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					   Calls for Reform
in Gilded Age America
 Jefferson Parish Public Schools
    Summer 2008 Colloquium
         Dr. Janet Allured
    McNeese State University
          Political Paralysis
• Laissez faire philosophy.
• Political stalemate – two parties evenly
  matched in strength.
• Electoral fraud at all levels of government.
• “Shadow presidents”
• Patronage.
         Pendleton Act, 1883
• Federal Civil Service
  Act.
           Corporate Critics
• Corporate critics called for reigning in the
  power of big business and/or redistributing
  wealth. Included:
  – Henry George, Progress and Poverty (1879)
  – Edward Bellamy
  – Alliance movement
  – Labor Unions
  – Socialist Labor party (1877); Socialist Party
    (1901)
Anti-trust movement
      Legislative Successes
• State laws regulated corporations and
  railroads. Largely ineffective.
• Federal legislation:
  – Interstate Commerce Act, 1887
  – Sherman Anti-Trust Act, 1890
             Populist Movement
• Farmers Alliances, 1870s-1880s
• Ocala Demands (Ocala, Fla.):
  – Attacked the “money power” that manipulated the free
    market.
  – Called for:
     •   Tariff reduction
     •   Abolition of national banks
     •   Regulation of railroads
     •   “free silver”
     •   Income tax
     •   Direct election of U.S. senators.
     •   Subtreasury system.
       Revolt of the Farmers
• The People’s Party, or Populists, 1892.
  – Promised to restore government “to the hands
    of the people.”
  – Called for expanding the role of government;
    ending laissez-faire.
  – Organized black as well as white farmers.
Problems in the Cities
Immigration Under Attack
Hull House
                   Child Labor, 1909
•   Across America during the late
    nineteenth and early twentieth
    centuries there was a large
    movement to revise labor laws,
    particularly ones relating to
    children. Lewis Wickes Hine, the
    man that took this photo, spent a
    bulk of his career photographing
    immigrants and children working
    in factories and living in poverty.
    His photographs were used by
    various welfare agencies for
    reform campaigns and he even
    became a photographer for the
    National Child Labor Committee.
    This photograph was taken at
    Wheaton Glass Works in Millville,
    New Jersey.
                 City Life
• Places of flux, innovation, and anonymity.
• Young people freed from parental control.
• Vice proliferated in lower-class
  neighborhoods.
• Pornography, birth control, abortion readily
  available.
• Homosexual communities.
          Anthony Comstock
• Anti-Vice crusader;
  opposed woman
  suffrage/rights.
• Hired as a lobbyist by
  evangelical Christian
  groups
• Comstock Act, 1873
• States passed “mini”
  Comstock Acts.
             “culture wars”
• Evangelical Protestants vs. all others
• Sabbatarianism (Sunday-closing laws or
  Blue Laws).
• Education
  – Prayer and Bible reading
  – Compulsory attendance
• Temperance crusade/Prohibition.
“Women’s Crusade Against Intemperance:
  Pleading With A Saloonkeeper” 1874
Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth
    Cady Stanton (seated)
               • Stanton founded the
                 women’s rights
                 movement in 1848,
                 and was joined by
                 Anthony in 1851.
               • Neither lived to see
                 the Nineteenth
                 Amendment ratified in
                 1920.
                          Election Day!
•   For many men, as well as some
    women, women's suffrage
    reversed gender roles, confusing
    traditional concepts of
    male/female duties both in and
    outside of the home. As this
    cartoon suggests, anti-suffragists
    feared women's suffrage could
    lead to something as absurd as
    men taking care of domestic
    responsibilities. Cartoonists of the
    period presented editorials often
    supporting women's suffrage, but
    just as often criticizing the
    potential for such equality in
    politics. Becoming "hen pecked,"
    or losing one's power to females,
    struck fear in the hearts of men
    throughout the country.
Anti-Suffrage Organization
Map of Woman Suffrage
Ida B. Wells-Barnett
     1862-1931
Conservation Movement

				
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