230 GA Politics and Populism - "This was an era when....

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GA Politics and Populism Inauguration of President William McKinley, 1901 (Pennsylvania Ave. and 15th St., Washington,DC) “This was an era when… Standard Oil did everything to the Pennsylvania  legislature except refine it, when lawmakers by the score came to expect  cash and whiskey as their due, when anyone who watched knew and so few  cared. Why should they have cared? … No one expected great men in  politics; saints entered the ministry, geniuses made a fortune in business.  So the same men or their facsimiles returned year after year to repeat the  same practices, underwritten by a general, understandable apathy.” Robert H. Wiebe, The Search For Order, 1877-1920, p. 28
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Questions for HIST-1302 What role did traditional politics play in the Gilded Age? Differences between the parties? Liberalism, “Little d-democrat,” 3rd parties What issues did the two parties take up? Which did they ignore? Did these issues address the problems of modernization? How did Americans react when the political system failed to meet their needs?
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Gilded Age Politics False Assumptions Republican Strong Federal Government Corruption the only real issue Realities Parties balanced Tickets similar No real federal “state” Local government more important Fringe groups, 3 rd Parties, more important (Most pols are heavy-set white men with facial hair) A svelte Grover Cleveland, 2x US President
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Third Parties and U.S. Constitution Strom Thurmond, 1948 Eugene Debs, 1912 Two main types of representative government Parliamentary (U.K., Brazil, Japan, Israel, etc.) PM creates coalition government Most fringe parties get some representation U.S. (separation of powers) Executive, Senate, House all elected separately Winner-take-all electoral politics sustains 2-party system Who compromises in U.S.?
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In addition, in the Gilded Age, the “Spoils System” was how power was exercised “You can’t keep an organization together without patronage…. Men ain’t in politics for nothing. They want to get something out of it.” George Plunkitt, Tammany Hall, NYC
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“Honest Graft”
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#1: Civil Service Reform Repeated Scandals Garfield Assassination (1881) Pendleton Act (1883)
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#2: Tariff Reforms Ad valorem tariffs Add value (cost) to goods “Revenue” tariffs Raised to meet expenses only McKinley Tariff (1890) Revenues distributed to Industry Raised veteran pensions
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Other Economic Issues #3: Currency Reform (Inflation)
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This note was uploaded on 03/27/2012 for the course HIST 1302 taught by Professor Carter during the Spring '08 term at Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi.

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230 GA Politics and Populism - "This was an era when....

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