The Gilded Age

By: Ashrith Reddy


Gilded-Covered thinly with gold leaf or paint.

  • Referred to cheap commercialization, shottiness and fakery.
  • This terms represents the public's fascination with gold,wealth, and power.
  • It also illustrates that the culture of something rough and crude was a veneer.
  • All of these applied to the nations character.
  • This term was coined by Mark Twain.


Election of Grant:

Republican candidate Ulysses S. Grant, a war general, was the prime pick for the North in 1868. The Republicans adovcated Reconstruction under the watch of the feds. The South nominated Horatio Seymour who had little hope of winning. Support for GRant was high and Republicans began "waving the bloody shirt", or reviving the glory memories of the Civil War. In the end, Grant won with 214 votes to 80 yet intruigingly he got only a 300,000 majority in the votes.The reason for Grant's victory was largely due to the 500,000 former slaves in the South. In the future elections, the Republicans needed to control the freedmen.


Corruption during The Gilded Age:

The Gilded Age was a time of major corruption with many kickbacks and bribes throughout the government system. Politicians and judges as well as government jobs could be be bought for the right price.

A perfect example of this was the "Tweed Ring". William "Boss" Tweed through unethical actions, gathered almost $200 million resulting in tax raises. He ran fraudulent elections that gave the voters government jobs refereed to as the Spoils System.
However in the end, his luck ran out. The New York Times found incriminating evidence in 1871 and Thomas Nast, a political cartoonist, attacked Tweed depicting him as above the law, refusing a bribe not to do so. Samuel Tilden headed the prosecution and put tweed behind bars for life.


Compromise of 1877:

Right after the Election of 1876, trouble brewed between Southern Democrats and Northern Republicans regarding the disputed election. After reaching an agreement(Compromise of 1877), the South agreed to let the Northern candidate Rutherford B. Hayes, as opposed to Samuel Tilden,become president if he

  • Removed federal troops in the states of South Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana thereby removing support for a Republican statehood and allowing them to become Democratic States.
  • Added one Southern Democrat to his cabinet.
  • Constructed a trans-continental railroad in the South.
  • Helped South in industrialization.

The significance and uniqueness of this compromise is due to the fact that it was not debated in Congress like other compromises,but was worked on in the background in secrecy. The significance of this compromise results from it ending hope for black freedmen in the South in their fight for racial equality.This was known as "The Great Betrayal" resulting in Jim Crow Laws and segregation. Another major result was the end of Reconstruction in the South.