T questions: What role did the presidents play in this era? Why is this era “gilded” and with what? Who benefitted from this era? Who lost? he Gilded Age: Politics

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What role did the presidents play in this era?

Why is this era “gilded” and with what?

Who benefitted from this era? Who lost?

he Gilded Age: Politics
Ch. 17 (p. 519-537)

I. A New Age
________________________-period when corruption existed in society but was overshadowed by the wealth of the period

  • gilded” is when something is golden/beautiful on the surface but is really cheap/worthless underneath

  • Term comes from a book written about the time period by ________________________in 1873: The Gilded Age

    • Explored political and economic corruption in the United States

    • The central characters were tied together in a government _________________ bribery scheme

    • Depicted an American society that, despite its appearance of promise and prosperity, was riddled with ____________________________________

Economic Development in the U.S.




II. Second Industrial Revolution (______________________)

Marked by enormous growth and ________________________ of wealth and ownership

Major Industries

The Industrialists or Robber Barons


Socialism v. Capitalism—how should the new economy function?

  • What is the role of government?

  • What role should the central government play in the economic development of the country?

  • How could government stop a Great Depression?

III. Presidents of the Gilded Age

U.S. Grant




Chester A. Arthur


1885-1889 and 1893-1897

Benjamin Harrison



Scandals of the Grant Administration—The “Era of Good Stealings”

During Grant’s terms as president, material interests (money, industry) became more important than the ideology and civil rights of Lincoln’s time
The Gilded Age was enabled partly because most presidents during this era, including Grant, were __________ in relation to _______________and ______________________________________.

  • The U.S. government’s economic policy was relaxed during these years, allowing Americans to take advantage of the laissez-faire economics in increased speculation, investment, and corruption.

1. Jay Gould and James Fisk: The ________________________ (1869)

  • During the Civil War, Congress had authorized the Treasury to issue ___________________ banknotes to pay huge ____________________

  • Unlike the rest of the currency, greenbacks not backed by gold or silver (_____________________)

    • Caused _________________ and forced gold-backed money out of circulation

    • Public Credit Act (1869) guaranteed that bondholders would be repaid in gold, not greenbacks

  • To strengthen the dollar, Treasury Secretary started selling Treasury gold each month and bought back high-interest greenbacks

    • Reduced ______________, deflated ______________

  • One group of speculators, “the Gold Ring”, Jay Gould, a Wall Street trader and railroad magnate, and his partner Jim Fisk, recruited Grant’s brother-in-law to get Grant to appoint a new assistant Treasurer of the United States, who agreed to tip the men off when the government intended to sell gold.

    • Tried to convince Grant and the Treasury that high _____________________ would make the nation ______________________

  • Gould and Fisk began to quietly stockpile gold as they hoped to sell the gold at high prices

  • Gould began buying large amounts of gold, but ________________________, causing prices to rise and stocks to ________________

    • Gould and Fisk started hoarding gold, driving the price higher: _________ more than ________

  • After Grant realized what had happened, Treasury ____________________________________ in gold

  • When government’s gold hit the market, its worth plummeted within minutes

  • Investors scrambled to sell their holdings, and many of them __________________. This day was known as ______________________________.

  • Economy resumed its post-war recovery (until 1873)

2. ________________________________ (1872)

  • Involved the Union Pacific Railroad and the fraudulent Crédit Mobilier of America construction company, which was to build the eastern portion of the First Transcontinental Railroad

    • created by Thomas C. Durant, a vice president of the Union Pacific Railroad, was a deliberate attempt to __________________ the U.S. Government and public of millions of dollars.

  • In 1868, a Congressman involved in CM sold shares of stock in Crédit Mobilier to other congressmen, in addition to making cash bribes, to keep quiet about the illegal business

    • Essentially, the government paid the fraudsters to build nothing

  • The muckraking paper The Sun exposed the scandal during the 1872 presidential campaign

3. ____________________________

  • Grant signed the _____________________ (1873), making ___________ the only money standard: dollars would be exchanged on demand for only __________.

    • End of 1873: NY stock brokerage house fails to fully sell a bond on its own purchases in Northern Pacific Railway, and collapsed

  • Collapse panicked _____________________: other banks and brokerages with railroad stocks and bonds also collapsed

    • 89 of the 364 U.S. railroads went bankrupt

    • New York Stock Exchange suspends trade 10 days

  • Grant, traveled to NY to consult leading businessmen and bankers for advice on how to curb this panic

  • Grant believed that, as with the Gold Ring’s collapse, the panic was just economic flux affecting only bankers and stockbrokers

  • Response: Treasury bought $10 mill. in government bonds, injecting cash into economy

  • Purchases stopped Wall Street panic, but a five-year industrial depression started (_____________________________________)

  • To help the economy, Congress passed an inflationary policy called the _____________________________ (1874).

    • _____________________________ favored addition of $64 million in greenbacks to circulation

    • ________________ bankers opposed; would _____________ the dollar

  • Grant unexpectedly vetoed the bill because he thought it would destroy the nation’s credit

    • Veto was the beginning of the __________________ Party's belief in gold-backed dollar

4. ___________________________ (1875)

  • Employees in President Ulysses S. Grant’s administration were accused of pocketing ____________________ taxes, with the help of the __________________________________

  • Grant immediately called for swift punishment; backfired on him when he tried to protect his personal secretary, with whom he allegedly had an affair, causing an even bigger scandal.

IV. Compromise of 1877

  • The Compromise of 1877 was an informal, unwritten deal that settled the intensely disputed ________________________________________________________, pulled federal troops out of state politics in the South, and ended the Reconstruction Era.

  • Through the Compromise, Republican ____________________________ was awarded the White House over Democrat ________________________________.

    • Democrats complained Tilden had been cheated (also called the “Corrupt Bargain II”)

  • The compromise said Southern Democrats would acknowledge Hayes as president, but only if Republicans would meet points of the compromise:

    • Removal of all remaining _______________________________ from former Confederate States

    • Appointment of at least one Southern _____________________ to Hayes's cabinet

    • The construction of another transcontinental railroad using the Texas and Pacific in the South

      • part of the "__________________," started the process that led to the final compromise

    • Legislation to help _________________________ the South and improve economy

  • Outgoing president, Republican Ulysses S. Grant, removed the soldiers from Florida. As president, Hayes removed the remaining troops in South Carolina and Louisiana. As soon as the troops left, many white Republicans also left and the "Redeemer" Democrats took control. African American historians sometimes call it "The Great Betrayal."

V. Rise of the “_________________________”

  • In the early 1870s, leadership of the Republican Party (mostly in the North) passed from reformers of the antebellum/CW era, Thaddeus Stevens (13th Amendment, “radical”) and Charles Sumner

  • To political manipulators under the influence of state party bosses: _________________________(NY) and _____________________ (ME)

  • These “spoilsmen” were deeply involved in _______________________, or giving jobs and gov’t favors (spoils) to their supporters.

  • This would end with the assassination of _____________________ by disappointed office seeker denied a position in the spoils system government

  • Patronage or ____________________________- giving government jobs to loyal party workers or friends (popularized by ___________________________)

    • Used position to get money from government (________________)

VI. Republicans Split

Roscoe Conkling was also the leader of the Republican faction known as the “_________________

  • stalwart—someone/something who is _______________ or ________________

  • Believed and furthered the idea of the patronage system and continued to believe that sectional appeals (“waving the bloody shirt”) were still valid even after gradual end of Reconstruction in the South

James G. Blaine of Maine led the Republican faction known as “_______________________

  • Many, including President Hayes, believed the patronage system contributed to the scandals and graft during Grant’s presidency

  • ____________________________________ became a popular cause among the Half Breeds

_________________________________ 1883

  • Attempted to end patronage/spoils System

  • Created the _________________________________________ which required appointed govt. officials to pass the Civil Service Exam to base jobs on ____________ (qualifications) instead of friendship

  • Federal employees did not have to contribute to campaign funds and could not be fired for political reasons

  • President _________________________________ signed Pendleton Act into effect

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