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History Teaching A Gilded Age Class
Transcript of History Teaching A Gilded Age Class
May 5, 2012 The Gilded Age was the period after the Civil War. It took place from the 1870s to the 1890s. The word "gilded" means coated with a thin layer of gold paint. Many Americans worried that the gild of the American society was hiding many serious problems, so that is how the name came to be. There were two major concerns that shaped the politics during the Gilded Age. 1. Feared industrialists and other wealthy men were enriching themselves at the expense of the public, which was any other common person. 2. They also feared that corruption, which is dishonesty in government was starting to come. Furthermore, they saw that bribery and voter fraud appeared to be widespread. Reform in the Gilded Age Main Points Taming the Spoils System Many critics said that a key source of the corruption was the spoils system. When new officials in charge, job seekers came out to get some jobs, starting in the Age of Jackson. James Garfield became President in 1881, and his assassination led to new efforts to end the spoils system. Vice President Chester A. Arthur succeeded Garfield. He owed his own rise to the spoils system, but he worked with Congress to change how people got government jobs. Garfield In 1883, Arthur signed the Pendleton Act, creating the Civil Service Commission. Civil service-a system that includes most government jobs, except elected positions, the judiciary, and the military. The goal of the Civil Service Commission was to fill in jobs on the basis of merit of a person. The people with the highest scores on the civil service examinations got the jobs. Initially, covered a couple jobs, then, service grew to include many other jobs. Controlling Big Businesses In late 1800s, the big businesses had a strong influence over politics. Corruption and bribery occurred for gaining votes from Congress. Interstate Commerce Act signed in 1887 by President Grover Cleveland. Forbade things like rebate. It also set up Interstate. Commerce Commission for railroads. As a result: President Benjamin Harrison signed Sherman Antitrust Act in 1890. Prohibited businesses from trying to limit or destroy competition. Instead fo regulating trusts, the Act was used to limit power of the labor unions. Corruption in the Cities Cities expanded, and people were needed to work in services like garbage collection, sewers, and other public services. Politicians accepted money to give those jobs to friends, corruption then became a way of life. City bosses, rich people, were very popular especially with the poor. Gave extra food and warming. In exchange, they had to vote for the boss or his chosen candidate for the deal to continue. During 1860s and 1870s William Tweed cheated New York City out of over $100 million. Newspapers and cartoonists exposed his crimes, and when he was faced with prison fled to Spain, where he was caught and sent back to the United States. He died in jail and thousands of people that supported him mourned. The "Boss" controlled the jobs in the city, and influenced courts. Characteristics of the Gilded Age Positives There is industrialization
There is also economic growth
New things are invented
Growth of Middle Class and Suburbs
Manifest Destiny Negatives Bad working conditions
A lot of poverty and bad living conditions in the cities
A gap between the rich and the poor increases
Much political corruption Most of the bosses votes came from poor people that really needed the supplies the bosses were offering in exchange for a vote. In most of the larger cities, the power went to the bosses who could deliver the growing immigrant vote using the power of patronage. Usually, the things that the poor supporters got was money, food, shelter, or legal papers and documents. Sources History of our Nation Textbook
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