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Gilded Age Politics


Gilded Age Politics The Farmers Problem and the emergence of Populism The Emergence of Political Machines Social Darwinism and Laissez Faire Capitalism – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Gilded Age Politics

Gilded Age Politics
  • The Farmers Problem and the emergence of Populism
  • The Emergence of Political Machines
  • Social Darwinism and Laissez Faire Capitalism

Farmers in Debt
  • ? Railroads, investors create bonanza farmshuge,
    single-crop spreads
  • ? 18851890 droughts bankrupt single-crop
  • ? Rising cost of shipping grain pushes farmers
    into debt
  • Farmers unite to address their economic problems,
    giving rise to the Populist
  • movement.

Farmers and the Populist Movement
  • Farmers Unite to Address Common Problems
  • Economic Distress
  • ? Farmers buy more land to grow more crops to pay
    off debts
  • ? After Civil War, government takes greenbacks
    out of circulation
  • ? Debtors have to pay loans in dollars worth more
    than those borrowed
  • ? Prices of crops fall dramatically
  • ? 1870s, debtors push government to put more
    money in circulation
  • ? 1878 Bland-Allison Actmoney supply increase
    not enough for farmers
  • Problems with the Railroads
  • ? Lack of competition lets railroads overcharge
    to transport grain
  • ? Farms mortgaged to buy supplies suppliers
    charge high interest

The Farmers Alliances
  • ? 1867, Oliver Hudson Kelley starts Patrons of
    Husbandry or Grange
  • ? Purpose is educational, social by 1870s,
    Grange fighting railroads
  • ? Farmers Alliancesgroups of farmers and
  • - lectures on interest rates, government control
    of railroads, banks
  • - gain over 4 million members

The Rise and Fall of Populism
  • The Populist Party Platform
  • ? Populismmovement of the people Populist Party
    wants reforms
  • ? Economic increase money supply, graduated
    income tax, federal loans
  • ? Political Senate elected by popular vote
    secret ballot 8-hour day
  • ? 1892, Populist candidates elected at different
    levels of government
  • - Democratic Party eventually adopts platform
  • The Panic of 1893
  • ? Railroads expand faster than markets some go
  • ? Governments gold supply depleted, leads to
    rush on banks
  • - businesses, banks collapse
  • - panic becomes depression

Silver or Gold
  • ? Political divisions also regional
  • - Republicans Northeast business owners, bankers
  • -Democrats Southern, Western farmers, laborers
  • ? Bimetallismsystem using both silver and gold
    to back currency
  • ? Gold standardbacking currency with gold only
  • ? Paper money considered worthless if cannot be
    exchanged for metal
  • ? Silverites bimetalism would create more money,
    stimulate economy
  • ? Gold bugs gold only would create more stable,
    if expensive currency
  • Bryan and the Cross of Gold
  • ? 1896, Republicans commit to gold, select
    William McKinley
  • ? Democrats favor bimetallism, choose William
    Jennings Bryan
  • ? Populists endorse Bryan, choose own VP to
    maintain party identity

The End of Populism
  • ? McKinley gets East, industrial Midwest Bryan
    South, farm Midwest
  • ? McKinley elected president Populism collapses
    leaves legacy
  • - the powerless can organize, have political
  • - agenda of reforms enacted in 20th century

Politics in the Gilded Age
  • Local and national political corruption in the
    19th century leads to calls for reform.
  • The Emergence of Political Machines
  • The Political Machine
  • Political machineorganized group that controls
    city political party
  • Give services to voters, businesses for
    political, financial support
  • After Civil War, machines gain control of major
  • Machine organization precinct captains, ward
    bosses, city boss
  • The Role of the Political Boss
  • Whether or not city boss serves as mayor, he
  • - controls access to city jobs, business licenses
  • - influences courts, municipal agencies
  • - arranges building projects, community services
  • Bosses paid by businesses, get voters loyalty,
    extend influence

The Machine
  • Immigrants and the Machine
  • Many captains, bosses 1st- or 2nd-generation
  • Machines help immigrants with naturalization,
    jobs, housing
  • Municipal Graft and Scandal
  • Election Fraud and Graft
  • Machines use electoral fraud to win elections
  • Graftillegal use of political influence for
    personal gain
  • Machines take kickbacks, bribes to allow legal,
    illegal activities
  • The Tweed Ring Scandal
  • 1868 William M. Tweed, or Boss Tweed, heads
    Tammany Hall in NYC
  • Leads Tweed Ring, defrauds city of millions of
  • Cartoonist Thomas Nast helps arouse public
  • - Tweed Ring broken in 1871

Civil Service Replaces Patronage
  • Patronage Spurs Reform
  • Patronagegovernment jobs to those who help
    candidate get elected
  • Civil service (government administration) are
    all patronage jobs
  • Some appointees not qualified some use
    position for personal gain
  • Reformers press for merit system of hiring for
    civil service
  • Reform Under Hayes, Garfield, and Arthur
  • Republican Rutherford B. Hayes elected
    president 1876
  • - names independents to cabinet
  • - creates commission to investigate corruption
  • - fires 2 officials angers Stalwarts
  • 1880, Republican independent James A. Garfield
    wins election
  • Stalwart Chester A. Arthur is vice-president
  • Garfield gives patronage jobs to reformers is
    shot and killed
  • As president, Arthur urges Congress to pass
    civil service law
  • Pendleton Civil Service Actappointments based
    on exam score

Business Buys Influence
  • Harrison, Cleveland, and High Tariffs
  • Business wants high tariffs Democrats want low
  • 1884, Democrat Grover Cleveland wins cannot
    lower tariffs
  • 1888, Benjamin Harrison becomes president,
    supports higher tariffs
  • - wins passage of McKinley Tariff Act
  • 1892, Cleveland reelected, supports bill that
    lowers McKinley Tariff
  • - rejects bill that also creates income tax
  • - Wilson-Gorman Tariff becomes law 1894
  • 1897, William McKinley becomes president,
    raises tariffs again

Social Darwinism and Business
  • Principles of Social Darwinism
  • ? Darwins theory of biological evolution the
    best-adapted survive
  • ? Social Darwinism, or social evolution, based on
    Darwins theory
  • ? Economists use Social Darwinism to justify
    doctrine of laissez faire
  • A New Definition of Success
  • ? Idea of survival, success of the most capable
    appeals to wealthy
  • ? Notion of individual responsibility in line
    with Protestant ethic
  • ? See riches as sign of Gods favor poor must be
    lazy, inferior