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7. Political Reform
About this Lecture
In this module, we examine what efforts were made at political reform in the Gilded Age. These efforts included the Pendleton Act of 1883 which aimed to make government appointments less corrupt. Reform was spurred by the growth of a new political party known as the People’s Party. Although this party never achieved high office they did put pressure on politicians to act against political problems. In addition, groups such as Coxey’s Army argued for massive government intervention to solve economic problems long before these ideas were popular amongst the American political class.
In this course, Professor Susan Curtis (Purdue University) explains how different reform movements responded to the rise of industrial capitalism in the Gilded Age. In the first three modules, we look at this through the lens of the economy - examining the changes that occurred as a result of the industrial revolution, the reasons reform was needed and then what workers did to initiate reform. In the next two modules we explore how the United States changed for women in these years and why reform was needed as a result. After this, we explore why political reform was needed in this era and what reform was passed as a result. Finally we examine the issues of race relations - the area where reform was needed most but where none came.
Susan Curtis in Emeritus Professor of History and American Studies at Purdue University. She specialises in the History of American culture, religion, and race relations; and is the author of four books - A Consuming Faith: The Social Gospel and Modern American Culture (1991): Dancing to a Black Man's Tune: A Life of Scott Joplin (1994); The First Black Actors on the Great White Way (1998); and Colored Memories: A Biographer's Quest for the Elusive Lester A. Walton (2008).
Cite this Lecture
Curtis, S. (2021, November 18). US History – Reform in the Gilded Age, 1870-1900 - Political Reform [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://massolit.io/courses/us-history-reform-in-the-gilded-age-1870-1900/political-reform
Curtis, Susan. "US History – Reform in the Gilded Age, 1870-1900 – Political Reform." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 18 Nov 2021, https://massolit.io/courses/us-history-reform-in-the-gilded-age-1870-1900/political-reform