The Gilded Age


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The Gilded Age

  1. 1. The Gilded Age (1870-1900)
  2. 2. The Gilded Age (1870 to 1900)  What is the “Gilded Age”?  Era of rapid economic and political growth  Most famous for the creation of a modern industrial economy.  Created a national transportation and communication network  The corporation became the dominant form of business organization  A managerial revolution transformed business operations
  3. 3. The Gilded Age (1870 to 1900) What is the Gilded Age?  The Second Industrial Revolution  Businessmen created industrial towns and cities in the Northeast with new factories  Hired an ethnically diverse industrial working class, many of them new immigrants from Europe.  Super-rich industrialists and financiers were attacked as "robber barons" by critics, who believed they cheated to get their money and lorded it over the common people.  Growth of the labor union movement
  4. 4. The Gilded Age (1870 to 1900) What is the Gilded Age?  Gilded Age politics, called the Third Party System, featured very close contests between the Republicans and Democrats, and, occasionally, third parties.  Nearly all the eligible men were political partisans and voter turnout often exceeded 90% in some states.
  5. 5. The Gilded Age (1870 to 1900) What is the Gilded Age?  Period of opulent, upper class wealth and public endowments  Wealthy philanthropists used private money to endow thousands of colleges, hospitals, museums, academies, schools, opera houses, public libraries, symphony orchestras, and charities.
  6. 6. The Gilded Age (1870 to 1900) What is the Gilded Age?  The end of the Gilded Age coincided with the Panic of 1893, a deep depression.  The depression lasted until 1897 and marked a major political realignment in the election of 1896.  After that came the Progressive Era.
  8. 8. Two Different Worlds The wealthy lived extravagant lifestyles and considered themselves elitists. The common people resented their snobbish attitudes and wealth. There was a caste system in the U.S.  1861 => 3 millionaires  1900 => 3,800 millionaires  By 1900, 90% of wealth was controlled by 10% of population.
  9. 9. Political Machines• Organized group that controls a city’s political party• Give services to voters, businesses for political, financial support• After Civil War, machines gain control of major cities• Machine organization: precinct captains, ward bosses, city boss
  10. 10. Political Machines The Role of the Political Boss  May serve as mayor, where he:  controls city jobs, business licenses  influences courts, municipal agencies  arranges building projects, and community services  Bosses paid by businesses, get voters’ loyalty, extend influence William Boss Tweed
  11. 11. Political Machines Immigrants and the Machine  Many captains, bosses 1st or 2nd generation Americans  Machines help immigrants with naturalization, jobs, housing Election Fraud and Graft  Machines use electoral fraud to win elections  Graft—illegal use of political influence for personal gain William Boss Tweed  Machines take kickbacks, bribes to allow legal, illegal activities
  12. 12. William Boss Tweed Corrupt political leader put New York City in debt Political boss 1851 elected to city council 1852 served in Congress Kept Democratic Party in power in NYC called Tammany Hall Formed the Tweed Ring Bought votes, encouraged corruption, controlled NYC politics
  13. 13. William Boss Tweed Received large fees for interests (kickbacks*) from the Erie Railroad  *Kickbacks = Return of a portion of the money received in a sale or contract often illegal and corrupt in return for special favors. Tweed Ring milked the city with false leases, padded bills, false vouchers, unnecessary repairs and over- priced goods
  14. 14. William Boss Tweed  Exposed for his corruption by cartoonist and editor, Thomas Nast  Tweed Ring fell and 1873 Tweed convicted of embezzlement  Later Tweed was arrested on a civil charge and jailed in NYC, later died there
  15. 15. President Grant’s Scandals “Credit Mobilier”  Phony construction company owned by stockholders of Union Pacific Railroad.  Hired Credit Mobilier to build the transcontinental railroad  Charged the U.S. government nearly twice the actual cost of the project.  Bribed Congress to stop the investigation.  Largest scandal in U.S. history, and led to greater public awareness of government corruption.
  16. 16. President Grant’s Scandals Whiskey Ring A group of President Grant’s officials imported whiskey  Used their offices to avoid paying taxes  Cheated US treasury of millions.
  17. 17. President Grant’s Scandals Salary Grab  Congress gave itself a raise, $5,000 to $7,500 annually.  Congressmen received a retroactive check for $5,000, plus their raise……  Became a political issue….Later repealed.
  18. 18. President Garfield’s Election
  19. 19. 1880 Presidential Election: Democrats
  20. 20. ELECTION OF 1880James A. Garfield wins the election with a baremargin of the popular vote.
  21. 21. The “Spoils System” Under the Spoils System (patronage), candidates for political office would offer potential jobs in exchange for votes. gave supporters access to money and political favors. During the Gilded Age, the Republicans and Democrats had roughly the same number of supporters. To keep party members loyal, candidates rewarded supporters and tried to avoid controversial issues.
  22. 22. The “Spoils System” The Republicans The Democrats Appealed to the  Attracted the less industrialists, bankers, privileged groups. and eastern farmers.  such as northern urban They favored the gold immigrants, laborers, standard (sound money) southern planters, and and high tariffs western farmers. Blue laws, regulations  Supported soft money that prohibited certain and silver coinage. activities people considered immoral.
  23. 23. President Garfield’s Assassination Assassinated by an upset Spoilsman. Led to VP Chester Arthur becoming president Supported a change to the corrupt spoils system. Signed into the law the Pendleton Act, also called the Civil Service Act. Required candidates applying for government positions to a test to determine their qualifications.
  24. 24. GARFIELD’S ASSASSINATIONCharles Guiteau: “I am a Stalwart, and Arthur is President now!”
  25. 25. The “Spoils System” President James A. Garfield President Rutherford Hays 1880 election, Republicans were  Elected in 1877 split into 3 factions. Stalwarts defended the spoils  Reformed the civil service, system—Senator Roscoe Conkling appointing qualified political independents instead of Half-Breeds reform but still giving positions to supporters. supported it– Senator James Blaine Independents opposed the spoils  No Congressional support or system. from the Republican Party. Garfield wanted reforms. His  Hayes did not seek a second running-mate was Chester Arthur, a term. Stalwart. July 2, 1881 Garfield was assassinated by a Stalwart who wanted Arthur as president.
  26. 26. The Pendleton Act (1883) a.k.a. “Civil Service Act”  The “Magna Carta” of civil service reform.  1883: 14,000 out of 117,000 federal govt. jobs became civil service exam positions.  1900: 100,000 out of 200,000 civil service federal govt. jobs.
  27. 27. After the assassination, President Arthur was able to getArthur Reforms the Civil Servicecongressional support for the Pendleton Civil Service Act. whichcreated a commission of classified government jobs
  28. 28. President McKinley’s Assassination William McKinley Theodore Roosevelt President McKinley had just been re-elected in 1900 and beginning his 2nd term when he was assassinated in 1901. VP Roosevelt became President.
  29. 29. 1876 * Election Tilden did not receive enough electoral votes. Special Commission gives votes to Hayes. Hayes wins the *Disputed electionElectoral votes Democrats refuse to recognize 164 Hayes as President369 total electoral votes, need 185 to win.
  30. 30. A Corrupt Bargain The election of 1876 and the Compromise of 1877 are referred to as the Corrupt Bargain. The Democrats and Republicans work out a deal to recognize Hayes as President Rutherford B. Hayes In return, President Hayes must end Reconstruction and pull the Union troops out of the South. Once this happens, there is no protection for the Freedmen and the South will regain their states and go back to the way it was. Samuel Tilden
  31. 31. Laissez-Faire Economics An economic belief supported by the U.S. that opposes the government regulating business.  Inthe late 1800’s businesses operated without much government regulation. This is known as laissez-faire economics.  Laissez-faire means ‘allow to be’ in French or the government stays out of you business.  Laissez faire supports our economic system of capitalism
  32. 32. Laissez Faire Federal Govt. From 1870-1900 Govt. did very little domestically. Main duties:  Deliver the mail.  Maintain a national military.  Collect taxes & tariffs.  Conduct a foreign policy.  Exception administer the annual Civil War veterans’ pension.
  33. 33. Capitalism Economic system characterized by private property ownership  Individuals and companies compete for their own economic gain (Profit)  Capitalists determine the prices of goods and services.  Production and distribution are privately or corporately owned.  Reinvestment of profits  Supports laissez faire
  34. 34. Socialism Economic system based on cooperation rather than competition  Believes in government ownership of business and capital  Government controls production and distribution of goods.  Opposite of laissez faire and capitalism