The Gilded Age
What was the Gilded Age?
- Gilded- covered with a thin layer of gold; can be used to describe something deceptive and showy (gold on the outside but truly made of something else of less value)
- This name applies to the Gilded Age because of the deceptive and ruthless business deals of the age, such as those of John D. Rockefeller or Boss Tweed. This allowed monopolization of industries such as oil and steel and created an incredibly wealthy minority upper class that exploited the working class .
Election of Grant and the Bloody Shirt Campaign
- During Reconstruction, the people believed that it would be beneficial to have a general as President instead of a politician.
- General Grant was the most popular Northern general and was the Republican candidate.
- The "Bloody Shirt" Campaign focused on the claim that General Grant had won the Civil War for the Union, which won him 53% of the popular vote and 214 of the 294 electoral votes.
Corruption during the Gilded Age
- During the Gilded Age, large amounts of immigrants came to America, and worked in factories and mines.
- Machine politics, in which the bosses of the industrial associations in charge of the immigrant's labor and welfare began running for and winning political office, became popular, and through their bribery and kickbacks, these bosses were able to create a powerful minority upper class that thrived on the labor of the uneducated masses.
- Entrepreneurs of the Gilded Age include:
- John D. Rockefeller-Oil
- Andrew Carnegie-Steel
- William "Boss" Tweed-Head of Machine Politics Tamanny Hall, NY
- J.P. Morgan-Banking, bought out Carnegie
- Cornelius Vanderbilt-Consolidated the Railroad Industry
- Gustavus F. Swift and Philip Armour- Consolidated the Meat Packing Industry
- Boss Tweed was one of the most infamous bosses of the Gilded Age--through kickbacks and bribes he had swindled over $200 million from the city of New York
- He was finally caught thanks to an expose in the New York Times uncovering his secrets, and greatly in thanks to politcal cartoonist Thomas Nast's cartoons which revealed information about his thieving ways to the uneducated immigrant population.
The Compromise of 1877
- Settled the dispute concerning the 1876 Election
- Rutherford B. Hayes(Republican) became president over Samuel TIlden(Democrat) in return for removal of troops from Southerns states except for South Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana
- Troops were withdrawn from the Southern states
- Ended period of Reconstruction
- Southern Democrat, David M. Key from Tennessee, was appointed to Hayes' cabinet
- Legislation was passed to assist the South and help it grow industrially after the great loss during the Civil War
- Construction of another transcontinental railroad using the Texas and Pacific Railway