By: Nagu Singirikonda
The term "Gilded", which was coined by Mark Twain, signified the period of U.S History between the 1870's and 1900's. Gilded means to be covered in gold. This applied to the nation, because from the outside countries and even rich cities in America, the country seemed prosperous and successful. However, if you looked deeper, it was filled with corruption and dishonesty. Although many companies were producing high profits and industrialization was at an all time high, it cost them thousands of workers.
Election of Grant and Bloody Shirt Campaign
After Andrew Jackson's unpopularity in the U.S due to his differing views on policies, Grant ran for the 1868 presidential election. He had no political experience, but ran on the motivation that the nation was looking for a leader who was a war hero. Propaganda on his war victories during the Civil War and his trust due to the defeat of the south became more widespread. And in the election, he won with an electoral count of 214 to 80 against Horatio Seymour, who was a brilliant former New York governor.
Corruption during the Gilded Age
Governments were very one-sided during this time and did not know how to act against companies that dealt with illegal profits. Due to high competition, businessmen were forced into making bad decisions otherwise they would be bankrupt. Some companies began to produce secondary companies and consolidate all of their money into the new company and declare the other as bankrupt, as a way to make a larger profit, and let off its investors with not even a penny. This new political landscape where the official government was supported and manipulated by a shadow government of bosses.associations became known as machine politics for its ability to call out the votes “like a machine” to sponsor any political agenda.The most infamous example of machine politics was Tammany Hall, headquarters of the Democratic Party in New York City. Headed by William Marcy Tweed, the Tammany Hall political machine of the late 1860s and early 1870s used graft, bribery, and rigged elections to bilk the city of over $200 million.
Compromise of 1877
The Compromise of 1877, taken action under Henry Clay, was unofficial. The Democrats allowed Rutherford B. Hayes to be brought back into office and get re-elected, in exchange to stop the North's military reconstruction in Louisiana and South Carolina, and asked for a bill to begin the Texas and Pacific railroad construction.