CH. 11 ZINN ROBBER BARONS AND REBELS

CH. 11 ZINN ROBBER BARONS AND REBELS

What was the original intention of the Fourteenth Amendment, passed in 1868?
-The original intention was to give freed slaves citizenship rights.

Fourteenth Amendment, Section 1:
“All persons born or naturalized in the United States…are citizens of the United States… No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or 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.”

-The values affirmed by this include equality (equal protection), rule of law (due process), civil rights, freedom, federalism, and pluralism, among others. This Amendment repudiated the 1857 Dred Scott Supreme Court decision.

-The Fourteenth Amendment also temporarily revoked the right to vote for Southerners who had served in the Confederate Army. This revocation greatly angered these veterans, who feared black suffrage.

Race relations timeline (1857-1896):
-1857: Dred Scott Decision. This Supreme Court decision claimed that black people, even non-slaves, were not citizens and therefore were not protected by the Constitution. It also declared that the Missouri Compromise (1820) was unconstitutional, thus permitting slavery throughout the country.
-1861-1865: Civil War.
-1863: Emancipation Proclamation.
-1864: The 13th Amendment. Outlawed Slavery.
-1865: Southern “black codes” emerge. Laws and norms that made Southern blacks second class citizens.
-1865-1887: Reconstruction. Federal occupation of the South with the goal to protect former slaves and guide the Southern states back into the Union by their consent to the 14th Amendment.
-1868: The 14th Amendment. Required equal protection and due process for all citizens, regardless of color.
Race relations timeline (1857-1896) CONT.
-1880s: Resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). This was a Southern violent terrorist network first formed by former Confederate soldiers in 1866.

–It was guided by racism and other group superiority values.
—By the 1920s, there would be more than 2 million KKK members across the country.
—The KKK was fiercely racist, xenophobic, Christian, socially conservative, sexist, and militant.

-1886: Santa Clara Decision. Granted citizenship rights to private corporations – at the expense of protecting former slaves as citizens.

-1896: Plessy v. Ferguson Decision. This decision validated the Jim Crow system of “separate but equal” segregation and in effect validated racist discrimination

What did the Supreme Court’s 1896 Plessy v.Ferguson decision say?
-Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) declared that the “separate by equal” policies of the Jim Crow system were constitutional.

—The Jim Crow system segregated blacks and other racial minorities from whites, while forcing minorities to be dependent upon whites for their livelihood.

—The Supreme Court during this period consisted almost entirely of social and economic conservatives.

—Both racism and Social Darwinism were dominant ideologies of this era.

—Finally repudiated in 1954 by the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision that required public schools to integrate.

How was the 14th Amendment co-opted by the Supreme Court in 1886? Who were the new beneficiaries of this reinterpretation?
-1886: Santa Clara Decision. The Supreme Court, consisting mostly of white racists friendly to the interests of wealthy capitalists, declared that corporations were “persons” entitled to the same citizenship rights as other natural-born citizens. In effect, the Supreme Court granted “personhood” to private corporations.

–This decision was code language for reinterpreting the 14th Amendment. Now the 14th Amendment would be used mostly to protect private corporations from state laws that restricted these corporations. Thus the 14th Amendment was co-opted from its original intent to protect freed slaves from racist Southern state laws to its new purpose of protecting corporations from state/local regulations.

This reinterpretation had three key effects:
1. Hundreds of state laws protecting farmers and other consumers from unscrupulous railroad and bank practices were negated by this decision.

2. Now private corporations were free to influence the political process. They could now use their money and power to openly influence the electoral process to suit their own self-interests.

3. It left blacks to fend for themselves in the hostile South, and their citizenship rights were once again being denied by Southern racists.

How were private corporations perceived and treated before 1886?
-Before the 1880s, corporations were seen as artificial creations which were subject to special restrictions.

-They were seen as “subjects” rather than “citizens.” As subjects, governments had more leeway in how they treated the corporation.

-The most famous private corporation of the early colonial times was the Dutch West India Trading Company, which essentially founded New York. It was very powerful, had its own navy, and held monopoly control over certain goods.

-Between 1819 and 1886, states increasingly regulated private corporations.
—During this period, the wealthiest business owners sought to use the power of the federal government to get their corporations out from under the control of states. They sought to gain “corporate personhood” in which corporations had the same rights as natural born citizens.

How were private corporations perceived and treated before 1886? CONT.
-The Civil War accelerated the power of the wealthy capitalists, who bribed many politicians and judges to support laissez fair and other corporate-friendly policies.

-After the Civil War, most of the Supreme Court justices were former lawyers of private corporations. They were friendly to the idea of corporate personhood, and thus granted it in the 1886 Santa Clara decision that reinterpreted the 14th Amendment.

-Not a single Supreme Court justice bothered to explain how an amendment aimed at helping freed slaves could be used to convert a corporation (an artificial person) into a natural person entitled to citizenship rights.

1865 – 1900
-An era of new technologies and of empire building.
–Empires emerged in various industries.
—Competition was choked out.
—Prices were fixed at high rates.
—Wages were fixed at low rates.
—Private corporations received gov’t subsidies. They were the first beneficiaries of the welfare state (gov’t redistribution of wealth targeted to aid specific categories).
Emerging issues:
-Authoritarianism on the job
-Worker strikes

—The gov’t pretended to remain neutral as it largely served the interests of the rich.

Two forms of capitalism existed: Adam Smith capitalism
-Smaller businesses
-Highly competitive
-Emphasis on free and open market
-Self-interested
Corporate capitalism
-Larger corporations
-Not very competitive
-Emphasis on monopoly control
-Self-interested
Monopoly capitalism
SUPPORTS:
-Totalitarianism
-Authoritarianism
-Social hierarchy
-Self-interest
-Elitism
-Manifest destiny imperialism (in economic form)
-Rigid rationality

UNDERMINES:
-Freedom + choice
-Democracy
-Equality
-Public interest
-Diversity/pluralism
-Humanism
-Competition

Robber Barons
-Brought the problem of monopoly capitalism.
-Most came from wealthy or at least middle class backgrounds (not rags to riches).

-Promoted Social Darwinism.
—Social Darwinism: the idea that the economic system is a “jungle” of survival of the fittest.
–White Anglo-Saxon males seen as superior species.
–Laissez-faire advocacy.
–Natural order emphasis.

Some minor reforms were passed:
-Interstate Commerce Act (1887)
—-Supposed to regulate the railroads for consumers. In fact it merely gave the illusion of reform. Indeed the railroads liked this Act because it made them seem regulated.

-Sherman Anti-trust Act (1890)
—-Made it illegal to form a conspiracy to restrain trade in interstate or foreign commerce. It was aimed at monopolies.
—1895: the Supreme Court interpreted the Act so as to render it harmless. It said a monopoly of sugar refining was a monopoly in manufacturing, NOT commerce. The Court would later refuse to break up Standard Oil and the tobacco monopolies, claiming the Sherman Act only barred “unreasonable” restraint of trade.

Rise of the Populist Party
-1892 official founding and merger of Farmers Alliance with Knights of Labor. One million members.
-Platform:
—Democratic reforms – more public input
—Economic radicalism (anti-Big Business oligopolies)
—Anti-trust
—Progressive income tax
—Abolition of national banks (stop foreclosures)
—Public ownership of railroads
—Secret ballot
—Popular election of U.S. Senators (not by legislators)
—Right to organize
—Cuban independence/sovereignty
What were the internal divisions within the Populist Party?
-Their divisions were partly related to their geographic diversity.
—Northern and Western populists differed from Southern Populists.
—-Northern/Western: more socially liberal; suffrage.
—Southern: racists who favored Jim Crow segregation.

-Urban populists differed from rural Populists.
—Urban: proletariat issues.
—Rural: farmer issues.

What became of the Populist party?
-By 1896, the Populists were divided into two factions:
—-Fusion populists: sought to reform the Democratic party.
—-Mid-roaders: suspicious of fusion advocates. They sought to stay independent from the Democrats and the Republicans.

-Fusion populists won. Some of the populist ideas were incorporated into the Democratic party platform. In 1896, the Republican candidate (McKinley) won.

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