- Slides: 17
Chp 18 Politics of Late 19 th century America This cartoon depicts Roscoe Conkling trying to solve “the great presidential puzzle” and deduce who would be the Republicans’ best candidate in 1880. Conkling hoped to see U. S. Grant nominated for a third term, but many Republicans, including James A. Garfield, opposed a third term. (wikipedia. com)
• Between 1877 & 1893 there were 5 presidents; R. B. Hayes, James Garfield, Chester A. Arthur, Grover Cleveland, & Ben Harrison, (and Cleveland again in 1894). These were also known as the “Forgettable” Presidents, In part because most of their time was spent dispensing political patronage- Giving out jobs to political supporters. After James Garfield was assassinated by Charles Guiteau, in 1881, a disappointed patronage seeker, and Religious Fanatic who yelled out after shooting him, "I am a Stalwart of the Stalwarts. . . Arthur is president now!”. Demands were made for Reforms.
• In 1880, more than half of all federal employees were working in the Postal service, one of the biggest assignments for patronage. When Chester A. Arthur (a stalwart Republican) took the presidency, the death of his predecessor was used as a motivator for patronage reform and The Pendleton act of 1883 created a list of jobs that had mandatory testing and created a Civil Service commission to insure the competency of applicants.
• In 1884 The Republicans nominated James G. Blaine for president and the Democrats Nominated Grover Cleveland…. As per most elections after the Civil war, the Republicans waved the “Bloody shirt” (a reference to the Democratic opposition to the Civil War) Republican’s also accused Cleveland of having an illegitimate child, Which he did not deny, but he had supported the child. Blaine on the other hand had questionable deals with the railroad, Blaine also had to deal with an ardent Supporter who charged Democrats were the party of Rum, Romanism & Rebellion ! Cleveland was the first Democrat elected to office since the Civil War. The Republican Chant: “ Maw , Where’s my Paw? ” was answered “He’s gone to the White House Haw Haw. ”
Grover Cleveland • In his first term, Cleveland’s administration had the awful job of determining what to do with the Surplus Revenue created by the Tariffs that Republican’s had imposed on Imports. Congress tried to reduce the surplus by giving bonuses to Union Veterans of the Civil War… Cleveland vetoed those attempts.
• One reason for Cleveland’s victory, was the splinter in the Republican Party, between Stalwarts, Half Breeds & Mugwumps. Half Breeds, led by James Blaine wanted reforms (mostly for political reasons) Stalwarts led by Roscoe Conklin, were opposed to reforms, and Mugwumps considered themselves to be above party politics, wanted real reforms and were willing to vote for an honest Democrat, (like Cleveland) over a man of blemished Character (like Blaine). These were the “best men” like Henry Adams & Charles Francis Adams (both descendants of John Adams ), Samuel Clemens, Thomas Nast , & Carl Schurz.
The American Myth of Opportunity • Horatio Alger captures the imagination of the American reader’s belief that hard work and ingenuity will always set a man on the road to success. Alger, wrote 135 of these stories.
• In the Late 1800’s Herbert Spencer, an Englishman, Applied Darwin’s Theory to Society, the idea took hold in America, and Social Darwinists Such as William Graham Sumner believed that Millionaires were the fittest Americans, in a world where “Survival of the fittest” meant that Society was made for the rich.
• The Supreme Court seemed to be in support of Social Darwinism. The 14 th Amendment was created to protect the rights of Citizens, and the Courts asserted that Corporations were citizens guaranteed the rights of contracts and property without government Restraint. In 1886 the court ruled Granger laws unconstitutional in Wabash v Illinois. . In 1895 it ruled the power to limit interstate commerce did not cover manufacturing and it also struck down an income tax law.
• Women Suffrage was still a growing issue from the days of the Seneca Falls Convention, and Suffragettes had managed to gain the right to vote in a few western states such as Wyoming and Idaho between 1869 & 1900, (probably not a coincidence that marryable women were in short supply in these states).
An 1890 Puck cartoon depicts President Harrison at his desk wearing his Grandfather’s hat which is too big for his head, suggesting that he is not fit for the presidency. • In 1888 Republicans won the Presidency with the Grandson Of William Henry Harrison, Benjamin Harrison’s was not a successful presidency, and in 1892 Grover Cleveland retook the Whitehouse… He is the only president to have two nonconsecutive terms.
• President Cleveland did not have the Surplus Problem he had in his first administration… The Country was in a depression and the government had a depleted gold reserve which Cleveland dealt with by borrowing gold from J. P. Morgan and Associates. When this secret deal became public, Cleveland’s popularity plunged. When jobless men joined Coxey’s “army” of marchers in Washington DC, Cleveland had them forcibly removed and Arrested Jacob Coxey. and his handling of the Pullman Strike also plunged his support even more. In The 1896 Election, The Republicans would emerge as the majority party.
PLESSY v FERGUSON 1896 • in 1896 , the supreme Court heard the case of Homer Plessy, a man of 1/8 African blood, who, in violation of a Louisiana law boarded a “Whites only” train car and was arrested. Plessy stated this was a violation of the 14 th amendment , but the court determined that the amendment could not have intended to mean that there were no differences between the races, and therefore recognized the validity of “JIM CROW LAWS” by setting a standard of “Separate but Equal” a ruling that would stand until 1954.
• As Corporations became more powerful, and Farmers suffered from the extreme rights of “corporate Citizens” to deny the rights of other citizens, a political movement developed known as “Populism” Since White farmers and black farmers were both victims to Railroads & Bankers, Some Populist Politicians tried to bring them into the same party. In 1892, Tom Watson, a founder of Georgia’s Populist party said, “ The accident of color can make no difference in the interest of farmers, croppers & laborers… You are kept apart that you may be separately fleeced of your earnings. ” Democrats in the South used Race baiting as a way of defeating the populist and it worked. Tom Watson quickly adopted a Policy of RACE BAITING to set Whites against Blacks. Benjamin Tillman of South Carolina, another supporter of Farmers , who helped to establish two Agriculture colleges, also used Race Baiting to get elected.
• The Populist Party had great orators, Like Mary Elizabeth Lease, a Wyoming Rancher’s widow, Who exclaimed that farmers should “ Raise less corn and more Hell!” • The Populist platform was to create inflation to help farmers pay off their crippling debt with inflated currency. The way they could do this was to extend the Gold coinage into a Gold & Silver coinage… Known as Bi-metalism. The Presidential candidate for the Populist & the Democratic Party in 1896, was WILLIAM JENNINGS BRYAN , who said: “ You shall not press down upon the brow of labor, this crown of thorns, You shall not crucify mankind on a cross of gold!”
• Booker T. Washington became one of the pre-eminent African American leaders… Although publicly he did not assert “Civil Rights” Instead Washington proposed “ACCOMMODATIONISM” The idea that “negroes, should work on developing themselves as skilled and Industrious workers to earn the respect of whites. Secretly and discreetly Washington tried to lobby for anti lynching laws and JIM CROW Laws
Chapter 18 End