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Politics in Guiiled Age

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Essay title: Politics in Guiiled Age

I. The "Bloody Shirt" Elects Grant

1. The Republicans nominated Civil War General Ulysses S. Grant, who was a great soldier but had no political experience.

i. The Democrats could only denounce military Reconstruction but couldn't agree on anything else, and thus, were unorganized.

2. The Republicans got Grant elected (barely) by "waving the bloody shirt," or reliving his war victories, and used his popularity to elect him, though his popular vote was only ahead of rival Horatio Seymour, the Democratic candidate who didn't accept a redemption-of-greenbacks-for-maximum-value platform, and thus doomed his party.

3. However, due to the still-close nature of the election, Republicans could not take future victories for granted.

II. The Era of Good Stealings

1. Despite the Civil War, population still mushroomed, due to incoming immigration, but during this time, politics became very corrupted.

i. Railroad promoters cheated gullible customers.

ii. Stock-market investors were a cinder in the public eye.

iii. Too many judges and legislators put their power up for hire.

2. Two notorious millionaires were Jim Fisk and Jay Gould.

i. In 1869, the pair concocted a plot to corner the gold market that would only work if the treasury stopped selling gold, so they worked on President Grant directly and through his brother-in-law, but their plan failed when the treasury sold gold.

3. The infamous Tweed ring of NYC, headed by "Boss" Tweed, employed bribery, graft, and fake elections to cheat the city of as much as $200 million.

i. Tweed was finally caught when The New York Times secured evidence of his misdeeds, and Tweed, despite being defended by future presidential candidate Samuel J. Tilden, was convicted and imprisoned.


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