The Gilded Age

Sam Green


Gilded- covered thinly with gold leaf or gold paint.

An object that has been gilded has been covered in gold. Politics were the material that is underneath the gold surface. The politics were corrupt in the late 1800's even though there was much industry and prosperity, which is the gold. Mark Twain published a novel called "The Gilded Age" which is where the name actually comes from.

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Grant's Election and the Bloody Shirt Campaign

Ulysses S. Grant (republican) was running in the Election of 1868 against Horatio Seymour (democrat). Grant ended up winning the presidential election 214 votes to Seymour's 80. The Bloody Shirt Campaign is called this because the republicans would "wave the bloody shirt" which means they would use tactics of campaigning that would raise the stereotypes toward the democrats that were held in the Civil War.
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Gilded Age politics were dominated by corruption, as politicians took bribes and rewarded their supporters with government jobs (spoils system). Much corruption happened during this period of time, like the credit mobilier scandal. William "boss" Tweed was a big part of the corruption as he stole somewhere around $200 million from New York City. Tweed used bribes to gain his political position which then gave him part of the cities finances. Thomas Nast was a cartoonist, he is considered to be "The Father of the American Cartoon." Some of his work was directed at William Tweed and tried to bring him and his political corruption down.

Compromise of 1877

The Compromise of 1877 was an unwritten deal that settled the much disputed 1877 election. It pulled federal troops out of politics in the South, and also marked the end of the Reconstruction era. Through the Compromise, Rutherford Hayes (republican) was president over Samuel Tilden (democrat). Hayes had to remove the remaining troops in South Carolina and Louisiana. When the troops left, many white Republicans also left and the Democrats took control of these southern states. Other terms of this deal included the building of a transcontinental railroad in the south and had to help the south industrialize themselves.

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