Powerful as economic forces were from 1865 to 1890, they did not alone determine the direction of American progress during those years. Different individuals and different sections of the country reacted differently to the same economic facts; a formula that explained a phenomenon satisfactorily to one group, carried no conviction to another; political parties built up their platforms on economic self-interest, and yet they sometimes had their ideals; theories that seemed to explain economic development were found to be inadequate and were replaced by others; and practices that had earlier been regarded with indifference began to offend the public sense of good taste or morals or justice, and gave way to more enlightened standards. Some understanding is necessary, therefore, of the more common theories, ideals, creeds and practices, because they supplemented the economic foundations that underlay American progress for a quarter century after the war.

Since the Republican party was almost continuously in power during this period, its composition, spirit and ideals were fundamental in political history. Throughout the North, and especially in the Northeast, the intellectual and prosperous classes, the capitalists and manufacturers, were more likely to be found in the Republican party than among the Democrats. In fact such party leaders as Senator George F. Hoar went so far as to assert that the organization comprised the manufacturers and skilled laborers of the East, the soldiers, the church members, the clergymen, the school-teachers, the reformers and the men who were doing the great work of temperance, education and philanthropy. The history of the party, also, was no small factor in its successes. Many northerners had cast their first ballot in the fifties, with all the zeal of crusaders; they looked back upon the beginnings of Republicanism as they might have remembered the origin of a sacred faith; they thought of their party as the body which had abolished slavery and restored the Union; and they treasured the names of its Lincoln, its Seward, its Sumner and Grant and Sherman. The Republican party, wrote Edward MacPherson in 1888, in a history of the organization, is

    both in the purity of its doctrines, the beneficent sweep of its 
    measures, in its courage, its steadfastness, its fidelity, in its 
    achievements and in its example, the most resplendent political 
    organization the world has ever seen.

Senator Hoar declared that no party in history, not even that which inaugurated the Constitution, had ever accomplished so much in so short a time. It had been formed, he said, to prevent the extension of slavery into the territories, but the "providence of God imposed upon it far larger duties." The Republican party gave "honest, wise, safe, liberal, progressive American counsel" and the Democrats "unwise, unsafe, illiberal, obstructive, un-American counsel." He remembered the Republican nominating convention of 1880 as a scene of "indescribable sublimity," comparable in "grandeur and impressiveness to the mighty torrent of Niagara."

During the generation after the war the recollection of the struggle was fresh in men's minds and its influence was a force in party councils. The Democrats were looked upon as having sympathized with the "rebellion" and having been the party of disunion. In campaign after campaign the people were warned not to admit to power the party which had been "traitor" to the Union. Roscoe Conkling, the most influential politician in New York, declared in 1877 that the Democrats wished to regain power in order to use the funds in the United States Treasury to repay Confederate war debts and to provide pensions for southern soldiers. As late even as 1888 the nation was urged to recollect that the Democratic party had been the "mainstay and support of the Rebellion," while the Republicans were the "party that served the Nation."

At a later time it was pointed out that the party had not been founded solely on idealism; that the adherence of Pennsylvania to the party, for example, was due at least in a measure to Republican advocacy of a protective tariff; that Salmon P. Chase and Edwin M. Stanton, two of the leading members of Lincoln's cabinet had been Democrats; and that Lincoln's second election and the successful outcome of the war had been due partly to the support of his political opponents. As time went on, also, some of the leaders of the Republican party declared that its original ideals had become obscured in more practical considerations. They felt that abuses had grown up which had been little noticed because of the necessity of keeping in power that party which they regarded as the only patriotic one. They asserted that many of the managers had become arrogant and corrupt. All this helped to explain the strength of such revolts as that of the Liberal Republican movement of 1872. Nevertheless, during the greater part of the twenty-five years after the war, hosts of Republicans cherished such a picture as that drawn by Senator Hoar and Edward MacPherson, and it was that picture which held them within the party and made patriotism and Republicanism synonymous terms.

These Republicans, however, who took the more critical attitude toward their party formed the core of the "Mugwump" or Independent movement. Their philosophy was simple. They believed that there ought to be a political element which was not rigidly controlled by the discipline of party organization, which would act upon its own judgment for the public interest, and which should be a reminder to both parties that neither could venture upon mischievous policies without endangering its control over the machinery of government. Theoretically, at least, the Independent believed that it was more important that government be well administered than that it be administered by one set of men or another. The weakness of this group, aside from its small size, was its impatience and impracticability. By nature the Independent was an individualist, forming his own opinion and holding it with tenacity. In such a body there could not be long-continued cooperation or singleness of purpose; each new problem caused new decisions resulting in the break-up of the group and the formation of new alignments. The Independent group, therefore, varied in strength from campaign to campaign. To the typical party worker, who looked upon politics as a warfare for the spoils of office, the Independent was variously denounced as a deserter, a traitor, an apostate and a guerilla deploying between the lines and foraging now on one side and now on the other. To the party wheel-horse, independent voting seemed impracticable, and the atmosphere of reform too "highly scented."

The Democrats, laboring under the disadvantage of a reputation for disloyalty during the war, and kept out of power for most of the time during the period, were forced into a defensive position where they could complain or criticize, but not present a program of constructive achievement. They denounced the election of 1876 as a great "fraud"; they looked upon the Republicans as the organ of those who demanded class advantages; they condemned the party as wasteful, corrupt and extravagant in administration, careless of the distress of the masses, and desirous of increasing the authority of the federal government at the expense of the powers of the states. Their own mission they felt to be the constant assertion of the opposite principles of government and administration. They felt that they in particular represented government by the people for the equal good of all classes. In conformity to what they believed to be the principles of Jefferson and Jackson they professed faith in the capacity of the plain people. They advocated frugality and economy in government expenditure and looked with alarm on any extension of federal power that invaded the traditional domain of local activity.

The intensification of party spirit and party loyalty, which was so typical of the times, "delivered the citizen more effectually, bound hand and foot, into the power of the party embodied in its Organization." The organization, meanwhile, was being improved and strengthened. Its permanent National Committee which had existed from ante-bellum days, was supplemented in both parties immediately after the war by the congressional committee, whose mission it was to carry the elections for the House of Representatives. Increased attention was paid to state and local organizations. Party conventions in states and counties chose delegates to national conventions and nominated candidates for office. State, county and town committees raised money, employed speakers, distributed literature, formed torch-light companies to march in party processions and, most important of all, got out the voters on election day. By such means the National Committee was enabled to keep in close touch with the rank and file of the party, and so complete did the organization become that it deserved and won the name, "the machine."

The master-spirit of the machine was usually the "Boss," a professional politician who generally did not himself hold elective office or show concern in constructive programs of legislation or in the public welfare. Instead, his interests lay in winning elections; dividing the offices among the party workers; distributing profitable contracts for public work; procuring the passage of legislation desired by industrial or railroad companies, or blocking measures objected to by them. A vivid picture of the activities of the boss in New York, drawn by Elihu Root, will serve to portray conditions in many states and cities from 1865 to 1890:

    From the days of Fenton, and Conkling, and Arthur, and Cornell, 
    and Platt, from the days of David B. Hill, down to the present 
    time, the government of the state has presented two different lines 
    of activity, one of the constitutional and statutory officers of 
    the state, and the other of the party leaders, - they call them 
    party bosses. They call the system - I do not coin the phrase, I 
    adopt it because it carries its own meaning - the system they call 
    "invisible government." For I do not remember how many years, Mr. 
    Conkling was the supreme ruler in this state; the governor did not 
    count, the legislatures did not count; comptrollers and secretaries 
    of state and what not, did not count. It was what Mr. Conkling 
    said; and in a great outburst of public rage he was pulled down.

    Then Mr. Platt ruled the state; for nigh upon twenty years he ruled 
    it. It was not the governor; it was not the legislature; it was not 
    any elected officers; it was Mr. Platt. And the capitol was not 
    here (in Albany); it was at 49 Broadway; with Mr. Platt and his 
    lieutenants. It makes no difference what name you give, whether you 
    call it Fenton or Conkling or Cornell or Arthur or Platt, or by the 
    names of men now living. The ruler of the state during the greater 
    part of the forty years of my acquaintance with the state 
    government has not been any man authorized by the constitution or 
    by the law.[1]

Under such conditions, corruption was naturally a commonplace in politics. In the campaigns, the party managers were too often men to whom "nothing was dreadful but defeat." At every Presidential election, immense sums of money were poured into the most important doubtful states - Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Indiana. Twenty to seventy-five dollars was said to have been the price of a vote in Indiana in 1880; and ten to fifteen per cent. of the vote in Connecticut was thought to be purchasable. In New York ballot-box stuffing and repeating were the rule in sections of the city. Employers exerted a less crude but equally efficacious pressure upon their employees to vote "right." Municipal government also was often characterized by that extreme of corruption which called out the scorn of writers on public affairs. The New York Times complained in 1877 that the government of the city was no more a popular government than Turkish rule in Bulgaria, and that if the Tammany leaders did not collect revenue with the horse-whip and sabre, it was because the forms of law afforded a means that was pleasanter, easier and quite as effective.

Federal officials, it must be admitted, did not set a high standard for local officers to follow. During Grant's administration five judges of a United States Court were driven from office by threats of impeachment; members of the Committee on Military Affairs in the House of Representatives sold their privilege of selecting young men to be educated at West Point; and candidates for even the highest offices in the gift of the nation were sometimes men whose political past would not bear the light of day. More difficult to overcome was the lack of a decent sense of propriety among many public officers. Members of the Senate practiced before the Supreme Court, the justices of which they had an important share in appointing; senators and representatives traded in the securities of railroads which were seeking favors at the hands of Congress; and even in the most critical circles, corrupt practices were condoned on the ground that all the most reputable people were more or less engaged in similar activities. Most difficult of all to understand was the unfaltering support accorded by men of the utmost integrity to party leaders whose evil character was known on all sides. Men who would not themselves be guilty of dishonest acts and who vehemently condemned such deeds among their political opponents, failed to make any energetic protest within their own ranks for fear that they might bring about a party split and thus give the "enemy" a victory.

The political practices which prevailed after 1865 for at least a quarter of a century were notoriously bad. Yet the student of the period must be sensitive to higher aspirations and better practices among many of the politicians, and among the rank and file of the people. George F. Hoar, John Sherman, Rutherford B. Hayes, Grover Cleveland and many others were incorruptible. The exposure of scandalous actions on the part of certain high officials blasted their careers, indicating that the body of the people would not condone dishonesty, and the parties found it advisable to accept the resignations of some of their more notorious campaign managers. Moreover, the American people of all classes were a political people, with a capacity for political organization and activity, and with a passion for change. The cruder forms of corruption were successfully combated, and the popular, as well as the official sense of good taste and propriety gradually reached higher levels.

Another fundamental political consideration after the Civil War was the gradual reduction of the power of the executive department. During the war the authority exercised by President Lincoln had risen to great heights, partly because of his personal characteristics and partly because the exigencies of the times demanded quick executive action. After the conflict was past, however, the legislative body naturally reasserted itself. Moreover, the quarrel between President Johnson and Congress, as has been shown, took the form of a contest for control over appointments to office and especially over appointments to the cabinet. The resulting impeachment, although it did not result in conviction, brought about a distinct shrinkage in executive prestige. Grant was so inexperienced in politics and so naive in his judgments of his associates that he fell completely into the power of the machine and failed to revive the former importance and independence of his office.

The ascendancy which thus slipped out of the hands of the executive was seized by the Senate, where it remained for a long period, despite efforts on the part of the president and the House of Representatives to prevent it. So remarkable and continuous a domination is not to be explained by a single formula. The long term of the members of the Senate, the traditional high reputation of the body and the undoubted ability of many of its members assisted in upholding its prestige. Its small size as compared with the House of Representatives gave it greater flexibility. Furthermore, certain Senate practices were instrumental in giving that body its primacy. Under the provisions of the Constitution the Senate has power to ratify or reject the nominations of the executive to many important positions within his gift, and by the close of reconstruction it had acquired a firm control over such appointments. "Senatorial courtesy" bade every member, regardless of party, to concur with the decision of the senators from any state with regard to the appointments in which they were interested. When, therefore, the executive wished to change conditions in a given office he must have the acquiescence of the senators from the state in which the change was to occur. If he did not, the entire body would rally to the support of their colleagues and refuse to confirm the objectionable nominations. With such a weapon the Senate was usually able to force the executive into submission, or at least to make reforms extremely difficult. In Senator Hoar's suggestive words, senators went to the White House to give advice, not to receive it.

In connection with revenue legislation the Senate seized the leadership by means of an evasion of the Constitution. According to the terms of that document, all bills for raising revenue must originate in the House of Representatives, but the Senate may propose amendments. Relying upon this power the Senate constantly revised measures to the extent of changing their character completely and even of grafting part or all of one proposal upon the title of another. In one case, early in the period, the Senate "amended" a House bill of four lines which repealed the tariff on tea and coffee; the "amendment" consisted of twenty pages, containing a general revision of customs duties and internal revenue taxes. At a later time the Senate Finance Committee drew up a tariff bill even before Congress had assembled.

The primacy of the Senate quickly led to recognition of the value of seats in it. Influential state politicians sought election in order to control the patronage. Competent judges in the early nineties declared, for example, that the senators from New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland were all of this type. Another considerable fraction was composed of powerful business men, directors in large corporations, who found it to their advantage to be in this most influential law-making body and who were known as oil or silver or lumber senators. So was laid the foundation of the complaint that the Senate was a millionaires' club. And so, too, it came about that much of state politics revolved about the choice of members for the upper house, for senators were elected by the state legislatures until long after 1890. The power of the House of Representatives, in contrast with the Senate, was relatively small except during the single session 1889-1891, when Thomas B. Reed was in control, although individual members sometimes wielded considerable influence.

Somewhat comparable to the shift in the center of power from one federal authority to another, was the change which took place in the relative strength of the state and national governments. This transfer was most clearly seen in the decisions of the Supreme Court in cases involving the Fourteenth Amendment.

Previous to 1868, when the Amendment became part of the Constitution, comparatively little state legislation relating to private property had been reviewed by the Court. Ever since the establishment of the federal government, cases involving the constitutionality of state legislation had been appealed to United States Courts when they had been objected to as running counter to the clauses of the Constitution forbidding states to enact bills of attainder, ex post facto laws, or laws impairing the obligation of contracts. Their number, however, had been relatively small, and normally the acts of state legislatures had not been reviewed by federal courts; or in other words the tendency had been to preserve the individuality and strength of the several states. After the war, the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments placed additional prohibitions on the states, and the decisions of the Supreme Court determined the meaning and extent of the added provisions. The interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment was especially important. Most significant was the interpretation of Section 1, which reads as follows:

    All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject 
    to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States 
    and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or 
    enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges and immunities 
    of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any 
    person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; 
    nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection 
    of the laws.

So vague and inclusive were these phrases that many important questions immediately sprang from them. What were the privileges and immunities of the citizen? Did those of the citizen of the United States differ from those of the citizen of a state? Was a corporation a person? What was liberty? What was due process of law? Hitherto the protection of life, liberty and property had rested, in the main, upon the individual states, and cases involving these subjects had been decided by state courts. Were the state courts to be superseded, in relation to these vital subjects, by the United States Supreme Court?

It has already been shown that the purpose of the Fourteenth Amendment was the protection of the recently freed negro. The Thirteenth Amendment had forbidden slavery, but the southern states had passed apprentice and vagrancy laws which reduced the negro to a condition closely resembling slavery in certain of its aspects. The Fourteenth Amendment was designed to remedy such a condition by forbidding the states to abridge the privileges of citizens, or to deprive persons of life, liberty or property. Were the very vague phrases of the Amendment merely in keeping with the vagueness of many of the other grants of power in the Constitution, or were they designedly expressed in such a way as to accomplish something more than the protection of the freedman?

The first decision of the Supreme Court involving the Amendment was that given in the Slaughter House Cases in 1873, which did not concern the negro in any way. In 1869 the legislature of Louisiana had given a corporation in that state the exclusive right to slaughter cattle within a large area, and had forbidden other persons to construct slaughter-houses within the limits of this region, but the corporation was to allow any other persons to use its buildings and equipment, charging fixed fees for the privilege. Cases were brought before the courts to determine whether the law violated that part of the Fourteenth Amendment which forbids a state to pass laws abridging the privileges of citizens and taking away their property without due process of law. By a vote of five to four the Court upheld the constitutionality of the statute.

The majority held that the purpose of the Amendment was primarily the protection of the negro. This purpose, the Court thought, lay at the foundation of all three of the war amendments and without it no one of them would ever have been suggested. The majority did not believe that the Congress which passed the amendments or the state legislatures which ratified them intended to transfer the protection of the great body of civil rights from the states to the federal government. Neither did they think that due process of law had been interfered with by the Louisiana legislation. In reply to the objection that the slaughter-house law violated the clause, "nor shall any State deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws," the majority declared:

    We doubt very much whether any action of a State not directed by 
    way of discrimination against the negroes as a class, or on account 
    of their race, will ever be held to come within the purview of this 

In brief, then, the majority was inclined to preserve the balance between the states and the national government very much as it had been. It believed that the amendments should be applied mainly if not wholly to the fortunes of the freedman and that judicial review of such legislation as that in Louisiana concerning the slaughter of cattle should end in the state courts.

For a time the interpretation of the Court remained that given by the majority in this decision. When western state legislatures passed laws regulating the rates which railroads and certain other corporations might legally charge for their services, the Court at first showed an inclination to allow the states a free hand. Regulation of this sort, it was held, did not deprive the citizen or the corporation of property without due process of law.

There were indications, nevertheless, that the opinion of the Court was undergoing a change as time elapsed. An interesting prelude to the change was an argument by Roscoe Conkling in San Mateo Countyv. Southern Pacific Railroad Company in 1882. Conkling was acting as attorney for the railroad and was attempting to show that the roads were protected, by the Fourteenth Amendment, from state laws which taxed their property unduly. Conkling argued that the Amendment had not been designed merely for the protection of the freedman, and in order to substantiate his contention, he produced a manuscript copy of the journal of the Congressional committee that had drawn up the proposals which later became the Fourteenth Amendment. He had himself been a member of the committee. The journal, it should be noticed, had never hitherto been utilized in public.

Conkling stated that at the time when the Amendment was being drafted, individuals and companies were appealing for congressional protection against state taxation laws, and that it had been the purpose of the committee to frame an amendment which should protect whites as well as blacks and operate in behalf of corporations as well as individuals. In other words, Conkling was making the interesting contention that his committee had had a far wider and deeper purpose in mind in phrasing the Amendment than had been commonly understood and that the demand for the protection of the negro from harsh southern legislation had been utilized to answer the request of business for federal assistance. The safety of the negro was put to the fore; the purpose of the committee to strengthen the legal position of the corporations was kept behind the doors of the committee-room; and the phrases of the Amendment had been designedly made general in order to accomplish both purposes. The sequel appeared four years later, in 1886, when the case Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad brought the question before the Court. At this time Mr. Chief Justice Waite announced the opinion of himself and his colleagues that a corporation was a "person" within the meaning of the Amendment and thus entitled to its protection.

Later decisions, such as that of 1889 in Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway Company v. Minnesota, left no doubt of the fact that the Court had come to look upon the Fourteenth Amendment as much more than a protective device for the negro. The full meaning of the change, however, did not appear until after 1890, and is a matter for later consideration. In brief, then, before 1890, the Supreme Court was content in the main to avoid the review of state legislation concerning the ownership and control of private property, a practice which lodged great powers in the state courts and legislatures. By that year, however, it was manifest that the Court had undergone a complete change and that it had adopted a theory which would greatly enlarge the functions of the federal courts, at the expense of the states. The medium through which the change came was the Fourteenth Amendment.

The demand on the part of business men for protection from state legislation, which Roscoe Conkling described in the San Mateo case, arose from their belief in the economic doctrine of laissez faire. Believers in this theory looked upon legislation which regulated business as a species of meddling or interference. The individual, they thought, should be allowed to do very much as he pleased, entering into whatever business he wished, and buying and selling where and how and at what prices suited his interests, stimulated and controlled by competition, but without direction or restriction by the government. It was believed that the amazing success of the American business pioneer was proof of the wisdom of the laissez faire philosophy. The economic giant and hero was the self-made man.

Economic abuses, according to the laissez faire philosophy, would normally be corrected by economic law, chiefly through competition. If, for illustration, any industry demanded greater returns for its products than proved to be just in the long run, unattached capital would be attracted into that line of production, competition would ensue, prices would be again lowered and justice would result. Every business man would exert himself to discover that employment which would bring greatest return for the capital which he had at his command. He would therefore choose such an industry and so direct it as to make his product of the greatest value possible. Hence although he sought his own interests, he would in fact promote the interest of the public.

Indeed the philosopher of laissez faire was sincerely convinced that his system ultimately benefited society as a whole. Andrew Carnegie, an iron and steel manufacturer, presented this thesis in an article in theNorth American Review in 1889. The reign of individualism, he held, was the order of the day, was inevitable and desirable. Under it the poorer classes were better off than they had ever been in the world's history. "We start then," he said, "with a condition of affairs under which the best interests of the race are promoted, but which inevitably gives wealth to the few. Thus far, accepting conditions as they exist, the situation can be surveyed and pronounced good." Let the man of ability, he advised, accumulate a large fortune and then discharge his duty to the public through philanthropic enterprises, such as the foundation of libraries. Society would be more highly benefited in this way than by allowing the millions to circulate in small sums through the hands of the masses. Statistical studies of the distribution of wealth seemed to justify Carnegie's judgment that the existing tendency was for wealth to settle into the hands of the few. In 1893 it was estimated that three one-hundredths of one per cent. of the people owned twenty per cent. of the nation's wealth.

Although the laissez faire theory was dominant later even than 1890, it was apparent before that time that its sway was being challenged. The adherents of laissez faire themselves did not desire to have the doctrine applied fully and evenly. They demanded government protection for their enterprises through the medium of high protective import tariffs, and they sought subsidies and grants of public land for the railroads. Naturally it was not long before the classes whose desires conflicted with the manufacturing and railroad interests began in their turn to seek aid from the government. The people of the Middle West, for example, were not content to allow the railroad companies to control their affairs and establish their rates without let or hindrance from the state legislatures. The factory system in the Northeast, likewise, raised questions which were directed toward the foundations of laissez faire. Under the factory regime employers found it advantageous to open their doors to women and children and to keep them at machines for long, hard days which unfitted the women for domestic duties and for raising families, and which stunted the children in body and mind. Out of these circumstances arose a demand for restrictions on the freedom of employers to fix the conditions under which their employees worked.

Opposition to an industrial system based upon laissez faire would have been even greater during the seventies and eighties if it had not been for two sources of national wealth - the public lands and the supplies of lumber, ore, coal and similar gifts of nature. When the supply of land in the West was substantially unlimited, a sufficient part of the population could relieve its economic distresses by migrating, as multitudes did. Such huge stores of natural wealth were being discovered that there seemed to be no end to them. But in the late eighties when the best public lands were nearly exhausted and the need of more careful husbanding of the national resources became apparent to far-sighted men, advanced thinkers began to question the validity of an economic theory which allowed quite so much freedom to individuals. For the time, however, such questions did not arise in the minds of the masses.

As the laissez faire doctrine underlay the problem of the relation between government and industry, so the quantity theory of money was fundamental in the monetary question. According to the quantity theory, money is like any other commodity in that its value rises and falls with variations in the supply and demand for it. Suppose, for example, that a given community is entirely isolated from the rest of the world. It possesses precisely enough pieces of money to satisfy the needs of its people. Suddenly the number of pieces is doubled. The supply is twice as great as business requires. If no new elements enter into the situation, the value of each piece becomes half as great as before, its purchasing power is cut in two and prices double.[2]

A bushel of potatoes that formerly sold for a dollar now sells at two dollars. A farmer who has mortgaged his farm for $1,000 and who relies upon his sales of potatoes to pay off his debt is highly benefited by the change, while the creditor is correspondingly harmed. The debtor is obliged to raise only half as many potatoes; the creditor receives money that buys half the commodities that could have been purchased with his money at the time of the loan.

On the other hand, suppose the number of pieces of money is instantly halved and all other factors continue unchanged. There is now twice as great a demand for each piece, it becomes more desirable and will purchase more goods. Prices, that is to say, go down. Dollar potatoes now sell for fifty cents. The debtor farmer must grow twice as many potatoes as he had contemplated; the creditor finds that he receives money that has doubled in purchasing power.

It has already been said that the quarter century after the war was, in the main, a period of falling prices. The farmer found the size of his mortgage, as measured in bushels of wheat and potatoes, growing steadily and relentlessly greater. The creditor received a return which purchased larger and larger quantities of commodities. The debtor class was mainly in the West; the creditors, mainly in the East. The westerners desired a larger quantity of money which would, as they believed, send prices upward; the East, depending upon similar reasoning, desired a contraction in supply. The former were called inflationists; the latter, contractionists. Much of the monetary history of the country after the Civil War was concerned with the attempt of the inflationists to expand the supply of currency, and the contractionists to prevent inflation.

The intellectual background of the twenty-five years after the war, so far as it can be considered at this point, was to be found mainly in the development of education and the growth of the newspaper and periodical. Before the Civil War, except in the South, the old-time district school had given way, in most states, to graded elementary schools, supported by taxation. After the war the southern states made heroic efforts to revive education, in which they were aided by such northern benefactions as the Peabody Educational Fund of $2,000,000 established in 1867. In the northern states the schools were greatly improved, free text-books became the rule, the free public high-schools replaced the former private academies, and normal schools for the training of teachers were established. The period was also marked by the foundation of scores of colleges and especially of the great state universities. The Morrill Act of July 2, 1862, had provided for a grant to each state of 30,000 acres of public land for every senator and representative in Congress to which the state was entitled. The land was to be used to promote education in the agricultural and mechanic arts, and in the natural sciences. The advantages of the law were quickly seen, and between 1865 and 1890 seventeen state universities were started, most of them in the Middle and Far West. Many of these underwent a phenomenal growth and had a great influence on the states in which they were established.

The newspaper press was also undergoing a transformation in the quarter century after the war. The great expansion of the numbers and influence of American newspapers before and during that struggle had been due to the ability of individuals. James Gordon Bennett had founded the New York Herald, for example, in 1835, and from then on the Herald had been "Bennett's paper." Similarly the Tribune had represented Horace Greeley and the Times, Henry J. Raymond. The effect of the war was to develop technical resources in gathering news, to necessitate a larger scale of expenditure and a wider range of information, and to make a given issue the work of many men instead of one. Raymond died in 1869, Greeley and Bennett in 1872; and although the Sun was the embodiment of Charles A. Dana until his death in 1897, the Nation and the Evening Post of Edwin L. Godkin until 1899, nevertheless the tendency was away from the newspaper which reflected an individual and toward that which represented a group; away from the editorial which expressed the views of a well-known writer, to the editorial page which combined the labors of many anonymous contributors. The financial basis of the newspaper also underwent a transition. As advertising became more and more general, the revenues of newspapers tended to depend more on the favor of the advertiser than upon the subscriber, giving the former a powerful although indirect influence on editorial policies.

The influence of the press in politics was rapidly growing. A larger number of newspapers became sufficiently independent to attack abuses in both parties. The New York Times and Thomas Nast's cartoons in Harper's Weekly were most important factors in the overthrow of the Tweed Ring in New York City, and in the elections of 1884 and later, newspapers exerted an unusual power. Press associations in New York and the West led the way to the Associated Press, with its wide-spread cooperative resources for gathering news.

As important as the character of the press, was the amount and distribution of its circulation. Between 1870 and 1890 the number of newspapers published and the aggregate circulation increased almost exactly threefold - about five times as fast as the population was growing. In the latter year the entire circulation for the country was over four and a half billion copies, of which about sixty per cent. were dailies. So great had been the growth of the press during the seventies that the census authorities in 1880 made a careful study of the statistical aspects of the subject. It appeared from this search that newspapers were published in 2,073 of the 2,605 counties in the Union. Without some such means of spreading information, it would have been impossible to conduct the great presidential campaigns, in which the entire country was educated in the tariff and other important issues.

The expansion of the press is well exemplified by the use of the telegraph in the spread of information. When Lincoln was nominated for the presidency in 1860, a single telegraph operator was able to send out all the press matter supplied to him. In 1892 at the Democratic convention, the Western Union Telegraph Company had one hundred operators in the hall. Mechanical invention, meanwhile, was able to keep pace with the demand for news. The first Hoe press of 1847 had been so improved by 1871 that it printed ten to twelve thousand eight-page papers in an hour, and twenty-five years later the capacity had been increased between six and sevenfold.


Nearly all material on party history is so partisan that it should be read with critical scepticism: Francis Curtis, The Republican Party, 1854-1904 (2 vols., 1904); J.D. Long, Republican Party (1888); for the Independent attitude, consult Harper's Weekly during the campaign of 1884. As the Republicans were in power most of the time from 1865-1913, there is more biographical and autobiographical material about Republicans than about Democratic leaders. Local studies of political conditions and the social structure of the parties are almost entirely lacking. On the personal side, the following are essential: G.F. Parker, Writings and Speeches of Grover Cleveland (1892); T.E. Burton, John Sherman (1906); J.B. Foraker, Notes of a Busy Life (2 vols., 1916), throws light on the ideals and practices of a politician; G.F. Hoar, Autobiography of Seventy Years (2 vols., 1903), gives the New England Republican point of view; Rollo Ogden, Life and Letters of E.L. Godkin (2 vols., 1907); G.F. Parker, Recollections of Grover Cleveland (1909), is useful, but sketchy, there being as yet no thorough biography of Cleveland; T.C. Platt, Autobiography (1910), interestingly portrays the philosophy of a machine politician, but should be read with care; John Sherman, Recollections of Forty Years in House, Senate and Cabinet (2 vols., 1895); Edward Stanwood, James G. Blaine (1905), is highly favorable to Blaine; W.M. Stewart, Reminiscences (1908), is interesting, partisan and unreliable. For a general estimate of the autobiographical material of the period, consult History Teachers' Magazine (later the Historical Outlook), "Recent American History Through the Actors' Eyes," March, 1916.

Jesse Macy, Party Organisation and Machinery (1904); M.G. Ostrogorski, Democracy and Political Parties (2 vols., 1902), gives a keen and pessimistic account of American political practices in vol. II; J.A. Woodburn, Political Parties and Party Problems in the United States (1903, and later editions) gives a succinct account in good temper.

For the Fourteenth Amendment: C.G. Haines, American Doctrine of Judicial Supremacy (1914); C.W. Collins, The Fourteenth Amendment and the States (1912), is a careful study, which is critical of the prevailing later interpretation of the Amendment. The Slaughter House case, giving the earlier interpretation is in J.W. Wallace, Cases argued and adjudged in the Supreme Court (Supreme Court Reports), XVI, 36.

L.H. Haney, History of Economic Thought (1911), on laissez faire; J.L. Laughlin, Principles of Money (1903); and Irving Fisher, Why is the Dollar Shrinking (1914), present two sides of the quantity theory of money.

Most useful on the development of education are F.P. Graves, A History of Education in Modern Times (1913); and E.G. Dexter, History of Education in the United States (1904).

The growth of newspapers is described in The Bookman, XIV, 567-584, XV, 26-44; see also Rollo Ogden, Life and Letters of Godkin, already mentioned; G.H. Payne, History of Journalism in the United States (1920); J.M. Lee, History of American Journalism (1917). The effects of education and the press on American social, economic and political life have not been subjected to thorough study.

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[1] Addresses on Government and Citizenship, 202.

[2] In practice, new elements do enter into the situation so that the theory requires much qualification. Cf. Taussig, Principles of Economics (1915), I, ch. 18.