Chapter 23 POLITICS IN THE GILDED AGE, 1869-1896
The “Bloody Shirt” Elects Grant • Grant was immensely popular after the war • Nation was weary after war, and eager for a fresh face. • Republicans, nevertheless, enthusiastically nominate Grant • Grant is singularly unequipped to be President.
The “BLOODY SHIRT” Elects Grant • Democrats divided between eastern and western democrats. • Nominate Horatio Seymour • Republicans wave the “Bloody Shirt” • Republican Platform • Democrats divided over redemption of Bonds. • Grants wins easily in the electoral college, but by only 300,000 votes. • Impact of Black vote.
The Era Of Good Stealings • Civil War bred corruption and graft. • Causes • RR corruption • Jim Fisk and Jay Gould scheme to corner the gold market. • Boss Tweed/Tammany Hall. • Samuel Tilden.
A Carnival Of Corruption • Grant’s administration was riddled with corrupt officials. • Credit Mobilier scandal. • Exposed in 1872. • Members of congress censured. • Vice President implicated. • Whiskey Tax scandal.
Liberal Republican Revolt Of 1872 • Liberal republicans were tired of corruption • Liberal Republican party. • Nominate Horace Greeley • Democrats endorse him, too. Why? • Campaign very ugly
Grant v. Greeley • Grant wins easily, 286-66, because: • Grant is perceived to be the lesser of two evils • Democrats are still stained with fault for the Civil War. • Did lead the Republicans to clean their own house. • General amnesty Act, • lowered tariffs • Mild civil-service reform
Depression And Demands For Inflation • 1873 severe recession hits • Causes • 15,000 businesses went under. • Collapse of Jay Cooke and Co.
Depression And Demands For Inflation • Debtors advocate inflationary policies. • Call for more Greenbacks. • Federal government had removed one-fourth from circulation. Why? • Grant sides with conservatives and signs Resumption Act of 1875
Silver • Debtors advocated the coinage of silver dollars. • Why? • Congress had formally dropped silver money in 1873. • Reasons • Grant rejects call to mint Silver. • Consequences of Grant’s policy
Bland-Allison Act • Bland-Allison Act. • What does it authorize? • Why does it have little inflationary effect. • Leads to Democratic backlash in congressional elections. • Plants the seeds of the Grange
Pallid Politics In The Gilded Age • Balance of two political parties during the Gilded Age from 1869-99. • Majority in Congress flipped back and forth six times in the 11 terms between 1869-91 • Few controversial stands • Few dramatic policy differences between parties. • Voter turnout /voter loyalty. • Political machines and patronage
Republicans v. Democrats • Republicans: • Embodied the old Puritanical ideals. • Strict moral codes and belief that government should be an instrument in regulating economic and moral affairs of the community. • Strong in Midwest and in rural and small-town New England. • Got most of votes from Freedman and from Union Civil War Vets.
Republicans v. Democrats • Democrats • More Roman Catholic and Lutheran. • South and northern industrial cities • Large immigrant base and strong Dem. machines.
Stalwarts v. Halfbreeds • Republicans had two rival factions • Stalwarts (Conklingites) • led by NY Sen. Roscoe Conkling. • Big believers in patronage. • Half-Breeds. • Led by James Blaine. • Flirted with civil service. • Consequences of this division
The Hayes-Tilden Standoff, 1876 • Republicans dissuade Grant from running again. • Rutherford B. Hayes. • Hayes largely unknown, but a civil war officer • Also, importantly, former three-term governor of Ohio.
The Hayes-Tilden Standoff, 1876 • Samuel Tildon. • Platform. • Attacks against Republicans. • Electoral College dispute • Reasons • Attempts to resolve • Electoral Count Act • Further compromise
End of Reconstruction • Compromise was the end of reconstruction. • Literacy tests and poll taxes • Civil Rights Cases • Crop-Lien System/Share Cropping • Jim Crow Laws • Plessy v. Ferguson
Class Conflicts And Ethnic Clashes • Strikes in the 1870s • Who wins? • Why? • Chinese in California • Dennis Kearney/Kearneyites • Chinese Exclusion Act
Election of 1880 • Hayes administration was not very noteworthy. Did not accomplish much beyond end to reconstruction. • “Old 8-7” and “His Fraudulency.” • He did not run for reelection and wouldn’t have been renominated had he tried.
Republicans in 1880 • Stymied by Stallwart-Halfbreed rivalry and take 35 ballots to settle on a candidate. • Chose James Garfield. Dark-Horse. • Chester Arthur, was chosen VP. Why? • Platform is for higher tariffs and (weakly) for civil service reform
Election of 1880 • Democrats chose Winfield Hancock • Civil War General, but popular in south • Why?. • Both parties shun substantive political issues. • Garfield wins by only 40,000, but 214-155 in electoral college. • He was besieged by office seekers. • Made Blain Sec. of State • Battle raging politically between Stalwarts and Half-Breeds.
1881: Garfield Assassinated! Charles Guiteau:I Am a Stalwart, and Arthur is President now!
CHESTER ARTHUR TAKES COMMAND • Not many expected much from Arthur. Why? • Displayed surprising integrity, intelligence and independence. • Arthur threw his support behind reform of spoils system. • Pendleton Act of 1883 • Details • Unintended consequences?
THE BLAINE-CLEVELAND MUDSLINGERS OF 1884 • Rep. nominate Blain • Tainted with numerous rumors of scandals. • The “tattooed man” • “Mulligan letters” • Mugwumps.
Grover Cleveland • Democrats nominate Grover Cleveland. • Reputation for reform and honesty. • Cleveland’s Bastard. • One of the ugliest campaigns in American history • New York the key state • Rum, Romanism and Rebellion
Old Grover Takes Over • First Dem. president since Buchanan • Issues raised by this? • Cleveland’s political philosophy • Last Jeffersonian Democrat? • Named two former confederates to his cabinet, helping to heal the north-south divide
Tariffs and Pensions • Cleveland and office seekers—fires 2/3 of federal employees • Military Pension issue • Tariffs • Country was running at a surplus because of high tariffs. • Republicans had little motivation to reduce these tariffs. • Cleveland’s two choices? • He favored reducing tariffs. Why? • Cleveland makes tariff reduction his number-one issue. • Created a real political difference between the parties just in time for the election of 1888.
Harrison Ousts Cleveland • Dems renominate Cleveland. • Rep. turn to Benjamin Harrison, grandson of William Henry Harrison. • Primary issue? • Republicans use fear of British against Cleveland. • Republicans raise a huge war chest. How? • Harrison wins electoral vote but loses the popular vote.
Cleveland and History • Cleveland the first sitting president to be voted out of office since Van Buren in 1840. (Others: J. Adams, J.Q. Adams, Harrison, Hoover, Carter, Bush) • Cleveland last to win popular vote and lose electoral college until Gore. • Cleveland only president to have two non-consecutive terms.
The Republicans Return Under Harrison • Benj. Harrison in the White House. • Republicans eager for patronage. • Blaine is Secretary of State. • Teddy Roosevelt Civil Service Commission. • Republican quorum problem in the House • Speaker Thomas Reed
Political Gravy For All • Billion Dollar Congress • Pension Act of 1890 • Sherman Anti-Trust Act • Tariffs and Silver • Easterners wanted a higher tariff • Westerners and farmers wanted more silver minted
Tariff Ire • Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890 • McKinley Tariff Bill • raised tariff rates to their highest peace-time level—48% • Farmers hated the new tariff. Why? • Republicans punished in 1890 congressional election. • Lose nearly 60 seats and Dems have a huge majority in Congress
1892 Presidential Election Grover Cleveland Benjamin Harrison again! * (DEM) (REP)
Populists • Populists emerge as a potent third party. • Officially the People’s Party • Nominate James B. Weaver • Populist Agenda: • free and unlimited coinage of silver at the ratio of sixteen to one • graduated income tax • Gov’t ownership of telephone, telegraph and RR • direct election of US senators • one-term limit on presidency • use of the initiative and referendum to allow citizens to propose and review legislation. • Shorter work day-to appeal to labor • restriction on immigration—to appeal to labor
Populists • Labor is mad and are ripe for wooing by Populists. • Homestead strike • Populists poll over one-million votes and become one of the few third parties to win electoral votes • Populists problems with Blacks • Grandfather Clause
OLD GROVER CLEVELAND AGAIN • Depression of 1893 • Causes: • Over-building and over-speculation • labor unrest • agricultural depression from low commodity prices • reduction of US credit abroad because of Silver Purchase Act • Problems with overseas banks, which were forced to call in US loans. • Cleveland does next to nothing— laissez faire
Gold Problem • Treasury was running a deficit because of the Silver Purchase Act. Reasons • Cleveland saw no choice but to repeal the Silver Purchase Act. • William Jennings Bryan • Cleveland forced to issue bonds to raise money in order to buy gold • J.P. Morgan deal • Public reaction
DEMOCRATIC TARIFF TINKERING • McKinley Tariff causes deficit • Democrats propose bill to reduce tariff but add income tax • Senate tacks on lots of provisions to help special interests. • Wilson-Gorman Tariff Act of 1894. • Cleveland refused to sign it, but can’t veto. • Supreme Court throws out income tax • Public opinion hates the bill and blame Dems. • Democrats hammered in 1894 mid-term election.