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 Read the Mark Twain excerpt
from his famous book, The
Gilded Age (1873).
 Respond:
 Why has Harry Brierly come
to pay a visit to Colonial
Sellers?
 What is Colonial Sellers’
response to Mr. Brierly?
 How does this story
symbolize the relationship
between workers, bosses, big
business and government
during the Gilded Age?
Post Civil War Economic
and Social Developments,
1860 - 1890
Chapters 23 - 26
Twain’s “Gilded Age” (1873)
 Gilded—appears gold on the
outside but is in fact made of a
cheaper metal.
 Symbolizes an era of fabulous
wealth, technological innovation,
the growth of big business,
population growth and the
territorial expansion of the United
States…
 …However, these “golden”
achievements benefitted a small
minority of Americans and
concealed serious social, political
and economic problems of the
majority.
Road map
 ~10 days
 Test and DBQ analysis
 Independent note taking (you choose the form)
 Online lectures, quizzes
Corruption, Graft and Patronage
 Corruption—dishonest of fraudulent conduct by those in power,
typically involving bribery
 Graft—practices, especially bribery, used to secure illicit gains in
politics or business; corruption
 Patronage—the power to control appointments to office or the right
to privileges



Jobs or favors for votes
Connection: Jackson, “spoils system”—democratic?
Civil Service Reform—meritocracy (what you know rather than
who you know)
Gilded Age Party System
 “Shaky equilibrium”: Majority party in the House switched six times
in eleven sessions 1869-1891; only one Democratic President
 Few economic issues separated parties (agreed on lowering the tariff,
civil service reform, currency question)
 Ferociously competitive: fierce loyalty, high turnout, voting along
party lines
 Sharp ethnic differences:


Republicans--Puritan (Anglo-Saxon)
Democrats—Lutheran and Catholic (German, Irish)
 Geographic divisions


“Solid Democratic South” and Northern industrial cities
Republicans strong in Midwest, rural and small-town Northeast,
freedmen in South, Grand Army of the Republic (GAR)
Split in Republican Party
 “Stalwarts”
 Led by “Boss” Roscoe Conkling, believed in
patronage
 “Half-breeds”
 Led by James G. Blaine, wanted Civil Service
Reform
Doc Analysis
 In groups of 3
 Analyze Docs A – C and
answer corresponding
questions
“An Era of Good Stealings”
 James “Jim” Fisk and Jay Gould’s “gold rush”

“Black Friday” 1869 attempt to control the gold market

Congressional probe: Grant guilty of nothing but stupidity
 Credit Mobilier (1872):

Union Pacific insiders formed a construction company, hired
themselves at inflated prices

Bribed Congressmen with stock; Grant’s VP accepted payments
 Whiskey Ring:

Stole excise-tax revenues from Treasury department

Grant’s private secretary was involved
 Boss Tweed and Tammany Hall


Stole over $200 million
Thomas Nast contributed to capture
Doc Analysis
 Groups of 3
 Doc D
Compromise
of 1877

Settled the disputed presidential election
of 1876 (Hayes-R, Tilden-D)

Tilden won popular vote, had 184/185
necessary electoral votes with 20
electoral votes disputed in four states.

Special Electoral Commission
appointed—8 R vs. 7 D.

In an informal, “backroom deal” Hayes
(R) is elected by special Electoral
Commission, 8-7.

Democrats are promised:

Reconstruction Ends – 5 militarized
zones abolished and military is
withdrawn from LA, SC

Patronage, TCRR construction
through Texas (never materializes)
Processing
 Why did politics of the Gilded Age seemingly sink to
such a low level? Did the Gilded Age Party System have
any strengths to compensate for its weaknesses?
Freedmen
 How did the Compromise of 1877 effect freedmen in
the South?
 What were the short- and long-term results of the
“Jim Crow” system in the South?
 Why was the sharecropping system so hard to
overcome?
 Were blacks worse off or better off after the Civil
War?
Immigrants
 How was the Chinese immigrant experience similar to
that of such European groups as the Irish, and how
was it different?
 What effect did the racial distinctiveness of the
Chinese have on their experiences in America?
 What were the great problems the Chinese-Americans
experienced? How did they attempt to overcome them?
Farmers
 To what extent were the Populists politically
“radical”?
 Why was the political system so slow to respond to the
economic grievances of farmers and workers,
especially during the hard economic times of the
1890’s?
Gov & Business
 During this time period, what was the government’s
political philosophy with regard to the regulation and
operation of business?
 How did the relationship between government and
business change with the passing of the Pendleton
Civil Service Act of 1833?
 How did the Depression of 1893 affect the relationship
between government and business?
Labor
 How did the Panic of 1873 and the Depression of 1893
affect Southern and Western farmers? How did the
Panic of 1873 affect Northern factory-workers and
urban laborers?
 Throughout the 1880’s – 1890’s, was labor effective at
winning union recognition, higher wages and better
working conditions? Why or why not?
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