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POLITICS IN THE GILDED AGE

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POLITICS IN THE GILDED AGE Objective: Analyze political machines methods of maintaining power POLITICAL MACHINES During late 1800 s, many cities run by a Political ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: POLITICS IN THE GILDED AGE


1
POLITICS IN THE GILDED AGE
  • Objective
  • Analyze political machines methods of maintaining
    power

2
POLITICAL MACHINES
  • During late 1800s, many cities run by a
    Political machine.
  • This was an organized group, headed by a city
    boss, that controlled activities of a political
    party in a city.

3
ROLE OF THE POLITICAL BOSS
  • The Boss (typically the mayor)
  • controlled jobs
  • business licenses
  • influenced the court system
  • Precinct captains and ward bosses were often 1st
    or 2nd generation immigrants
  • helped immigrants with
  • naturalization
  • Jobs
  • housing
  • in exchange for votes

Boss Tweed ran NYC
4
Many Political Bosses were Corrupt
  • HOW corrupt were they?

5
GRAFT
  • Many Bosses got rich through GRAFT-the illegal
    use of political influence for personal gain.
  • To win elections, some filled the list of
    eligible voters w/names of dogs, children, the
    dead.

6
CIVIL SERVICE VS. PATRONAGE
  • Patronage- Giving of government jobs to people of
    the same party who had helped a candidate get
    elected.
  • Civil Service- Government jobs.
  • Reformers called for a merit system. Civil
    service jobs would go to the most qualified,
    regardless of political views.

7
PENDLETON CIVIL SERVICE ACT OF 1883
  • Created a civil service commission to give
    government jobs based on merit, not
    politics.Helped to reform civil service.

8
CIVIL SERVICE REPLACES PATRONAGE
  • Nationally, some politicians pushed for reform in
    the hiring system
  • The system had been based on Patronage giving
    jobs and favors to those who helped a candidate
    get elected
  • Reformers pushed for an adoption of a merit
    system of hiring the most qualified for jobs
  • The Pendleton Civil Service Act of 1883
    authorized a bipartisan commission to make
    appointments for federal jobs based on
    performance

Applicants for federal jobs are required to take
a Civil Service Exam
9
KICKBACKS
  • Workers on city construction projects would
    charge a higher price then kick back part of
    the fee to the bosses.
  • Bosses also taking bribes from businesses in
    return for allowing illegal or unsafe activities.

10
MUNICIPAL GRAFT AND SCANDAL
  • Some political machines used fake names and voted
    multiple times to ensure victory (Vote early and
    often) called Election fraud
  • The fact that police forces were hired by the
    boss prevented close scrutiny

11
BOSS TWEED TAMMANY HALL
  • William Marcy Tweed, a.k.a. Boss Tweed, one of
    the most powerful political bosses.
  • Became head of Tammany Hall, New York Citys most
    powerful Democratic machine.

12
THE TWEED RING SCANDAL
  • Between 1869-1871, Tweed led the Tweed Ring, a
    group of corrupt politicians, in defrauding the
    city
  • Tweed was indicted on 120 counts of fraud and
    extortion
  • Tweed was sentenced to 12 years in jail
    released after one, arrested again, and escaped
    to Spain

Boss Tweed
13
Fraud
  • systematically plundered New York City
  • estimated at between 30 million and 200
    million.
  • (that would be worth between 365 million and
    2.4 billion today)

14
Fraud
  • The record for brassiness goes to Boss William
    Tweed,
  • swindled New York out of a fortune
  • Tammany Hall in the 1860s and 1870s.
  • Tweeds masterpiece of graft was a chunky
    three-story courthouse in Lower Manhattan
    originally budgeted at 250,000.
  • City had spent more than 13 million
  • The building was still not finished.

15
Fraud
  • By 1870, the Tweed ring was able to milk the city
    through such devices as faked leases, padded
    bills, false vouchers, unnecessary repairs, and
    overpriced goods and services bought from
    suppliers controlled by the ring.
  • Examples of the flagrant abuse of the publics
    money were
  • 1) 40 old chairs and three tables 179,792.60
  • (about 2 million today)
  • 2) Repairing fixtures 1,149,874.50 (about 14
    million today)
  • 3) A plasterer's wages during a nine month
    period 2,870,464.06 (about 34 million today)
  • 4) 30 months of advertising paid to a
    Tweed-controlled printing company 7,168,212.23
    (about 87 million today)
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