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Themes in U.S. History
"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.
In 1892, a series of violent worker strikes swept through the nation.
Following the panic of 1873 and the resulting depression, railroad workers went on strike after their wages were cut by President Hayes. The strike failed, exposing the weakness of the labor movement.
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.
Masses of immigrants came to United States in hopes of finding riches, but many were dismayed when they found none. They either returned home or remained in America and faced extraordinary hardships.
People of the West Coast attributed declining wages and economic troubles to the hated Chinese workers. To appease them, Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882, halting Chinese immigration into America.
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.
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.
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.
The growing surplus of money in the Treasury coming from the high tariff, which was made to raise revenues for the military during the Civil War, caused President Cleveland to propose lowering of the tariff in order to bring lower prices to consumers. The lower tariff, introduced to Congress in 1887 and supported by Cleveland, tremendously hurt the nation's factories and the overall economy. Cleveland lost support because of the tariff.