Focus Question: What were the major features of American politics during the Gilded Age?
Americans were intensely loyal to the major parties, which operated on a local level by distributing favors. "City Machines" also provided the working-class men with jobs and gave relief (money or necessities) to the poor, thereby winning votes. The major political parties shared power nearly equally during the Gilded Age, and such parity made neither party willing to embrace bold initiatives. Edit
Focus Question: What were the major issues in politics during this period?
Politicians focused on tariff reform, the regulation of corporations, Indian wars and Indian policy, civil service reform, and immigration. In the 1884, presidential election, Republicans favoring reform dubbed Mugwumps, bolted their party to support the Democrat, Grover Cleveland, a reformer. Edit
Focus Question: What were the main problems facing farmers in the South and the Midwest after the Civil War?
Farmers had serious grievances at the end of the nineteenth century. Commodity prices were falling because of domestic overproduction and international competition, and many farmers had gone into debt, buying new machinery on credit and paying the railroads huge rates to ship their goods to market. in addition, high tariffs allowed manufactures to raise the price of goods that famers needed. Edit
Focus Question: How and why did farmers become politicized?
Despite the farmers traditional reluctance to organize, many reacted to their difficulties by joining the Granger movement, which promoted farmer-owned cooperatives and, subsequently, Famers Alliances, grassroots social organization that also promoted political action. Influenced by their success, delegates for farm, labor, and reform organizations in 1892 established the People's party, also known as the Populist party. Populists sought greater regulation of business regulation by the federal government and the free coinage of several ( because they hoped that the ensuing inflation of the money supply would make it easier for them to repay their debts). Edit
Focus Question: What was significant about the election of 1896?
The Silver vs Gold issue was the main controversy revolving around the election 1896. The populists (farmers) and democrats wanted money to be backed by silver, the Republicans wanted the federal reserve to be backed by gold. Edit
Focus Question: How did African American leaders respond to the spread of segregation in the South?
By 1900, elite Southern whites had regained control of state governments; prominent black Republicans had been squeezed out of political positions; and black men were being kept from excersising their right to vote. Segregation became the social norm. Some African American leaders, most prominently Booker. t. Washington, believed that by showing deference to whites, blacks could avoid violence while quietly acquiring an education and property. Others, like W.E.B Du Bois, wanted to fight segregation and lynching through the courts and the political system. Edit