Politics in the Gilded Age - PowerPoint by sammyc2007

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									Politics in the Gilded Age
1865 - 1890

Political Machines
Urban growth created challenges
• Public services • Fire, police, sanitation • Construction • Bridges, parks, schools, streets, sewer & utility systems

Organized political parties
• Elected councils and representatives • Oversaw new public services • Often pocketed money meant for public

Political Bosses
Political machine defined Bosses managed machines
• Dictated party positions on city ordinances (laws) • Cut deals w/ business leaders • Controlled district leaders and council members

District leaders (precinct captains / ward bosses) – real strength of the political machine
• Offered jobs, political favors, services to residents

Election time
• Bosses and captains collected the vote

Public Services
Late 1800s, machines offered public services needed by cities Alexander Shepherd, Washington, D.C., created civic improvements and new jobs
• Public Works Board spent over $20 million • Poor and working classes loyal to machine
• New jobs, political favors, services

Immigrant description of a political boss
“To this one he lends a dollar; for another he

obtains a railroad ticket without payment; he has coal distributed in the depths of winter; … he sometimes send poultry at Christmas time; he buy medicine for a sick person; he helps bury the dead.”

Immigrants & Political Machines
Immigrants became loyal to political machines, especially, Tammany Hall, powerful Democratic political machine in NYC from 1789 to 1917. Boston • Irish immigrants Democrat Machine • John F. Fitzgerald mayor

Graft & Corruption
Machines often resorted to corruption to control city governments Often interfered with important functions of government

Election Fraud
Voting districts often had more “votes” than registered voters.

Once elected, political bosses became more corrupt Graft – took money or political power through illegal or dishonest methods Kickbacks – bribes, payoffs for contracts

EVERYBODY is talkin’ these days about Tammany men growin’ rich on graft, but nobody thinks of drawin’ the distinction between honest graft and dishonest graft. There’s all the difference in the world between the two. Yes, many of our men have grown rich in politics. I have myself. I’ve made a big fortune out of the game, and I’m gettin’ richer every day, but I’ve not gone in for dishonest graft – blackmailin’ gamblers, saloonkeepers, disorderly people, etc. – and neither has any of the men who have made big fortunes in politics

George Plunkitt

US Senator from New York
Tammany Machine

Boss Tweed and His Gang
William Tweed – US Congress, NY State Senator Tweed Gang – plundered NYC Court House - $11,000,000 Stationary & Printing $3,000,000 in 2 years Stole anywhere from $25 million to $200 million Object of Thomas Nast cartoons Eventually arrested, fled to Cuba, extradited from Spain Died in NY jail at age 55
Boss Tweed - 1865 - 1871

“Stop them damn pictures. I don’t care so much about what the papers write about me. My constituents can’t read. But . . . They can see pictures”

Thomas Nast
Cartoonist for Harper’s Weekly Criticized Tweed & Tammany Hall Used caricatures and symbols
• • • •
Donkey – Democrats Elephant – GOP “Uncle Sam” Santa Claus

Grant Presidency Scandals http://xroads.virginia.edu/~MA96/PUCK/152.html
• • • • • • •
Gold Market Scandal Credit Moblier Whiskey ring Navy ring Port of New York Indian Posts Attorney General

• Grant serves 2 terms

Restoring Honest Government
1873 – Gilded Age published In politics, corruption and greed lurked below the polite and prosperous luster of American society during the 1800s Election of 1876 – Push for reform in national government Candidates are both reformers – Hayes wins, Grant goes on 3-year vacation

The Republican Split – Stalwarts, Half-Breeds & Mugwumps
President Hayes – executive order forbids federal employees from participating in political campaign, no more patronage NY Senator, Roscoe Conkling defies order, Hayes demands his removal Hayes wants “merit system” Conkling – leads “Stalwarts” & opposed reform James Blaine lead “Half-breeds” that supported civil service reform and those who did not completely oppose patronage

Election of 1880 – James Garfield, Half-breed, wins Chester Arthur, Stalwart, elected as VP Garfield assassinated by Charles Guiteau, a Stalwart supporter who wanted a gov’t position Arthur succeeds to presidency, Congress passes Pendleton Civil Service Act of 1883, merit system for 10% of federal jobs
• Cuts down on patronage • Test applicants on skills & knowledge • Civil Service Commission (CSC), now defunct

Elections of 1884 Democrat Grover Cleveland is supported by Republican reformers known as “Mugwumps” Republicans nominate James Blaine
• Republicans -“Mudslinging “Ma,
ma, where’s my pa? Going to the White House, ha, ha, ha! support him – all the same “He’s an honest man.” As president, promoted political reform, doubled civil service positions

Cleveland – no mudslinging
• NY Times gives 4 reasons to


Election of 1888 Cleveland win’s popular vote; Harrison took electoral votes Harrison and Congress dismantle reform efforts 1890s – Republicans control White House & Congress
• Appointed republicans to most federal jobs • Passed Sherman Anti-Trust Act • Spent $ on pensions for Union veterans & “pet” projects • Called the “Billion $ Congress”

Election of 1892 Cleveland wins second term Only U.S. President to serve two nonconsecutive terms Depressions during 2nd term Repeals Sherman Silver Purchase Act to stop drain of gold from US Treasury

Populist Movement
Farmers’ difficulties • Debt due to borrowing, overproduction, drop in prices • Bankruptcy • Railroad practices Farmer’s Organize • National Grange • Cooperatives • State laws regulating railroadsMunn v. Illinois • (states - o.k. to regulate R.RR’s intrastate) • Wabash v. Illionois(states – can’t regulate interstate) • Interstate Commerce Act of 1887 • Alliance Movement • Support Bimetallism • Congress eventually puts more silver into circulation

Populist Party
• Formed 1892 • Populist Platform (Omaha Platform)
• Graduated income tax, bank regulation, gov’t ownership of RR and telegraph companies, unlimited coinage of silver, restrictions on immigrations, a shorter workday, and secret ballot

Economic Depression of 1893
• • • • •
World wide problems In US, major RR fails, others follow Financial Panic 3 million unemployed Congress repeals purchase of silver

Election of 1896 Candidates
• Republicans nominate Wm. McKinley of Ohio, • Supports gold standard and high tariffs • Front porch campaign • Populists and Democrats nominate William Jennings Bryan • “Cross of Gold” Speech • Favors Bimetallism to help farmers and poor across US • Covers the country, but loses election by 500,000 votes • Free Silver too weak an issue • No support from immigrants and urban workers

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