The Gilded Age

Bryce Vonzurmuehlen

What Does Gilded Mean?

Gilded means to be covered or plated in gold. Mark Twain dubbed this period with the term Gilded to show the rapid growth and industrialization that came out of this period in our nation's history. As this period faded away it altered the perception the nation had on its officeholders and politicians in power.


Corruption and Boss Tweed

Grant's administration resided over a Gilded time of great corruption. His own VP Colfax was a part of the Credit Mobilier scandal that went with the Pacific Continental Railroad. as the railroad went bankrupt the owners just transferred all the money to the credit co. at the expense of the stock and shareholders.

The Tweed ring in NYC is credited for taking $200 million from the city through kick-backs and bribes. He led the Tammany Hall Political machine that would gain votes into office by any means necessary. The spoils system was prominent here and elsewhere as well. Thomas Nast is known to be the father of the american political cartoon and for helping take down the Tweed ring. He went into the Harper's weekly to attack them with multiple cartoons and in the 1871 election the Tweed ring was voted out and in 1873 Tweed was convited of fraud.

Compromise of 1877

Directly after the election of 1876, it was evident that the outcome of the race relied on the controversial returns from South Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana. They were the only states left with Reconstruction republican governments still in power. As conflict from the outcome rose in 1877, supporters of Hayes met with southern democrats in secret to negotiate the acceptance of the election. The states agreed to not block the election if the republicans extracted all the troops from the south and gave democrats power once again. As an effect democratic power was back in the southern states completely thus officially ending the Reconstruction era.