Ch. 15 Section 4 Politics in the Gilded Age
To describe measures taken by Presidents Hayes, Garfield, and Arthur to reform the spoils system.
To explain the positions taken by presidents Cleveland, Harrison, and McKinley on the tariff issue.
Focus & Motivate
Starting With the Student
How does one go about getting a job? Would you get help from a friend or a friend’s parent? Is it fair to use “connections?”
Consider that the spoils system began in the early 19th century. Why do you suppose it lasted so long?
Objective 1 Instruct
Civil Service Replaces Patronage
Discussing Key Ideas
Patronage results in incompetence and fraud in government.
Hayes takes measures to reform civil service.
Garfield wins the 1890 election but is assassinated the following year.
With Arthur’s civil service reform, Congress passes the Pendleton Act in 1883.
More About. . .
Before moving into the White House, President Arthur had it completely cleaned out and refurnished. He managed to fill 24 wagons with items that had accumulated over the years, including a hat that had belonged to John Quincy Adams and a pair of trousers worn by Abraham Lincoln. These and other items were sold at auction. Ironically, a sideboard that the Women’s Christian Temperance Union had presented to Mrs. Rutherford Hayes—nicnamed “Lemonade Lucy,” because she had refused to serve liquor in the White House—was bought by a Washington saloonkeeper, who installed it in his barroom.
Objective 2 Instruct
Efforts to Regulate Tariffs Fail
Discussing Key Ideas
Cleveland runs on a low-tariff platform and loses the presidency to Harrison, who raises tariffs.
In his second term, Cleveland fails to lower tariffs.
Now & Then
Tariffs Versus NAFTA
Write an editorial about tariffs. The topics to be addressed may include jobs and the cost of goods.
In the Gilded Age, political reformers began to replace the evils of patronage with a civil service system. They did not have same success in reducing the high tariffs that protected American industry.
By allowing people to be hired for government jobs on the basis of political beliefs, rather than competence, and by making possible opportunities for misuse of influence.
Because they thought his antireform views would balance presidential candidate James A. Garfield’s belief in civil-service reform.
Positive: More competent and honest federal workers.
Negative: Closer ties between government and big business.
Because of political pressure exerted by companies that benefited from the tariff.
Section 4 Assessment
Terms & Names
Patronage, p. 455
Civil service, p. 455
Rutherford B. Hayes, p. 456
Stalwarts, p. 456
James A. Garfield, p. 456
Chester A. Arthur, p. 456
Pendleton Act, p. 456
Grover Cleveland, p. 457
Benjamin Harrison, p. 457
Leader Position Stand
Hayes president, p. 77-’81 for civil service reform
Conkling N.Y. Senator against civil service reform
Arthur president, p. 81-’85 supported Pendleton Act
Cleveland president, p. ’85-’89, supported lower tariffs
Harrison president, p. 89-’93 supported higher tariffs
Possible Response: Federal employment would have continued to be dominated by politics, politicians would have been less dependent on big business for campaign funds, and a key issue would have continued dividing the Republicans.
Forming An Opinion
Responses should reflect awareness that high tariffs might help business at the expense of consumers.