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The Gilded Age: 1878-1889

Rutherford B. Hayes & the Post-Reconstruction Era (Republican, 1877-1881)
Hayes came into the presidency under a deal worked out that ended Reconstruction, and he fell short of realizing the reforms he had envisioned at the beginning of his term. Nevertheless, his principles and his successful use of the veto helped restore some of the power of the executive branch and began to heal the wounds inflicted on the country by the Civil War.
The James A. Garfield Administration (Republican, 1881--assassinated)
With Rutherford Hayes declining to run for a second term, the Republication chose James A. Garfield as their candidate at the convention in 1880. Garfield defeated Winfield Hancock in the general election. Garfield had little time to leave his imprint on the issues of the day before he was cut down by an assassin's bullet.
Chester A. Arthur Administration (Republican, 1881-1885)
Chester Arthur came to the presidency upon the assassination of President Garfield. Himself a product of the infamous political machine controlled by New York boss Senator Roscoe Conkling, Arthur surprised everyone by supporting the 1883 Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act. Other issues during his presidency included the economy, and Chinese immigration.
The First Grover Cleveland Administration (Democratic, 1885-1889)
Grover Cleveland's meteoric rise in politics took him into the White House following the 1884 election, despite a sex scandal during the campaign. Cleveland believed strongly in a limited government and he exercised his philosophy over issues involving labor and the economy during his first administration. His position on the tariff contributed to his losing reelection to Benjamin Harrison in 1888, but he would be elected again to the presidency in 1892.
The Benjamin Harrison Administration (Republican, 1889-1893)
The Benjamin Harrison Administration (Republican, 1889-1893)
Benjamin Harrison was the grandson of the ninth President of the United States, William Henry Harrison. The Republican was appointed Senator from Indiana in 1881. In 1888, he was tapped by the party as a scandal-free candidate to run against Grover Cleveland. The main issues of Harrison's single presidential term were his signing of the McKinley Tariff bill into law and its impact on the economy, and an aggressive foreign policy.
The Second Cleveland Administration (Democratic, 1893-1897)
The Second Cleveland Administration (Democratic, 1893-1897)
Grover Cleveland was elected to the presidency a second time, four years after the conclusion of his first time. The main issues & events of his second term included the economy, the Pullman Strike, race and gender issues, and a revitalization of the Monroe Doctrine in foreign policy. Cleveland's record-breaking use of the presidential veto as the "guardian president" enabled him to establish equilibrium between the executive and legislative branches.
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Last modified July 21, 2012