Chapter 21. Politics: Local, State, and National. Okay. So now we look at politics in America during the late 1800’s. What did the political parties stand for?.
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Politics: Local, State, and National
What did the political parties stand for?
Who knows? Neither party really took any stands on the issues because they wanted to attract as many voters as possible. And the way to do that is to appeal to everyone! There was a precarious balance of power to consider!
Another reason they didn’t take sides on issues is because they really didn’t know how to fix the problems!
Politicians didn’t address big national issues during elections – it was the local issues that mattered to the voters
Northerners were Republicans and Southerners were Democrats.
Catholics voted Democrat while Protestants voted Republican.
German-Americans voted Democrat while Scandinavians voted Republican.
Off course there were exceptions and these generalizations are contradictory!
Confused? Good, you should be!
No one really knows why people voted the way they did – they all had their reasons
City government was influenced by the religious and ethnic character of its citizens.
Complicate that with fast urban life, city growth, influx of immigrants, and normal city problems such as sanitation, public transportation, utility systems, crime, pollution, and so on and so forth…
Mein Gott! You can see how complex it could be!
Middle class people were now moving to the suburbs – the educated class that should have provided city leadership!
In their place there arose another type of politician – the Ward Boss* and the City Boss
These Bosses were backed by political machines that ran the city
* A ward is a borough, district, or section of a city
Immigrants were from the peasantry and had no experience with representative government
Life in the slums was difficult and they listened to the promises of these city bosses
Most of these bosses were Irish- they were able to manipulate the citizens and keep them voting! For them!
Let’s take a look at a typical Ward Boss and see how he was able to stay in power so long despite his corruption
Thank you very much
I found them jobs…I gave out food in bad times…I could “fix” it if anyone got into trouble…I gave new shoes to poor kids…
A fellow has to make a living. Do you expect me to sing for it?
Some city bosses didn’t even help their voters- they made money through kick-backs, bribes, and other schemes
Boss Tweed was of this ilk
Although many were popular with the voters, seen as Robin Hoods, they were nothing more than crooks
But what were the poor to do? The middle class didn’t careabout them
In fact, many “honorable” citizens shared in the corruption.
Owners of tenements were only interested in crowding as many people as they could into their buildings.
Most honest citizens were repelled by city government but not so much as to do something about it.
Politics was something “gentlemen” did not engage in.
As for national elections, with the Democrats invincible in the South and Republicans dominating the North and West, contests were decided by just a few populous states: NY, OH, IN, and IL
Of the 18 Democrats and Republicans nominated for president between 1868 and 1900, only 3 were NOT from these states and all 3 lost!
Partisanship was intense in these states!
Large sums were spent on bands, decorations, and spellbinding speakers who could emotionally sway the audiences.
But political morality was abysmal. Mudslinging and character assassination was typical fare, as was lying and bribery.
Lowlifes were paid in drink for their votes. The dead were listed on voter rolls and “voted.”
Unfortunately, our presidents had as much interest in the issues as the other politicians.
Uh oh, sounds like its time for a frickin’ assignment!
Gold versus Silver
Eugene V. Debs
J. P. Morgan
7. A Republican group led by Senator Conkling was called the
8. Political campaigns were characterized by
9. Charles Guiteau assassinated President
11. The Pendleton Act reformed the
12. The “dirty” presidential election of 1884 was won by
13. Harrison was notable for waving the
14. The poor performance of politics was due to the indifference of
15. The Populist Movement emerged from the
17. The Coinage Act of 1873 was called the
18. Who led an army of unemployed on Washington D.C.?
19. His Cross of gold speech won him the Democratic nomination
20. Bryan discarded campaign tradition by