From Bloody Shirt to Full Dinner Pail: The Transformation of Politics and Governance in the Gilded Age [NOOK Book]

Overview


In the wake of civil war, American politics were racially charged and intensely sectionalist, with politicians waving the proverbial bloody shirt and encouraging their constituents, as Republicans did in 1868, to “vote as you shot.” By the close of the century, however, burgeoning industrial development and the roller-coaster economy of the post-war decades had shifted the agenda to pocketbook concerns—the tariff, monetary policy, business ...

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From Bloody Shirt to Full Dinner Pail: The Transformation of Politics and Governance in the Gilded Age

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Overview


In the wake of civil war, American politics were racially charged and intensely sectionalist, with politicians waving the proverbial bloody shirt and encouraging their constituents, as Republicans did in 1868, to “vote as you shot.” By the close of the century, however, burgeoning industrial development and the roller-coaster economy of the post-war decades had shifted the agenda to pocketbook concerns—the tariff, monetary policy, business regulation.
 
In From Bloody Shirt to Full Dinner-Pail, the historian Charles W. Calhoun provides a brief, elegant overview of the transformation in national governance and its concerns in the Gilded Age. Sweeping from the election of Grant to the death of McKinley in 1901, this narrative history broadly sketches the intense and divided political universe of the period, as well as the colorful characters who inhabited it: the enigmatic and tragic Ulysses S. Grant; the flawed visionary James G. Blaine, at once the Plumed Knight and the Tattooed Man of American politics; Samuel J. “Slick Sammy” Tilden; the self-absorbed, self-righteous, and ultimately self-destructive Grover Cleveland; William Jennings Bryan, boy orator and godly tribune; and the genial but crafty William McKinley, who forged a national majority and launched the nation onto the world stage. From Bloody Shirt to Full Dinner-Pail also considers how the changes at the close of the nineteenth century opened the way for the transformations of the Progressive Era and the twentieth century.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The politics of the late 19th century, or the Gilded Age, is the subject of this short history, and the author hopes to draw parallels between then and now. Voter turnout often surpassed 75%, political scandals were abundant, and odd third parties and flamboyant figures captured the public eye. The era has given Calhoun plenty to chew on, and the author, manifestly passionate about his niche, suggests that we are missing the implications of the historical drama. Unfortunately, by filling his book with a bewilderingly pedestrian barrage of facts, he fails to draw a persuasive parallel. Either too determined to be brief, or too loyal to his single-minded premise, Calhoun's summary of the era's politics is scholarly, complete, and bone dry. While its central impetus, the shifting balance between the influence on politics of moral issues and brute economics, is a worthy anchor point, the sheer stultifying force of endless dithering over tariffs, monetary policy, in-fighting, and partisan bickering is too strong. (Aug.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781429979702
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 8/3/2010
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 908,883
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Charles W. Calhoun is Thomas Harriot College Distinguished Professor of History at East Carolina University. A former National Endowment for the Humanities fellow, he is the author of, most recently, Minority Victory: Gilded Age Politics and the Front Porch Campaign of 1888 and Benjamin Harrison, in Holt’s American Presidents series.

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