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									                         AP – Chapter 20 – Political Realignments 1890-1900
                                           Lecture Notes

Politics of Stalemate
    1. Late 18th century – politics major fascination
    2. White males – largest % of voters
    3. Women vote in national elections in Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, Colorado
    4. 1875 – Minor v Happersett – upheld states’ power to deny women suffrage
    5. Black men – kept from voting – poll tax, literacy tests (upheld in Williams v Mississippi 1898),
         grandfather clause
             a. Greatly reduced black voters – 1896 – 130,334 in Louisiana – in 1904 – 1,342
Party Deadlock
      1. 1870s and 1880s – dominated by Civil War generation
             a. 5 of 6 presidents between 1865 -1900 – served in Civil War
             b. Party loyalties – based on ethnic, religious, class and Civil War differences – few
                 “independent” voters
      2. Democrats – 1874 – gained control of House of Representatives – in control all but 4 of next
          20 years
      3. Republicans – pursued policies for nation as a whole
             a. Government promotion of moral progress and material wealth
             b. Passed Homestead Act of 1862 – granted subsidies to transcontinental railroad
             c. Pushed measures to encourage economic growth
             d. Passed legislature and constitutional amendments to protect civil rights
      4. Republicans always carried 16 northern states – Democrats always carried 14 southern states
          – New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois – swing states
             a. 1868 – 1912 – 8 of 9 Republican presidential candidates and 6 of 7 Democratic
                 candidates came from these states
             b. Parties evenly matched from 1876 to 1892
             c. Only twice did 1 party control presidency and both houses
                       i. Republicans – 1888
                      ii. Democrats – 1892
Reestablishing Presidential Power
    1. Presidents weakened by
             a. Andrew Johnson’s impeachment during Reconstruction
             b. Scandals of Grant administration
             c. Controversy surrounding 1876 election
    2. Late 1890s marked birth of the modern powerful presidency
    3. 1876 – Rutherford B. Hayes – became president under a cloud
             a. Soon reasserted authority of presidency
             b. Worked for reform in civil service
             c. Placed well-known reformers in high offices
             d. Ordered last troops out of south and ended military Reconstruction
             e. Committed to a gold standard – 1878 vetoed Bland-Allison Silver Purchase Bill – which
                 called for partial coinage of silver – Congress passed over veto
    4. 1880 – James A. Garfield – Union army hero – succeeded Hayes – Republican
             a. Wanted to lower tariff
             b. Assert American economic and strategic interests in Latin America
             c. He was shot in the back by Charles J. Guiteau, a deranged lawyer and office seeker

             d. Lived from July 2 – September 19, 1881
             e. Vice-President Chester A. Arthur became president
    5. Chester Arthur – better than expected
             a. Conservative
             b. Reversed Garfield’s foreign policy in Latin America
             c. Approved construction of modern American navy
             d. 1883 – urged Congress to pass Pendleton Act to reform civil service – created
                  bipartisan Civil Service Commission – administer exams and appointment of
                  officeholders on basis of merit not spoilage system
    6. 1884 – Grover Cleveland – Democrat – defeated Republican James G. Blaine
             a. 1st Democratic president since 1861
             b. Known for honesty and hard work
             c. Vetoed more than 2/3 of bills presented to him – more than all predecessors
             d. Brought respectability to Democratic party still tainted by secession
    7. 1888 – Cleveland defeated by Republican Benjamin Harrison
Republicans in Power: Billion-Dollar Congress
    1. Election of 1888 – most sweeping victory for either party in almost 20 years
             a. Republicans had control of presidency and both houses of Congress
    2. Democrats used tactics to block Republican-sponsored laws – “disappearing quorum” – halted
         Congress for 2 months
Tariffs, Trusts, and Silver
    1. During 1890 – law after law passed
    2. McKinley Tariff Act – raised tariffs 4% - higher than ever before with a reciprocity provision
         that lowered tariff if other countries did same – used tariffs to promote new industries
    3. Dependent Pensions Act – granted pensions to Union army officers, wives, and children
    4. Republicans and Democrats – passed Sherman Anti-Trust Act
             a. First federal attempt to regulate big business
             b. Declared illegal “every contract, combinations or in form of trust or otherwise in
                  restraint of trade or commerce”
             c. Made US only industrial nation to regulate business combinations
             d. Idea was to harness business without harming business
    5. US v E.C. Knight Co (1895) – Supreme Court severely crippled Sherman Anti-Trust Act – drew
         distinction between commerce and manufacturing – manufacturer (or company) not subject
         to the law
    6. Sherman Silver Purchase Act
             a. Silver had played large role in currencies around world
             b. Bonanza mines in Nevada – American silver production – quadrupled 1870 – 1890 –
                  glutting world market, lowering price of silver – European nations turned from silver
                  to gold as basis of currency
             c. Support for silver coinage strong in south and west – wanted inflated currency, raise
                  wages and crop prices and challenge gold-oriented Northeast
             d. Sherman Silver Purchase Act – directed Treasury to purchase 4.5 million ounces of
                  silver and issue legal tender in form of Treasury notes – satisfied both sides
1890 Elections
    1. Republican Congress of 1890 - 1 of most important Congresses in US history
             a. Record number of significant laws
             b. Shaped later policy and asserted authority of federal government

             c. Democrats labeled it “Billion-Dollar Congress” for spending so much
    2. 1890 Elections – crushed Republicans – who lost 78 seats in the House
    3. Republicans lost support when they passed state laws prohibiting sale of alcoholic beverages,
         required closing businesses on Sunday, mandated use of English in public and parochial
         schools – angered Roman Catholics, German Lutherans, and others – left Republican party
Rise of the Populist Movement
    1. Fast-growing moving among farmers
             a. began quietly
             b. summer of 1890 – farm families in south and west met to discuss common problems
    2. Joined at rate of 1,000 per week
The Farm Problem
    1. 1870 – 1900 – new means of transportation and communication – complex international
         market – little control for farmers
    2. Farmers complaints –
             a. Declining prices for products
             b. Rising railroad rates to ship
             c. Heavy mortgages
             d. Actually purchasing power of farmers had increased and railroad rates fell during
                 these years
             e. Mortgages also did not bring real hardship – often short-term and could be
    3. Perceptions of grievances sparked growing anger – plus farmers had become “hay seeds” – a
         derogatory term and they watched sons and daughters moving to cities
Fast-Growing Farmers’ Alliance
    1. Grange lost members as it turned more towards politics in late 1870s and away from being
         social organization
    2. By 1880s – small farm societies formed 2 major organizations
             a. National Farmers Alliance – plains west of Mississippi – known as Northwestern
             b. Farmers Alliance and Industrial Union – based in South – known as Southern Alliance
                       i. Began in Texas in 1875
                      ii. 1886 – Dr. Charles Macune – became leader
                     iii. Absorbed other agricultural societies
                     iv. By 1890 – more than 1 million members
                      v. Members included farmers plus country doctors, schoolteachers, preachers,
                          mechanics – excluded lawyers, bankers, cotton merchants, warehouse
                     vi. Published a newspaper
                    vii. Like the Grange it established grain elevators, marketing association and retail
    3. Colored Farmers National Alliance and Cooperative Union
             a. Loosely affiliated with Southern Alliance
             b. Black farmers in the South
             c. Probably close to 250,000 members
             d. Ended when members (cotton pickers) struck for higher wages near Memphis,
    4. Northwestern Alliance – Plains – smaller –formed in 1880
             a. Similar to Southern alliance except disagreed on

                     i. emphasis on secrecy
                    ii. Centralized control
                   iii. Separate organizations for blacks
   5. 1889 – Southern Alliance changed name to National Farmers Alliance and Industrial Union –
       joined with North Dakota, South Dakota, and Kansas organizations – dominated alliance
           a. Mainly sponsored social and economic programs but turned to politics
           b. West – rejected both Republican and Democratic parties – organized own party – first
               major Peoples’ party in Kansas
           c. Southern Alliance – resisted the idea of a new party – felt it would divide white vote
               undercutting white supremacy
   6. Southern Alliance leaders – high quality
           a. Thomas Watson – talented orator and organizer – wanted blacks and whites to unite
               against oppressors
           b. Leonidas Polk – president of National Farmers’ Alliance – pushed for scientific farming
               and cooperative action
           c. West – Jeremiah Simpson – Kansas – most able of all western leaders – pushed for
               major social and economic change
           d. Mary E. Lease – called on farmers to rise against Wall Street and industrial east
   7. 1890 – Ocala, Florida – Alliance met and adopted the Ocala Demands – platform for all of
           a. Creation of sub-treasury system – allow farmers to store crops in government
               warehouses – in return farmers give Treasury notes up to 80% of local market level of
               the crop – loan to be repaid when crops sold for best price
           b. Free coinage of silver
           c. End to protective tariffs and national banks
           d. Federal income tax
           e. Direct election of senators by voters not by state legislatures
           f. Tighter regulations on railroad companies
   8. Alliance strategy worked well in election of 1890
           a. People’s party in Kansas – 4 congressmen and 1 U.S. senator
           b. In south – Alliance won demand that Democratic party candidates would pledge
               support for Alliance platform – 38 Alliance supporters elected to Congress and a dozen
               made pledges of support
The People’s Party
   1. After 1890s elections – Northern Alliance leaders urged formation of national third party to
       promote reform
           a. Alliance conventions in 1891 and 1892 – new party plans discussed
           b. July 1892 – convention in Omaha, Nebraska – formed new People’s (or Populist) party
           c. South also joined party
           d. Some Populists wanted to unite white and black farmers – both had the same
           e. Blacks and whites worked side-by-side – on committees, spoke on same platforms, ran
               on same tickets, served on same juries, supported and protected each other
   2. Planned to nominate Leonidas Polk for president – but he died suddenly
           a. Nominated James Weaver of Iowa – farmer, congressman, Union army general, 3rd
               party candidate in 1880 for Greenback Labor party ticket
           b. Platform – many of Ocala demands

             c. First 3rd party candidate to have more than 1 million votes – 22 electoral votes – lost
                 heavily in urban areas – failed to win over most farmers
    3. Election of 1892 – many voters switched parties but realigned with Democrats rather than
    4. Populists ran candidates In next 3 presidential presidents – but had reached peak in 1892
    5. While it lived, Alliance was one of most powerful protest movements in US history
Crisis of the Depression
    1. Last decade of century – dominated by economic crisis
    2. American economy expanded too rapidly in 1870s and 1880s
             a. Railroads overbuilt
             b. Companies grown beyond markets
             c. Farms and businesses – had borrowed heavily
Panic of 1893
    1. Mid-February 1893 – panic hit New York stock market
             a. In 1 day – Philadelphia and Reading Railroad lost 1 million shares and went bankrupt
             b. Railroad and construction industries lost investors
             c. Touched off worst economic downturn to that point in US history
    2. People sold stock and other assets to purchase gold
             a. Depleted US treasury gold reserve
             b. April 22, 1893 – reserve fell below $100 million – considered lowest safe level
             c. Stock market broke
             d. May 5, 1893 – Wall Street’s worst day til Great Crash of 1929 – “Industrial Black
             e. Businesses failed at average rate of 2 dozen a day
    3. August 1893 – worst month – unemployment 2 million – 15,000 businesses and 600 banks
    4. 1894 even worse
             a. 300 million unemployed
             b. Summer – heat wave and drought struck farm belt – worst til Dust Bowl of 1930s
Coxey’s Army and the Pullman Strike
    1. Some unemployed wandered across country – some in small armies
    2. 1894 – 1,400 strikes involving more than one-half million workers
    3. Easter Sunday 1894 – “army” of 300 people marched from Ohio to Washington, DC
             a. Led by Jacob S. Coxey – middle-aged businessman
             b. Wanted to put nation’s jobless to work building roads
             c. Also wanted Congress to pass Coxey Good Roads Bill – authorize $500 million in paper
                 money to finance road construction
    4. Other armies sprang up and headed to Washington DC
    5. Coxey reached Washington May 1, 1894 – he was beaten and arrested for trespassing –
         sentenced to 20 days in jail
    6. Armies disbanded but discontent remained
    7. Pullman Strike – 1 of largest in US history – few days after Coxey’s arrest
             a. Pullman Palace Car Co employees – joined by American Railway Union under
                 leadership of Eugene V. Debs
             b. Protested wage cuts, continuing high rents and layoffs
             c. Strike paralyzed western half of nation
             d. President Grover Cleveland – ordered troops to break up strikers
             e. Violence broke out – mostly non-strikers – army restored order by force

            f. Debs was jailed
            g. Many people supported Cleveland for restoring order
   8. Consequences for labor movement
            a. Supreme Court upheld Deb’s sentence in In Re Debs (1895) – endorsed use of
               government force in labor disputes – gave business and government effective anti-
               labor weapon that hindered union growth
            b. Debs became well-known – in jail he turned to socialism and worked to build Socialist
               Party of America
Miners of the Midwest
   1. Coal miners in Midwest
            a. Dirty and dangerous business
            b. 1 in 12 miners died underground
            c. 1 in 3 suffered injury
            d. Mines closed for long periods and wages fell during depression
            e. Often a family occupation – father down to son
   2. Until 1890 – Irish and English dominated mining business
            a. Migrated from mine to mine
            b. Often struck for higher wages
   3. After 1890
            a. Flood of immigrants from southern and eastern Europe
            b. Depression deepened tensions between miners and employers and between “old”
               miners and “new” miners (immigrants)
   4. New miners
            a. Spoke no English
            b. Often “birds of passage” – transients who came to US to make money to take back
            c. No skills in mining – often blamed for accidents
            d. Worked longer hours for less pay
   5. April 1894 – wage reductions sparked labor unrest in mines
            a. United Mine Workers – all Midwestern and Pennsylvania miners – 170,000 in all – quit
            b. Cities faced blackouts – factories closed
            c. 2 weeks in June – mobs ignited mine shafts, dynamited coal trains, defied state
            d. “old” miners not involved – “new” miners led by Italian anarchists took over stroke
            e. Public shocked by violence – turned against strikers
            f. Many “old” miners left for other jobs – voted Populist in 1894 and pushed for
               restriction of immigration
   6. Miners were first large group of skilled workers seriously affected by flood of immigrants
A Beleaguered President
   1. 1892 – Democrat Grover Cleveland decisively defeated Populist James Weaver and Republican
       Benjamin Harrison
            a. First time since 1850s Democrats controlled presidency and both Houses of Congress
   2. Cleveland blamed Sherman Silver Act of 1890 for Panic of 1893
            a. Had drained Treasury’s gold reserve and caused panic
            b. Solution was simple – repeal the act
   3. June 1893 – Cleveland summoned Congress to repeal act

           a. Silverites – those who supported silver – pleaded for compromise but Congress
                pushed repeal and president signed into law
           b. Repeal of act probably necessary
                     i. Responded to international finance
                    ii. Reduced loss of gold out of country
                   iii. Boosted business confidence
                   iv. But came at wrong time because of Depression
   4. Repeal battle of 1893
           a. Helped Republicans become majority party of 1894
           b. Strengthened position of silver Democrats
           c. Focused national attention on silver issue
   5. Cleveland forced to sell gold bonds to replenish gold reserve – large investors reaped large
       profits and failed to stop drain on reserve
Breaking the Party Deadlock
   1. Democrats buried in elections of 1894
           a. Greatest defeat in Congressional history
                     i. Lost 113 House seats
                    ii. In 24 states not a single Democrat was elected
                   iii. Party virtually destroyed
   2. Grover Cleveland became scapegoat for country’s economic ills
           a. Fearful of attacks – placed police barracks on White House grounds
   3. Democratic party split
   4. Republicans became majority party
           a. Activism and national authority that had been rejected became attractive
           b. This opened way for reforms of Progressive Era and New Deal
Changing Attitudes
   1. Depression undermined traditional vies, caused people to rethink ideas about government,
       economy, society - Before depression unemployment seen as result of personal failure –
       because of laziness and immorality
   2. People debated issues long taken for granted – new study and discussion clubs and
       organizations started
   3. Pressure for reform increased
   4. Demand for more government intervention to help poor and unemployed
Everybody Works But Father
   1. Depression accelerated women and children’s entrance in labor force
   2. By 1901 – more than one-half of principal breadwinners were out of work
   3. During 1890s – number of working women – 4 million to 5.3 million
           a. Took in boarders
           b. Also worked in offices and factories
           c. Far more black urban women than white women worked
                     i. New York City – 60% of all black women worked
                    ii. 27% were foreign born
                   iii. 24% native-born whites
           d. Began to work more in occupations men had occupied – in offices, department stores,
                nurses – because they were paid less
   4. Children – during 1890s – number of children in textile mills jumped 160%
           a. Boys and girls under 16 – one-third of labor force in mills
           b. 8 and 9 year olds worked 12 hours

             c. Most cases – children worked in farming and city street trades (peddling, shoe shining)
             d. 1900 – South had more than one-half of child laborers in US – worked on farms
     5. 1896 – League for Protection of the Family – called for compulsory education to get children
         out of factories
     6. Mothers Congress of 1896 became National Congress of Parents and Teachers – this led to
         thousands of local Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs)
Changing Themes in Literature
     1. Movement in literature toward Realism and Naturalism
     2. Realist authors – portrayal of life as it really was
             a. Mark Twain – country’s most outstanding realist author – real name was Samuel
                 Langhorne Clemens – Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
             b. William Dean Howells – A Traveler from Altrusia – industrial society consumes lives
     3. Naturalist authors – wrote of a cruel and merciless environment – economic hardship, poor,
         lower classes, criminal mind
             a. Stephen Crane – The Red Badge of Courage, Maggie: A Girl of the Streets
             b. Frank Norris – big business - - The Octupus, The Pit
             c. Jack London – The Sea Wolf, Call of the Wild
             d. Theodore Dreiser – foremost Naturalist writer – Sister Carrie
Presidential Election of 1896 – known as the “battle of the standards” – focused primarily on gold and
silver standards of money

Mystique of Silver
   1. For free silver coinage – grew swiftly after 1894 – pro-silver literature flooded country – The
       Wizard of Oz
   2. Silverites – solution
            a. Free and independent coinage of silver at ratio of 16 oz. silver to 1 oz gold
            b. Free coinage = US mints would coin all silver offered to them
            c. Independent coinage – US would coin silver regardless of policies of other nations
   3. Silverites – had complete faith in silver = cure for depression
            a. Believed the amount of money in circulation determined level of activity in the
                economy – more silver coined then more money in circulation – more business for
                everyone – thus prosperity
   4. By 1896 – silver was a symbol – moral and patriotic
            a. US independence in the world
            b. Rural values rather than urban ones
            c. Shift of power away from Northeast
            d. Spoke for downtrodden – not well-to-do – represented common people
            e. More than political or economic issue – it was a social movement
Republicans and Gold
   1. Republican candidate – William McKinley of Ohio
   2. Platform – favored gold over silver – Republicans favored silver were outnumbered – some
       left party but most stayed
Democrats and Silver
   1. 1896 – Democratic nominee – William Jennings Bryan
            a. Silver Democrats in charge
       2. Republicans favoring silver were outnumbered – some left party but most stayed0
Campaign and Election
   1. Democratic convention

            a. Populist dilemma
                      i. Democrats had a silver candidate – they could nominate independent
                         candidate and split silverite forces or give up Populist party identity
                     ii. Choice shattered Populist party
            b. Populist support hurt Democratic candidate William Jennings Bryan by branding him
                as a Populist which cost him support from other groups
   2. Bryan tried to draw voters by looking backward
            a. Jeffersonian traditions
            b. Merchandising style of campaign – went to voters – traveled 18,000 miles
   3. Republicans – William McKinley
            a. Campaigned differently from Bryan – he let voters come to him
            b. “front porch” speeches in front of his home – used press to reach people
            c. Appealed to labor, immigrants, well-to-do farmers, businessmen and middle class
            d. Wanted economic nationalism and advancing urban industrial society
   4. Election day – turn out high – intense interest
            a. McKinley – 50%
            b. Bryan – 46%
   5. Populists - struck down but proposals later adopted under different leadership
            a. Graduated income tax
            b. Crop loans to farmers
            c. Secret ballot
            d. Direct election of U.S. senators
McKinley Administration
   1. Election of 1896
            a. Start of generation of Republican rule – more than 3 decades Republican remained in
                power with brief exception under Woodrow Wilson
   2. 1897 – economy had begun to revive
            a. Stock market had begun to revive
            b. Factories produced goods
            c. Farm prices rose sharply and bumper crops
            d. Discoveries of gold in Australia and Alaska
                      i. Enlarged gold supply
                     ii. Decreased price of gold and inflated prices as silverites had wanted
   3. Republicans – party of progress and prosperity – victories til depression of 1930s
   4. McKinley – very popular
            a. First president to ride in automobile
            b. Activist president
                      i. Close ties with Congress
                     ii. Good relationship with press
                    iii. Traveled far more than other presidents
                    iv. Began modern presidency
   5. 1860s to 1890s – Republicans pledged to promote economic growth through state and
       national power
   6. By 1900 – focus on need to regulate, to control effects of industrialism
   7. In 1898 – 1899 – McKinley focus on war with Spain (Spanish-American War in Cuba) and the
       realization that US now in position of being a world power
   8. 1900 – Congress passed Gold Standard Act – declared gold the standard of currency and ended
       silver controversy

   9. Presidential election of 1900 – again McKinley v Bryan
           a. McKinley’s running mate – Theodore Roosevelt – hero of Spanish-American war
                   i. Nominated because of popularity and to sidetrack his political career
           b. Landslide for McKinley
   10. September 6, 1901 – at Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, NY – anarchist shot McKinley
           a. Surgeons couldn’t find bullet – X-ray at exposition but not used
           b. September 14 – McKinley died – Teddy Roosevelt became president
World had changed
       - War with Spain brought new empire and worldwide responsibilities
       - Reform movements started Progressive Era
       - 1890s had truly ushered in a new century


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