Ch. 23 - The Gilded Age

Josh Syre - Pd. 4 APUSH

Gilded Age

Gilded - to cover with or as if with a thin layer of gold; covered with gold on the outside, but not really golden on the inside.


The term gilded was fabricated by writers Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner. These two writers, using the term to ridicule the era, believed it was a time of social problems outlined by a small cover of gold gilding, or seemingly, success in the U.S.


Strikes played a significant role throughout the era, both economically and politically. Different workers would refuse to work until their specific desires and demands were met (i.e. their living and working conditions, pay, etc.


Election of Grant (1868)

The election of 1868 was the first presidential election to take during the Reconstruction period. Texas, Mississippi, and Virginia were not restored to the Union at the time and didn't have the ability to vote.


The previous president, Andrew Johnson (succeeding assassinated president Abraham Lincoln) failed in his attempt to receive the Democratic presidential nomination due to his impeachment by congress. Instead, Democrats nominated Horatio Seymour to take on Republican nominee and former general and Civil War hero Ulysses S. Grant. Grant was well known in the North due to his successful ending of the Civil War for the Union.

The "Bloody Shirt" Campaign


The campaign was employed by the Republican party following the Civil War. They charged the Democratic party with disloyalty to the Union, otherwise known as waving the bloody shirt (the practice of politicians in reference to the blood of the martyrs or heroes to criticize their opponents). This campaign helped the Republicans defeat the Democrats in many close elections. It also helped them keep control over congress until 1874, as well as the presidency until 1884.

William M. "Boss" Tweed

William M. Tweed, more commonly known as "Boss" Tweed was an American Politician and the "boss" of Tammany Hall, the Democratic Party political machine which played a major role in the 19th century politics in New York and State. He was convicted for stealing an amount estimated between $25 and $45 million from taxpayers through political corruption, yet later estimates ranged as high as $200 million.


Thomas Nast

Nast's drawings were the downfall of Tweed; his drawings attacked the Tammany Hall corruption, which occasionally appeared in 1867, but later became more plentiful as his focus intensified on the four major players in 1870 and 1871. Tweed's powerful Tammany Hall Ring fell at the election of 1871, and was arrested in 1873 and convicted of fraud.


Compromise of 1877

The Compromise of 1877 was an unwritten deal that intensely disputed the 1876 presidential election, pulled troops out from the South, and ultimately ended the Reconstruction Era. Republican Rutherford B. Hayes was awarded the White House due to the belief that Hayes would remove the federal troops whose support was essential for the survival of Republican state governments in South Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana. Grant, the outgoing president, removed the troops from Florida. As president, Hayes removed the remaining soldiers from other states. What exactly happened was somewhat contested as scanty. Some African Americans consider it "The Great Betrayal".