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Political Paralysis in the Gilded Age 1869 - 1896
Postwar United States Population increased to 39 million by 1870, making US 3 rd largest nation in western world Political corruption rampant after the war – Idealism of Americans (fighting for Union and emancipation during the war) turned to cynicism (because of corruption and waste)
Postwar United States The Gilded Age – Used by Mark Twain to describe the 30 years after the Civil War – “shiny and prosperous on the outside, but rotten on the inside” (Twain)
The “Bloody Shirt” Elects Grant The election of 1868: the Republicans – Nominate Ulysses S. Grant – Grant was a popular war hero but had extremely limited knowledge with anything outside his immediate experience (military, horses, etc.) – Republican platform called for continued Reconstruction in South with Grant’s call, “Let us have peace.” – Republicans whipped up enthusiasm for Grant by “waving the bloody shirt” – reviving memories of Civil War and Democratic rebellion