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20. Political Realignments in the 1890s. The Party Deadlock. Post-Civil War Democratic party divides electorate almost evenly with Republicans Democrats emphasize state’s rights and limited government Republicans see government as agent to promote moral progress and material wealth

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political realignments in the 1890s

20

Political Realignments in the 1890s

the party deadlock
The Party Deadlock
  • Post-Civil War Democratic party divides electorate almost evenly with Republicans
  • Democrats emphasize state’s rights and limited government
  • Republicans see government as agent to promote moral progress and material wealth
  • Each party has safe states, control of federal government rests with 6 “doubtful” states in North and Midwest
  • Federal influence wanes, state control rises
the election of 1880
The Election of 1880

The Election of 1884

reestablishing presidential power
Reestablishing Presidential Power
  • Presidency hits nadir under Johnson
  • Later presidents reassert executive power
    • Hayes ended military Reconstruction
    • Garfield asserted leadership of his party
    • Arthur strengthened navy, civil service reform
    • Cleveland used veto to curtail federal activities, called for low tariffs
republicans in power the billion dollar congress
Republicans in Power:The Billion-Dollar Congress
  • 1888: Republicans control both White House and Capitol Hill
  • 1890: Adoption of Reed Rules permits enactment of “billion dollar” program
  • 1890: Sherman Anti-Trust Act regulates big business
of note in 1890
OF NOTE…IN 1890
  • Closing of the Frontier
  • Battle of Wounded Knee
  • First Billion dollar Congress in 1890
  • Dramatic expansion of pensions for the GAR
  • Sherman Anti-trust Act of 1890
  • Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890
  • McKinley Tariff of 1890 (48.4%!!!)
tariffs trusts and silver
Tariffs, Trusts, and Silver
  • McKinley Tariff is highest in history
  • 1890: Sherman Silver Purchase Act moves country toward bi-metallic monetary system
    • Despiteattempts to regulate trusts with Sherman Anti-Trust Act…law’s power is guttedby Supreme Court U.S. vs. E.C. Knight, clarifies that law does not apply to manufacturers
the 1890 elections
The 1890 Elections
  • “Billion Dollar” Congress alienates people
  • Republicans also assert activist government policies on state level
    • Sunday closing laws
    • Prohibition
    • Mandatory English in public schools
  • 1890: Alienated voting blocks turn out Republican legislators
roots of populism
Roots of POPULISM

FACT:

farmers comprise nearly 50% of US in 1890, but are too diverse, dispersed and disorganized to be an effective political force.

  • 1867 Oliver Kelley formed the Grange, as social “glue” for isolated farmers
  • Grangers gradually politicize  control state legislatures in IL, WI, IA, MN & attempt to control fees set by railroad, warehouses, & grain elevators
deflation debt decline on the grange
Deflation, Debt, Decline on the Grange
  • “cash-crops” ties farmers to world market
  • Lack of diversification leaves farms vulnerable to fluctuations in market.
  • Expensive machinery requires going into debt and good financial management – not all farmers are skilled enough in business

By 1890’s….

overproduction, debt AND deflation combined!!!

Hundreds of thousands of farms were foreclosed and farmers became TENANTS(=sharecroppers)

experiments in the states
Experiments in the States
  • State government commissions investigate, regulate railroads, factories
  • Munn v. Illinois (1877) upholds constitutionality of state investigations
  • Wabash case (1886) prompts establishment of Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC)
  • ICC prototype for modern regulatory agencies
roots of populism1
Roots of POPULISM
  • 1886: Supreme Court’s Wabash decision struck down Granger laws, Grangers decline afterwards
  • Grangers replaced by Greenback Labor Party, run unsuccessfully for presidency in 1880. Then decline.
  • Succeeded by Farmers’ Alliance, led by Mary E. Lease
  • Eventually, gains momentum. At its height, Farmers’ Alliance elects 4 governors and 40 congressmen.
the fast growing farmers alliance
The Fast-Growing Farmers’ Alliance
  • 1875: Southern Alliance begins
  • Alliance movement segregated, Colored Farmer’s National Alliance
    • Destroyed after leaders lynched in 1891
  • 1889: Regional Alliances merge into National Farmer’s Alliance
the fast growing farmers alliance1
The Fast-Growing Farmers’ Alliance
  • Division in the South
    • Tillman: Capture existing Democratic party to maintain white supremacy
    • Tom Watson and Leondias Polk urge new party
  • Starting 1890, Alliance runs candidates
    • Speakers like Mary “Yellin’” Lease promote Alliance candidates
the fast growing farmers alliance ocala demands
The Fast-Growing Farmers’ Alliance: Ocala Demands
  • System of government warehouses to hold crops for higher prices
  • Free coinage of silver
  • Low tariffs
  • Federal income tax
  • Direct election of Senators
  • Regulation of railroads

NOTE:

Many of these become part of Progressive platforms

the people s party
The People’s Party
  • Southern Alliance splits from Democrats to form Populist party
  • Southern Populists recruit African Americans, give them influential positions
the people s party1
The People’s Party
  • 1892: Populist presidential candidate James Weaver draws over one million votes
    • Loses South to violence and intimidation by Southern Democrats
    • Loses urban areas
  • Alliance wanes after 1892 elections
why didn t the populists win in 1892

Why didn’t the Populists win in 1892?

ANSWER:

Eastern workers are nervous about deflation.

Black voters fall victim to race politics in the South.

LITERACY TEST

POLL TAX

GRANDFATHER CLAUSE

the panic of 1893
The Panic of 1893
  • February, 1893: Failure of major railroad sparks panic on New York Stock Exchange
  • Investors sell stock to purchase gold
  • Depleted Treasury shakes confidence
  • May, 1893: Market hits record low, business failures displace 2 million workers
  • 1894: Corn crop fails
coxey s army and the pullman strike
Coxey’s Army and the Pullman Strike
  • 1894: Jacob Coxey led “Coxey’s Army” to Washington to demand relief
  • Pullman strike, joined by Eugene Debs’ American Railway Union, closed Western railroads
  • President Cleveland suppressed strikes with federal troops and Debs was arrested
the miners of the midwest
The Miners of the Midwest
  • United Mine Workers strike of 1894
  • “Old miners”: English and Irish workers, owners of small family mines
  • “New miners”: 1880s immigrants
  • Strike pits new miners against old
everybody works but father
“Everybody Works but Father”
  • Women and children paid lower wages, displaced men during depression
  • Employers retained women and children after depression to hold down costs
changing themes in literature
Changing Themes in Literature
  • Depression encouraged “realist” school
  • Mark Twain’s characters spoke in dialect
  • William Dean Howells, Stephen Crane portrayed grim life of the poor
  • Frank Norris attacked power of big business
  • Theodore Dreiser presented humans as helpless before vast social, economic forces
changing attitudes
Changing Attitudes
  • Depression of 1893 forced recognition of structural causes of unemployment
  • Americans accepted the need for government intervention to help the poor and jobless
  • New voting patterns emerged and national policy shifted
  • Free coinage of silver the main issue
    • Boost the money supply
    • Seen as solution to depression
the mystique of silver
The Mystique of Silver
  • “Free and independent coinage of silver”
    • Set ratio of silver to gold at 16:1
    • U.S. mints coined all silver offered to them
    • U.S. coined silver regardless of other nations’ policies
  • Silverites believed amount in circulation determined level of economic activity
  • A moral crusade for the common people
the presidential election of 1896
The Presidential Election of 1896
  • Candidate: William McKinley
  • Silverite Republicans defeated on convention floor
  • Promised gold standard to restore prosperity
  • Candidate: William Jennings Bryan
  • Free silver promised in “Cross of Gold” speech
  • Democrats were enthusiastic
campaign and election
Campaign and Election
  • Populist party endorsed Bryan
  • Bryan offered return to rural, religious U.S.
  • McKinley defended urban, industrial society
  • Election was a clear victory for McKinley, utter rout of Populist party
the mckinley administration
The McKinley Administration
  • McKinley took office at depression’s end
  • An activist president
  • Dingley Tariff raised rates to record highs
  • 1900: U.S. placed on gold standard
  • 1900: McKinley won landslide reelection against William Jennings Bryan
  • September, 1901: McKinley assassinated
  • Theodore Roosevelt became president