Various Changes in the Gilded Age

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As the Civil War ended a new era in United States History began. The Gilded Age was an age of change and new beginning for the nation. Mark Twain named the time period between the Civil War and the turn of the century “the Gilded Age“ because it gave an image of hope and prosperity when it was actually underlined with corruption and broken dreams. The Gilded Age focuses on major changes in politics, economic structure, and the social setting of the common man. The change in politics played a key role in the structuring and decisions of the Gilded Age. The first major change was the shifting of power from the president to the congress. In 1866, Congress overrode Johnson’s veto to pass the first major legislation: the Civil Right Act of 1866. Moreover, Congress went on to limit the president’s constitutional power through the Tenure of Office Act. Shifting the power of Congress created competition between the two parties to dominate the Congress. The competition produced rifts within the parties, creating a third party movement and split ticket voting. Split ticket voting limited the parties’ power and influenced congress to embrace the issues of the nation and not just their parties’ issues. The second major change in politics was shift from a patronage to merit system. The patronage system is a system in which a winner in an election reward jobs to his followers regardless of their abilities. The patronage system invited corruption through brides being received. The most sought after jobs involved purchasing supplies or government contracts because these jobs received the most bribes. The greatest critics against the patronage system were the Mugwumps. They believed government jobs should be earned through a merit system. The merit system was a system that rewarded people by their ability to do the job. The merit system reduced the amount of corruption and
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