Chapter 22

Chapter 22: Gilded-age Politics And Agrarian Revolt

Chapter Outline

I. Paradoxical politics

  1. Political life in the Gilded Age
    1. City rings and bosses help illustrate the era
      1. William "Boss" Tweed
    2. Few real differences between political parties
    3. Party loyalty results in higher voter turnout
    4. Paradox of voter turnout and inertia
  2. Partisanship
    1. Patronage and favoritism
    2. Geography, religion, and ethnicity
      1. Republicans
      2. Democrats
    3. Political stalemate
      1. Republican presidency and Senate, Democratic House
      2. Stasis except for tariff issue
    4. State and local initiatives
      1. Role of state governments

    II. Corruption and reform: Hayes to Harrison

    1. Alliance between politicians and business
      1. Favors for politicians
      2. "Spoils" of office
    2. Rutherford
    3. Hayes and civil service reform
      1. Republican party split between Stalwarts and Half-Breeds
      2. Shift toward merit-based appointments
    4. Limiting the role of government

III. The administrations of James A. Garfield and Chester A. Arthur

  1. Garfield as president
    1. Election of 1880
    2. Garfield's assassination
  2. Arthur as president
    1. Arthur's surprising reforms
      1. Prosecution of the Star Route Frauds
      2. Pendleton Civil Service Act (1883)
    2. Attempts to lower tariff

IV. The first administration of Grover Cleveland

  1. The Scurrilous Campaign
    1. Republicans
      1. James G. Blaine and the "Mulligan letters"
      2. Rise of the Mugwumps
    2. Democrats
      1. Grover Cleveland and early career of reform
      2. Cleveland and the potential scandal of an illegitimate child
    3. Last-minute blunders by Blaine
  2. Cleveland as president
    1. Cleveland and the special interests
      1. Limited view of government's role
      2. Opposition to pension raids on Treasury
    2. Railroad regulation and the Interstate Commerce Commission
    3. The tariff
      1. Felt tariffs led to "trusts"
      2. Cleveland's annual message of 1887 devoted entirely to tariff
    4. Election of 1888
      1. Tariff was main issue
      2. Corruption and the phony "Murchison letter"
      3. Cleveland won popular vote, but lost election in electoral college

V. The administration of Benjamin Harrison

  1. Significant legislation
    1. Dependent Pension Act
    2. Sherman Anti-Trust Act
    3. Sherman Silver Purchase Act
    4. McKinley Tariff
    5. Admission of new western states
  2. Midterm elections of 1890
    1. Great Republican losses
    2. Reasons for Republican losses

VI. The farm problem and agrarian protest movements

  1. The diversity of farm interests
  2. Decline in commodity prices
    1. Domestic overproduction
    2. International competition
  3. Railroads and middlemen
    1. High railroad rates
    2. Little bargaining power
  4. High tariffs
  5. Debt
    1. Crop liens and land mortgages
    2. Forced to grow cash crops

VII. The Granger movement

  1. Oliver H. Kelley founded the Grange in 1867
    1. Membership in the Grange
    2. Goals of the Grange
  2. "Granger Laws"
    1. Regulation of railroad and warehouse rates
    2. Supreme Court upheld warehouse regulation in Munn v. Illinois (1877)
  3. Decline of the Grange
    1. Failure of economic ventures
    2. The Independent National (Greenback) party

VIII. The Farmers' Alliance

  1. The growth of the Alliance
    1. South and West
    2. Colored Farmers' National Alliance
    3. Role of women
  2. The Texas Alliance
    1. Charles W. Macune
    2. Alliance exchanges
    3. Subteasury plan
  3. Farm politics
    1. In West, third-party successes
    2. In South, influenced Democratic party
  4. Leaders of farm movement
    1. Mary Elizabeth Lease
    2. "Sockless Jerry" Simpson
    3. Tom Watson

IX. The Populist party

  1. Formed in Cincinnati in May 1891
  2. Omaha Platform
    1. Finance
    2. Transportation
    3. Land
  3. Election of 1892
    1. James
  4. Weaver, Populist presidential candidate
  5. Populism and Religion
    1. Connection to evangelical Protestant churches

X. The economy and the silver solution

  1. An inadequate currency
    1. Government dropped silver coinage in 1873
  2. The depression of 1893
    1. Overextended-railroads collapse, banks follow
    2. Worker unrest
      1. In 1894, 750,000 workers on strike
      2. Millions unemployed
      3. Coxey's Army marched on Washington
    3. Midterm elections of 1894
      1. Republican victories
      2. Populists elected thirteen to Congress
    4. Depression focused attention on currency issue
      1. Repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act

XI. The election of 1896

  1. Candidates and positions
    1. Republicans nominated William McKinley on gold-standard platform
    2. Democrats nominated pro-silver William Jennings Bryan after his "cross of gold" speech
    3. Rather than split silver vote, Populists also nominated Bryan
  2. Victory for McKinley
    1. Bryan carried most of the West and South
    2. Bryan unable to attract votes of midwestern farmers and eastern workers

XII. The new era

  1. The triumph of metropolitan and industrial America over rural and agrarian America
  2. New gold discoveries ended the depression
  3. The coming of the Spanish-American War ended much controversy over tariffs and the currency
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