John Sherman, April Eighteen, Congress discussed on History That Doesn't Suck


Wide united states massively increased population which jumps from thirty five million to seventy seven million during the gilded age alone that increase includes both native born citizens as well as nearly twelve million emigrants over ninety percent of whom come from europe. The gilded age is industrial. Titans are not without controversy. Though are these gentlemen and others of their kind. Intrepid lures business acumen and boldness deserve admiration or in this industrial era of new money. That paradoxically includes two major several years. Long economic depressions when beginning eighteen. Seventy three. the next in eighteen ninety three are the immoral cutthroats well deserving the derogatory title robber barons many of their employees. Consider them the ladder and taking a page from certain. German philosophers manifesto. These working class americans will unite and push back through labor strikes. Indeed the us will see more than one thousand strikes in the eighteen eighties alone. This oh what's the word. I'm looking for marks yes. It marks the beginning of a new era as corporations and workers generally organized in unions. Go to the mat against each other from jim. Crow new inventions the construction of industrial wonders. I'm looking at you brooklyn bridge and statue of liberty as well as meaning inventors industrialists emigrants and workers. The gilded age has plenty to keep us busy. We'll do it all in the next few episodes but first we need to lay the political groundwork of this era whose reputation for corruption is perhaps only exceeded by its voter turnout by meeting a few. Us presence we start with president. Rutherford b hayes Rutherford we haven't thought about this fifty something handsome bearded president from ohio. Much since episode. Seventy six. I told you about his less than ideal ascension to the presidency at that time and you can go back to listen to all sorts of details if you'd like but here's a quick summary in the election of eighteen seventy six. The republicans run former union. General and ohio governor rutherford hayes against democrat and new york governor samuel j tilden. The popular vote is clearly democrat but the electoral college results are just messy enough for the republicans to push back. Congress handles the unprecedented situation by setting up an electoral commission which then selects republican. Rutherford hayes now being amir decade out from the civil war this could turn really nasty but the parties find a way to make peace. The democrats will accept a republican victory if the republicans agree to put an end to military occupation in the south. This is the compromise of eighteen. Seventy seven also seen as the end of reconstruction. I know this whole situation leaves. Roth refers eighteen. Seventy six election tainted at best if that's somewhat ironic because the moderate bearded in is actually rather honest man delivering his inaugural address on march fifth. Eighteen seventy seven rutherford contends that quote. He serves his party best. Who serves the nation. Best close quote. of course. Such a bipartisan attitude. Doesn't sit well with all in his party. The late nineteenth century republican party is split into two major factions stalwarts and half breeds while the party as a whole is fueling moral fatigue and caving are reconstruction stalwarts consider themselves the true heirs of the party. They want to maintain closed. Ranks against democrats have no problem with sectionalism and believe patronage through a spoil system is just good politics on the other hand we have the half breeds which is a stalwart insult suggesting there only half republican half breeds want the nation to move past north v south sectionalism. The also call the spoils system a corrupt practice and do not approve of this process. By which the party in power hand civil service offices to their own rather than to the most qualified president rutherford hayes himself aligns more with the half breeds. He still manages to upset both wings of the party though by refusing to pick between them and cabinet selections after failing to charm either faction he proceeds with any reconstruction is faced with the great railroad strike and finally puts great energy into pursuing civil service reform. Let's start were rougher does ending reconstruction in april eighteen seventy seven. The president orders federal troops to stop guarding statehouses in the remaining occupied states of louisiana and south carolina. Old guard out of office radical republican. Benjamin wade is furious. He writes you know with what untried zeal. I labored for the emancipation of the slaves. And i suppose hosed hayes was in full cord but i've been deceived a trade and even humiliated by. The course is taken. The sad truth is this betrayal of which ben speaks coming regardless of who won the white house apart from a few old radical republicans and black americans. The nation is exhausted with construction and ready to end it at the expense of black americans as long as that brings peace thus the infamous compromise of eighteen seventy seven that has a former union general president hoping for the best. He hands white southern leaders. They're quote unquote home rule. The best won't follow jim. Crow will rutherford also faces the challenges of the great railroad strike of eighteen. seventy seven. we got a taste of this in the opening of today's episode but the strike reaches far beyond pittsburgh treatment. Fight back at their slashed wages in baltimore. Saint louis chicago and still elsewhere for months on end rutherford responds with conventional wisdom of his day which is mobilizing federal troops. But he doesn't like it. He writes in his journal quote. The strikes have been put down by force but now for the real remedy. Can't something be done. Education of the strikers by judicious control of the capitalists by wise general policy to end or diminish the evil close quote. The conflict between corporations and workers won't be resolved by rutherford or any gilded age president. For that matter as i hinted at earlier strikes will happen regularly for decades and will certainly cover some of them in greater detail touring later episodes but there is one problem. This president feels he can and is determined fix patronage in civil service. Rutherford starts to tackle the spoils system or patronage in april eighteen. Seventy seven he tells treasury secretary. John sherman to investigate the spoils system at play in customs houses across the nation that includes new york where the powerful stalwart republican. Senator roscoe conklin often called lord rosco for the elite and powerful wing which he carries himself runs his patronage machine. John sherman doesn't wanna touch new york for this very reason but the president cysts yikes time for a little inter-party turmoil. Its may fourteenth eighteen. Seventy seven roy. Del monaco on fifth avenue in manhattan. Three hundred well to do. New yorkers have gathered so the new york chamber of commerce is one hundred ninth annual dinner. Everyone rises in applauds. Night's big guest enters president. Rutherford b hayes shakes hands and made his way to the head table as he takes his seat. The ban strikes up hail to the chief. Other big shots here include the treasury secretaries brother general william tecumseh sherman the patronage investigating republican named after his founding father. Grandpa john jay and the customs house official. Who's currently enjoins patronage chester arthur or chester. We're just check arthur. Conspicuously missing is chats. Mentor roscoe conklin. The stalwart senator is just so mad at the patronage challenging president whom in honor of the compromise of eighteen seventy seven. He's nicknamed rather fraud or his fraudulently the president but.

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