The "Bloody Shirt" Elects Grant
The Republicans nominated General Grant for the presidency in 1868. The Republican Party supported the continuation of the Reconstruction of the South, while Grant stood on the platform of "just having peace." The Democrats nominated Horatio Seymour.
Grant won the election of 1868.
The Era of Good Stealings
Jim Fisk and Jay Gould devised a plot to drastically raise the price of the gold market in 1869. On "Black Friday," September 24, 1869, the two bought a large amount of gold, planning to sell it for a profit. In order to lower the high price of gold, the Treasury was forced to sell gold from its reserves. "Boss" Tweed employed bribery, graft, and fraudulent elections to milk New York of as much as $200 million. (Tweed Ring) Tweed was eventually put into prison. A Carnival of Corruption
In addition to members of the general public being corrupt, members of the federal government also participated in unethical actions. The Credit Mobilier scandal erupted in 1872 when Union Pacific Railroad insiders formed the Credit Mobilier construction company and then hired themselves at inflated prices to build the railroad line, earning high dividends. When it was found out that government officials were paid to stay quiet about the illicit business, some officials were censured. The Liberal Republican Revolt of 1872
In response to disgust of the political corruption in Washington and of military Reconstruction, the Liberal Republican Party was formed in 1872. The Liberal Republican Party met in Cincinnati and chose Horace Greeley as their presidential candidate for the election of 1872. The Democratic Party also chose Greeley as their candidate. The Republican Party continued to put its support behind President Grant. Grant won the election of 1872. The Liberal Republicans caused the Republican Congress to pass a general amnesty act in 1872; removing political disabilities from most of the former Confederate leaders. Congress also reduced high Civil War tariffs and gave mild civil-service reform to the Grant administration. Depression, Deflation, and Inflation
Over-speculating was the primary cause to the panic of 1873; too much expansion had taken place. Too many people had taken out loans of which they were unable to pay back due to lack of profit from where they had invested their money. Due to popular mistrust of illegitimate dealings in the government, inflation soon depreciated the value of the greenback. Supported by advocates of hard money (coin money), the Resumption Act of 1875 required the government to continue to withdraw greenbacks from circulation and to redeem all paper currency in gold at face value beginning in 1879. The coinage of silver dollars was stopped by Congress in 1873 when silver miners began to stop selling their silver to the federal mints - miners could receive more money for the silver elsewhere. The Treasury began to accumulate gold stocks against the appointed day for the continuation of metallic money payments. This policy, along with the reduction of greenbacks, was known as "contraction." When the Redemption Day came in 1879 for holders of greenbacks to redeem the greenbacks for gold, few did; the greenback's value had actually increased due to its reduction in circulation. The Republican hard-money policy had a political backlash and helped to elect a Democratic House of Representatives in 1874. Pallid Politics in the Gilded Age
Throughout most of the Gilded Age (a name given to the 30 years after the Civil War era by Mark Twain) the political parties in government had balanced out. Few significant economic issues separated the Democrats and the Republicans. Republican voters tended to stress strict codes of personal morality and believed that the government should play a role in regulating the economic and the moral affairs of society. They were found in the Midwest and Northeast. Many Republican votes came from the Grand Army of the...