Politics: Local, State, and National

Politics: Local, State, and National

POLITICS: LOCAL, STATE, AND NATIONAL Political Strategy and Tactics major parties normally avoid taking stands on controversial issues, but that tendency reached abnormal proportions in the late nineteenth century a delicate balance of power between the parties

as well as new and difficult issues, to which no answers were readily available, contributed to the parties reluctance to adopt firm positions Voting Along Ethnic and Religious Lines more often than not, a voters ethnic origins, religious ties, perception of the Civil War, and whether he lived in a rural or urban setting influenced his decision to vote Republican or Democrat

City Bosses stresses of rapid urban growth, strain on infrastructures, and exodus of upper and middle classes all led to a crisis in city government this turmoil gave rise to urban political bosses

these bosses provided social services in exchange for political support money for these services (and to enrich themselves) came from kickbacks and bribes Boss Tweed In April 1870, Tweed secured the passage of a city charter

putting the control of the city into the hands of the mayor, the comptroller, and the commissioners of parks and public works. He then set about to plunder the city. The total amount of money stolen was never known, but was estimated at between $30 and $200 million. Over a period of two years and eight months, New York City's debts increased by $81 million, with little to show for the debt.

Bosses despite their welfare work and popularity, most bosses were essentially thieves the system survived because most comfortable urban dwellers cared little if at all for the fate of the poor

many reformers resented the boss system mainly because it gave political power to people who were not gentlemen Party Politics Sidestepping the Issue

the South was solidly Democratic; New England and the Trans-Mississippi West were staunchly Republican New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois usually determined the outcome of elections only three presidential candidates between 1868 and 1900 did not come from New York, Indiana, Illinois, or Ohio; and all three lost; partisan politics was intense in swing states Lackluster Leaders

Americas presidents of the day demonstrated little interest in dealing with the urgent issues confronting the nation Rutherford B. Hayes, 1877 to 1881, Hayes favored tariff reduction, civil service reform, and better treatment for blacks in South however, he made little progress in any of these areas

Lackluster Leaders President Garfield's assassination depicted in engraving from 1881 newspaper. Republican party split in 1880 between Stalwarts and Half-Breeds, and James A. Garfield emerged as a

compromise candidate Garfield was assassinated 1881: Garfield Assassinated! Charles Guiteau: I Am a Stalwart, and Arthur is President now! Lackluster Leaders

his successor, Chester A. Arthur, defended of the spoils system as president, however, Arthur conducted himself with dignity, handled patronage matters with restraint, and gave nominal support to civil service reform Pendleton Act (1883)

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 Republican Mugwumps

Reformers who wouldnt re-nominate Chester A. Arthur. Reform to them create a disinterested, impartial govt. run by an educated elite like themselves. Social Darwinists.

Laissez faire government to them: Their target was political corruption, not social or economic reform! The Mugwum ps Men may come and men may go, but

the work of reform shall go on forever. Will support the Democrat Cleveland in the Lackluster Leaders

Arthur also favored regulation of the railroads and tariff reductions nevertheless, he was a political failure; the Stalwarts would not forgive Arthur for his desertion, and the reformers would not forget his past his party denied him its nomination in 1884 the election of 1884 revolved around personal issues and was characterized by mudslinging on both sides Grover Cleveland, former Democratic governor of New York, defeated James G. Blaine by fewer than 25,000 votes Ma Ma, Wheres my Pa? Gone to the White House, Ha Ha Ha!

1884 Presidential Election Grover Cleveland Blaine James A Dirty Campaign Ma, Mawheres my pa? Hes going to the White House, ha ha

Lackluster Leaders Clevelands was an honest, if unimaginative, administration his emphasis on the strict separation of powers prevented his placing effective pressure on the Congress, and thus he failed to confront the issues of the day

in 1888, Benjamin Harrison, a Republican from Indiana, defeated Cleveland. Harrisons election elevated a human iceberg and fiscal conservative to the presidency 1888 Presidential Election Grover Cleveland Harrison Benjamin

Lackluster Leaders during Harrisons term, Congress raised the tariff to an all-time high, passed the Sherman Antitrust Act and the Silver Purchase Act, and enacted a force bill to protect the voting rights of southern blacks Cleveland reclaimed the presidency from Harrison in 1892 (22nd and 24th President) by the standards of the late nineteenth century,

Clevelands margin of victory was substantial 1892 Presidential Election Grover Cleveland Harrison Benjamin Crops and Complaints

the economic and social status of farmers declined throughout the late 19th century; and their discontent forced American politics to confront the problems of the era American farmers suffered from low commodity prices, restrictive tariff and fiscal policies, competition from abroad, and drought. Using all the farm for crops planting corn

up to the front door. Custer County, Nebraska, 1888. The Populist (Granger) Movement the agricultural depression triggered an outburst of political radicalism, the Alliance movement the Farmers Alliance spread throughout the South and into the Midwest

the farm groups entered politics in the elections of 1890 in 1892, these farm groups combined with representatives of the Knights of Labor and various professional reformers to organize the Peoples, or Populist, party Platform of Lunacy The Populist Movement the convention adopted a sweeping platform calling for a

graduated income tax; the nationalization of rail, telegraph, and telephone systems;, and the unlimited coinage of silver the party also called for the adoption of the initiative and referendum, popular election of United States senators, an eight-hour workday, and immigration restrictions The Populist Movement the Populist candidate, James B.

Weaver, attracted over a million votes, opponents of the Populists in the South played on racial fears, and the Populists failed to attract the support of urban workers Showdown on Silver

by early 1890s, discussion of federal monetary policy revolved around the coinage of silver traditionally, the United States issued gold and silver coins established ratio of roughly 15:1 undervalued silver, so no one took silver to the Mint when silver mines of Nevada and Colorado flooded market with metal and depressed the price of silver, it became profitable to coin bullion; but miners found that the Coinage Act of 1873 had demonetized the metal

Showdown on Silver Silver miners and inflationist demanded a return to bimetallism; conservatives resisted the result was a series of compromises the Bland-Allison Act (1878) authorized the purchase of $2 million to $4 million of silver a month at the market price

this had little inflationary impact because the government consistently bought the minimum the Sherman Silver Purchase Act (1890) required the government to buy 4.5 million ounces of silver monthly however, increasing supplies drove the price of silver still lower The Depression of 1893 Cleveland believed that the controversy over silver caused the

depression by shaking the confidence of the business community he summoned a special session of Congress and forced a repeal of Sherman Silver Purchase Act the southern and western wings of the Democratic party deserted over this issue. Clevelands handling of Coxeys Army and the Pullman strike further eroded public confidence in him, and the public was outraged when it took a syndicate of bankers headed by J. P. Morgan to avert a run on the Treasury The Depression of 1893-The 1896 Election

with the silver issue looming ever larger and the Populists demanding unlimited coinage of silver at 16:1, the major parties could no longer avoid the money question in 1896 the Republicans nominated William McKinley and endorsed the gold standard the Democrats nominated William Jennings Bryan and ran on a platform of free silver although concerned over the loss of their distinctive

party identity, the Populists nominated Bryan as well Bryants Cross of Gold You shall not Speech press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns; you shall not crucify

mankind upon a cross of gold! William Jennings Bryan (1860-1925) The Great Bi-Metallism Issue The Election of 1896

the election of 1896, fueled by emotional debates over the silver issue, split party ranks across the nation pro-silver Republicans swung behind Bryan, while progold Democrats, called gold bugs or National Democrats, nominated their own candidateJohn M. Palmer the Republican aspirant, William McKinley, relied upon his experience, his reputation for honesty and good judgment, his partys wealth, and the skillful management of Mark Hanna

The Election of 1896 moreover, the depression worked to the advantage of the party out of power Bryan, a powerful orator, was handicapped by his youth, his relative inexperience, and the defection of the gold Democrats

he nevertheless conducted a vigorous campaign, traveling over eighteen thousand miles and delivering over six hundred speeches on election day, McKinley decisively defeated Bryan The Meaning of the Election

far from representing a triumph for the status quo, the election marked the coming of age of modern America McKinleys approach was national; Bryans was basically parochial workers and capitalists supported McKinley, and the farm vote split the battle over gold and silver had little real significance; new gold discoveries led to an expansion of the money supply The Meaning of the Election

Bryans vision of America, and that of the political Populists who supported him, was one steeped in the past McKinley, for all his innate conservatism, was capable of looking ahead toward the new century A Giant Straddle: Suggestion for a McKinley

Political Poster William McKinley (18431901) The Seasoned Politician vs. The Young Newcomer Into Which Box Will the Voter

of 96 Place His Ballot? 1896 Election Results Gold Triumphs Over Silver 1900 Gold Standard Act confirmed the

nations commitment to the gold standard. A victory for the forces of conservatism. The Wizard of Oz by L.

Frank Baum Parable of the Populists?

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