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Economic and Political Challenges

Economic and Political Challenges

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Economic and Political Challenges

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  1. Economic and Political Challenges

  2. Economic Issues plagued the nation…

  3. After the Civil War, Congress raisedtariffs to protect new US industries. • Big business wanted to continue this;consumers did not. • 1885  tariffs earned the US $100 million in surplus! To Tariff or Not to Tariff?

  4. Government had made paper money during the Civil War • led to inflation • lack of confidence in paper currency • stopped printing paper currency - 1873 • Coinage Act of 1873 • began a continued debate over use of gold and/or silver as money The Currency Question

  5. Business opportunities, especially in RRs, had lead investors to excessive debt • banks & businesses closed • stock market collapsed • Panic triggered 4-year economic depression Panic of 1893

  6. gold = basis of nation’s currency • limited supply of gold • scarce and becoming scarcer • Scarcity of gold: • caused deflation – prices went down • existing debts were harder to pay Problem: Gold Standard

  7. Greenbacks (paper money) • increased supply = inflation • prices will go up • “Free” Silver • Allow silver to be minted as well as gold • increased supply = inflation • prices will go up Solutions:

  8. Political Corruption Conitnues

  9. The Gilded age: 1877-1900 Politics in this time period was characterized by corruption and inaction…

  10. the spoils system (patronage) • government jobs awarded to loyal party workers & campaign contributors regardless of their qualifications • government workers changed each time a new candidate won office • Why would this be a bad thing? Political Corruptionwas caused by…

  11. held political parties together - loyalty • helped each party gain more supporters • boosted political participation • easy way to raise campaign funds • allowed political machines to flourish spoils system… Positives & negatives

  12. Civil Service = working for the government • Reform = change • Pendleton Civil Service Act – 1883 • Govt. jobs awarded based on merit system - people earn jobs based on qualifications • created a Civil Service Commission • Benefit = keep the same workers no matter who is in office Civil Service Reform:

  13. Campaign contributions went down • people weren’t guaranteed a govt. job anymore • Politicians had to find other sources of funds • Alliance between govt. and big business became even stronger With the good comes the bad…

  14. Corruption continues…

  15. Americans wanted the federal government to deal with growing social, political, & economic problems & to curbthe power of the trusts… NEXT UNIT: Populists and Progressives! WE WANT CHANGE!!

  16. 1. Balance of power between White House and Congress (i.e. They couldn’t agree on anything!) Political Inactionwas caused by…

  17. 2. Two-party stalemate

  18. From 1870-1900  Govt. did very little domestically • Main duties of the federal govt.: • Deliver the mail. • Maintain a national military. • Collect taxes & tariffs. • Conduct a foreign policy. 3. Very laissez Faire government

  19. “The Forgotten Presidents” • presidency a symbolic office 4. Series of weak presidents

  20. Rutherford B. Hayes (1876-1880) • Honest politician • Appointed cabinet based on talent not friendship • Began the downfall of spoils system

  21. James Garfield (1881) • Gave jobs to people who deserved them • Assassinated by a man who was turned down for a job

  22. Chester Arthur (1881-1884) • Pushed for Civil Service reform

  23. Grover Cleveland (1884-1888, 1892-1896) • Only democratic president of the era • The “Veto President” • Exposed corrupt RR practices • Created Department of labor • Tried to lower tariffs (unsuccessfully)

  24. Benjamin Harrison (1888-1892) • Weak president • Followed the will of Congress