Political Paralysis in the Gilded Age
Political Paralysis in the Gilded Age
The “Bloody Shirt” Elects Grant
In the 1868 presidential election, the Republicans offered Gen. Ulysses S. Grant. Although he had no political experience, the idea was that his war-hero status would carry him to victory.

The Democratic party was hopelessly disorganized. They agreed on their criticism of military Reconstruction, but little else. The Democrats nominated Horatio Seymour.

Seymours popularity took a hit when he said he did not support redeeming greenback money at full value.
Consequently, Grant won, narrowly. His main technique was to “wave the bloody shirt,” meaning to constantly remind voters of his military recordand that hed led the North to victory.

The close victory signaled a couple of things for the future: (a) tightly run and hard-fighting political parties and (b) narrow election margins of victory.

The Era of Good Stealings
Corruption became all too common in the post-Civil War years.
The corruption often came via the railroads, meddling with stock prices, and through corrupt judges.
Of special note were the exploits of “Jubilee” Jim Fisk and his partner Jay Gould. These two came up with, and nearly pulled off, a scheme in 1869 to corner the gold market to themselves. They tried, unsuccessfully, to get President Grant involved as well as his brother-in-law.

In New York City, Boss Tweed ran Tammany Hall, a local political district. Boss Tweed used bribes, graft, and rigged elections to mooch money and ensure continual power for himself and his buddies.

Thomas Nast was a cartoonist who relentlessly attacked Tweeds corruption. Tweed despised Nast because, although many people in Tweeds district couldnt read about the corruption, they could understand those “them damn pictures.”

Nasts cartoons brought down Tweed. Samuel J. Tilden gained fame in prosecuting Tweed. Tweed eventually died in jail.
Tilden would ride the fame to become the nominee for president in 1876 vs. Rutherford B. Hayes.
A Carnival of Corruption
President Grant was an honest man but there was much corruption underneath his administration. He either wasnt aware of it or failed to properly deal with it.

Many in the Dent family, his in-laws, obtained government “jobs” for themselves.
One of the worst situations was the Crédit Mobilier scandal
The company was constructing the trans-continental railroad

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Boss Tweed And Samuel J. Tilden. (April 3, 2021). Retrieved from https://www.freeessays.education/boss-tweed-and-samuel-j-tilden-essay/