Economic Policies During The Gilded Age

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From the Gilded Age to World War 1, while Republicans and Democrats held different economic positions on tariffs and economic monetary systems, their responses to the challenges of economic inequality and incorporation of Populist ideas allowed them to share in the idea of an expanded, activist, socially conscious government. During the Gilded Age, while both the Republican and Democratic parties nationally came under the control of powerful political managers with close ties to business interests, their economic policies surprisingly differed on the subject of tariffs. Despite their close links to New York bankers and financiers, Democrats of the Gilded Age opposed high tariffs, while Republicans strongly supported them to protect American …show more content…

For one, he passed the Underwood Tariff, which significantly reduced duties on imports, but put a graduated income tax on the richest five percent of Americans in its place (721). Wilson exempted labor unions from antitrust laws and guaranteed workers the right to strike with passage of the Clayton Act of 1914. The president then also child labor in the manufacture of interstate goods and established an eight-hour workday on the nation’s railroads (722). Similar to how Republican Taft supported the graduated income tax that had once been proposed by the Populists, Wilson supported the Warehouse Act, which extended credit to farmers when they stored their crops in federally licensed warehouses – another Populist idea. But perhaps the greatest evidence of Wilson’s expansion of the government in economic affairs was the creation of the Federal Reserve System in 1913 to regulate currency and promote economic growth, and the Federal Trade Commission to investigate and prohibit “unfair” business activities such as cooperative price-fixing and other monopolistic

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