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Chapter 10: The Flourishing Land



Parties in balance
Inability to win both houses of Congress made an age of timid Presidents. This meant that a lost election
might mean lost power.
Rutherford B. Hayes
Enemies referred to him as His Fraudulency or Rutherfraud. He also weakened his position by announcing
he would serve only one term.
The great railway strike
Hayes took office in March 1877 during the deep depression. Strikes happened. He did not like using troops
as strikebreakers, but he felt that he had no choice.
The money question
This depression brought demands for an increase of money in circulation. It was deflation; a dollar would buy
more every year. Borrowing classes demanded that the government issue more paper money or coin silver in
large quantities. A rise in the supply of money tends to lift the general level of prices. This is inflation. Free
silver was the free coining of silver dollars. However, farmers could not persuade Congress. All they got was
the Bland-Allison Act by Richard Bland and William Allison. It required the government to buy and coin 2
million dollars worth of silver. This only partially satisfied the demand for a larger money supply.
The spoils system
Since Andrew Jackson, there was the spoils system. Many people joined the government just to get rewards.
When people stopped this, this was civil service reform. The Stalwarts, old-fashioned republicans, tried to
Hayes and civil service reform
Hayes did not agree. Roscoe Conkling and Rutherford Hayes had a fight. Then, his enemies became part of
his own parties as governor and Vice-President. Democrats controlled the Vice President.
Hayes did not
accomplish much.
The Republicans name Garfield and Arthur
Hayes had made the Republican Partys image improve, but he made too many enemies. Half-breeds are
people half-loyal to the old time Republican policies. They were for civil service reform and took a hands-of
policy toward the South. The leader was James G. Blaine, the Plumed Knight. The Half-Breeds named James A
Garfield, and served in the Union Army. The Democrats simply nominated General Winfield Scott Hancock,
who had no experience in politics.
Garfield is elected
Garfield squeaked into office, with a bare 7000 vote, with an Electoral College vote of 214 to 155. Southern
states had a solid vote for the Democrats. Not until 1920 would a Republican candidate for President win a
state of the former Confederacy. Garfield was an intelligent, adaptable man. Many people did not believe
Arthur though when he denied that he had been bribed with stock in the company. Charles Guiteau
Arthur as President
Many voters continued to think of Arthur as a high-class party hack. He called for civil service reform.
Stalwart Republicans had to follow. The Pendleton Act forbade appointments to office. He surprised both his
supporters and his opponents. James Blaine opposed Arthur for the Republican nomination.
Reformers and self-helpers
Grover Cleveland, the reformer
HE was just what honest Democrats wanted in their candidates. Republicans nominated Theodore Roosevelt.
Blaine versus Cleveland
Cleveland won the election mainly because of a few reasons. There was drinking and nasty remarks.
The Interstate Commerce Act of 1887
Grover Cleveland accomplished little during the first two years. He regulated the railroads, especially the
monopolies. New law banned rebates and other favors. Rates would be proportional to distance. Rate
schedules would be public and open to inspection by the new Interstate Commerce Commission. This was one
of the first ways to regulate big business.
Pension vetoes
Cleveland vetoed pensions for people who did not need money. Since he thought this was a fraud, Cleveland
vetoed the bill.
The issue of the tarif
President Cleveland aimed to stop the unnecessary taxation that produced surplus money. This let the
Republican Party have an advantage also.
The presidential campaign of 1888
Democrats nominated Cleveland, and Benjamin Harrison of Indiana. In one of the most corrupt campaigns in
history, Republicans spent a fortune buying votes. Harrison was nominated
Czar Reed and Congress

Chapter 10: The Flourishing Land


Harrison had hard times. He made enemies even when he tried to do the right thing. However, the first
session of Congress produced legislation that is more important. The leader of the house, Thomas Reed ruled
firmly that he was nicknamed the Czar. He forced the House to adopt Reed Rules. It gave the Speaker and the
majority of the power to push through the program.
Electoral reform
Harrison called a bill for the inaugural address. President Harrison saw that Southerners prevented blacks from
voting. The House passed the Lodge bill. However, the Senate used Filibuster. In order for the southerners to
get the tarif they wanted, they had to give up the Lodge bill. Oh well!
A new tarif
This was the McKinley tarif bill. This raised those taxes on everything outside the country that competed with
American production. Everything else was free. The senators were willing to do this if something was also
done for silver. The Sherman Silver Purchase Act provided that the government would purchase 4.5 million
ounces each month. This worked!
The Sherman Antitrust Act
Congress had to face the growing demand of Companies. This was the Sherman Antitrust Act, punishing
restraint of trade, or commerce. The law was not efective though since it was vague. Only Theodore
Roosevelt would be willing to use the act.
The billion-dollar Congress
The busy Republicans passed many bills costly for the treasury. Harrison signed the Pension Act, and the
Treasury surplus was depleted. The Silver Purchase Act angered bankers and bondholders. The election of
1890 was a landslide for the Democrats. During the last two years of Harrisons term, no important laws were
The farmers revolt
The farmers organize
Granges were people who were farmers that discussed their troubles. Alliances organized cooperatives to
save money by buying seed and fertilizer in large quantities. The prices the farmer received went down.
The Granger Laws
Grangers managed to pass state laws regulating railroad and grain elevator rates. This did not work. One
exception was Munn vs. Illinois.
The Farmers Alliances
Prosperity came a way, and then farmers sufered again. Alliances were formed. Whites would work with
blacks to gain reforms that would improve life.
The Populist party is formed
Farmers and some radicals formed the Populist Party. Their platform was that everything was in moral, political,
and material ruin. They wanted sweeping reform.
The election of 1892
The Democrats again chose Grover Cleveland. Populists chose James Weaver. Republicans had picked
Harrison again. Cleveland won.
Clevelands second term
Clevelands second term was also a disaster. It was a depression. A problem was the Treasury was losing gold.
Treasury notes that could by silver could be redeemed for gold. Cleveland demanded repeal of the Sherman
Silver Purchase Act. This passed.
A new tarif and income tax
The Wilson Gorman tarif had reductions, but Cleveland signed this to act to become law without his
signature. There was also a tax of 2 percent on incomes above 4000. However, the Supreme Court declared
the law unconstitutional.
Labor discontent
Cleveland did not have any more support. He refused to give people silver. He had used federal troops
against the starving workers. Injunction told the union to stop the strike.
Plugging the drain on gold
Sound money would restore confidence and get the wheels of industry turning again. Sound money, depended
on the gold standard. Cleveland was desperate to find a way to save the nations credit by keeping a gold
reserve. He turned to J. P. Morgan, who helped a lot.

Our money: gold versus silver
Money became the key to the election of 1896.

William Jennings Bryan

Chapter 10: The Flourishing Land

The most successful of the farm crusaders was William Jennings Bryan. He could be the Great Commoner,
Prairie Avenger, and the Boy Orator of the Platte. He loved a political battle. He thought that free silver would
cure the nations ills. The Democratic convention named him to lead their ticket.
The campaign and election of 1896
Eads decided to use steel for this structure. He used chromium steel would not rust and needed no covering.
William Sherman pounded the last spike. President Grant proclaimed Eads an American hero.
The campaign and election of 1896
He made many speeches.
Mark Hanna removed McKinleys campaign. Bryans fatal weakness was his
inability to carry a single one of the urban=industrial states. He would be named the Democratic candidate for
President. Bryan did not win.