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Gilded Age. Political and Economic Challenges Chapter 7 Page 182. Essential Questions. E.Q. 12 - Analyze a primary source document reflecting the dynamics of the Gilded Age American society. E.Q. 14 - Analyze a political cartoon that portrays the controversial aspects of the Gilded Age.

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Gilded age

Gilded Age

  • Political and Economic Challenges

  • Chapter 7 Page 182

Essential questions

Essential Questions

  • E.Q. 12 - Analyze a primary source document reflecting the dynamics of the Gilded Age American society.

  • E.Q. 14 - Analyze a political cartoon that portrays the controversial aspects of the Gilded Age.

  • E.Q. 15 - Explain the impact of different forms of corruption and its consequences in American politics during the later half of the Age.

  • E.Q. 17 - Determine the progress of political and social reform in America during the Progressive Era



  • Analyze the issue of corruption in national politics in the 1870s and 1880s.

  • Discuss civil service reform during the 1870s and 1880s.

  • Assess the importance of economic issues in the politics of the Gilded Age.

  • Discover the various scandals that plagued this era.

Gilded age meaning

Gilded Age Meaning

  • Gilded Age

    • A play on “Golden Age”

    • Thin gold layer covering outside (to “gild” something)

    • Ostentatious displays of wealth

Corruption in politics

Corruption in Politics

  • Weak and ineffectual Presidents

  • Bribery

  • Various scandals

  • Political cartoons used to expose

    • Thomas Nast

Spoils system

Spoils System

  • Spoils System

    • “Unless you can get the ear of a Senator... and persuade him to use his “influence” in your behalf, you cannot get employment of the most trivial nature in Washington. Mere merit, fitness and capability, are useless baggage to you without ‘influence,’ ... It would be an odd circumstance to see a girl get employment ... merely because she was worthy and competent, and a good citizen of a free country that “treats all persons alike.” -Mark Twain & Charles Dudley Warner

Spoils system1

Spoils System

  • Politicians awarding government jobs to loyal party workers with little regard for their qualifications.

  • Candidates did not help with their own elections.

  • Influenced high voter turnout

  • Led to civil service - system where most gov’t workers would get their jobs due to expertise and keep them regardless of who took over office

Spoils system ctd

Spoils System ctd...

  • Controversy over accepting the civil service system

    • Politicians worries about attracting workers for campaigns and parties

  • President James Garfield’s assassination by Charles Guiteau helped settle the matter

    • Chester A. Arthur becomes President and has to support civil service reform because of public’s outcry after Garfield’s death

Pendleton civil service act

Pendleton Civil Service Act

  • 1883

  • Applied to Federal jobs

  • Jobs are rewarded based on merit

  • Establishes the Civil Service Commission

    • wrote a civil service exam

Boss system

“Boss System”

  • “Political Machine”

  • Local level spoils system

  • The leader is the “political boss”

  • System is held together with material rewards

    • Jobs, lodging, extra groceries, and a means of socialization for new immigrants

    • In exchange, the immigrants offered votes

Boss system1

“Boss System”

  • William “Boss” Tweed

    • Tammany Hall Democratic machine in NYC

    • “Tweed Ring”

    • Boss Tweed. “As long as I count the votes, what are you going to do about it? say?”

    • 2:11:40

Grant s black friday

Grant’s Black Friday

  • President Ulysses S. Grant

  • During Reconstruction, greenbacks issued without gold backing them.

  • James Fisk & Jay Gould sought to corner the gold market

  • Conspired with Grant’s brother-in-law, financier Abel Corbin

  • Manipulated Grant in social situations to hold gold

  • Summer 1969 - started buying up all the gold (Prices rise, stocks plummet)

  • September 20, 1969 - start hoarding gold (Drive prices even higher)

  • September 24, 1969 - Grant discovers what is going on and releases gov’t gold and prices plummet

Whiskey ring scandal

Whiskey Ring Scandal

  • During the Reconstruction, the government needed funds to help the recovery process

    • Enacted steep taxes - especially on liquor

  • Upset, distilleries concocted a plan to retain the money which involved bribing gov’t officials.

    • St. Louis, Chicago, Milwaukee, Cincinnati, New Orleans, Peoria

  • Soon, millions of $ were missing in federal taxes and high gov’t officials (including President Grant’s personal secretary Orville E. Babcock) were embroiled.

  • In 1847, it was finally busted by the new Secretary of treasury Bejamin Bristow.

Whiskey ring

Whiskey Ring

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