Politics of the Gilded Age

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Politics of the Gilded Age. 1877-1900. Politics of the Gilded Age. 1877-1900 inaction, corruption characterized politics Political parties evenly divided, difficult to pass major reforms No president 1872-1896 won a majority of popular vote - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Transcript of Politics of the Gilded Age

Politics of the Gilded Age

Politics of the Gilded Age1877-1900

1Politics of the Gilded Age1877-1900 inaction, corruption characterized politics Political parties evenly divided, difficult to pass major reformsNo president 1872-1896 won a majority of popular voteGrover Cleveland only Democrat president of era, known for honesty and integrity2Corruption Plagues National PoliticsGovernment officials routinely received bribes and kickbacksAmericans expected little support from federal government, came from state and local level Strong relationship between big business and government

3Republicans vs. DemocratsProtestantAfrican AmericansSupported nativitist causesSupported prohibition Northern SupportSouthern whitesImmigrantsCatholicsJewsFreethinkers

4Political Cartoonist Raise the Alarm

5Spoils System Dominates GovernmentPolitical parties provided services to poor- exchange for votesPolitical parties provided jobs for party supporters- spoils system Helped make parties powerful Voter participation grew because of system (70-80% turnout common)Congress most powerful branch during Gilded Age

6Civil Service ReformCivil Service= government jobs, jobs that stay the same regardless of political party in powerAssassination of President James Garfield by person that did not receive government job led to civil service reformPendleton Civil Service Act (1883)-established Civil Service Commission wrote civil service exampassing exam not political connections got people government jobsreduced power of spoils system

7Economic ChallengesTariff , Monetary policy main economic issuesMonetary policy -based on gold standard, gold basis of nations currency1873 issue of silver as money debatedInternational trade, big business thought silver as money would undermine economyThere was more silver than goldFarmers wanted silver as money- create inflation, raise farm prices, create more money to pay debts

8Economic ChallengesTariff created early 1800s to protect manufacturing, agricultural products and prices Republicans favored tariff promote industry, jobsDemocrats opposed said kept cost of goods high, harder for farmers to sell products abroad9Farmers and Populism

10Farmers Face Many Problems1880s, early 1890s low crop prices, increased costs, mounting debt for many farmersNature in the form of droughts, harsh winters, boll weevil infestation also hurt farmersCotton, corn, wheat prices fellNew machinery, seed, livestock prices went up Many farmers mortgaged farms to pay for goodsFarmers had little influence on political system

11Farmers Face Many ProblemsBlamed big business, railroads, banks Railroads charged high ratesBanks charged high interestGrain elevators charged high rates for storageSharecroppers faced dishonest landlords, merchants

12Farmers OrganizeCreated network of organizations Granger Movement (1867) founded in Minnesota National political organization that fought for farmers rightsGoals Government reformEducation new farming techniquesRegulate shipping, grain elevator rates

13Farmers OrganizeMid 1870s Midwestern states pass reform, Grange Laws Limits on freight, grain storage ratesGrangers pressured the national government to establish Interstate Commerce Commission to regulate railroad rates

14Farmers OrganizeGrange declined late 1870sReplaced by Farmers Alliances Grassroots movementGoalsCollectively sell cropsEstablish banks to provide low interest loansWanted to push costs down, bring prices up

Alliances remained segregated across the south, eventually kept them from gaining political power15Populist PartyFormed 1892New political party put pressure on two major political parties with demandsWanted to change unresponsive government, inadequate money supply, political corruptionLargest support came form farmers in the south, Midwest and West Urban workers support- both fought industrial elite

16Populist PartyGoalsUnlimited coinage of silverGraduated income taxGovernment ownership of telegraph, railroad companiesBank regulation

Populist politicians pushed for cooperation between the races17Populist PartyElection 1892 Populist governors, senators, congressmen elected across nation (concentrated in the west and Midwest)1894 won more elections, popularity grew

18Economic Crisis and Populisms Decline1893 four year depression began Draw of Populism grewElection 1896Democrats nominate William Jennings Bryan because of his Cross of Gold speech at the Democratic Convention Speech attacked the gold standardBrought many to the populist causeBryan grew in popularityMade him a national political figure

19Bryan and the Election of 1896Populist party backed BryanDemocratic party supported free silver, many populist proposals, took on Bryan as their candidateBryans campaign was first to tour nation and directly speak to peopleLost election to William McKinley

20Legacy of PopulismNew era in American politics, ascendancy of urban, middle class voter, diminishing voter turnout, rise of new political issues- industrial regulation and welfare of laborMessage on monetary policy did not appeal to urban workersDecision to endorse Bryan led to decline in Populist Party, many became DemocratsMore flexible monetary policy adopted by governmentCandidates campaigned directly to peopleMany reforms Populists advocated were adopted by Progressives in early 20th century21