nebraska, 1888.
The Populist (Granger) Movement
  • the agricultural depression triggered an outburst
    of political radicalism, the Alliance movement
  • the Farmers Alliance spread throughout the South
    and into the Midwest
  • the farm groups entered politics in the elections
    of 1890
  • in 1892, these farm groups combined with
    representatives of the Knights of Labor and
    various professional reformers to organize the
    Peoples, or Populist, party

Platform of Lunacy
The Populist Movement
  • the convention adopted a sweeping platform
    calling for a graduated income tax the
    nationalization of rail, telegraph, and telephone
    systems, and the unlimited coinage of silver
  • the party also called for the adoption of the
    initiative and referendum, popular election of
    United States senators, an eight-hour workday,
    and immigration restrictions

The Populist Movement
  • the Populist candidate, James B. Weaver,
    attracted over a million votes,
  • opponents of the Populists in the South played on
    racial fears, and the Populists failed to attract
    the support of urban workers

Showdown on Silver
  • by early 1890s, discussion of federal monetary
    policy revolved around the coinage of silver
  • traditionally, the United States issued gold and
    silver coins
  • established ratio of roughly 151 undervalued
    silver, so no one took silver to the Mint
  • when silver mines of Nevada and Colorado flooded
    market with metal and depressed the price of
    silver, it became profitable to coin bullion but
    miners found that the Coinage Act of 1873 had
    demonetized the metal

Showdown on Silver
  • Silver miners and inflationist demanded a return
    to bimetallism conservatives resisted
  • the result was a series of compromises
  • the Bland-Allison Act (1878) authorized the
    purchase of 2 million to 4 million of silver a
    month at the market price
  • this had little inflationary impact because the
    government consistently bought the minimum
  • the Sherman Silver Purchase Act (1890) required
    the government to buy 4.5 million ounces of
    silver monthly
  • however, increasing supplies drove the price of
    silver still lower

The Depression of 1893
  • Cleveland believed that the controversy over
    silver caused the depression by shaking the
    confidence of the business community
  • he summoned a special session of Congress and
    forced a repeal of Sherman Silver Purchase Act
  • the southern and western wings of the Democratic
    party deserted over this issue. Clevelands
    handling of Coxeys Army and the Pullman strike
    further eroded public confidence in him, and the
    public was outraged when it took a syndicate of
    bankers headed by J. P. Morgan to avert a run on
    the Treasury

The Depression of 1893-The 1896 Election
  • with the silver issue looming ever larger and the
    Populists demanding unlimited coinage of silver
    at 161, the major parties could no longer avoid
    the money question in 1896
  • the Republicans nominated William McKinley and
    endorsed the gold standard
  • the Democrats nominated William Jennings Bryan
    and ran on a platform of free silver
  • although concerned over the loss of their
    distinctive party identity, the Populists
    nominated Bryan as well

Bryants Cross of Gold Speech
You shall not press down upon the brow of labor
this crown of thorns you shall not crucify
mankind upon a cross of gold!
William Jennings Bryan (1860-1925)
The Great Commoner
Bi-Metallism Issue
The Election of 1896
  • the election of 1896, fueled by emotional debates
    over the silver issue, split party ranks across
    the nation
  • pro-silver Republicans swung behind Bryan, while
    pro-gold Democrats, called gold bugs or
    National Democrats, nominated their own
    candidateJohn M. Palmer
  • the Republican aspirant, William McKinley,
    relied upon his experience, his reputation for
    honesty and good judgment, his partys wealth,
    and the skillful management of Mark Hanna

The Election of 1896
  • moreover, the depression worked to the advantage
    of the party out of power
  • Bryan, a powerful orator, was handicapped by his
    youth, his relative inexperience, and the
    defection of the gold Democrats
  • he nevertheless conducted a vigorous campaign,
    traveling over eighteen thousand miles and
    delivering over six hundred speeches
  • on election day, McKinley decisively defeated

The Meaning of the Election
  • far from representing a triumph for the status
    quo, the election marked the coming of age of
    modern America
  • McKinleys approach was national Bryans was
    basically parochial
  • workers and capitalists supported McKinley, and
    the farm vote split
  • the battle over gold and silver had little real
    significance new gold discoveries led to an
    expansion of the money supply

The Meaning of the Election
  • Bryans vision of America, and that of the
    political Populists who supported him, was one
    steeped in the past
  • McKinley, for all his innate conservatism, was
    capable of looking ahead toward the new century

A Giant Straddle Suggestion for a McKinley
Political Poster
William McKinley (1843-1901)
The Seasoned Politician vs. The Young Newcomer
Into Which Box Will the Voter of 96 Place His
1896 Election Results
Gold Triumphs Over Silver
  • 1900 ? Gold Standard Act
  • confirmed the nations commitment to the gold
  • A victory for the forces of conservatism.

The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Parable of the Populists?
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