The Gilded Age A. Cities – offer jobs, entertainment, plumbing, electricity, phones, department stores, architecture 1. Immigration – antiforeignism – Nativistist Movement – Know-Nothing Party A. Pre 1880 – immigrants came from Germany, British Isles – high literacy B. Post 1880 – New Immigrant – Mediterranean, Slavic – poor literacy, arrive impoverished C. Reasons for leaving – population explosion, persecution, exaggerated letters – streets paved with gold 2. City Problems – waste disposal of packaged products, sewage A. Criminals, sanitoriums – homeless roaming the streets B. Slums – dumbbell tenement – one toilet, poor ventilation, disease spreads – easy to build 3. Machine Politics – Boss System – a political machine “machine politics” controls who gets elected A. Boss Tweed – help immigrants in exchange for votes – government leaders then have to give them kick-backs/money from government projects B. Provides services/infrastructure for cities, but above the law – controls judges/politicians
B. Politics – existed for benefit of interest groups – conservative leaders who want to avoid conflict 1. Conservative Presidencies – 1876-1992 – “Forgettable Presidents” – laissez faire policies A. “Rutherfraud” B. Hayes – ended Reconstruction in exchange for votes – election 1876 B. Garfield – Killed by civil servant – eventually led to civil service reform – who gets what background jobs C. Chester Arthur – elected due to strong boss system of New York 2. Tariff Controversy - $145 million budget surplus per year due to high tariffs A. Solution – 1) pork-barrel bills or 2) lower tariffs – politicians and industry both interested 3. Railroad regulation – hesitant to intervene – building industry – American Dream A. Wabash Case – 1886 – states can’t regulate interstate railroads B. Interstate Commerce Act – creates Interstate Commerce Commission – supposed to regulate commerce, but hard to enforce – at least it’s a step to regulate monopolies 4. Trusts – competition hurts prices so companies unite to control prices/earnings – hurts customer A. Veritical Integration – control all areas of production – oil from ground to gas station B. Horizontal Integration – competitive companies from same industry form a trust
C. Agrarian Discontent - Land not as productive – grasshoppers, overused soil, droughts 1. Land easy to tax – other industries can had profits/parts of company 2. Trusts – barbed wire, fertilizer, harvester trusts push prices too high – hurts farmers 3. Railroads control price of transportation 4. ½ population farmers, but can’t organize – consolidation not part of American independence ethos 5. Rising expenses plus lower prices for goods = can’t pay back debts – want free silver
D. Crisis of 1890s – common man fights back – tired of being abused 1. Populism – People’s Party (Populists) came from Farmer’s Alliance – big gains in 1892 election A. Free coinage silver – 16 to 1 ration B. Graduated income tax based on wealth C. Government ownership of utilities – railroad, telephone, telegraph – think Monopoly D. Direct election of Senators/ One term presidents E. Initiatives and Referundums for civilians to control municipal issues F. Shorter workday G. Immigration Restriction H. Solicited black vote – black participation only increased anti-voting laws in South
E. Election 1892 – free silver, William Jennings Bryan –Messiah- Democrat – Cross of Gold – great speaker 1. Populists have no party since Bryan’s silver views are theirs 2. Republicans create massive war chest from all industrialists/bankers who fear free silver 3. Millions show up to vote 4. Shift in politics – next 30 years, people become apathetic politically, Republicans dominate 5. Third Phase of Party System eras…
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