Gilded Age

By Coleman Loose

What it is

Gilded - covered thinly with gold leaf or gold paint

The term "gilded" is appropriate for this era because when Mark Twain coined the term "Gilded Age", he meant that on the surface, society was sparkling, but underneath it was corrupted with greed and guile

Election of Grant and the "Bloody Shirt" Campaign

"Waving the bloody shirt" refers to a technique used during post-Civil War campaigns. Politicians get votes by recalling the hardships of the war. Republican Ulysses S. Grant employed this tactic in his 1868 presidential campaign win against Democrat Horatio Seymour, in which Grant narrowly won the popular vote but smothered Seymour in the Electoral College.



  • Ulysses S. Grant was a Great War hero, however, he was unfit to be President of the United States. He relied heavily on shady politicians and business for advice, and much of his administration was involved in the Credit Mobilier Scandal

Boss Tweed and Thomas Nast

  • William "Boss" Tweed was the leader of the Tweed Ring, which openly rigged votes, encouraged judicial corruption, and embezzled New York City funds until being exposed by Harper's Weekly political cartoonist Thomas Nast

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Compromse of 1877

  • Democrats agreed not to block Rutherford Hayes victory in the election of 1876 as long as the Republicans withdrew troops from the South
  • As a result, Florida, South Carolina, and Louisiana became Democratic once again
  • Marked the end of the Reconstruction era