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Title: Political%20Paralysis%20of%20the%20Gilded%20Age

Political Paralysis of the Gilded Age
  • AP Chapter 23

What were the patterns of party strength?
  • Elections were close
  • Voter participation very high 80 to 95
  • Family tradition, ethnic ties, religious
    affiliation often determined how one voted

Differences Between the Two Parties
  • Democrats
  • Immigrant Lutherans Roman Catholics
  • Southerners
  • Northern Industrial Cities
  • Big political machine politics
  • More indulgent to moral weakness smaller role
    for government in moral issues
  • Republicans
  • Puritan heritage
  • Midwestern
  • Rural small towns of the northeast
  • Freedmen
  • Union Army veterans
  • Favored a strong govt role to enforce strict
    codes of personal morality AND economics

What were the issues?
  • Tariff
  • Nature of the nations money supply
  • Pensions awarded to Civil War veterans
  • waving the bloody shirt
  • Lackluster presidents

Money Supply and the Economy
  • Inflation rising prices that result from demand
    exceeding supply
  • Causes
  • Increased need or desire for specific products or
    services (ex oil, health care)
  • Increasing money supply. More currency available
    means that more money will be chasing those
    goods/services available.
  • Deflation dropping prices that result from
    supply exceeding demand
  • Causes
  • Decreased need or desire for specific products or
    services (ex. building materials)
  • Limited money supply. Less currency available
    chasing goods/services mean there are fewer
    people able to buy.
  • People are holding their money because theyre
    scared to spend.

Money Supply and the Economy
  • Inflation
  • Deflation
  • Winners
  • People who owe money
  • Sellers of raw materials and agricultural
  • People whose incomes can hopefully continue to
  • Laborers
  • Silver and paper money not backed by precious
  • Investments in ones business
  • Losers
  • Savings
  • Winners
  • People lending money
  • People who have large amounts of currency
    (bankers especially)
  • People living on a fixed amount of money
  • Savings
  • Gold (perhaps silver)
  • Losers
  • Assets (land, machinery) raw materials

Greenbacks and Silver
  • U.S. needed a money supply adequate for a growing
    and diverse economy
  • Gold and silver trustworthy
  • Bankers and creditors wanted gold
  • Farmers and debtors wanted an expanded money
    supply backed by silver even greenbacks along
    with gold

The Spoils System
  • Since the Jacksonian era
  • Reward supporters and contributors with
    government jobs maintain party loyalty
  • Unqualified and incompetent often received jobs
  • Office holders had to contribute to future
  • Battle for reform in the GOP Stalwarts vs.

Election of 1868
  • Republican
  • Bloody Shirt campaign
  • Inexperienced in politics
  • Inept in choosing assistants
  • Deferred to Congress

Era of Good Stealings
  • Corruption Railroads, Stock-market, judges and
    legislators for hire
  • Political machines and bosses Tweed Ring of NYC
    cheated the city of 200 million
  • Scandals in the presidency

The Fisk Gould Scheme
  • Jim Fisk and Jay Gould wealthy businessmen
  • Attempted to corner the gold market
  • Bribed government officials to stop selling gold
    in order to drive up the price
  • Sept. 24, 1869 began to bid up the price of
  • When Grant suspected a scam, he ordered the
    treasury to release more gold
  • Gold prices crashed

Tweed Ring - NYC
  • Tammany Hall NYC democratic headquarters
  • Political machine politics
  • Graft, bribery, fraudulent elections
  • Bilked the city of almost 200 million
  • Brought down by Thomas Nast

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Grant Scandals
  • Whiskey Ring Grants private secretary took
    bribes not to collect taxes from distillers
  • Credit Mobilier - VP received stock not to
    investigate fraud by a RR construction company
  • Sec. of War accepted bribes from agents on
    Indian reservations

Election of 1872
  • Liberal Republicans fed up with corruption and
    graft nominated Horace Greeley
  • Democrats nominated Greeley
  • Republicans Grant
  • Mud spattered campaign

Depression of 1873
  • Biggest up to that point in time some call it
    the first major economic depression in U.S.
  • Result of rapid economic expansion after the
    Civil War
  • Boom bust
  • Overextended economy risky loans
  • The Crime of 73 de-monitized silver
  • Millions out of work

Resumption Act of 1875
  • Debtors and farmers sought the reissue of
  • soft money vs. hard money
  • hard money won redemption of all paper money
    in gold beginning 1879
  • Contraction decrease in nations money supply
    stabilized greenbacks
  • soft money began demanding free coinage of

Bland Allison Act - 1878
  • The U.S. Treasury purchase between 2 and 4
    million in silver each month from the western
  • The silver was to be purchased at market rates,
    not at a pre-determined ratio of 16 to 1
  • The metal was to be minted into silver dollars
    as legal tender
  • Government purchased a minimal amt. of silver
    little effect

Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890
  • Govt required to 4.5 million ounces of silver
    each month
  • Issue redeemable in gold and silver
  • Surplus of silver drove down value
  • People preferred to redeem issue for gold and not
    silver ? drain on gold reserves
  • Panic of 1893

Who voted Republican during the Gilded Age?
  • Region?
  • Religion?
  • Blue laws?
  • Tariffs?
  • Money issues?
  • Union pensions?

Who voted Democratic during the Gilded Age?
  • Region?
  • Religion?
  • Blue laws?
  • Tariffs?
  • Money issues?
  • Union pensions?

The Election of 1876 The End of Reconstruction
  • Rutherford B. Hayes vs. Samuel Tilden
  • Tilden (D) won 184 votes out of the needed 185 to
    win the Electoral College
  • Votes in Louisiana, South Carolina, and Florida
    in dispute ( 2 sets of results)
  • Commission of 15 (8 republicans and 7 democrats)
    counted the disputed votes

Compromise of 1877
  • Hayes (R) would get the votes and become
  • Federal troop withdrawn from Louisiana and S.
    Carolina ending Reconstruction
  • Bill to subsidize the Texas Pacific Rail - line

The Great RR Strike of 1877
  • Wild-cat strike 1st national strike
  • Baltimore and Ohio RR
  • 10 wage cut
  • Double headers
  • Spread from the East to Mid-west
  • 2/3 RR idle property burned
  • Hayes called in federal troops 100 dead

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The Election of 1880 and the Patronage Issue
  • Republican convention split between Half-Breeds
    and Stalwarts
  • James A. Garfield Half-Breed nominated for
  • Chester Arthur Stalwart VP nominee
  • Garfield beat Winfield Hancock by 40,000 out of
    9.2 million votes
  • 1881 Garfield assassinated by Charles Guiteau a
  • Arthur became president

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Pendleton Act
  • Created an independent civil service outside of
    party politics
  • Civil Service Commission to classify government
    jobs and administer an examination est.
    standards of merit
  • Govt employees could not be forced to contribute
    to political campaigns and could not be fired for
    political reasons

Consequences of the Pendleton Act?
  • Stopped the most blatant abuses
  • Politicians forced to look elsewhere for money
  • Turned to businesses and lobbyists

Election of 1884
  • Republican candidate James G. Blaine of Maine
    not know for his honesty
  • Mugwumps Republicans who refused to support
  • Democrats Grover Cleveland had a reputation
    for integrity
  • Mud slinging again Democrats labeled the
    party of Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion

Grover Cleveland
  • 1st democratic president since Civil War
  • public office is a public trust

President Cleveland
  • Laissez faire ? business happy
  • Expanded the merit system but also appointed
    many democrats to positions
  • Surplus - 145 million/year
  • Issue ? military pensions vetoed special
    pension bills for Civil War vets
  • Fought for lower tariffs
  • Compelled return of 80 million acres of public
    land held illegally by lumber and railroad

Election of 1888
  • Democrats ? Cleveland
  • Republicans ? Benjamin Harrison
  • Harrison supported high tariffs and so the
    industrialists supported him
  • Cleveland won popular vote Harrison won the
    electoral vote

The First Billion Dollar Congress
  • Harrison did not assert presidential authority
    deferred to party leaders
  • Congress
  • Raised tariffs and reduced imports, thus reducing
    federal revenues (McKinley Tariff)
  • Voted pork barrel public expenditures
  • Authorized generous pensions previously vetoed by
  • Wiped out surplus

Theres Trouble Down on the Farm!
  • Harsh conditions drought and harsh winters
  • Railroad abuses
  • Falling agriculture prices
  • Tight money
  • McKinley Tariff
  • Voted for Democrats in 1890
  • Formed Farmers Alliances and the Grange

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1892 A year of discontent
  • Homestead Strike
  • Strike against A. Carnegies Homestead steel
  • 300 armed Pinkertons called in
  • Ten people killed
  • Federal troops called in to break strike
  • Strike at Coeur dAlene silver mine broken by
    state and federal troops

Populist (Omaha) Platform
  • Inflation free coinage of silver
  • Graduated income tax
  • Government ownership of the railroads, telegraph,
    and telephone
  • Direct election of U.S. senators
  • One-term limit on the presidency
  • Initiative and referendum
  • 8 hour day
  • Immigration restriction

Election of 1892
  • Populists nominated General James B. Weaver
  • 22 electoral votes
  • Cut into republican strength in Midwest
  • Republicans Harrison
  • Democrats Cleveland (winner)

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Panic of 1893
  • Economic collapse of the railroads
  • Overbuilding and over-speculation
  • Depletion of gold reserves
  • Government debt veterans benefits and high
  • Stock prices dropped

Depression 1893-1897
  • 200 railroads failed
  • 20-25 percent unemployment
  • Recent immigrants faced disaster
  • Harsh winters 1893-4
  • Farm prices down 20
  • More people joined the Populist Movement
  • Jacob Coxey went to see the President

What about the gold standard?
  • Defended by Cleveland
  • Gold reserve fell below 100 million
  • Repeal of Sherman Silver Purchase Act
  • Gold reserve sank to 40 million
  • Floated 2 Treasury bond issues of over 100
  • Turned to J.P. Morgan for help

What did Morgan do?
  • Banker and head of a Wall Street syndicate
  • Agreed to lend govt 65 million in gold
  • Charged 7 million fee
  • Saved the gold standard and restore confidence in
    nations finances

  • People resented cooperation with Morgan
  • Resented preservation of gold standard
  • Wilson Gorman Tariff passed
  • Lower but not enough
  • Income tax but declared unconstitutional
  • Coxeys Army ignored
  • Used troops and an injunction against the Pullman

Congressional Election of 1894
  • Democrats suffered heavy losses
  • Republicans gained control of the House of
  • Populists increased their base
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