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Gilded Age Politics

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Gilded Age Politics No leaders, no principles; no principles, no parties -- Woodrow Wilson Was this true? – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Gilded Age Politics


1
Gilded Age Politics
  • No leaders, no principles no principles, no
    parties
  • -- Woodrow Wilson
  • Was this true?

2
Gilded Age Presidents
  • Hayes, Garfield, Arthur, Cleveland, Harrison,
    Cleveland
  • undistinguished
  • The late 1800s was a period of Congressional
    hegemony in American government.
  • Congress seemed to lead the way.

3
Congressional Leadership
  • Congressional Republicans like James G. Blaine
    and Roscoe Conkling were the eras most
    compelling political figures.

4
National Issues
  • Tariff Policy
  • Money
  • Civil Service Reform
  • Government Regulation of Railroads

5
Gilded Age Voter Turnout
  • Turnout averaged near 80 in presidential
    election years.
  • How does this compare to today?
  • Why such high turnout?
  • Urban boss politics
  • Local issues
  • Temperance
  • Compulsory school attendance laws
  • Exciting campaigns

6
Ma! Ma! Wheres my Pa?
An 1884 Political Cartoon
7
What is capitalism?
  • Private citizens own the means of producing goods
    and services (factories, businesses, etc.)
  • GOAL profit and the creation of
    private/individual wealth

8
Philosophies of Wealth in Gilded Age America
  • Socialism and Christian Socialism
  • Social Gospel Movement
  • Social Darwinism
  • Gospel of Wealth

9
Socialism/Christian Socialism
  • Society collectively owns (through the
    government) the means of producing goods and
    services
  • GOAL full employment and welfare of society as
    a whole

10
Social Gospel Movement
  • Founded on belief that God commands believers to
    work for the betterment of society as a whole,
    rather than individual gain
  • Advocated programs to aid immigrants and fight
    poverty
  • Walter Rauschenbusch, Jane Addams, Henry George,
    etc.
  • Worked against long-standing Protestant Christian
    association of individual wealth with Gods grace

11
Charles Darwins The Origin of Species (1859)
  • The British biologist argued that species evolve,
    over time, through . . .
  • . . . Natural selection
  • survival of the fittest
  • The best adapted of a species survive over the
    long term and, therefore, pass their superior
    traits along to future generations.

12
Social Darwinism
  • Darwins theory of natural selection applied
    toward human society/economics by social
    scientists like Herbert Spencer (Britain) and
    William Graham Sumner (US)
  • The rich are rich and the poor are poor because
    they are better and more poorly adapted
    (respectively) to modern capitalist society.
  • The rich deserve to be rich and should be
    celebrated, as should their superior qualities.

What about poverty then?
13
Andrew Carnegies Gospel of Wealth
  1. It is the duty of the wealthy few to use their
    superior abilities to administer the surplus
    wealth of society for the benefit its benefit.
  2. Direct assistance (indiscriminate charity) to
    the poor is not desirable.

14
The Labor Movement of the Late 1800s
  • National Labor Union (NLU)
  • Knights of Labor
  • American Federation of Labor (AFL)

15
Knights of Labor
  • MEMBERSHIP
  • Open to all (skilled and unskilled workers)
  • GOALS
  • Change the system
  • Establishment of worker-owned cooperatives
  • METHODS
  • Political activism
  • Initially avoided strikes in favor of arbitration

16
AFL
  • MEMBERSHIP
  • Skilled workers only!
  • GOALS
  • Bread and Butter Unionism
  • Narrow, workplace goals
  • Better wages, fewer hours, better conditions
  • METHODS
  • Strike!

17
Americas Most Influential Labor Leader
18
Carnegie Steels Management
Legendary Scottish-American steel magnate Andrew
Carnegie decided to break the union at his
Homestead Steel Plant. He also decided to let
his deputy, Henry Clay Frick, take the blame
while he (Carnegie) vacationed in Scotland.
19
Battle at Homestead
Violence erupted after Pinkerton guards were
called in by Frick to remove workers who had
seized the plant. Several men on both sides were
killed. The Pennsylvania National Guard finally
put an end to the strike the union lost.
20
Radicals Rallied to the Homestead Workers cause
Worcesters own Alexander Berkman went to
Homestead with his partner in anarchy Emma
Goldman. Berkmans attempted assassination of
Henry Clay Frick won him the acclaim of his
fellow anarchists.
21
Pullman, Illinois a company town
We are born in a Pullman house, fed from the
Pullman shop, taught in the Pullman school,
catechized in the Pullman church, and when we die
we shall be buried in the Pullman cemetery and go
to the Pullman hell. a Pullman Palace Car Co.
employee
22
Pullman Strike (1894)
Pullman workers walked out after their wages were
cut by 1/3 with no corresponding decreases in
rent and cost of living (which were, of course,
controlled by the Pullman Co).
23
Eugene V. Debs and the ARU
Eugene V. Debs became the most prominent leader
in the American workers movement after leading
his American Railway Union in a sympathy strike
(boycotting trains with Pullman cars), that
brought American rail traffic to a halt.
24
Ending the Pullman Strike
Though Illinois Governor John P. Altgeld refused
Pullmans request to use the Illinois National
Guard to break the strike, President Grover
Cleveland and Attorney General Richard Olney
called up federal troops to put an end to the
nationwide rail strike.
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