I. The “Bloody Shirt” Elects Grant
The Republicans nominated Civil War General
Ulysses S. Grant
, who was a great soldier but had
no political experience.
The Democrats could only denounce military Reconstruction and couldn’t agree on anything else,
and thus, were disorganized.
The Republicans got Grant elected (barely) by “waving the bloody shirt,” or reliving his war
victories, and used his popularity to elect him, though his popular vote was only slightly ahead of
. Seymour was the Democratic candidate who didn’t accept a redemption-of-
greenbacks-for-maximum-value platform, and thus doomed his party.
However, due to the close nature of the election, Republicans could not take future victories for
II. The Era of Good Stealings
Despite the Civil War, the population still mushroomed, partially due to immigration, but during this
time, politics became very corrupt.
Railroad promoters cheated gullible customers.
Stock-market investors were a cancer in the public eye.
Too many judges and legislators put their power up for hire.
Two notorious millionaires were
In 1869, the pair concocted a plot to corner the gold market that would only work if the treasury
stopped selling gold, so they worked on President Grant directly and through his brother-in-law, but
their plan failed when the treasury sold gold.
") of NYC, headed by
bribery, graft, and fake elections to cheat the city of as much as $200 million.
Tweed was finally caught when The New York Times secured evidence of his misdeeds, and later
died in jail.
Samuel J. Tilden
gained fame by leading the prosecution of Tweed, and he would later use this
fame to become the Democratic nominee in the presidential election of 1876.
, political cartoonist, constantly drew against Tammany’s corruption.
III. A Carnival of Corruption
Grant, an easy-going fellow, apparently failed to see the corruption going on, even though many of
his friends wanted offices and his cabinet was totally corrupt (except for Secretary of State Hamilton Fish),
and his in-laws, the Dent family, were especially terrible.
, a railroad construction company that paid itself huge sums of money for small
railroad construction, tarred Grant.
A New York newspaper finally busted it, and two members of Congress were formally censured
(the company had given some of its stock to the congressmen) and the Vice President himself was
shown to have accepted 20 shares of stock.