NATIONAL POLITICS IN THE GILDED AGE (1873 – 1896) Use the website below to answer each set of questions for each section. Be sure to read the articles it is suggested to read as well as study the maps, cartoons and other primary sources provided. This online module largely corresponds with Chapter 23: Political Paralysis in the Gilded Age.
http://www.tahg.org/module_display.php?mod_id=148&review=yes The Gilded Age
Why would Twain describe this era as the "gilded" age rather than the "golden" age?
How do you interpret the message of the "Hopelessly Bound" cartoon?
How do you interpret the message of the "What a Funny Little Government" cartoon?
The Election of 1880
Which regions voted Democratic and why? Which voted Republican and why?
The Assassination of James Garfield
What does Dr. Newman cite as the leading causes of the President's death?
The Presidency of Chester Arthur
Who do protective tariffs benefit and why is it remarkable that a Republican president in the 1880's advocated lowering them?
How did Arthur balance the demands of his corporate and labor constituents with the larger interests of the American people?
Why would labor groups favor banning Chinese immigrants?
The Election Campaign of 1884
Analyze the many symbolic aspects of the Harper's "Plumed Knight" cover. Consider both the setting and Blaine's attire.
Summarize the accusations levied against Democrats in "Tract No. 2." Why is this an example of "bloody shirt" campaigning?
Mugwumps and the Outcome of the 1884 Election
Compare the 1880 electoral map to the 1884 electoral map. Which states outside the reliably Democratic "Solid South" voted for Cleveland?
The First Cleveland Administration
What problems does Cleveland see with the tax system in the United States? What actions does he recommend and why?
How do you think big business, Republicans, and Northerners reacted to Cleveland's signing of the Interstate Commerce Act and his stance on the tariff? How might this affect his chances for re-election? Why?
The Interstate Commerce Act of 1887
After reading the excerpts from the Interstate Commerce Act, what can you infer about the specific practices of the railroad industry that the act was designed to reform?
Why was the Interstate Commerce Act important in the Gilded Age and in U.S. history in general?
The Election of 1888
Compare the electoral map of 1888 with that of 1884. Which two states did Cleveland lose to Harrison? How is this related to the tariff issue?
What do the election results from the 1880's tell you about the relative strength of the major parties?