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1890 - 1916 Politics and Wars

1890 - 1916 Politics and Wars - Politics is mass...

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Politics is mass entertainment and “favorite sport” of society 79% of the electorate votes Women & blacks are kept from the polls – poll taxes, separate boxes w/ names, literacy tests Extremely strong party loyalties lead to close elections Democracts = keep government local & small Republicans = government as an instrument to promote moral progress & material wealth State bureaus & commissions established to regulate industrial society Mostly advisory, some experimental with powers ICC – created by Interstate Commerce Act (1887) to investigate & oversee railroads Birth of the modern, powerful Presidency Bland-Allison Silver Purchase Act (1878) – partial coinage of silver Arthur gets office with Garfield’s death Pendleton Act (1883) – reforms civil service (CSC) Cleveland gets image back for Democrats but is defeated in elections 1888 – Republicans gain Presidency and both houses of Congress, breaking the previous stalemate McKinley Tariff Act raises tariff duties 4%, allows Pres to lower duties if other countries do Uses duties to promote new industry Sherman Antitrust Act is the first federal attempt to regulate big business Declares illegal all that restrains trade & commerce Made U.S. the only industrialized nation to regulate business combinations Sherman Silver Purchase Act tried to end problems with the low price of silver Treasury purchased 4.5 million ounces/month & issues notes for it Populist Movement Started by farmers in the South & West assembling on campgrounds National Farmers Alliance and Industrial Union promises unified action to solve agricultural problems Also in fight is National Farmer’s Alliance (in Plains) & Southern Alliance There is a separate Colored Alliance for black farmers Marked by secrecy and centralized control Arises from discontent with declining prices, rising shipping rates, mortgages (Perception sparks anger) Reality is that purchasing power is high, shipping rates are low, and mortgages are common Northeast is overworked land, West is plagued by drought, South is inhibited by crop lien system and debts Ocala Demands (1890) – create sub-treasury system, free coin of silver, end tariffs/national bank, establish federal income tax, and direct election of senators Populist Party (a.k.a. People’s Party) is formed in 1892 in Omaha to promote reform Blacks & whites are united Adopts many of the Ocala Demands as platform Depression Why? The economy had expanded too rapidly 1893 – Panic at stock market with Philadelphia Railroad and Reading Railroad going bankrupt Sell stocks and assets to buy gold depletes Treasury May 5, 1893 “Industrial Black Friday” Easter 1894 – Coxey’s Army (unemployed workers) marches to Washington, D.C. from Ohio Wants to work building railroads with $500 million to finance them Pullman Strike (1894) – protest wage cuts, high rents, and layoffs
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Paralyzes ½ of the West – ARU refuses to carry cars Cleveland to break – obstructs mail delivery Independence Day violence Miners – a dirty and dangerous job
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