Political Corruption in Postbellum America

Review Questions

Mark Twain’s Gilded Age is a reference to ________.

  1. conditions in the South in the pre-Civil War era
  2. the corrupt politics of the post-Civil War era
  3. the populist movement
  4. the Republican Party



How did the Great Compromise of 1877 influence the election?

  1. It allowed a bilateral government agreement.
  2. It gave new power to northern Republicans.
  3. It encouraged southern states to support Hayes.
  4. It gave the federal government new powers.



What accounted for the relative weakness of the federal government during this era?


The contested elections of the Gilded Age, in which margins were slim and two presidents were elected without winning the popular vote, meant that incumbent presidents often had only a weak hold on their power and were able to achieve little on the federal level. Some Americans began to establish new political parties and organizations to address their concerns, undermining the federal government further. Meanwhile, despite the widespread corruption that kept them running, urban political machines continued to achieve results for their constituents and maintain political strongholds on many cities.