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Chapter 23 Political Paralysis in the Gilded Age 1869-1896
US Grant • 1868 election: Grant (Republican) even without political experience • Focus on Military Reconstruction • Democrats split between wealthy easterners and poor midwesterners • The Ohio Idea • Republicans “waved the bloody shirt”= victory for Grant
Financial Corruption • Jim Fisk and Jay Gould= stock speculation to control Erie Railroad • Wanted to corner gold market • Paid off Grant’s brother in law • Began buying up gold summer 1869 • Federal government released $4 million in gold= Black Friday
Political Corruption • Boss William Marcy Tweed in NYC’s Tammany Hall • Democratic political machine • Bribery, graft, cronyism and election fraud • NY Times and Thomas Nast • NY attorney, Samuel J. Tilden
Can the Law Reach Him? 1872Cartoonist Thomas Nast attacked “Boss” Tweed in a series of cartoons like this one that appeared in Harper’s Weekly in 1872. Here Nast depicts the corrupt Tweed as a powerful giant, towering over a puny law force.
The Liberal Republicans • Liberal Republican party formed 1872 • “Turn the Rascals Out” • Horace Greeley nominated, Democrats backed Greeley too! • Mudslinging campaign, forced the Republicans to pass some reforms
Panic of 1873 • Jay Cooke and Company went bankrupt • Created a domino effect unemployment, bankruptcies, banks closed • New debtor class (agrarian)= want greenbacks for inflation • Soft Money vs. Hard Money • Resumption Act 1875: withdraw greenbacks and pay off in gold contraction
Panic of 1873 • Debtors focused on silver now • Silver mines out west, inflationary tactic • Depression worsened, but US credit rating improved • Hard Money Republicans lost in House in 1874 and 1878 • Greenback Labor Party created in retaliation
Republicans vs. Democrats • All elections in Gilded Age close= politicians focused on keeping jobs • Extreme party loyalty and high voter turnout • Republicans= Puritan lineage, government should regulate economy and morality • Midwest, rural and small towns in New England, freedmen, GAR • Democrats= immigrants, no government interference • South and industrial cities (political machines)
Stalwarts vs. Half Breeds • Division in Republican party in 1870’s-80’s over patronage • Stalwarts: trade civil service jobs for votes (Roscoe Conkling) • Half Breeds: civil service reform (James G. Blaine)
Hayes vs. Tilden • 1876 election: Republicans nominated Rutherford B. Hayes of Ohio (unknown) • Democrats nominated Samuel J. Tilden of NY received 184 electoral votes (needed 185) • 3 Southern states contested • Electoral Count Act: electoral commission voted along party lines (Republican)
Hayes-Tilden Disputed Election of 1876 (with electoral vote by state) Nineteen of the twenty disputed votes composed the total electoral count of Louisiana, South Carolina, and Florida. The twentieth was one of Oregon’s three votes, cast by an elector who turned out to be ineligible because he was a federal officeholder (a postmaster), contrary to the Constitution (see Art. II, Sec. I, para. 2).
Compromise of 1877 • Backroom deal to let Hayes have victory would give Democrats concessions if didn’t oppose • Remove federal troops from South • 1 Southern Democrat in Cabinet • Transcontinental railroad • Industrialized South • Official end to Reconstruction Redeemer governments in South • Civil Rights Act 1875 last attempt to help blacks
Jim Crow • Solidly white South= Redeemer state governments • Intimidation of blacks • Share cropping or tenant farming crop lien system • Jim Crow laws, lynchings • Plessy vs. Ferguson 1896
Chinese Immigrants • 1880: 75,000 Asians in California • Gold and transcontinental railroad • Outcastes, no children to help with assimilation, most menial jobs • Denis Kearney • Chinese Exclusion Act 1882 • US vs. Wong Kim Ark 1898 (jus soli vs. jus sanguinis)
Garfield and Arthur • 1880 election: James A Garfield (Half Breed) and Chester A. Arthur (Stalwart) • Charles J. Guiteau shot Garfield • “I am a Stalwart and now Arthur is President” • Insanity plea convicted and hung • Chester A. Arthur= reform spoils system • Pendleton Act 1883 • Led to marriage of politics with big business
Grover Cleveland • Democrat Grover Cleveland won 1884 election • Bourbon Democrat- believed in laissez faire economics, gold standard, against imperialism and boss politics • Caved to spoils system, vetoed pension bills • Wanted to lower the tariff to get rid of $145 million surplus (small government) • Lost 1888 election to Benjamin Harrison over tariff issue ($ from business to Harrison to buy votes!)
The Populists • 1892 The People’s Party (Populists) • Adopted Omaha Platform at Convention • Inflation free and unlimited coinage of silver • Graduated income tax • Govnt. ownership of RR, telegraph, telephone • Direct election of Senators • 1 term limit on president • Initiatives and referendums (grassroots) • 8 hour work day • Immigration restrictions
Minnesota Farmers Loading a Husker-Shredder, 1890s The purchase of technologically advanced farm equipment increased the productivity of farmers but also saddled them with debt. Many sought debt relief in the 1890s by clamoring for inflationary schemes, including the monetization of silver
The Populists • Homestead Steel Plant (Carnegie)- workers went on strike • Pinkerton detectives sent in summer 1892 • 10 dead, 60 wounded, troops needed • Populists hoped to link agrarian movement to labor, but mostly seen in west and midwest • South failed to join because of racism
Panic of 1893 • Cleveland reelected 1892 (2 nonconsecutive terms) • Panic of 1893= worst downturn of 19th century • Overbuilding, speculation, decrease in agriculture, labor problems • Legal tender notes issued redeem for gold or silver= run on gold! • Needed to repeal Sherman Silver Purchase Act- Treasury dropped below $100 million in gold
Panic of 1893 • Needed to get past silverites (supported bimetallism) William Jennings Bryan • By 1894, still losing too much gold down to $41 million • Loan from JP Morgan in 1895 of $65 million with a $7 million commission • Seen as a deal with the devil by silverites