Chapter 17: Politics in the Gilded Age


Terms in this set (...)

Political Machines
Well-organized political parties that dominated state and local governments in the late 1800s
Political Bosses
These were powerful people who managed these machines
What did political machines do?
Political machines helped the urban poor, and new immigrants became loyal supporters of the political machines.
Alexander Shepherd
A political boss who financed expanded sewer and water systems, paved streets and provided other public services. This created significant civic improvements and new jobs in the nation's capital. Bosses could now give out jobs to their loyal supporters (such as the poor and new immigrants).
How did political bosses ensure voter loyalty?
By providing jobs in exchange for votes.
James Pendergast
Political boss who provided jobs and special services to African Americans, Irish American and Italian American constituents.
The Tweed Ring
William Marcy Tweed was the boss of Tammany Hall. He was able to control the issuing of contracts for public projects and government jobs. They used this position of power to gain bribes and kickbacks. The Tweed Ring collected $200 million in graft. The public opinion turned against Tweed and his control over Tammany machine collapsed. They looted the NYC treasury. In the end, Tweed was arrested and died in jail.
Who created political cartoons and why?
The corruption of Tammany Hall and the Tweed Ring was revealed in political cartoons created by Thomas Nast. Nast released 50 cartoons that criticized Tweed and Tammany Hall and exposed the corruption.
What two scandals occurred during Grant's first term?
Black Friday: Jay Gould and James Fisk tried to corner, or gain a monopoly on, the gold market. They wanted to drive up the price of gold. They tried to convince the president not to sell gold from the U.S. Treasury. Grant refused to go along with the plan, but rumors went around that he did. On Black Friday, the price of gold fell sharply.
Credit Mobilier: They gave the company contracts to build a section of the transcontinental railroad. The owners of the Union Pacific Railroad gave shares to Credit Mobilier. Credit Mobilier overcharged the Union Pacific by more than $20 million. The money went into the pockets of Credit Mobiliers stockholders.
How did these scandals affect the election of 1872?
Grant vs. Greeley Some critics saw the corruption in Grant's presidency, however, Grant played on his image as war hero and easily won re-election.
What is the Gilded Age?
A term coined by Mark Twain. Although this age seemed golden, it was obvious that underneath there was so much corruption that it was gilded.
Strongly opposed civil reform. Led by Conkling.
Led by James G. Blaine. These included members who strongly supported civil reforms and others who did not completely oppose patronage jobs.
What happened to President Garfield? (He was a Republican)
He was assassinated by Charles Guiteau, a mentally unstable man who had unsuccessfully sought a government job. Guiteau believed that killing Garfield would further the Stalwart cause. However, Chester A. Arthur (a Stalwart) responded sympathetically to the calls for reform and abandoned his opposition to it.
Pendleton Civil Service Act
This bill established the Civil Service Commission to administer competitive examinations to those people seeking government jobs. Important step toward reform. Federal jobs should be filled based on merit. Stalwarts were angered by Arthur's reform efforts.
Who was Benjamin Harrison?
A Republican who won the 1888 race. The Republicans filled every job not on the civil service list with members of their own party.
Which party controlled Congress and the presidency during 1890?
The Republicans. They passed laws like the Sherman Antitrust Act. They spent a lot of money on Civil War pensions for Union veterans. Congress spent money so freely during this time that they became known as the Billion Dollar Congress.
What happened to farmers in the late 1800s?
The rapidly growing population in the urban centers had to be fed, so farmers all around the world grew a lot of crops. Supply soon exceeded demand. Farm profits plunged. Farm families also borrowed money to pay for their land but they could not repay the loans, thus losing their farms.
Why were the farmers angry?
Their debts were rising, they were losing their farms,, they were not making money,
National Grange
Social Organization. As membership increased and farmer's financial problems grew, the Grange began to tackle economic and political issues.
What were cooperatives?
Organizations in which groups of farmers pool their resources to buy and sell goods. They sold their products directly to big-city markets.
What were the Grange's main focus?
Forcing states to regulate railroad freight and grain-storage rates.
Populist Party
Coalition of Alliance members, farmers, labor leaders, reformers. Called for a graduated income tax, bank regulation, government ownership of railroad and telegraph companies, and the free coinage of silver. Also, they called for restrictions on immigration, a shorter workday and voting reforms.
The Election of 1896
William McKinley (R) vs. William Jennings Bryan (D).
William McKinley: Gold Standard
William Jennings Bryan: Silver Standard
The Cross of Gold Speech
Delivered by Bryan, believed that "free silver" would bring prosperity.
Hofstaders Views on The Cross of Gold Speech
Said the speech was Anti-semetic.
Attack on Jews.
Said this election failed because the populists are anti-intellectual and blames everyone for their problems. He also said that the populists did not think through their problems and are backward looking. They were looking to a past that never existed.
Importance of Election of 1896
This was the last election that was rural/farm based. Populism ended.