The Gilded Age
The "Gilded" in "Gilded Age"
The term "gilded" means to cover something in a thin gold leaf or foil. The term "Gilded Age" was given to the period after the American Civil War after being coined by author Mark Twain, because of the expanding industry, which was given a clean "gold" look to cover up the poor conditions suffered during that time. Another reason for the term was the use of gilding to make a stronger metal look better, due to gold being a relatively weak metal. This reflected the thought of a strong inner America which looked good on the outside.
Grant's Election and the "Bloody Shirt" Campaign
During the Election of 1868, Ulysses S. Grant, the Republican nominee, did not attempt to make a effort to make a campaign. Instead, the Republicans "waved the bloody shirt" and tried to put down the Democrats as much as possible, citing their lack of support during the Civil War and their association with the South. In the end, Grant won without even putting forth much effort on his own.
The Corruption of the Gilded Age
During the Gilded Age, many of the upcoming business people used methods that today are considered unlawful or outright immoral. A prime example of this is William "Boss" Tweed, who utilized bribes and knock backs to put himself in a position of power and wealth. However, Tweed was finally caught by the New York Times and Thomas Nast, the cartoonist of the paper, who ultimately got Tweed arrested and punished, since the illiterate supporters of Tweed could still understand the picture in the comics. Nast was able to get his message through this way to the majority of the population even to the illiterate, unlike the Times, because everyone could understand the pictures.
The Compromise of 1877
The Compromise of 1877 was an unwritten agreement that settled controversy in the Election of 1876, where the Democrats were upset by the victory of Rutherford B. Hayes, and refused to accept him, until a deal was made with the Republicans that included the removal of troops from the South, which, in essence, ended the Reconstruction Era.