Response Paper 1 You will write a response paper of 2-3 pages in length. The

Response Paper 1
You will write a response paper of 2-3 pages in length. The topic can be any topic you found and read in the primary course text, readings, videos etc. You select your own topic from the materials we have covered so far in class. You will write a 2-3 page response that is double spaced, Times New Roman with 12 Font, and have a proper introduction and conclusion. The response must explain the topic (what is it?), why it is important to American History, why you are interested in the topic, and your thoughts on the topic.
If you use outside sources then cite the materials, but outside sources are not required. Again, if you do use outside sources, cite the material.
Please submit in a word document or a comparable format that Canvas can open. Elections•Campaigns and Elections•Turn out between 1870-1900 high, with nearly 80% of voters voting. (Compared to mid to high 50’s today)•Male dominated•“Until 1890’s most states had no laws to ensure secrecy in voting, and balloting often took place in open rooms or on sidewalks”•Voters used party tickets instead of ballots, thus vote allegiance was revealed.•Although women could not vote they participated•Wrote partisan literature•Sponsored rallies•Gave campaign speeches
Partisan Politics•Control of the Presidency and Congress shifted back and forth between parties.•Party Loyalty – Interrelated regional, ethnic, religious, and local factors determined the party affiliations.•GOP or Grand Old Party (Republicans)
Partisan Politics (cont.)•GOP strongest in the North •defenders of the Union •Identified with nationalism and national unity•Protestants•African-Americans loyal – emancipation and right to vote•Enacted laws against parochial schools (religious affiliation), foreign languages and alcohol consumption
Partisan Politics (cont.)•Democrats strongest in the South •Portrayed as party of limited government and “personal liberties”•Stood as defenders of tradition and Southern Whites•Support in Urban northeast from Catholics and Immigrants•Supported disenfranchisement of African-Americans and exclusion of Chinese immigrants
Partisan Politics (cont.)•Third parties •The Prohibition Party•Abolition of alcohol•Electoral reforms•Women’s suffrage•Economic reforms such as railroad regulation, income taxes, and improved race relations•The Greenback Party•Labor reform and currency inflation (to democratize the economy)•The Populist Party
Associational Politics•Politics was often based on public policies•Granger Laws•State laws enacted in Midwest in the 1870’s that regulated rates of railroads, grain elevator operators, and other middlemen•Labor organizations •Mugwumps – conservative elitist reformers who favored limited government and opposed tariffs – sought honest efficient govt. and civil service reforms•Women activists •National American Womens Suffrage Association•Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) on restrictive alcohol policy
Limits of Government•The Weak Presidency•Impeachment of Johnson during Reconstruction•Each of Presidents following Johnson, Republican, narrow views of Presidency•Viewed duties as administrative•Did little to reach population or Legislation•Limited control over bureaus and departments•Small staff
Limits of Government (cont.)•The Inefficient Congress•Congress was most powerful of branches but still relatively weak•Oversaw federal budget•Oversaw the cabinet•Debated public issues•Controlled legislation•Inefficient•Noisy and Chaotic Chambers•High turnover•Old rules hampered the legislative chambers•Congress saw more and more legislation develop
Federal Bureaucracy and the Spoils System•Federal bureaucracy was small with approx. 50,000 government employees in 1870 (compared to today)•The spoils system •Victorious politicians appointed government jobs to party workers•Little regard for qualifications•Appointees then pledged part of salary and time to the party and interests•Ability of party leaders to mobilize the party, reward loyal service•Critics argued – corruption, abuse, and inefficiency
The States•Inconsistent State Government•State Governments still more powerful than federal government•Expanded roles due to industrialization•Developed commissions to regulate industry•Regulated railroads animal industries•Not all states regulated evenly and of course corruption existed
Public Policy and National Elections•Civil Service Reform•Mugwumps and others wanted a professional civil service based on merit not spoils system•Wanted a system to promote efficiency, the economy, and honest government•President Garfield was assassinated •1883 Pendleton Civil Service Act – •prohibited federal employees from soliciting or receiving political contributions from government workers•Created Civil Service Commission to administer competitive examinations to applicants for government jobs.
Tariffs and Trade•Tariffs – heated debates over tariffs partisan, ideological, and regional •Provided revenue •Protected American industry•Republicans supported tariffs – protected labor•Democrats supported tariff reduction – Laissez-faire•1884 campaign •Republicans argued high employment depended on tariffs•Democrats ignored the issue•Republicans won elections•McKinley tariff act of 1890 raised tariffs to prohibitive levels
Federal Regulations •Beginnings of Federal Regulations•Business sought •tariffs to protect industry •laissez faire to ensure profits•Railroad concerns put pressure to regulate.•Interstate Commerce Act – 1887 law that expanded federal power over business by prohibiting pooling and discriminatory rates by railroads •Interstate Commerce Commission •Sherman Antitrust Act – first federal antitrust measure (1890) •Laws intended to break up or regulate corporate monopolies•Sought to promote economic competition •Not really enforced often overlooked
Money•The Money Question•Creditors, bankers, conservative economists, and business leaders favored limiting money supply. •Called this sound money policy and argued•Economic stability•Maintain property values•Retain investor confidence•Farmers and debtors argued this was deflationary monetary policy and would•Depress already low crop prices•Drive debtors further into debt•Restrict economic opportunity•Favored expanding money supply to match growing population and economy
Silver•The Silver Issue•U.S. was bimetallic standard using both gold and silver as a basis for its currency•Free Silver – •1890 Sherman Silver Purchase Act
Crisis of 1890’s•Farmers Protest Inequities•Late 1880s agricultural depression in Great Plains and South•Largely due to bad weather and international overproduction •Seeking relief farmers focused on•Railroad discrimination•Tariff favoritism•Restrictive financial system•Indifferent political parties
Credit Inequities•Farmers main focus was on system of money and credit•In west farmers borrowed from mortgage companies to buy land and machinery •In South credit shortage cotton marketing retail trade helped create sharecropping which began vicious pattern of exploitation•Freight Rates and Tariffs•Farmers Organized
The Peoples Party•People’s Party formed from older parties seeking interests of the people•Political victories in Kansas, Nebraska, Minnesota, and South Dakota•Victories followed in the West and began enacting new legislation•In South some racial divides were abandoned for populist parties but most were maintained•Omaha platform of 1892 – rejected laissez faire policies, demanded economic and political reforms to aid distressed farm workers•Populists lost support but created a large wedge within politics and economics, a voice for the people
Booms and Busts•The Challenge of the Depression•Economic Cycles and Depressions•Recession is negative economic growth•Depression is •A decline in real GDP of 10% or more•A recession lasting 2 or more years•1893 – economic collapse•Railroad overexpansion•A weak banking system•Tight credit•Plunging agricultural prices•By winter of 1893 20% of labor force was unemployed•No public welfare or unemployment
Big Business “Crony Capitalism”•Protecting Big Business•1894 over 1,400 industrial strikes – 700,000 workers•Government acted aggressively to put these down•Supreme Court worked to strengthen bond between business and government
Election of 1896•Due to economic issues, depression, and alienation of workers the elections 1894 saw Populists gain votes by 42%.•Political maneuvering occurred for votes•McKinley – high tariffs and gold standard•Supported by business and workers for economic expansion•Bryan and Silverites – Democrats and Populists fused together but infighting•Endorsed free silver (govt should expand money supply by purchasing and coining all the silver it offered)•The income tax•Regulation of railroads and trusts•McKinley was victorious •Tariff protection•Sound money policy (restricting money supply and adhere to gold standard)•Overseas expansion
Conclusion•Political contests were growing vigorously•Government was still small and weak•Traditional Laissez Faire economics was becoming more difficult in American Industry•Republicans emerged as dominant party•Depressions had set stage for new changes in roles of government and public support•Ready for the Progressive Era

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