Political and Social Reforms in the Gilded Age

Political Machines
The Populist Movement
The Progressive Movement
Reforming the New Industrial Order
Reforming Society
Reforming Government
Intro. To the “Gilded Age”: 1870searly 1900s
All of part of the
recent trends of:
 Industrialism
 Big
 Immigration
 Urbanization
 Politics
 Social
Unit 1 (Ch. 6&7)
Unit 2 (Ch. 8, 9
Definition of “Gilded”
To cover with gold or gold leafing, and to give a bright
or pleasing aspect to
During the Gilded Age, life was made to seem
wonderful, but underneath the surface there were many
Labeled the “Gilded Age” by Mark Twain
Problems of the Gilded Age: Review
Life in the big cities
Cultural diversity/immigration
Behavior of big business corporations
Behavior and role of labor unions
Behavior and role of laissez-faire government
Ideas of capitalism and Social Darwinism
Many pros and cons regarding these issues
Attempts to Reform
“Participatory Democracy”
1) “Grass Roots” Efforts:
-Political, social, economic actions by citizens
-Protest movements and organizations
2) Social Reform Movements
-Populist Movement and Populist Party
-Progressive Movement and Political Party
3) Actual Government Actions
-Acts and Laws
-Court cases and Supreme Court decisions
Increase in Population…
Put high demands on city governments
 Fire
 Police
 Sanitation
 Construction
 Utility Systems (sewage, water, etc)
 BUT
Laissez Faire = No real government action
The Rise of Political Machines
District representatives
and city council
members took charge of
public services
Often times, they
pocketed money meant
for the public
Political Machines
Well organized political parties that dominated
local and state governments
Party Bosses: Men who ran political machines
Provided jobs, favors and services to local residents
Most famous political machine was known as
Tammany Hall in New York City
Tammany Hall
Tammany Hall, cont’d…
Democratic Party machine that controlled NYC
Helped immigrants rise in American politics (most
notably, the Irish)
Provided immigrants with an early version of the
welfare system
Tammany Hall, cont’d
Tammany Hall provided the following for
 Welcome
upon arrival
 Temporary housing
 Jobs
 Citizenship
 Funerals
Tammany Hall, cont’d
Why would a political machine like Tammany Hall
“prey” on immigrants?
•Represented a HUGE supply of
supporters and voters
•Tended to be very loyal
William “Boss” Tweed
Head of Tammany Hall in
the late 19th Century
Found to have stolen
$40-$200 Million from
New York City taxpayers
through corruption
How Did They Profit?
Election fraud (stuffing ballot
Intimidating voters
Graft: Acquiring money or
political power through illegal
or dishonest methods
Kickbacks: Payments of part
of the earnings from a job or
Thomas Nast & The Tweed Ring
Thomas Nast was a political cartoonist who
despised Boss Tweed and Tammany Hall
Chose to utilize cartoons because many immigrants
couldn’t read!
Created the Republican Elephant and the
Democratic Donkey (and the modern day version of
Tammany Hall: Boss Tweed
Role of Thomas Nast (like Jacob Riis)
Pendleton Civil Service Act 1883
 Similar
to Sherman Anti-Trust Act
The Populist Movement
Farmers (like workers, immigrants, and minorities)
 Ignored
by government
 Poor
 Isolated
and alone
 Not respected
 Not really represented
The Populist Movement, cont’d…
Major issue for farmers=DEBT
 Technology
increases production
 Farmers borrow money to purchase new technology
 All farmers do this
 THUS Overproduction
 THUS Prices fall (Law of Supply and Demand)
 THUS Farmers borrow money
 THUS Farmers go into more debt
 Railroad monopolies overcharge farmers for shipping
and storage
Farmers Organize
National Grange:
 1867:
Oliver Kelley
 Social
Organization and formation of cooperatives
Pressure RR companies to regulate shipping and
storage rates
Farmers’ Alliance Movement 1870s:
 Led
by Mary Elizabeth Lease
 Demanded graduated income tax
 Provided low cost insurance
 Pushed for tougher regulations on RR
Farmers Organize
Greenback Party—1870s
Populist Party:
 1890:
James Weaver
 Pushed
for a graduated income tax
 Pushed for banking regulation
 Wanted government ownership of RR (=Socialism)
 Wanted coinage of silver
 Wanted restricted immigration
 Wanted shorter work day
 Wanted voting reforms
Populist Movement, cont’d
William Jennings Bryan
(Populist Democrat) ran
against William McKinley
(Republican) in the
election of 1896
Bryan lost and McKinley
took office
Signaled the end of the
Populist Party
The Progressive Movement
Industrial Age = Major Advancements
Industrial Age = Major Problems
Basic levels at which reform can occur
 Grass-roots
level = Individuals
 Org. level = Reform movements
 Gov. level = Laws, acts, court cases
Populist MovementProgressivism
Main concerns:
 Big
gap between rich and poor
 Bad urban conditions
 Bad working conditions
 Social problems
 Political problems
 Desire
for more “democracy”
 Desire more participation
 Government authority from the people
Progressive Profile
Native born
Middle or Upper Class
Usually from Urban areas
College Educated
Investigative journalists
who wrote about
corruption in business and
politics, hoping to bring
about change and
Reforming the New Industrial Order
Harsh working conditions/hours, pay
Realities for women and children
Attempts at reform-push for new labor laws
 Government
 Florence
Kelley (1893): Anti-Child Labor Laws
 National Child Labor Comm. (1904)
 Rose Schneiderman—Triangle Shirtwaist Fire (1911): New
York passes fire safety codes
Supreme Court Cases: Inconsistent
Lochner v. New York (1905)
 10
hour workday overturned
Muller v. Oregon (1908)
 Some
limits upheld for hours worked
 Role of Louis Brandeis
 Use of scientific research and evidence
Labor Unions
Closed shops: Union membership required
Freedom of Contract: Workers can negotiate terms
of their contract with bosses
AFL: American Federation of Labor
ILGWU: International Ladies Garment Workers
IWW: Industrial Workers of the World/Wobblies
Reforming Society
Urban Reforms: Basically Make the cities healthier
and more livable
 State
Tenement Housing Association
 National Tuberculosis Association
 Daniel Burnham—building codes
 Playgrounds, parks, etc.
Reforming Society, cont’d…
Moral Reforms: Basically prohibition
 Anti-Saloon
 Woman’s Christian Temperance Union-Carrie Nation
 Frances Willard
 Reverend Billy Sunday
 Eventually: 18th Amendment (1919)—Volstead Act
Reforming Society, cont’d…
Racial Reforms: Against discrimination
 W.E.B.
DuBois/Booker T. Washington
 NAACP—1909—use of courts for
 Guinn
v. United States (1915)
Outlawed “grandfather clauses”
 Buchanan
v. Warley (1917)
Overturned housing segregation
 National
Urban League (1911)
 Fought
for racial equality in jobs and
 Society
of American Indians (1911)
Problems for Women
Lacked the right to vote until 1920 (known as
women’s suffrage)
19th Amendment states that the government cannot
deny a person their right to vote based on sex
Reforming Government
If we are cleaning up cities, workplaces, and racial
discrimination, then why not “clean up government”?
Main idea of Progressives: Make system more fair!
 Give
government back to the people
 Make political process more democratic
Specific Political Reforms
Pendleton Civil Service Act (1883)
Direct Primary: People nominate politicians
17th Amendment: Senators elected by the people
Secret Ballot: All candidates are on one uniform
Initiative: People introduce laws themselves
Referendum: Citizens can put newly created laws on
the ballot for societal approval/disproval
Recall: Enables voters to remove an elected official
from office
Reforming Cities: Progressive Mayors
Samuel Jones: Toledo (1897)
Tom L. Johnson: Cleveland
Use of city commissions, managers
 Galveston
Robert LaFollette: the “Wisconsin Idea”
Amendments to the Constitution
Civil War through Reconstruction: 1865-1870
 13th
Am. (1865): Abolition of slavery
 14th Am. (1868): Due process/equality for citizens
 15th Am. (1870): Voting rights cannot be denied due to
color of skin: Suffrage for African American males
Amendments to the Constitution,
Gilded Age/Progressive Era Amendments
 16th
Am. (1913): Federal income tax
 17th Am. (1913): Direct election of US Senators
 18th Am. (1919): Prohibition of alcohol
 19th Am. (1920): Suffrage for women
 Even
US Presidents began to “reform” and adapt
progressive policies
Teddy Roosevelt
Wanted to use presidency as a “bully pulpit” to
further his own goals
 Conservation:
Preserve national parks and wildlife
Teddy Roosevelt, cont’d…
Goals, cont’d:
 Improve
life for lower and middle class
 Original “trust-buster”
 Every American deserves a “Square
Deal, no more, no less”
 Used “arbitration” to settle disputes
(third party gets involved)
William Howard Taft
Did not want to overstep his boundaries (unlike T.
Wanted to improve conditions for common man and
help working class
Not well liked
Called the White House the most lonesome place on
Woodrow Wilson
Outspoken reformer who wanted Civil Rights and
working class reforms
Liked the idea of using the government as an agent
of change
Considered to be a “trust-buster” as well
(Known for being backed into corners!)