The Gilded Age
The Gilded Age
The Gilded Age Era
This term was applied to the time period spanning the 1870's to the twentieth century, and was given by Mark Twain to describe an era of social problems covered by a thin appearance of gold. This time period was a period of enormous growth, but was shrouded in extreme poverty.
Election of Grant - Bloody Shirt Campaign
Waving a bloody shirt refers to politicians referencing the blood of heroes to criticize opponents. This technique was mostly employed by radical republicans to focus attention on Reconstruction. This technique mostly secured veterans votes during the campaign. Grant waved "the bloody shirt" wanting the remind the voters of what the South and the Democratic party did to the nation.
Corruption of the Gilded Age
The most infamous example of machine politics was Tammany Hall, headquarters of the Democratic Party in New York City. Headed by William "Boss" Tweed, the Tammany Hall political machine of the late 1860s and early 1870s used graft, bribery, and rigged elections to rob the city of over $200 million. Many bosses came into the money through kick-backs and bribes.
In 1871, the New York Times published evidence of misuse of public funds to indict and eventually convict Boss Tweed and some of his Tammany associates. The political cartoonist Thomas Nast conveyed Tweed’s abuses to even the illiterate and semi-illiterate masses of recent immigrants. Nast was offered a $100,000 bribe to "study art in Paris," a euphemism for discontinuing his pictorial campaign against Tweed. Nast refused despite even higher offers. To escape arrest, Tweed fled to Spain. Ironically, he was identified from Nast cartoons circulated in that country, and as a result was captured by Spanish authorities and extradited back to the United States.
Compromise of 1877
Rutherford B Hayes was awarded the White House over Democrat Samuel J. Tilden on the understanding that Hayes would remove the federal troops whose support was essential to the survival of Republican state governments in South Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana. The compromise took effect before Hayes was sworn in, as the president, Republican Ulysses S. Grant, removed the soldiers from Florida. As president, Hayes removed the remaining troops in South Carolina and Louisiana. As soon as the troops left, many Republicans also left and the Democrats took control.