Politics in the Gilded Age
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Politics in the Gilded AgeFocus QuestionIs there any difference between the Political Parties today?Political MachinesCities and some states dominated by Political machinesOrganized groups whichcontrolled local partiesControlled all aspects oflocal government.
Built on a Strict HierarchyBossControlled patronageControlled fundsDetermined candidatesUnderbossControlled local wardsAssisted and advised the BossPrecinct CaptainsDoled out patronageIdentified up and coming party membersParty loyalistsGot out the votePrevented the other party from getting out the vote
Central Role of the VoteThe Vote was the currency of the machineIf you controlled the vote, you controlled:JobsMoneyContractsPower
Inherently CorruptRan up government expensesPromotedinefficiencyProvided forshoddy work
Rise in Political CorruptionHolding power more importantthan convictionsParties were similar in outlookBoth were pro-businessBoth had strong radical wingsThe major difference was white supremacy
The National LevelBoth parties built patronage armiesJobs were dependent on political supportAll votes were public recordCentered on the Customs and Post OfficesSparked a need for Civil Service ReformDivided the GOP between Stalwarts and Half-BreedsAssassination of the President James Garfield was shot by a deranged office-seeker in 1881Pushed the Stalwart Arthur into office
The Pendleton Act of 1883Provided for Civil Service ReformCreated rules for federal employmentCompetitive examinationsReview over dismissalsStamped out the worst abuses
The Gospel of WealthSome grew uncomfortable with the situationAndrew Carnegie promoted the Gospel of WealthRiches were justified if the wealthy used his wealth for the community
The Man Who Dies Rich Dies Disgraced.
Reforms proposedMany saw the government as a tool to prevent monopoliesSherman Antitrust ActForbade combinations in restraint of tradeDid not define trustsRarely used against any monopoly.Ineffective