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Political Paralysis in the Gilded Age 1869-1896

Chapter 23

The Bloody Shirt Elects Grant

Democrats nominate
Horatio Seymour former NY Governor They denounced military reconstruction And won 80 Electoral votes to Grants 214 the popular vote was close (300,000)

Republicans nominate

Ulysses S. Grant He had no political experience main job was to hand out patronage Let us have Peace vote as you Shoot and Waving the Bloody Shirt

The Era of good Stealings

Railroad scandals stock Tweed Ring: Boss
market manipulation Jim Fisk and Jay Gould corner the gold market bribed Grants brotherin-law not to release any gold: Black Friday (24 Sept. 1869) almost bought all the gold on the market finally federal gold is released (William M.) Tweed NY City embezzled $200 million NY Times publishes the evidence and cartoonist Thomas Nast continually draws him. Samuel J. Tilden (later presidential candidate) will lead the prosecution. Others are implicated.

A Carnival of Corruption
Credit Mobilier
Whiskey Ring: robbed
Scandal 1872 Union Pacific RR leaders created the company & hired themselves 348% profit, distributed stock to key congressmen & the VP of US.
the government of millions in whiskey tax revenue Grants own private secretary (who he protected) William Belknap (Sec. of War) had accepted bribes from Indian agents who supplied the reservations

The Liberal Republican Revolt of 1872

Reform-minded Republicans urged purification of the
Party & an end to military Reconstruction They nominated Horace Greeley (editor of NY Tribune) for president Democrats will also endorse Greeley (he had blasted the Democrats as traitors, slavers, saloon keepers, horse thieves and idiots) Republicans will nominate Grant (for a 2nd term) who is elected easily 286 to 66 electoral votes They will pass and amnesty act (southerners) vote to lower tariffs and promote mild civil-service reform.

Depression, Deflation and Inflation

Panic of 1873 1. Over-building of Railroads, mines, factories & farms 2. Bad loans no profits and no payments, led to foreclosures Hard vs. Cheap money (agrarian & debtor groups want greenbacks (Civil War $) to be re-issued Hard money advocates (creditors) wanted to be paid back with gold and silver coins Grant vetoed a bill to make more greenbacks Congress passed the Resumption Act of 1875 (buy back greenbacks in gold at face value by 1879)

Depression, Deflation and Inflation

Cheap money advocates now promote silver attacking
the 16-1 (16oz of silver = 1 oz of gold $$) 1870 a 7 member supreme court declares the Civil War Legal Tender (greenbacks) Act as unconstitutional With congressional approval Grant adds 2 members to reverse the decision 1871 they do so (now 9 members of Supreme Court) Coinage Act 1873 no more silver coins crime of 73 contraction of money supply (less $ available) Resumption Act 1875 few people turned in their bills Spawns the Greenback Labor Party 1878 1 million votes and 14 members of Congress

Pallid Politics in the Gilded Age

Gilded Age sarcastic
name given by Mark Twain in 1873 Fight over Patronage Every presidential election was close and very little separated the Parties Democrats: Lutherans and Roman Catholics White South, and northern cities political machine


Protestants and strict codes of morality believed Government should regulate economy and morals support from small town NE and Midwest and: Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Civil War veterans Split: Stalwart (Roscoe Conkling) Half Breeds (James G. Blaine)

Hayes Tilden Standoff 1876

Rutherford B. Hayes:
bagged Boss Tweed 3-time Governor of led the prosecution Ohio 1 vote short (184 needs 20 disputed votes 185) led in the (Louisiana, S. Carolina popular vote & Florida) Both The deadlock was to be Parties had sent settled by an electoral delegates to the commission (8 Electoral College Republicans and 7 Democrats)

Samuel J. Tilden

Compromise of 1877 & the End of Reconstruction

The electoral commission will vote down political lines electing Hayes Almost a second Civil War Compromise 1. Troops leave south (now only 2 states) 2. Democrats will gain some patronage (help toward Southern transcontinental RR) and have 2 members of the new Cabinet 3. Black equality is abandoned in the South Civil Rights Act 1875 should have equal public accommodations & equality in jury selection Not enforced: Civil Rights Cases 1883, 14th Amendment only meant Government violations of Civil Rights

The Birth of Jim Crow in the Post Reconstruction South

Democratic South
suppression of the blacks Redeemer governments freedmen face unemployment, eviction & physical harm Sharecropping and tenant farming = Crop lien system

Jim Crow Laws Plessy v. Ferguson

State-level segregation laws

1896 Separate but Equal facilities Lynching: blacks lynched for the crime of asserting themselves as equals

Class conflicts and Ethnic Clashes

Since the Panic of 1873 RR workers hard times Cut
wages by 10% Great Railroad Strike of 1877: general strike effecting 10 states over 100 killed Federal troop sent in to stop the strike impeding the federal mail Racial and Ethnic conflicts: Irish and Chinese in California Denis Kearny Kearneyites violence and cutting off of pig-tails led to Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 US v. Wong Kim Ark 1898 guaranteed citizenship to all persons born in the US

Garfield and Arthur 1880 Election

Garfield Dark Horse Republican
Democrats nominate Winfield Scott Hancock

VP Chester A. Arthur of NY a Stalwart win election 214-155 Garfield assassinated by Charles J. Guiteau over spoils (disappointed because he was not rewarded with a public job) Arthur (a stalwart) promotes reform and gets congress to pass the Pendleton Act of 1883 magna carta of civilservice reform: jobs based upon a competitive exam and placed the Civil Service Commission in charge of appointments

Election of 1884 Blaine-Cleveland Mudslingers

Republicans nominate
James G. Blaine Burn this letter end of a letter linking politics with corruption Rum, Romanism, Rebellion = loses NY Mugwumps left Republican Party to support reform

Democrats nominate
Grover Cleveland Reformer, very honest a public office is a public trust Wins narrow election Election over personalities NOT policy

Old Grover takes over

Vetoed a bill that would have provided seed for drought-ravaged Texas farmers Though the

people must support the government, the government should not support the people.

He will name 2 former Confederates to his cabinethelps sooth relations North and South Will cave-in to spoils system Military pensions: widespread $ given to Civil War Veterans Cleveland reads each and vetoes 100s

Cleveland Battles for a Lower Tariff

Tariff had been high since The Tariff issue becomes
the Civil War The Treasury had a surplus of $145 million Pork-barrel spending was common Cleveland felt a lower tariff meant lower prices for consumers & less protection for monopolies the main issue of the election of 1888 Cleveland runs for the Democrats Republicans nominate Benjamin Harrison (grandson of William Henry) Harrison will win the electoral college 233-168 but lose the popular

The Billion-Dollar Congress

Republicans have a thin lead in the House Thomas Czar Reed becomes Speaker of the House and
pushes legislation through Pensions to Civil War Veterans Government purchases of silver (Sherman Silver Purchase Act 1890) McKinley Tariff = 48.4 % highest peacetime level In the mid-term elections, Republicans lost dropping to 88 seats vs 235 Democrats also 9 members of the Farmers Alliance, a militant organization

The Drumbeat of Discontent

PEOPLES PARTY OR POPULISTS They met in Omaha (Omaha Platform) Demanding: 1. Free & unlimited coinage of silver 2. Graduated income tax 3. Government ownership of railroads, telegraph & telephone

4. The direct election of US

Senators 5. One-term limit on the presidency 6. Adoption of initiative & referendum 7. A shorter workday 8. Immigration restriction Nominated Gen. James B. Weaver

The Drumbeat of Discontent

Homestead Strike 1892: a Carnegie Mill 1. Steelworkers angry over pay Populists made a remarkable
showing in the 1892 Presidential election gaining a million votes and 22 electoral4 states Kansas, Colorado, Idaho and Nevada South divided along racial lines Colored Farmers Alliance Tom Watson, Georgia appeals to their votes But Bourbon elitism prevailed Grandfather Clause Jim Crow Laws segregation in public places

cuts 2. James Frick (working for Carnegie) hires Pinkertons to break up the strike 3. 10 killed and 60 wounded 4. Federal Troops stop the strike and break the union Federal troops also brutally put down a strike in Coeur dAlene Idaho

1. 2.

Cleveland and the Depression

Only president elected after his defeat

Depression of 1893 (may have been worse than Great Depression)

Railroad over-building & over-speculation, labor disorders, agricultural depression

free-silver hurt the international market & European banking houses demanded repayments in gold lowering the gold reserve 8,000 business collapsed in 6 months, railroads went under (Philadelphia and Reading RR) Soup kitchens and hoboes common, local charities hard-pressed Federal Government let nature take its course philosophy Legal tender notes had to be issued for silver purchased (paper $) could be traded for gold & this also drops the gold supply Since silver was one obvious problem, Cleveland calls Congress into special session to repeal it William Jennings Bryan makes a plea for silver-Cleveland breaks the filibuster and alienates free silver faction of the Democrat party Cleveland finally has to go to JP Morgan for $65 million in gold

Cleveland Breeds a Backlash

Cleveland is blamed for selling out to JP
Morgan and business interests (Morgan had made $7million on the gold loan to the government) Wilson-Gorman Tariff 1894 (not much % drop over McKinley Tariff) 2% tax on incomes over $4,000) Cleveland allows the bill to become law without his signature Mid-term elections, Republicans won back lost majority in congress Cleveland blamed for their rebound

Forgettable Presidents
The word lilliputian has come into
common usage, meaning "very small sized". (textbook p. 528) Grant, Hayes, Garfield, Arthur, Harrison and Cleveland are all considered forgettable presidents largely because they did so little and they were controlled by Congress