Gilded age politics and the progressive era 1865 1920
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Gilded Age Politics and the Progressive Era (1865 – 1920). Teddy Roosevelt William Jennings Bryan. Robert La Follette. Woodrow Wilson. Well-Defined Voting Blocs. Democratic Bloc. Republican Bloc.

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Gilded age politics and the progressive era 1865 1920
Gilded Age Politics and the Progressive Era(1865 – 1920)

Teddy Roosevelt William Jennings Bryan

Robert La Follette

Woodrow Wilson

Gilded age politics and the progressive era 1865 1920

Well-Defined Voting Blocs



  • White southerners(preservation ofwhite supremacy)

  • Catholics

  • Recent immigrants(esp. Jews)

  • Urban working poor (pro-labor)

  • Most farmers

  • Northern whites(pro-business)

  • African Americans

  • Northern Protestants

  • Old WASPs (supportfor anti-immigrant laws)

  • Most of the middleclass

Urban problems political machines
Urban Problems: Political Machines

  • This was an organized group that controlled the activities of a political party in a city

    • Immigrants connected into American political system

    • Jobs and housing for your vote.

    • Patronage

    • Graft

Political boss
Political Boss

  • Bosses would except bribes (cash for silence) to allow illegal activities to thrive in their districts

    • They allowed gambling, and later, drinking in speak easies

    • Police rarely interfered because they were on the payroll (until 1890)

Role of the party boss
Role of the PartyBoss

  • Boss Tweed controlled thousands of municipal jobs in New York City

    • Police

    • Fire

    • Sanitation

    • He controlled license distribution

    • He controlledinspections

    • He helped place judges on the municipal courts

Immigrants and the machine
Immigrants and the Machine

  • The bosses met these poor saps at the dock (FOB’s or “fresh off the boat”)

    • They became loyal supporters

    • Many of these bosses were first or second generation immigrants themselves

      • Few were educated beyond grammar school

    • The machines helped immigrants get naturalized, found them a place to live, and got them jobs. All they wanted was their vote.

Thomas nast
Thomas Nast

  • Political cartoonist

  • Exposed the Tweed Ring

  • Drew hundreds of cartoons during the Gilded Age

Scandals tweed ring grant scandals credit mobilier
Scandals:Tweed Ring, Grant Scandals, Credit Mobilier

Forgettable presidents
Forgettable Presidents

James Garfield






Rutherford B.











Big Issues: Patronage, Civil Service reform, tariff, personalities

Key political issues


1) Anti- tariffs

2) Anti- Gold Standard or for Bimetallism



Pro-gold standard

Key Political Issues

Key congressional acts of gilded age
Key Congressional Actsof Gilded Age

Chinese Exclusion Act (1882)-Arthur: restricted Chinese immigration until 1943.

Pendleton Act (1883)- Arthur: started civil service reforms and a new alliance between big business and political parties.

Dawes Act (1887)-Cleveland [first term]: Goal to force Native Americans off of reservations and assimilate them into white culture.

Interstate Commerce Act (1887)-Cleveland [first term]: First attempt to regulate the railroads

Sherman Antitrust Act (1890)-Harrison: First attempt to break up trusts in all industries under 14th amendment.

Gilded age politics and the progressive era 1865 1920

The Populist Party

  • Populist Platform:

  • Bimetallism

  • Direct election of U.S. Senators

  • 8 hour workday

  • Immigration restrictions

The 1896 candidates
The 1896 Candidates


Democrat and Populist

Gilded age politics and the progressive era 1865 1920

The Money Issue

“The Cross of Gold” speech

“16 to 1” silver to gold ratio

16 to 1 ounces and Bimetallism

What is progressivism
What is progressivism?

It was a white, urban middle class movement

They fought the decline in morality caused by industrialization and urbanization.

A. Limit power of the trusts

B. Attack political corruption

C. Increase Efficiency

D. Consumer Protection

Progressive roots
Progressive Roots

  • Populists (Omaha Platform)

  • First Anti-trust Regulation

    (Sherman Anti-trust Act + Interstate Commerce Act)

  • Social and economic problems.

  • Against “laissez-faire” policy.

  • They attacked the “bloated trusts.”

Progressivism state and local electoral reforms
Progressivism:State and Local Electoral Reforms

  • Direct primary elections = allowing voters to choose candidates for elected offices prior to the general election.

  • Initiative (20 states)= voters force a bill to be proposed

  • Referendum (20 states)= citizens vote on proposed laws

  • Recall (11 states)= voters force a new election to replace a corrupt sitting elected leader

  • Australian ballot = voting in a curtained booth on ballots made by the state

State reform robert la follette wisconsin
State ReformRobert La Follette (Wisconsin)

  • Lafollete’s “Wisconsin Idea” or using a brain trust of educated men to create solutions to problems like voting irregularities and bloated trusts.

  • Direct Primary, tax reform, and regulation of the railroads.

Progressivism settlement house movement
Progressivism:Settlement House Movement

  • Based on Christian teachings Jane Addams of Hull House (Chicago) fought to improve urban problems while inadvertently Americanizing immigrants.

What is a muckraker
What is a muckraker?

  • A phrase coined by Teddy Roosevelt.

  • Popular culture magazines costing ¢10 to ¢15 a copy including McClure’s, Cosmopolitan, and Collier’s.

    They exposed corruption of political machines, life insurance companies, money trusts, and tariff lobbies.


  • Most of their expose became best selling books:

  • Ida Tarbell’s - “The History of Standard Oil”

  • Lincoln Steffens- “Shame of Our Cities”

  • Jacob Riis- “How the Other Half Lives”

  • Upton Sinclair’s- “The Jungle”

The square deal
The Square Deal

TR was the first modern president

He used the White House as a “bully pulpit.”

  • Labor Reforms

  • Trust-busting

  • Railroad Regulation

    * Consumer Protection

    * Conservation

Labor reform
Labor Reform

Mediated strikes like the Anthracite Coal Strike of 1902

This restored the damaged image of labor unions (violent strikes of the 1890’s) in the public eye and led to their rebirth

Trust busting

TR broke up 44 trusts like the Northern Securities Company, a railroad trust, using the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890.

TR made a distinction between

a. “good trusts”

b. “bad trusts”

Tr s progressive reforms
TR’s: Progressive Reforms


  • Strengthened the regulatory power of the Interstate Commerce Commission.

  • Enforced the Sherman Antitrust Act (trustbusting)

    Consumer Protection:

    After reading Upton Sinclair’s, The Jungle, TR pushed several pieces of legislation through Congress:

    a. Meat Inspection Act (1906)

    b. Pure Food and Drug Act (1906)


  • Newlands Act

  • Created a national park system

T r steps down
T.R. Steps Down

T.R. decided to honor the two-term tradition (Washington precedent)

Hand-picked William Howard Taft, his Secretary of War, to be his successor.

He promised not to seek a third term.

William howard taft 27 th president 1909 1913
William Howard Taft27th President (1909-1913)


Trustbuster (90 cases prosecuted)

16th Amendment ratified in 1913

Taft angered Teddy Roosevelt in 1912 leading to TR’s unsuccessful run for a third term.

Lost the 1912 Election to Woodrow Wilson.

Election of 1912 who was the most progressive candidate
Election of 1912Who was the most Progressive candidate?

Conservative Republican

William H. Taft

Democrat Woodrow


Bull Moose

Teddy Roosevelt


Eugene V. Debs

Woodrow wilson 28 th president 1913 1921
Woodrow Wilson28th President(1913-1921)

  • First Democratic president since Cleveland.

  • Goals: Small government, attack corruption, and restore competition for small business owners

  • His platform = “The Triple Wall of Privilege”

  • Tariff reform – Underwood Tariff

  • Banking reform – Federal Reserve Act

  • Federal Reserve notes

  • 3) Trust reform- Clayton Antitrust Act

Progressive movement view of african americans
Progressive Movement:View of African-Americans

The status of African-Americans had declined steadily since the Plessy v. Ferguson decision (1896) which created the “separate but equal” doctrine.

Progressives did nothing about segregation and lynching:

  • They shared the prejudices of the times.

  • They considered other reforms more important than anti-lynching laws which only benefited one group.

Booker T.



Du Bois

Women s suffrage
Women’s Suffrage

In the early 1900’s, CCC takes over the women’s right movement from Susan B. Anthony.

She created the “Winning Strategy”.

Carrie Chapman Catt


The silent sentinels
The Silent Sentinels

  • Alice Paul organized this group of female picketers.

  • They marched every day and night from January 19, 1917 until both houses of Congress passed the Nineteenth Amendment (June 10,1919) to the states for ratification.

Key national reforms
Key National Reforms

  • Sixteenth Amendment ( income tax)

  • Seventeenth Amendment (direct election of U.S. Senators)

  • Eighteenth Amendment (prohibition)

  • Nineteenth Amendment (women’s suffrage)