Alexander Sheppard: Washington, DC political boss, known for providing many public services in order to win favor with voters and representatives.
James Pendergast: Well-liked political boss in Kansas City, who gained considerable political support by providing jobs and special services to African, Irish, and Italian constituents.
Tammany Hall: Tammany Hall was a NYC political org founded in 1786 and incorporated on May 12, 1789 as the Tammany Society. It was the Dem Party political machine that played a major role in controlling NYC and New York State politics and helping immigrants, most notably the Irish, rise up in US politics from the 1790s to the 1960s. It controlled Dem Party nominations and political patronage in Manhattan from the mayoral victory of Fernando Wood in 1854 through the election of John P. O'Brien in 1932. TH was truly notable for the corruption that occurred within its walls. (Political machine)
George Washington Plunkitt: Political boss at Tammany Hall and long-time senator who practiced Honest Graft. Made most of his $ through land purchases by buying land and then reselling it at an inflated price.
William Marcy Tweed: Political boss at Tammany Hall, known for his massive corruption ability to gain bribes and kickbacks, and working for his constituents.
Thomas Nast: Political cartoonist who, through 50 cartoons and a series of articles in Harper’s Weekly, exposed the corruption of Tammany Hall and contributed to Tweed’s conviction for fraud and extortion in 1873.
Harper’s Weekly: Harper's Weekly (A Journal of Civilization) was an American political magazine based in NY. Published by Harper & Brothers from 1857 until 1916, it featured foreign and domestic news, fiction, essays on many subjects, and humor, alongside illustrations. During its most influential period it was the forum of the political cartoonist Thomas Nast.
Spoils System: (Under Ulysses S. Grant’s admin) A practice where a political party, after winning an election, gives gov jobs to its voters as a reward and incentive—as opposed to a merit system, where offices are awarded on the basis of some measure of merit, independent of political activity (i.e. Civil Service exams).
Ulysses S. Grant: 18th US Pres (1869–1877) following his dominant role in the 2nd half of the Civil War. Under Grant, the Union Army defeated the Confederate military and effectively ended the war with the surrender of Lee's army at Appomattox. As pres he led the Radical Republicans in their effort to eliminate all vestiges of Confederate nationalism and slavery; he effectively destroyed the KKK in 1871. His reputation was marred by his repeated defense of corrupt appointees, and by the deep economic depression, the Panic of 1873, that dominated his 2nd term. Although his Repub. Party split in 1872 with reformers denouncing him, he was easily reelected. By 1875 the conservative white Southern opposition regained control of every state in the S and as he left in March 1877 as his policies were being undone. His slogan was, “let us have peace.”
James A. Garfield: 20th US Pres (R), who was assassinated 4 months after his inauguration by Charles Guiteau, a mentally unstable man who had unsuccessfully sought a gov job. Garfield's accomplishments as Pres included a controversial resurgence of Presidential authority above Senatorial courtesy in executive appointments; energizing US naval power; and purging corruption in the Post Office Dept. Garfield made notable diplomatic and judiciary appointments, including a US Supreme Court justice. Garfield appointed several African-Americans to prominent federal positions.
Chester A. Arthur: Became the 21st Pres (R) AFTER the assassination of Garfield. Arthur struggled to overcome suspicions from his start as a politician from the NYC Repub. machine. His advocacy for and enforcement of the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act was the centerpiece of his administration and helped him overcome those suspicions.
Grover Cleveland: Disaster hit the nation as his 2nd term began when the Panic of 1893 produced a severe national depression that Cleveland was unable to reverse. It ruined his Dem party, opening the way for a Repub. landslide in 1894 and for the agrarian and silverite seizure of his Dem party in 1896. The result was a political realignment that ended the 3rd Party System and launched the 4th Party System and the Progressive Era. Cleveland won praise for his honesty, independence, integrity, and commitment to the principles of classical liberalism. Cleveland relentlessly fought political corruption, patronage, and bossism. Indeed, as a reformer his prestige was so strong that the reform wing of the Repub. Party, called Mugwumps, largely bolted the GOP ticket and swung to his support in 1884. Only pres to serve 2 nonconsecutive terms.
Panic of 1893: Similar to the Panic of 1873, it was marked by the collapse of railroad overbuilding and shaky railroad financing, resulting in a series of bank failures. Compounding market overbuilding and the railroad bubble, was a run on the gold supply. The Panic of '93 was the worst economic depression the US had ever experienced at the time. The 1880s were a period of remarkable economic expansion in the US, an expansion that eventually became driven by railroad speculation. Railroads were over-built, with expenses that could not be covered by revenues. New mines flooded the market with silver; its price fell. Farmers, particularly in the wheat and cotton regions, suffered from low prices. Upon becoming Pres, Cleveland dealt directly with the Treasury crisis, and successfully convinced Congress to repeal the Sherman Silver Purchase Act, which he felt was mainly responsible for the economic crisis. As concern of the state of the economy worsened, people rushed to withdraw their money from banks and caused bank runs. The credit crunch rippled through the economy. A financial panic in the UK and a drop in trade in Europe caused foreign investors to sell US stocks to obtain American funds backed by gold.
Benjamin Harrison: Harrison (R) was elected to the presidency in 1888, defeating the incumbent Cleveland (D). His administration is remembered most for economic legislation, including the McKinley Tariff and the Sherman Antitrust Act, and for annual federal spending that reached 1 billion dollars for the 1st time. Dems attacked the "Billion Dollar Congress." They used the issue, along with the growing unpopularity of the high tariff, to defeat the Republicans, in both the 1890 mid-term elections and in his bid for re-election in 1892. He advocated, although unsuccessfully, for federal education funding and legislation to protect voting rights for African Americans. He also saw the admittance of 6 states into the Union. When Harrison won the presidency, he lost the pop vote, but won the Electoral College.
The McKinley Tariff: The Tariff Act of 1890, commonly called the McKinley Tariff, was an act of the US Congress framed by Rep. William McKinley that became law on October 1, 1890. The tariff raised the average duty on imports to almost 50%, an act designed to protect domestic industries from foreign competition. Protectionism, a tactic supported by Republicans, was fiercely debated by politicians and condemned by Dems. The McKinley Tariff was replaced with the Wilson-Gorman Tariff in 1894, which promptly lowered tariff rates.
James B. Weaver: Populist nominee for US pres. in 1892, who while losing, pulled in a respectable 1 million votes. A politician and member of the US House of Representatives, representing Iowa as a member of the Greenback Party. He ran for Pres 2 times on third party tickets in the late 19th century. An opponent of the gold standard and national banks, he is most famous as the presidential nominee of the People's Party (commonly known as the "Populists") in the 1892 election.
Populist Party: National political party that supported a graduated income tax, bank regulation, gov. ownership of companies, restrictions on immigration, shorter workdays, and voting reform. The People's Party, also known as the "Populists", was a short-lived political party in the US established in 1891 during the Populist movement (US, 19th Century). It was most important in 1892-96, and then rapidly faded away. Based among poor, white cotton farmers in the South (especially North Carolina, Alabama, and Texas) and hard-pressed wheat farmers in the plains states (especially Kansas and Nebraska); it represented a radical crusading form of agrarianism and hostility to banks, railroads, and elites generally. It sometimes formed coalitions with labor unions, and in 1896 the Democrats endorsed their presidential nominee, William Jennings Bryan.
Mary Elizabeth Lease: Outspoken leader of the Farmer’s Alliance and Populist Party. Known for her fiery temper, and worked to help farmers by saying, “Raise less corn and more hell.”
William McKinley: 25th US Pres, serving from March 4, 1897 until his assassination in Sept 1901. McKinley led the nation to victory in the Spanish–American War, raised protective tariffs to promote US industry, and maintained the nation on the gold standard in a rejection of inflationary proposals. Though McKinley's administration ended with his assassination, his presidency marked the beginning of a period of dominance by the Repub. Party that lasted for more than a third of a century. McKinley was the last Pres to have served in the Union Army during the Civil War. He defeated his Dem rival, William Jennings Bryan, advocating "sound money" (the gold standard unless altered by international agreement) and promised that high tariffs would restore prosperity. Rapid economic growth marked McKinley's presidency. He promoted the 1897 Dingley Tariff to protect manufacturers and factory workers from foreign competition, and in 1900, he secured the passage of the Gold Standard Act. McKinley hoped to persuade Spain to grant independence to rebellious Cuba without conflict, but when negotiation failed, he led the nation in the Spanish–American War of 1898; the US victory was quick and decisive. As part of the peace settlement Spain turned over to the US its main overseas colonies of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines; Cuba was promised independence but at that time remained under the control of the US Army. The US annexed the independent Republic of Hawaii in 1898 and it became a US territory. McKinley defeated Bryan again in the 1900 pres election, in a campaign focused on imperialism, prosperity, and free silver. McKinley was assassinated by an anarchist in Sept 1901, and was succeeded by VP Theodore Roosevelt. Ended the Populist Party.
William Jennings Bryan: Leading politician from the 1890s until his death. He was a dominant force in the liberal wing of the Dem Party, standing 3 times as its candidate for Pres of the US (1896, 1900 and 1908). He served in Congress briefly as a Rep. from Nebraska and was the 41st US Secretary of State under Pres Woodrow Wilson (1913–1915), taking a pacifist position on the World War. Bryan was a devout Presbyterian, a supporter of popular democracy, and an enemy of the Gold Standard as well as banks and railroads. He was a leader of the silverite movement in the 1890s, a peace advocate, a prohibitionist, and an opponent of Darwinism on religious and humanitarian grounds. With his deep, commanding voice and wide travels, he was one of the best known orators and lecturers of the era. Because of his faith in the wisdom of the common people, he was called "The Great Commoner." In the intensely fought 1896 and 1900 elections, he was defeated by McKinley but retained control of the Dem Party. With over 500 speeches in 1896, Bryan invented the national stumping tour, in an era when other presidential candidates stayed home. In his 3 presidential bids, he promoted Free Silver in 1896, anti-imperialism in 1900, and trust-busting in 1908, calling on Dems to fight the trusts (big corporations) and big banks, and embrace anti-elitist ideals of republicanism. Pres Wilson appointed him Secretary of State in 1913, but Wilson's strong demands on Germany after the Lusitania was torpedoed in 1915 caused Bryan to resign in protest. After 1920 he was a strong supporter of Prohibition and energetically attacked Darwinism and evolution, most famously at the Scopes Trial in 1925. 5 days after the end of the case, he died in his sleep. ***Famous for his “Cross of Gold” speech.