The Politics of the Age of Enterprise (Henretta Ch. 19)

The Politics of the Age of Enterprise (Henretta Ch. 19) -...

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Diablo Valley College History 121 Dr. Kent Haldan Chapter 19: The Politics in the Age of Enterprise (1877-1896)
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Q#1.What is the paradox that James Bryce finds in American politics? At the beginning of this chapter, Henretta et al point to James Bryce’s The American Commonwealth (1888) for pointing about a paradox about American life at that time: On one hand, “The robust democracy hailed by Tocqueville (Democracy in American (1832) had descended into the barren politics of post-Civil War America.” On the other, he found “a reserve of force and patriotism more than sufficient to sweep away all the evils now tolerated, and to make a politics of the country worthy of its material grandeur and of the private virtues of its inhabitants.”
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I. “The Gilded Age:" Mark Twain correctly termed this era (1877-1896) "the Gilded Age." A.On the surface this appeared to be an era of prosperity for the wealthy corporate world, but this prosperity did not trickle down to the working class masses. B.While federal and state government actively supported Capital against Labor, the federal government was relatively "passive." C.This is also a period when America's "robust" democracy had developed into the dreary machine politics of the industrial age. D.However, this era ended with the Populist revolt (1893- 1900) revealing the "Abounding strength and vitality" of American democracy as described by the English observer James Bryce.
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The executive branch Q#2.What was the most demanding duty of the president at this time and how and why was this task reformed? What were other duties of the executive branch? A.The most demanding job was dispensing patronage to the faithful under the spoils system. With the assassination of Garfield, this corrupt system was reformed via the Pendleton Act which established a non-partisan Civil Service Commission authorized to hire civil servants based on an examination (only affected 10% of federal jobs).
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The executive branch B.According to Henretta et al the duties of the executive branch were modest. Congress had the power of the purse, the federal, federal agencies paid more attention to its money dispensing committees. Of the 100,000 federal employees, 56% worked for the post office. The Executive branch: White House staff consisted of six assistants and a few clerks, while the Treasury, State, War, Interior Departments were "sleepy places" carrying on routine activities.
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The executive branch Federal funds came from customs duties and sales tax on liquor and tobacco which exceeded its expenditures. Hence reducing the federal surplus was one of the most vexing problems of the 1880s
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Overall: From 1877-1896 American political leaders retreated to more modest role for the federal government than during Reconstruction. The
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The Politics of the Age of Enterprise (Henretta Ch. 19) -...

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