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  1. 1. William Tweed and Tammany Hall• Tammany Society, 1789 – Political organization that became center of Democratic Republican party of city in 1830’s – Its power grew with arrival of immigrants in 1840’s, especially Irish – NYC divided into wards since 1680’s – “Boss” maintained control of of organization + through ward captains offered aid to immigrants + working class in return for political support – William Tweed best known boss, 1850’s-’72 – Tammany Hall now synonymous with graft, corruption, + greed
  2. 2. William Tweed and Tammany Hall• Tweed greatly increased power of Tammany Hall• NY County Courthouse a crowning achievement: “the house that Tweed built” – Designed to cost $250,000 – Overruns ran to $13 m. • $5.5 m. for furniture + carpets • $1.5 m. for plumbing fixtures • $500,000 for plaster, + $1 m. to repair it • Left unfinished on Tweed’s fall
  3. 3. William Tweed and Tammany Hall• These were spoils; government contracts given to loyal supporters who oiled machine• Bosses came to power throughout nation by skillful political organization + loyal support of lower class workers, especially immigrants – While often corrupt, machines took care of immigrants when no one else would • Found jobs for new arrivals • Donated $, food, + clothing in times of crisis, free coal in winter • Contributed to orphanages, hospitals, . . . . – Bosses got wealthy, but they also provided considerable services
  4. 4. William Tweed and Tammany Hall• City bosses corrupt by our standards, but their role may be overemphasized• Others played roles in city politics, + machines accomplished some great things: – Under Tweed: Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park, MMA, 660 mi. water lines, 450 mi. sewer pipes, 1800 mi. paved streets – Boston had largest public library in world• Corruption vs. “honest graft”
  5. 5. The Washington Scene• 5 presidents 1877-1893: – Rutherford B. Hayes (R) 1876-1880 – James Garfield (R) 1880 – Chester Arthur (R) 1880-1884 – Grover Cleveland (D) 1884-1888 – Benjamin Harrison (R) 1888-1892• None enjoyed noteworthy presidencies• Few major issues + fewer opportunities for success
  6. 6. The Washington Scene• Political system of late 19C a paradox – Both parties stronger + more stable than they ever would be again – Yet federal government, over which both fought for control, doing very little of importance – Most Americans of period engaged in political activity not because of issues, but because of regional, ethnic, or religious sentiments
  7. 7. The Washington Scene• The Party System – Electorate almost evenly divided 1877-1893, loyalties rarely changing – 16 states consistently Republican, 14 consistently Democratic (mostly Southern) – Only 5 usually in doubt, their voters effectively deciding national elections – Republican Party won presidency in all but 2 elections, but party not especially dominant • Average popular margin separating candidates 1.5% • Congressional balance similarly stable, Republicans usually controlling Senate, Democrats House
  8. 8. The Washington Scene• Intensity of party loyalty as striking as balance – Party affiliations passionate to degree hard for later generations to understand – Voter turnout near 80% in period, higher than any point since • Even in nonpresidential years, 60-80% turned out for Congressional + state elections – But loyalty not based on distinct party positions on actual issues – a reflection of cultural inclinations rather than calculated economic interest • Loyalty based largely on region, ethnicity, + religion
  9. 9. The Washington Scene• Region: – White loyalty to Democratic Party in South a matter of faith – vehicle by which they had triumphed over Reconstruction + preserved white supremacy – Northerners both black + white equally loyal to Republicans – party of Lincoln remained bulwark against slavery + treason
  10. 10. The Washington Scene• Religion + ethnicity – Democratic Party attracted most Catholic voters, immigrants, + lower class – overlapping groups • Northern Democrats tended to be foreign-born + Catholic – Republicans appealed to northern Protestants; old- stock + middle class • More pietistic one was, more likely to be Republican + favor use of government power to uphold moral values + regulate personal behavior – Matters concerning immigrants among few substantive differences between parties • Republicans usually supported immigration restriction + temperance legislation • Catholics + most immigrants read this as assault against them + their cultures
  11. 11. The Washington Scene• Religion + ethnicity, con’t. – Education became key issue in ‘80’s • Immigrants wanted native languages, Republicans increasingly sought their exclusion • Catholics fought for public support of parochial schools – A losing battle; prohibited by 23 states in 1900 – Yet use of Anti-Catholic history text in Boston public schools drew outrage + was removed » Protestants incensed – elected new school board + reinstated it – Public Morality • “Blue laws” – no baseball on Sunday! Major cultural differences between Catholic + Protestant • Evangelical Protestants long sought temperance legislation – Indiana law • Impact of Democrats identified as party of “Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion”
  12. 12. The Washington Scene• 2 parties avoided substantive issues partly because government did very little• Laissez-faire reigned – that government best that governed least• Federal government responsible for mail, military, + tax + tariff collection – Few other responsibilities, + few institutions through which to undertake anything else
  13. 13. The Washington Scene• Fact is US of late 19C a society lacking modern national government – Most powerful institutions were 2 political parties (+ political bosses + machines that ran them) + federal courts • County, state, + national committees ran party business • Conventions determined rules, platforms, + candidates • Highly democratic in appearance, but run by unofficial internal organization – insiders who undertook party business in return for gov. contracts + connections
  14. 14. The Washington Scene• Courts – Public suspicious of government, making actual political initiative largely impossible – Power shifted from executive + legislative branches to courts – Courts increasingly guardians of rights of property against grasping government regulation – States responsible for social welfare + economic regulation under residual powers clause – Federal courts increasingly used 14th Amendment to prevent states from using these powers to regulate corporate activity – Judicial supremacy possibly a reflection of low esteem with which public held politicians of period
  15. 15. The Washington Scene• Power of party bosses immense, seriously interfering with presidential power – Presidents of period blocked from doing much more than distribute government appointments – New president made 100,000 appointments, mostly in Post Office – Little real latitude – had to satisfy bosses + factions of party or face serious opposition
  16. 16. The Washington Scene• Rutherford B. Hayes – Stuck between Stalwarts + Half-Breeds, competing factions of Republican Party • No real difference between them; rhetoric a means of gaining larger share of patronage • Stalwarts led by Roscoe Conkling of NY + favored traditional machine politics • Half-Breeds led by James Blaine of Maine + favored reform – in theory • Hayes tried to satisfy both; satisfied neither • Battle over patronage doomed his one substantive initiative, creation of a civil service system that neither supported • Announced intention not to seek another term
  17. 17. The Washington Scene• Infighting during Hayes’s administration nearly lost Republicans presidency in 1880 – After long deadlock, factions agreed on Half-Breed James Garfield + Stalwart Chester Arthur – Garfield benefitted from end of recession in 1879 + won; Republicans also won both houses of Congress – Garfield began term defying Stawarts in appointments + in supporting civil service reform – Public rhetoric ugly – Garfield shot in July 1881 by Charles Guiteau, deranged appointment seeker – Arthur an open spoilsman + close ally of Conkling
  18. 18. The Washington Scene• Arthur attempted independence, even supporting reform – Probably recognized that Garfield’s assassination discredited spoils system in public mind – Kept most of Garfield’s appointments in place – Responsible for Pendleton Act, 1883 • 1st national civil service measure • Required that some federal jobs be filled by competitive exam over patronage • Included few offices initially, but gradually extended until most offices included by mid 20C
  19. 19. • Grover Cleveland – James Blaine Republican candidate in 1884 • Symbol of politics’ dark side for many – Faction of “liberal Republicans” bolted party, supporting “honest Democrat” • The Mugwumps – Democrats responded with nomination of Grover Cleveland • Reform governor of NY; little real difference on issues – Election largely decided by religious controversy • “Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion”
  20. 20. • Grover Cleveland, con’t. – Opposed bosses, corruption, + pressure groups – Willing to deny Congress’s demands – Very much in keeping with public sentiment • He did little, but Americans wanted little done – Had always opposed tariff • Believed it was responsible for annual surplus that fuelled Congress’s “extravagant” legislation that he often vetoed • Asked Congress to reduce tariff in 1887 – House approved reduction, Senate Republicans passed bill of their own increasing it – Goal was to make it a campaign issue in 1888• 1888 election – 1st post-Civil War campaign involving clear economic differences between parties – Harrison lost popular vote, but won electoral
  21. 21. • Benjamin Harrison – Undistinguished; made little effort to influence Congress – But public opinion was forcing government involvement in economic + social issues – Sherman Antitrust Act, 1890 • While 15 states prohibited combinations restraining competition, corps. got around them by incorporating elsewhere – NJ • Reformers believed only federal antitrust legislation could be effective • Passed with little dissent, but considered symbolic by most • Little effect; used mostly against unions
  22. 22. • Benjamin Harrison, con’t. – McKinley Tariff, 1890
  23. 23. Women’s Political Culture• Male identity threatened in period + reasserted in political sphere• Woman suffrage movement made more difficult as a result• Differences dating back to Reconstruction put aside – National American Woman Suffrage Association, 1890 • Shifted focus from Constitutional amendment to state campaigns • Little success
  24. 24. Women’s Political Culture• Separate Spheres• Benevolent Empire• Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, 1874 – Francis Willard, 1879 • Suffragist, but moderate; argued against approach of Susan B. Anthony et. al. • Conservative or brilliant? • “Home Protection” • Temperance, but what else? • “Do Everything” • Third party politics
  25. 25. Race and Politics in the New South• Redeemers• Segregation rampant but unofficial• 1887: blacks formally excluded from 1st class railway cars – important precedent• Blacks’ political power declining – gerrymandering• Power of Democrats not a given – Tensions between planter elite + small farmers • Readjusters
  26. 26. Race and the New South• Jim Crow – Reassertion of white supremacy socially + politically – 1887 segregation of railway cars basis for further state-sponsored segregation • Ratified by Supreme Court in 1896: Plessey v. Ferguson – 14th Amendment not violated so long as accommodations were equal – “separate but equal” – Also political disenfranchisement • South passed laws to prevent blacks from voting • Supreme Court ratified practice in 1896 – 15th Amendment not violated so long as race not a stated part of restriction
  27. 27. Race and the New South• Jim Crow, Con’t. – Poll taxes • As these effected poor whites as well, “grandfather clauses” included – anyone whose father/grandfather had been eligible to vote before 1867 could vote without tax • So obvious it was eventually struck down – in 1915 – Literacy + “understanding” tests • More effective because less overtly racial • 50% of Southern blacks illiterate; 12% whites • Those not literate could take “understanding” tests – Registrar read a passage of state constitution + evaluated whether it was understood or not – broad discretion
  28. 28. Race and the New South• Jim Crow laws supplemented by renewed violence – Lynching • 1890’s average 180 per yr.
  29. 29. Without Sanctuary, James Allen
  30. 30. The Crisis of American Politics: The 1890’s• National politics in stalemate since Civil War – An even balance between parties• Equilibrium began to break down in late ‘80’s – Benjamin Harrison’s 1888 election last close election of era – Tide turned away from Republicans • Harrison’s presidency uninspired • Democrats claimed McKinley Tariff of 1890 a sellout to business interests • Democrats took control of House in 1890, along with governorships in several typically Republican states – Cleveland regained presidency in 1892 by largest margin in 20 yrs.
  31. 31. The Crisis of American Politics: The 1890’s • Cleveland’s election could have signaled period of Democratic dominance • Economy collapsed as he was taking office – Bankruptcy of railroads – Foreclosure on farms – Stock market crash 1893 – Unemployment over 20% – Depression – West + South especially hard-hit
  32. 32. The Crisis of American Politics: The 1890’s• Populism – Grangers had organized independent farmers in 1870’s • Cooperatives – Ultimately failed due to poor management • State politics – Number of state legislators elected • Grangers laws – Strict regulation of railroad rates – Courts soon invalidated these gains • Largely done by 1880, membership dropping as agricultural prices rebounded
  33. 33. The Crisis of American Politics: The 1890’s• Farmers Alliances – Alliances began forming before Grange movement faded • Southern Alliance 4 m. strong by 1880 • equally powerful Northwestern Alliance grew up in Plains + Midwest + built connections with Southern counterpart – Focused mostly on local problems, much as Grange had • Cooperative ventures designed to free members from dependence on “furnishing merchants” that kept farmers in perpetual debt – Stores, banks, processing plants – Often failed for same reason as Grangers’ cooperatives had
  34. 34. The Crisis of American Politics: The 1890’s• Farmers Alliances, con’t. – Some leaders saw movement in larger term: to create a society in which competition would give way to cooperation • “Lecturers” – some women – travelled rural areas speaking out against concentration of wealth + power within corporate + banking elite • Didn’t support rigid collectivism, but collective responsibility + support allowing farmers to resist oppressive outside forces – Notable for role of women • Full voting members from beginning in most local Alliances • Advocated women’s suffrage, at least in some areas
  35. 35. The Crisis of American Politics: The 1890’s• With increasing economic frustrations, Alliances began organizing politically• Southern + Northwestern Alliances agreed to loose merger in 1889 – A national convention in Ocala, Fl. produced a party platform • Off-year elections of 1890 saw candidates supporting Alliances win full control of 12 state legislatures, 6 governorships, 50 seats in House + 3 in Senate – Alliances encouraged enough to form their own party in 1892 – the People’s Party or Populists • Held convention in Omaha, nominated presidential + vice presidential candidates, + adopted Omaha Platform – An end to national banks » Dangerous institutions of concentrated power • Creation of “subtreasury” system for farm relief – Government would build public warehouses where farmers could deposit crops – Using crops as collateral, farmers could take out low interest loans + wait for prices to recover before selling crops • End to absentee ownership of land • Direct election of senators (limiting power of conservative state legislatures)
  36. 36. The Crisis of American Politics: The 1890’s• Populist presidential candidate won over 1 m. votes + carried 6 states; 22 electoral votes – 3 seats in Senate, 10 in Congress, 3 governors, 1500 state legislators – A force that could not be ignored; 1st time a third party truly challenged established 2 party system – Populist rhetoric more strident • No middle ground between money power + producers of wealth – labor • Attempted to unite labor with farmers • Pulled labor movement left – Gompers briefly lost control of AFL • Similarities with social democratic parties growing throughout Europe, but Populists rejected Marxist element + supported strong government
  37. 37. The Crisis of American Politics: The 1890’s• Populists advocated a strong state – Called for nationalization of railroads + communications – Protection of land, including natural resources, from corporate + foreign control – Graduated income tax – Unlimited coinage of silver – free silver • Free silver became party’s defining issue, but eventually divided farmers + industrial laborers + ultimately caused movement’s decline
  38. 38. The Crisis of American Politics: The 1890’s• Economy collapsed shortly after Cleveland’s election – Panic of 1893 triggered major worst depression nation had experienced – 2 major corporate bankruptcies triggered stock market crash – NY banks were heavily invested in market, leading to wave of bank closures across nation – Credit contraction led to further bankruptcies of aggressive + loan-dependent businesses of period
  39. 39. The Crisis of American Politics: The 1890’s• Longer range causes: – Agricultural prices declining since 1887 • Weakened purchasing power of farmers – largest group in population – European economy had been declining previously, causing loss of American markets abroad • Also caused foreign investors to withdraw gold invested in US• Effect devastating – Within 8 months, 8,000 businesses, 156 railroads, + 400 banks failed – Agricultural prices failed further – Unemployment over 20%
  40. 40. The Crisis of American Politics: The 1890’s
  41. 41. The Crisis of American Politics: The 1890’s• Money and Politics – Economic expansion requires money • Volume of money has to increase quickly enough to meet economy’s needs or expansion will be stifled • But how fast should supply grow? • Too slow, economy stifled; too fast, inflation + economic hardship + potential collapse – More money in circulation = inflated prices + reduced cost of borrowing • Producers benefit from higher prices, debtors (+ loan- dependent businesses) benefit from lower “real cost” of debt • Creditors + most established businesspeople at clear disadvantage
  42. 42. The Crisis of American Politics: The 1890’s• Money and Politics, con’t. – Today’s dollar largely based on confidence – Before Civil War, economy’s needs met by state banks • Stability always in question – ability of state banks to “redeem” notes they issued varied – US Banking Act of 1863 prohibited state banks from issuing notes not backed by US bonds – But Lincoln’s administration printed paper money – greenbacks – to pay for war • US Treasury effectively replaced state banks as source of easy credit • End of war raised questions about whether government should continue to play that role – “sound money” advocates said no – government had no business printing money + should restrict national currency to amount of specie held by US Treasury – “Sound money” prevailed after 10 yrs. of controversy + circulation of greenbacks ended – State bank notes now in short supply + nation entered period of chronic deflation
  43. 43. The Crisis of American Politics: The 1890’s• Money and Politics, con’t. – Specie was gold and silver • Treasury fixed official ratio (“mint ratio”) of 16:1 – 16 oz. of silver equal in value to 1 oz. of gold • Value of silver rose in 1870’s – Commercial value (“market ratio”) greater than “mint ratio” – People sold silver on open market, not to government – Congress recognized reality + officially ended silver coinage • Value fell to well below mint ratio later in ‘70’s – Silver now easily available for coinage, but Congress had discontinued it, blocking a means of expanding currency + depriving silver miners of a consistent market • Some saw conspiracy of big bankers + demanded “Crime of ’73” be undone – Mine owners wanted government to buy silver above market value – Farmers wanted increased money supply – inflation of currency – as a way of raising farm prices + easing payment of debts
  44. 44. The Crisis of American Politics: The 1890’s• Money and Politics, con’t. – Populists demanded “free and unlimited coinage of silver” – free silver – Nation’s gold reserves in decline, + Panic of 1893 stretched demand on those reserves – Cleveland believed cause was Sherman Silver Purchasing Act of 1890 requiring government to purchase, but not coin, silver + pay for it in gold • Congress repealed Act on his request, infuriating Populists + silver interests + permanently dividing Democratic Party • Southern + western Democrats now firmly allied against Cleveland + his eastern supporters
  45. 45. The Crisis of American Politics: The 1890’s• Money and Politics, con’t. – Cleveland wouldn’t budge on issue, even when confronted by depression, falling prices, + suffering farmers – Brutal handling of Pullman Strike alienated Populists further – News that he had secretly negotiated with group of NY bankers, led by Morgan, to buy gold needed for Treasury created further outrage – Free silver became defining issue in 1896 election
  46. 46. The Crisis of American Politics: The 1890’s• 1896 election hardest fought election since 1860 + had most at stake• As party in power, Democrats considered most responsible for economic crisis – Cleveland only added to party’s problems – Democrats repudiated him at 1896 convention + made free silver their primary issue • Nominated William Jennings Bryan –”Cross of Gold” • Populists absorbed into Democratic Party
  47. 47. The Crisis of American Politics: The 1890’s• Republicans nominated William McKinley – Staunch supporter of high tariff, sound money, + prosperity based on industrial + corporate growth – Republicans had championed Protestant morality, but now emphasized “live and let live” – Bryan’s crusading zeal + language struck many as too strong, combining with protests to make middle class uncomfortable – McKinley won by considerable margin