Politics In The Gilded Age Essay

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Politics in the Gilded Age



Discuss Politics in the Gilded Age. Include major political events and issues, and the roles of the “bloody shirt,” corruption, patronage, and reform movements.
The term Gilded Age was named for a Mark Twain book. It meant covered with gold, and was applied to this period as a whole. This was a period of corruption in sordid politics.
The Republicans and Democrats didn’t really have strong opposing beliefs during this period. The Republicans supported high tariffs and sound money. The Democrats supported lower tariffs and expanded currency. Both rural and urban classes supported each party. They worked with spoils and local issues. Both parties worked to please everyone, and to attract
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One was the Great Mobilier scandal; it dealt with the Union Pacific Railroad. The Construction Company hired themselves at inflated prices to build railroad lines, and distributed shares of stock to congressmen. A scandal during Grant’s second term, was the Whisky Ring. This scandal was uncovered in St. Louis, and consisted of selling whiskey without the excise tax. In return it defrauded the government out of millions of dollars. Belknap was selling goods and trading with the Indians for lower prices.
During Grant’s administration the monetary issues were inflation, cheap money, and greenbacks. The debtors, especially farmers, wanted cheap money. However, Grant vetoed the bill to print more money, and supported withdrawing greenbacks from circulation.
Hayes won the disputed election. Four states submitted irregular returns. It was disputed if the Republican president of the Senate or the Democratic Speaker of the House should count them. It was decided that an electoral commission made up of fifteen men. There were eight Republicans and seven Democrats, so the Republicans won. The Democrats would only accept this with conditions, one of which was to remove troops from the south.
The next president was a political “unknown”. His name was James Garfield. A disturbed politician shot him in the back at a railroad. This demonstrated the corruption in the patronage system and led to reform.
In…