The Gilded Age Things aren’t always what they appear…. Segregation and Discrimination Racism in the Gilded Age (and beyond) • Roots of Racism in the Gilded Age Failures of Reconstruction allow racism to expand in the post-Civil War South… – Sharecropping – Voting restrictions – Violence of the KKK • African Americans move west looking for opportunity, but what happens to those who are left behind? The rise of Jim Crow • Jim Crow laws: laws meant to enforce the segregation of schools and other public places – Segregation: separation of blacks and whites – Jim Crow: figure from the 1830s, symbol for inferiority of African Americans • Combined with laws restricting the right of African Americans to vote, this created an atmosphere of legalized racial discrimination! Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) • Homer Plessy sues railroad company for segregating seating, arguing it violates the 14th Amendment… case goes to the Supreme Court! • Supreme Court ruling: “separate but equal” facilities do not violate 14th Amendment – Jim Crow laws are legitimized by the ruling • Result: nearly every aspect of life in the South becomes segregated by law “Separate but equal” How equal are these facilities in reality? Racism in North and South • System of segregation continues until the Civil Rights period and are “enforced” by state authorities as well as groups like KKK • More than 2,500 African Americans lynched between 1885 and 1900 • While segregation is not legal, racism is also present in the North… – Job discrimination – White-only neighborhoods Resistance to racism Efforts to achieve equality for African Americans emerged in late 19th century, inspiring civil rights leaders for years to come – Ida B. Wells (1862-1931) – Booker T. Washington (1856-1915) – W.E.B. DuBois (1868-1963) Washington vs. DuBois Booker T. Washington – Born into slavery – Became teacher after Civil War; founded Tuskegee Institute (1881) in Alabama to help African Americans learn trades – Did not openly challenge segregation – Believed “self help” was the key to equality, even if it meant doing so in a separate community W.E.B. DuBois – Born after slavery into middle class family – Harvard-educated scholar – Encouraged African Americans to reject segregation – Believed educated African Americans (a.k.a. the “Talented Tenth”) should lead fight for equality; established NAACP in 1909 to lead reform movement What similarities and differences existed between Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois in their fight for equality? Chinese and Mexican Segregation • Chinese Immigration: – Segregation from whites • Had their own schools • Tried to protect their rights • Mexican Americans – Wanted more rights – Las Gorras Blancas: Cutting holes in barbed wire fences and burning houses of rich landowners Women Segregation • Wanted to get more rights • Formed different unions – Women’s Christian Temperance Union – Unions were not successful • Susan B. Anthony: Formed movement to try and gain more rights for women Women’s Suffrage Movement Politics It’s all about the Benjamin$$$ Political and Economic Challenges • Corruption plagued both local and national politics • One example of this corruption was Boss Tweed and Tammany Hall in New York City Tammany Hall 1789, in NYC, the Tammany Society was founded Originally a patriotic & charitable organization 1817, Irish leaders gained membership in Tammany Enacted practice of exchanging votes for benefits For the next 70 years New York City would be governed by Tammany forces 1868, William Tweed became the leader of Tammany Ushered in an era of extreme corruption William Tweed Began his rise to influence in the1840s as a volunteer fireman in New York City From these beginnings Tweed managed to build a base of power He was soon elected to a term in the New York State Assembly During his term he was active in Tammany Hall The organizational force of the Democratic Party in New York Patronage Tweed used a vast system of patronage Tweed gathered a small group of men who controlled New York City's finances They dispensed jobs and contracts in return for political support and bribes Political patronage is the dispensing of favors or rewards in return for support or votes The Scandal Estimated he stole $75 million to $200 million Contractors presented bills ranging from 15% to 65% over the actual cost Extra money was divided among Tweed and his subordinates The Tweed Courthouse Most excessive example of corruption Cost the city $13 million to construct It actually cost only $3 million Tweed’s Downfall Refused to authorize the “Orange Parade” Sheriff gave evidence of embezzlement to The New York Times Political cartoons drawn by Thomas Nast increased anger towards Tweed Thomas Nast Efforts were instrumental in bringing down the Tweed Ring Contributed to the political & cultural scene: Created the elephant as the symbol for the Republican Party and the donkey for the Democrats Developed the popular appearance of Uncle Sam Popularized the current day conception of Santa Claus The Fate of Tweed and Tammany Hall Tweed was tried and convicted of forgery and larceny Was sentenced to a 12-year prison term He was released after serving only one year, but was quickly arrested on another corruption charge He escaped and fled to Cuba and then eventually Spain He was extradited back to the United States in 1876 and died later in a New York City jail cell Boss Tweed Price Indexes for Consumer & Farm Products: 1865-1913 Who were the Populist? Railroads take advantage of farmers • Excessive Prices – Shipping – Storage • Farmer’s could not pay their loans. Founder of the National Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry (1867) The Grange Movement First organized in the 1867 in the Midwest, the south, and Texas. Set up cooperative associations. Social and educational components. Succeeded in lobbying for “Granger Laws.” Rapidly declined by the late 1870s. Gift for the Grangers: The Farmer Pays for All! The Farmers Alliances Begun in the late 1880s (Texas first the Southern Alliance; then in the Midwest the Northern Alliance). Built upon the ashes of the Grange. More political and less social than the Grange. Ran candidates for office. Controlled 8 state legislatures & had 47 representatives in Congress during the 1890s. New Political Party Emerges • Populist – People’s Party – Help farmers and laborers • Party Platform – Increase in $$ supply – Graduated income tax – Federal loan program The Populist (Peoples’) Party Founded by James B. Weaver and Tom Watson. Omaha, NE Convention in July, 1892. Got almost 1 million popular votes. Several Congressional seats won. James B. Weaver, Presidential Candidate & James G. Field, VP Omaha Platform of 1892 1. Abolition of the National Bank. 2. Direct election of Senators. 3. Govt. ownership of RRs, telephone & telegraph companies. 4. Government-operated postal savings banks. 5. Restriction of undesirable immigration. 6. 8-hour work day for government employees. 7. Abolition of the Pinkerton detective agency. 8. Australian secret ballot. 9. Re-monitization of silver. 10. A single term for President & Vice President. Panic of 1893 • • • • • • Farmers are in debt. Railroads go bankrupt. Government wears thin of gold. Stock market crashes. 15,000 businesses and 500 banks collapse. 20% of workforce is unemployed. Bimetallism vs. Gold Standard • Bimetallism – “Silverites” – Gov’t gives gold or silver in exchange for paper currency. • Gold Standard – “Gold Bugs” – Backing dollars solely with gold. Gold Triumphs Over Silver 1900 Gold Standard Act confirmed the nation’s commitment to the gold standard. A victory for the forces of conservatism. Heyday of Western Populism Why Did Populism Decline? 1. The economy experienced rapid change. 2. The era of small producers and farmers was fading away. 3. Race divided the Populist Party, especially in the South. 4. The Populists were not able to break existing party loyalties. 5. Most of their agenda was co-opted by the Democratic Party.