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Chapter 19 From Crisis to Empire

Setting the Stage

The United States was a different nation at the end of the 19th century than what it had been at the beginning of the Civil War.

Weak and conservative governments were unable to address rampant social and political problems.

A depression began in 1893. Populism was borne out of this depression, created by farmers.

McKinley largely ignored the depression, and focused on Cuba's war with Spain, which the U.S. eventually entered.


What were the major social and economic problems that beset the United States in the late 19th century, and how did the two major political parties respond to these problems?

What was Populism, what were its goals, and to what degree were these goals achieved?

How did the U.S. become an imperial power?


What is Electoral Stability? Why was it important? Which states were uncertain?

How did Americans feel about political parties? Why were they so loyal? How did this impact voter turnout?

Which groups were disenfranchised during this time?

The National Government

What were the responsibilities of the federal government during this time?

What was the Civil War Pension System? Why did it die out?

Presidents and Patronage

How did patronages and party bosses impact the presidency?

Who were the Stalwarts and Half-Breeds, and why were they important during Hayes's presidency?

What was notable about Garfield's presidency?

What was the Pendleton Act, and why was it important in ending the spoils system?

Cleveland, Harrison, and the Tariff

Who were the candidates in the election of 1884?

What incident contributed greatly to Blaine's defeat, and why?

Why was Cleveland known as the "veto governor"? How did his support for limited federal action result in the tariff deadlock?

New Public Issues

What was changing about public opinion regarding trusts during Benjamin Harrison's presidency?

What was the Sherman Antitrust Act? What was its impact as of 1901?

What was the McKinley Tariff? What was its impact on Republicans? How did Cleveland reduce tariffs following the election of 1892?

What was the Interstate Commerce Act? How did the Granger laws lead to its passing?


How did American farmers feel about the federal government of the 1880s? Why?

The Grangers

What was the Grange, and how did it begin? What were its goals?

What caused membership to grow rapidly between 1873 and 1875?

How did the goals of the Grange change over time? What enterprises did Grangers form?

What were the political goals of the Grange?

Overall, why were the political and business enterprises of the Grange unsuccessful?

The Farmers' Alliances

What were the Alliances, and what did they do?

Who was Mary E. Lease?

In what ways did the Alliances have similar difficulties as the Grange?

How did the Alliances lead to the formation of the Peoples' Party/Populists?

The Populist Constituency

Who did the Populist Party appeal to? Why were these groups interested in Populism? Who was not interested in Populism?

What was "free silver"?

What were the "Colored Alliances"?

What were characteristics of Populist Leaders?

Populist Ideas

What were the Ocala Demands of 1890 and the Omaha Platform of 1892? What were their main points?

What or who were many of the Populists against?


What were some causes of the crisis of the 1890s?

The Panic of 1893

What triggered the collapse of the stock market?

How did conditions of farmers and the depression in Europe contribute to the panic?

How long did the depression last?

What was Coxey's Army?

The Silver Question

What was the "money question"?

What was the "Crime of '73"? Why was it important?

What was the Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890? Why did Cleveland repeal it?


Why did the Populists become involved in the "money question"?

The Emergence of Bryan

Where did Republicans and Democrats and their candidates stand on silver leading up to the election of 1896?

Who was William Jennings Bryan? What was the Cross of Gold speech, and why was it important?

Why did the Populists decide to support Bryan?

The Conservative Victory

What were the differences between the Republican and Democratic presidential campaigns?

Why is Bryan's campaign of 1896 considered the birth of modern campaigning?

How did the election of 1896 contribute to the demise of the People's Party?

McKinley and Recovery

What factors contributed to a return of calm during McKinley's administration?

What was the Dingley Tariff?

What was the Currency Act (Gold Standard) of 1900? How did it end the "battle of the standards"?


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