Why did the American public mistrust organized power, and was their reasoning
The Gilded Age stands out in American history due to the corruption that occurred in the
government, from Grant, to Tilden and Hayes.
All of the mistrust that the American
public had stems from the government, and the people had good reason for doing so.
government is the main source of organized power, and the weak presidencies of Johnson
and Grant, accompanied by bribes and dubious deals led Americans to distrust it.
most popular Republican politician, James Blaine from Maine, had been paid off by
favors to railroads and lied about it later.
If the most popular Republican politician was
found out to be a liar, than trusting the government was made nearly impossible.
most politicians were very open about their policies, and Conkling from New York even
argued against liberal reformers that government jobs should be rewarded based on
loyalty not merit.
To politicians, it did not matter how capable officeholders were, rather
it mattered whom they supported.
Qualified workers being replaced by incompetent
friends sent a wave of fear through America, and led Americans to mistrust the
This uncertainty is perfectly reasonable, because the scandals, bribes, and
favoritism were all real, and the negative effects on Americans were obvious.
Do you believe that the urban bosses stepping into local government positions helped or
hampered American and why?
When native-born elites left government positions in search of more lucrative businesses,
their old traditions were replaced by the new ideas of urban bosses that stepped in.
change helped America as a whole, because the urban bosses wished to win as many
votes as they could and to do so spread politics all around the city.
With control based
mainly on the immigrant vote, bosses such as “Bit Tim” Sullivan and “Hinky Dink”
Kenna, helped the lower social classes in their cities.
Jobs were handed out in desperate
times and Sullivan of New York even gave out shoes for the children and turkeys to
struggling families on Thanksgiving.
George Plunkitt even attended funerals and
weddings if the voters wished, helping brides and mourners in return for a vote.
personal connection benefited the boss, giving him votes, and also the lower classes,
giving them food, clothing, and job opportunities.
These relationships also led to
skyrocketing voter turnouts, because party leaders wished to make politics worthwhile.