APUSH Reading Guide Chapter 23: Political Paralysis in the Gilded Age
1. What part did race play in the election of 1868?
During the election of 1868, was greatly affected by race. Practically all of the southern white men voted for Seymour, but Mississippi, Texas, and Virginia’s ballots weren’t counted because they had not yet been reconstructed. Now that the blacks could vote, about 500,000 of them voted for Grant, ensuring his victory over the popular vote.
2. Who were the players and what was the plan in the gold ring of 1869?
“Jubilee Jim” Fisk and Jay Gould worked on president Grant directly and also through his brother-in-law, who received $25,000 for his complicity. For weeks, Fisk and Gould madly bid the price of gold skyward, so they could later profit from its heightened value.
3. Who was Boss Tweed and how was he brought down?
Boss Tweed employed bribery, graft, and fraudulent elections to milk the metropolis of as much as $200 million. Burly Tweed was brought down because the New York Times secured damning evidence in 1871 and courageously published it even though they were offered $5 million not to by Tweed.
4. How did the Credit Mobilier scandal work and who was implicated in the scheme?
The Credit Mobilier scandal was a group that created the Credit Mobilier construction company and then cleverly hired themselves at inflated prices to build the railroad line, earning dividends as high as 348 percent. Congress was implicated in the scheme because the members of the construction company were afraid of being caught, so they started giving some of their earnings to the congressmen. Even the Vice President of the US accepted payments from them.
5. Why do you think the Democrats chose to endorse Horace Greeley, originally a third party candidate (the Liberal Republicans) for the presidency in the 1872 election?
The Democrats chose to endorse Horace Greely for the presidency in the 1872 election because he was all for stopping the scandals that were happening in the country, and he and his party wanted to end military Reconstruction.
6. What were the causes of the Panic of 1873 and what effect did in have on people in the nation as a whole?
The Panic of 1873 was caused by more railroad track, sunk more mines, erected more factories, and sowed more grainfields than existing markets could bear. Bankers made too many imprudent loans to finance those enterprises. The loans weren’t getting paid, so the credit-based house of cards fluttered down.The Panic caused more than fifteen thousand businesses to go bankrupt, the Freedman’s Saving and Trust Company to go under, and the black economic development and confidence to go down.
7. Who were the proponents of “soft money” and why did they back greenbacks? (note: this issue will be continuing for the next fifty years so be sure you understand it.)
Proponents of inflation, especially debtors, were proponents of “soft money”, and they backed greenbacks because they wanted to create more money. If more money was created, he value of the money would go down, and so would the amount of debt they owed.
8. How did silver play into this conflict between hard and soft money proponents?
The proponents of “soft money” wanted redemption of all paper currency in gold at face value. The proponents of “hard money”, on the other hand, demanded for the coinage of more silver. They demanded this because silver miners had stopped sending the silver they mined to the federal coffers, so the silver coins weren’t being made anymore. The more money, the better.
9. What were the differences between Democrats and Republicans when it came to the issues?
Republicans were proponents of “hard money” and the Democrats were proponents of “soft money.”
10. What were the differences between Democrats and Republicans in terms of their supporters?
The difference between these two parties came down to ethnic and cultural differences. Republicans voters tended to adhere to those creeds that traced their lineage to Puritanism. They stressed strict codes of personal morality and believed that the government should play a role in regulating both the economic and the moral affairs of society. Democrats were more likely to adhere to faiths that took a less stern view of human weakness. Their religions professed toleration of differences in an imperfect world, and they spurned government efforts to impose a single moral standard on the entire society.
11. Who were the “Stalwarts” and the “Half-Breeds”?
The “Stalwarts” were people who embraced the time-honored system of swapping civil-service jobs for votes. The “Half-Breeds” were people who flirted coyly with civil-service reform, but whose real quarrel with the Stalwarts was over who should grasp the ladle that dished out the spoils.
12. What were the terms of the Compromise of 1877?
The compromise of 1877 was the agreement that finally resolved the 1876 election and officially ended reconstruction. In exchange for the Republican candidate, Rutherford B. Hayes, winning the presidency, Hayes agreed to withdraw the last of the federal troops from the former confederate states. This deal effectively completed the southern return to white-only, Democratic-dominated electoral politics.
13. What was the outcome of the Civil Rights Cases of 1883.
As a result of the Civil Rights Cases of 1883, the court declared that the Fourteenth Amendment prohibited only government violations of civil rights, not the denial of civil rights by individuals.
14. How did a crop lien system work and why was it bad for black farmers?
Through the crop linen system, storekeepers extended credit to small farmers for food and supplies and in return took a lien on their harvests. This was bad for black farmers because merchants manipulated the system so that they would stay in debt permanently.
15. Write a paragraph describing conditions for blacks in post Reconstruction South in your own words. Use the terms Jim Crow, lynching, sharecropping and Plessy v. Ferguson.
After Reconstruction ended in the south, the blacks practically went back to being treated like they had been when they were slaves. The Reconstruction period was rather short, so very few blacks were able to get money and start a new successful life. The majority of them were forced into sharecropping; they had to go back to their former masters and work for them since they were their landlords and creditors. Not only were the blacks practically slaves again, but laws were established to enforce segregation between the blacks and the whites. These were called Jim Crow laws. The Supreme Court validated these laws in the Plessy v. Ferguson case. The ruling of this case stated that blacks and whites were separate but equal, and that they had equal protection because of the 14th amendment. In reality though, the life of a black person was much worse than the life of a white person. Whites lynched blacks daily to remind them that they were inferior to the whites and that they were second-class citizens. The main reason they were lynched was because they asserted themselves as equal to the whites.
16. What happened in the Railroad Strike of 1877 and what role did the federal government play in that conflict?
The railroads were raking in huge amounts of money and the railroad workers weren’t getting paid enough. The presidents of the nation’s four largest railroads decided that they would cut their employees wages by 10%. The workers struck back, so Hayes sent federal troops to stop them. This only made the situation worse because the whole working class joined the railroad workers in their fight. The federal government won this battle because they had more power over the working class. They used the United States army, state militias, and local police to keep the people working.
17. Makers of America: The Chinese – what brought the Chinese to America and what challenges did they face when they arrived?
The Chinese originally came to America to dig in the goldfields and to sledgehammer the tracks of the transcontinental railroad across the west. Once all the gold had been mined and the tracks had been laid, many of the Chinese returned home. The ones that stayed in America worked the lowest of jobs and had a hard time fining and wife and starting a family. They were rejected by Americans and were considered a menace.
18. What was the Chinese Exclusion Act and what was its impact on the Chinese population in America?
The Chinese Exclusion Act prohibited nearly all further immigration from China. This act made Americans want the Chinese that were already in America not to be able to be citizens, but the fourteenth amendment made it so that they were allowed.
19. Explain the connection between the assassination of James Garfield and the Pendleton Act of 1883.
As a result of James Garfield’s assassination, the Pendleton Act of 1883 was created. The act made compulsory campaign contributions from federal employees illegal, and it established the Civil Service Commission to make appointments to federal jobs on the basis of competitive examinations rather than “pull”. The act partially divorced politics from patronage, but it helped drive politicians into “marriages of convenience” with big-business leaders.
20. How did nativism contribute to the election of Grover Cleveland?
Grover Cleveland won the election only by a few votes. The votes were split evenly, but the deciding vote lay in the hands of the Irish American voters. Blaine’s last speech doomed him for failure; he said, “Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion, and this offended the Irish Americans. They were the ones that caused Cleveland to win.
21. Why did Cleveland want to lower the tariff and how did this issue cost him re-election?
Cleveland wanted to lower the tariff because lower barriers would mean lower prices for consumers and less protection for monopolies. More important, they would mean an end to the Treasury surplus. This issue cost him re-election because the republicans new that with a lowered tariff, there would be higher taxes, lower wages, and increased unemployment. The republicans made sure to voice their opinion and offered up a great alternative president for the next election.
22. How did the McKinley Tariff bring about the rise of the Farmers’ Alliance?
The McKinley Tariff brought about the rise of the Farmers’ Alliance because debt burdened farmers had no choice but to buy manufactured goods from high priced protected American industrialists, but were compelled to sell their own agricultural products into highly competitive, unprotected world markets. The farmers’ Alliance was a militant organization of southern and western farmers that was represented in the House of Representatives and their own party.
23. Who were the Populists and were their platform issues?
The Populists were the newly formed People’s Party in 1892. Their platform denounced “the prolific womb of governmental injustice.” They demanded inflation through free and unlimited coinage of silver at the rate of sixteen ounces of silver to one ounce of gold. They also called for graduated income tax; government ownership of railroads, telegraph and telephone; the direct election of US senators; a one-term limit on the presidency; the adoption of the initiative and referendum to allow citizens to shape legislation more directly; a shorter workday; and immigration restrictions.
24. This is a time of terrible labor unrest yet the Populists had difficulty gaining the support of urban industrial workers. What interests do you think they had in common? What do you think kept them apart?
The urban industrial workers and the populists both agreed on the government ownership of railroads, telephones, shorter workdays, and telegraphs. The thing that kept them apart was the issue of race. They were also kept apart by their inability to agree on graduated income tax, direct election of the US senator, a one-term limit on the presidency, and inflation through free and unlimited coinage of silver at the rate of sixteen ounces of silver to one ounce of gold.
25. Why did Populists have difficulty gaining support in the South?
The Populists had a difficult time gaining support in the south because neither the north nor the south knew which way they party was going.
26. Why do you think Populist leader Tom Watson flip-flopped so dramatically on the race issue in the South?
Populist leader, Tom Watson, flip-flopped so dramatically on the race issue in the south because he wanted to appeal to both the north and the south desperately.
27. How did rank and file Americans respond to the Morgan deal?
The Morgan deal was between Cleveland and the bank. The bank gave Cleveland gold to pay for the Congress to be in session for another season, but they expected money in return.
28. Varying Viewpoints: After reading the different interpretations of the Populist movement explain whether you think they were radicals or reactionaries and why.
I think that the Populists are more reactionaries. The Beards and Parrington’s school said that the civil war was a rebirth of American idealism. Many writers wrote about sympathetic protest movements, Richard Hofstadter wrote of harassed little businessmen, and John D. Hicks wrote of classic populists that do great. Populists’ ideas resulted as a reaction to the world surrounding them and ideas that are taunted by the future.