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  A Chronicle of the American Whirlwind
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« on: November 25, 2017, 01:59:25 pm »
« edited: February 16, 2018, 10:55:38 am by Pyro »

A Chronicle of the American Whirlwind
An Alternate Compendium of the United States in the Nineteenth Century & Beyond



The Baltimore and Potomac Rail Station in Washington, D.C.

I: Ad Multos Annos!

  The scorching summer heat dawned on Washington. Commuters, rail-goers and the like shuffled all through and around the Baltimore and Potomac not dissimilar to rats scurrying about an enclosed maze. Among the bustle of the morning sat a flustered, out of sorts man by the name of John Haverstraw. By a run of misfortune, Haverstraw boarded an incorrect line in Philadelphia and found himself trapped for an estimated six hours in the dismal hotbox of D.C. He was due to present his findings at a scientific exhibition at Albany Medical: Now, as his dim luck would have it, a forgone dream. He reflected on his foolishness, muttering obscenities to himself as he crumpled and tossed his prepared notes onto the station floor.

  Finding himself with time to kill, Haverstraw stood and wandered aimlessly, careful not to collide with the cascade of bodies present at his platform. The wailing of children and tepid arguments of morning drunkards were at last silenced by the roar of locomotive engines in approach of the station. The crowds seemed to awaken from a trance and gradually wane from his platform. Having read the daily newsprint once or twice over, Dr. Haverstraw recalled that a federal entourage was scheduled to leave Washington this morning – the general populous must be moving in his direction.

   Haverstraw distrusted those dealing in the sin of politics. "Any honest goodwill in our government died with Abraham Lincoln,” he would routinely quip to his colleagues. He wrote in a personal memoir, “I know not if the men in Washington care to know the fact of death and mistreatment in this war. [Walt] Whitman’s report ought to be required literature for office-seekers in the coming decades.” Having been too young to assist personally in the War Between the States, the doctor began his road to medicine with intensive study of Medical Director Jonathan Letterman’s work, then on to Babington, followed thereafter by Robert Koch. Haverstraw admired these learned men of science, hopeful that he may soon secure a professorship to support his own research.

  The doctor moved with the crowd and, at last, caught a glimpse of the entourage. The fellow walking briskly with the sunken eyes and great nose, he recognized, that must be the State Secretary, James Blaine. He matched the reported description to the letter. As Blaine stepped ahead, Haverstraw could not help but feel overcome with curiosity as he spotted the top of the president’s balding head for the briefest of moments. Just then, a deafening clap of thunder penetrated the air. Screaming. One yelp above the others. “My God, what is that?” Another clap.

  Seconds seemed to move like hours. Onlookers were stunned and distraught at the sight of the events unfolding before them. The president collapsed on the ground. John Haverstraw pushed aside those blocking his path and hurried his way to the body of the fallen leader. President Garfield remained conscious on the ground with a look of disdained shock toward the presumed direction of perpetrator. Haverstraw looked at the president, then Blaine, “Mr. President, if you will, my name is John - I’m a practiced physician.” Garfield exhaustingly groaned, “Get on with it.” Blaine overheard the command and cautiously allowed the stranger to move ahead. The men, with assistance, carried the president to an upper floor in the rail station.

  As the haphazard team laid the ailing president on a makeshift medical bed for transport, the doctor, faintly, could overhear the words of a madman that would forever haunt his dreams. “I am a Stalwart of the Stalwarts!”
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« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2017, 01:50:23 pm »


The New York Times, July 3rd, 1881

  Varied personal accounts belonging to White House physicians detailed that tumultuous night and those succeeding. A single point of impact was noted: Deep within the back of President James Garfield. No proper surgeon could perform any semblance of treatment in the dank locomotive station, as one may appropriately imagine. The ailing president and his retinue were promptly and clumsily transported to the executive residence once the accused perpetrator was removed from the premises.

  James Rudolph Garfield, second son to the president, sparsely spoke of the traumatic experience in ensuing years. He did, however, clarify in a recorded interview the details of one particularly fateful, and indeed controversial, judgement call. "I had no authority in the decision, nor did Hal (R. Garfield's elder sibling). We learned Robert Todd [Lincoln] expressed a desire, echoed by Blaine, to call upon renowned Dr. Bliss, as opposed to the sitting Surgeon General. My father was conscious, alert, and listened to the recommendation, although ultimately declined. He insisted on Dr. Haverstraw. The president's order was respected and adhered to."

  John Haverstraw, the man who had known and cared for President Garfield for fewer than twenty-four hours, was thereby selected to lead the treatment effort. Blaine reluctantly complied with the president's wish and subsequently allowed the choice to become public knowledge. As far as the press was concerned, choosing a complete unknown over a reputable physician was a total outrage worthy of speculation. Haverstraw was no war-tested surgeon as Bliss had been, but he certainly was a well-learned medical practitioner and kept current on novel discoveries in the field of medicine. Garfield's precise reasoning for appointing Haverstraw remains somewhat shrouded, with modern historians coming to assume that a bond of trust had been fostered between the two relatively quickly.

  The lead physician first navigated the president's wound with rigidity and hesitancy, fearing the prospect of aggravating the point of impact further. Haverstraw frequently re-bandaged the wound over the course of his treatment, doing his best to keep the area void of infection. Other doctors in the vicinity were ordered to do the same, much to the chagrin of the more seasoned veterans who insisted it would be best to go ahead and extensively probe the wound. As a means to provide relief to President Garfield in the sweltering heat of D.C., several notable U.S. Navy engineers rigged together an air cooling system, although it did little to mend the pain's source.

  At last, one Alexander Graham Bell, a prominent scientist known for his part in the creation of the telephone system, arrived with a plausible remedy. Developed explicitly for this occasion, Bell's invention was a machine designed to detect metal through body mass. The contraption was greeted with a degree of skepticism by the surgeons, but the procedure was green-lit. The lead doctor briefly considered the implications of the machine and its limitations, and proceeded to request that Bell's operation take place in an area free of metallic objects. The president was lifted from his bed with great effort and steadily lowered onto one free of internal metal springs.

  "There," Bell pointed following seventy minutes of tense anticipation. He discovered the bullet lodged on the left side of James Garfield, just short of his spleen. As the popular myth goes, Dr. Haverstraw leaped up in a frenzy and called out to the other doctors for immediate assistance. The claim is disputed that the doctor shouted a blasphemous phrase once Bell located the source, yet if one were to take the printed news for fact, then he may have indeed committed that act.

  In a span of five hours, the removal surgery began in earnest, the bullet meticulously dislodged, and the wound compressed.
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« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2017, 02:27:57 pm »


Artist's Rendition of Charles G. Guiteau

  News that the projectile had been removed from the president, at long last, whipped the populous into a joyous frenzy. Mere days prior, it appeared as though their elected leader was nearing the end of his life. Somber citizens stood near the executive residence as a means to show their support in preceding weeks. Thousands sent off letters to the White House containing prayer passages and rudimentary medical advise. Contemporary accounts recall that most all remained cautiously optimistic in the face of the tragedy.

  A cheer broke out when the aforementioned communication was disclosed to the awaiting public on July 16th. The event had likely been viewed as a turning point in the course of the treatment and was thereby celebrated as a monumental hurdle on the healing process. An editorial printed in the Washington Post drove the soothing point home, declaring, "Remarkable Progress: The Republic shall find comfort this day." The purest sense relief and reprieve made itself evident in these press statements.

  Despite an encouraging ambiance, all was far from well. Although it had been the case that the bullet no longer housed itself within his body, President Garfield now began an exceedingly unstable recovery. Dr. Haverstraw and the medical team carefully observed the condition of their patient and determined that symptoms resulting from an infection would render the president immobilized for the time being. From the moment that this discovery was detected, and all throughout the remainder of the summer, there were no significant improvements, nor any declination, in health. Haverstraw's account detailed his fear that, "All signs indicate [Garfield] may be on the threshold of a chronic condition [as a result of the wound infection]. This manifestation shall require ongoing supervision."

  For all intents and purposes, the nation was on the verge of a Constitutional crisis. The president, incapacitated and evidently unable to sufficiently perform the daily tasks associated with his office, depended wholeheartedly on his Cabinet. Article Two, Clause Six of the U.S. Constitution denoted, in contestable and ambiguous wording, the following:

  In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the Same shall devolve on the Vice President, and the Congress may by Law provide for the Case of Removal, Death, Resignation or Inability, both of the President and Vice President, declaring what Officer shall then act as President, and such Officer shall act accordingly, until the Disability be removed, or a President shall be elected.

  This passage does not specifically detail the law of presidential succession, nor who exactly was designated with the ability to declare a president incapacitated. The Tyler Precedent denoted in 1841 that the vice president shall become president following the disqualification (as described in Article Two, Section Six) of the sitting president. Congress refused to consider upholding this notion in the circumstance of President Garfield, however. Secretary Blaine and the existing Cabinet officials effectively conducted the business of the executive branch in Garfield's stead, with the vice president holding little interest in rising to the occasion.

  Chester A. Arthur, sitting vice president of the United States, made a concentrated effort to remain far from Washington in the summer of 1881. This may be on several grounds of varying significance, chief among them being his implication in the shooting. The perpetrator, Charles G. Guiteau, once volunteered in the drive to elect Garfield to the presidency. He considered himself thereby owed, more so entitled to, a political appointment in the administration. Under prior rule, appointees were certainly designated based on personal will rather than merit. Those who professed a desire to advance under this system were named "Stalwarts," and this group emerged as a prominent force within the Republican Party.

  President Garfield had no inclination to name Guiteau, a man he hardly knew, to any post, and promptly rejected his request. This led the office-seeker into an envious rage, culminating in the assassination attempt. If one were to ask further proof of the would-be assassin's purpose, upon Guiteau firing the shots, he yelped, "I am a Stalwart of the Stalwarts. [...] Arthur is president now!" The vice president had since been found to have no correlation whatsoever in the attempt on Garfield's life, but the damage was done. The reputation of Chester Alan Arthur laid on the ground in shreds. Not since Andrew Johnson was a vice president quite so deeply distrusted by the American public.
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« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2017, 12:48:04 pm »

 

Illustration of Roscoe Conkling at his Senate Seat

  The Stalwart faction of the Republican Party proved itself a considerable force in the nominating contest of 1880. Following the short-lived reign of reform minded Rutherford B. Hayes, anti-reformists in the GOP placed their support, once more, in the hands of former President Ulysses S. Grant. Well-established, machine politicians endorsed Grant for a third presidential term under the expectation that he would walk back any rectification of the spoils system. Although Grant ultimately lost his bid to James Garfield at the Republican National Convention, the split within the Republican Party endured.
 
  The undisputed leader of the Stalwart wing of the Republicans was U.S. Senator Roscoe Conkling (R-NY). The sharp-witted New Yorker rose up the political ranks from the Civil War era, becoming notable for his championing of the Civil Rights Act of 1875 and other varied reconstruction legislation passed alongside the Grant Administration. With the nomination of James Garfield, Conkling presented himself to the candidate as a plausible partner under the assumed condition that he be granted power over the economically-compelling New York Customs House. Due to his distinctive campaigning that year, the senator has since been credited with handing the swing state of New York to Garfield in the presidential race.
 
  Following the inauguration, Roscoe Conkling approached the president with the expectation that he would thereby appoint several Stalwart men to higher posts and grant similar favor to the senator himself. Garfield, for all intents and purposes, refused. It is probable he made matters worse upon the selection of Conkling's bitter rival, "Half-Breed" (anti-Stalwart) James G. Blaine, for State Secretary. This path led to an acute and decisive rift between the incumbent United States president and one of the most powerful U.S. senators in history.

  Conkling stood, vehemently, against nearly all of President Garfield's nominations in Congress, and swiftly became a thorn in his side. The Stalwarts grew inflamed over their lack of voice in the new administration, and such only worsened as the new president appointed pro-reform William H. Robertson as the Collector of the Port of New York. Seeking exoneration of his views, Senator Conkling, accompanied by his colleague Senator Thomas Platt (R-NY), resigned in protest from the upper house. The former confidently, arrogantly, believed that the state legislature would immediately re-appoint Conkling and Platt to their respective posts in a symbolic measure of resilience.
 
  The senators drastically overestimated their support in the legislature, and most Republicans indicated their opposition to re-appointing the incumbents. No candidate received a majority in either of the two special elections on May 31st, meaning that subsequent ballots would be called until a single name received a simple majority. Thirty-three daily ballot tabulations took place without a clear winner. Then, President Garfield was shot.
 
  Alongside breaking reports that Guiteau was an apparent supporter of the Stalwarts, whispers fast arose that the incumbents would not last far beyond their present standing. Thomas Platt had withdrawn his name from consideration on July 1st and all which had been left of his intact support fled to several other candidates. The Class 1 seat for New York was awarded to the moderate Representative Warner Miller on the 48th ballot. Conkling, witnessing the fall of his colleague, realized his need for action.
 
  Relieving news arrived on July 16th that the bullet had been removed from President Garfield, implying his chance of survival neared 100%. This became key for the New Yorker, who opened negotiations with his chief competitor in this race, Representative Elbridge Lapham. Little is known of the meeting, in earnest, but it is generally accepted by biographer historians of the era that Senator Conkling persuaded the challenger to withdraw from the race in order to allow for Conkling to complete a full term in dignity. Then, as his term expired, he would step down and endorse Lapham as a suitable inheritor. Regardless, the persuasion was climatically successful.

  Rep. Lapham noiselessly removed himself from consideration following the 50th ballot on July 18th. Left at a loss of reasonable options and fearing a potential rise of the Democratic contender, a sufficient number of legislators begrudgingly consolidated. David M Jordan, author of The Magnificence of Roscoe Conkling, 1829-1915, wrote, "Projecting vanity to the umpth degree, [Conkling] found it an impossible task to sit quietly and accept the victory in a gentlemanly fashion. At once, he authorized the prompt release of a statement most-striking. He proclaimed that the New York Legislature, in its full endorsement, proved beyond a doubt his fitting status as the state's paramount Republican. In the comfort of re-election, Conkling and the Stalwarts rose vindicated."
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« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2017, 07:21:21 pm »


Vice President Chester Alan Arthur, 1881

  Months ticked on without resolution for President James Garfield. He reportedly endured on-and-off fever-driven delirium and found it terribly burdensome to keep his stomach in check. Dr. Haverstraw insisted in his impromptu medical bulletins that the president's infection was being administered to the best of his team's ability. First Lady Lucretia Garfield, living in a state of woe and distraught, hovered close to the doctors on-site for the latest progress reports. The condition of her husband greatly disturbed Ms. Garfield, and too their children. Articulated in the notes of the medical staff were routine instances of Ms. Garfield drifting off to sleep whilst sitting beside her husband's bed.

  As inferred prior, Vice President Chester Arthur possessed no interest in leading the nation as his superior lay powerless. Vague insight on the law of presidential succession may have rendered the Garfield Administration in a quandary regarding how to press forth, but the second-in-command shied away from his suggested responsibility nonetheless. Arthur, first on-boarded by then-nominee Garfield in a gesture of compromise with the Stalwart faction, spared not a thought to presidential aspirations. In present circumstances, a considerable bulk of the population viewed the vice president in an unfavorable light while the Stalwarts pressed Arthur to act on his opportunity. Struggling with personal indifference in assuming temporary presidential powers, the presumed leader withdrew to his home in New York City.

  With heir-apparent Chester Arthur removing himself from Washington, Secretary Blaine effectively carried the mantle of Cabinet director in the time since Garfield's shooting. To Blaine's credit, he juggled the tasks of maintaining the logistics of the Executive Branch as well as those powers delegated to the secretary of state. He counseled the dawn of free trade initiatives in Latin America as a means to prevent British encroachment of the Monroe Doctrine. Within the realm of debate, this may have been the first step for the United States down the path of international growth and cooperation. Blaine too reviewed Sioux chief Sitting Bull's Fort Buford surrender on July 20th and kept watch of the destructive hurricane season along the Carolina coast that August. 

  Blaine and the bulk of Garfield's Cabinet, notably reformists Postmaster General Thomas James and Attorney General Wayne McVeagh, understood full well that nothing jeopardized their positions as severely as a potential Chester Arthur swearing-in. Reluctant he may be, but Vice President Arthur was a thoroughbred Stalwart. The state secretary was a well-known Half-Breed, and, according to documents since released by the James Blaine Foundation, he pondered his bleak future under an Arthur Administration. Blaine, James and MacVeagh each planned tidy resignations for the year's end should worse come to worst.

  On September 20th, Dr. Haverstraw released his bulletin for the morning. Its opening passage briefly read, "Fever no longer discernible in President." Dr. Susan Ann Edson, prominent assistant and co-doctor on the case, found on the evening of September 19th that Garfield's internal temperature had fallen below 100 degrees. The infernal infection demonstrated its first, remarkable sign of retreat in that moment. In the span of days, those symptoms plaguing President Garfield gradually lessened. Haverstraw's methodology of precision treatment and antisepsis broke through the illness, evoking disbelief by the traditionalists and naysayers who had been vocally opposed to the lead doctor from the start. "Our rational sense informs us," the doctor described, "the risk of necrosis is in essence nonexistent."
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« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2017, 05:16:44 pm »


Public Opinion Demands Civil Service Reform, Artist's Illustration, 1881

  On March 10th, 1882, President Garfield emerged from the White House and met the public for the first time since the shooting. Albeit confined to a wheeled mobility device, the elected leader smiled at the exuberant welcome he received that morning. The deafening reception, a standing ovation, reminded the incumbency that beyond factionalism and political differences, the principal part of the American people wished Garfield well. No words were spoken by the chief administrator, but a light wave of the hand had been all that was needed. Historian Ira Rutkow wrote of this moment that, "This simple act lifted the spirits of a somber, dormant nation. [...] The pressures of reality, if for a snippet in time, vanished."

  In the final autumn days of 1881, as the president's physical composure improved, he requested his present facility be transformed into an impromptu executive office for the time being. As remarked by the doctors on-call, the residual effects of the entry wound wore thin over the span of weeks past. They released several reports indicating that in spite of the prominent likelihood that mobility would prove to be a long-term complication for Garfield, the elected leader passed each of the provided tests for mental fitness. Haverstraw voiced his displeasure with Garfield rushing too soon into administrative duties, but egged on by the First Lady and Secretary Blaine, the president nonetheless called for a meeting of the Cabinet.

  The president sat upright and eager in his pressed medical bed as all seven chief figures of the administration stepped into the room. This even included Vice President Chester Arthur who glowed with sheer relief at the weight of responsibility lifted from his shoulders. Exemplifying the course of recovery, the president opened the discussion with prompt acknowledgments of gratitude to each of these men for their part in retaining executive authority while he himself was unable to do so. Blaine then led the discussion and brought President Garfield up to speed on conflicts both international and internal, from tensions with Great Britain to the re-appointment of Roscoe Conkling in the Senate.

  From this, the topic gradually shifted to that of the Stalwarts. Arthur sulked in anticipation of the finger-pointing to come. Garfield had processed that Charles Guiteau's motives were politically-driven, but only in recent conversations did it dawn how toxic inter-party contention and patronage truly was. The perpetrator had indeed been sentenced to a life of institutional containment following an insanity plea. However, the administration pondered if these overarching issues took precedence over the fate of the gunman. The question was simple: How should this business be approached?

  James Blaine spat out the mention of the Stalwarts and remained steadfast in citing that sect's resistance to civil service reform as of paramount significance. It was only a matter of time, he put forward, until Senator Conkling reasserted himself as the awesome thorn he was. The president concurred with Blaine's sentiments, yet declared that unless they act on the immediate insistence for service regulation, the country risked further and enduring divisiveness. Arthur voiced his agreement, and the decision to endorse Senator George Pendleton's (D-OH) regulatory bill became unanimous. The bill sought to establish standards for government employment and appointment, and in essence had been all that the Half-Breeds clamored for since President Grant stepped down.

  In Washington's "post-Guiteau" era, it mattered not if one possessed a personal gripe with patronage regulation as reformists grasped onto the winning argument. 'That Man' shot the U.S. president out of political spite and his refusal to be awarded a federal appointment. Even Senator Conkling, the fiercest critic of service reform, knew that to block the measure at this time was a fool's errand. The Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act passed both chambers of Congress and came to be signed by President Garfield in mid-January.

  This law catered much-needed catharsis for an anxious and demanding public, and too delivered a mighty blow to the trained technique of machine politicking. Insofar as the opposition was concerned, as described by David Jordan, "In the disharmonious war for control of the Republican Party, the passage of the Pendleton Act may have resembled Gettysburg. In plain fact, it was far more akin to Antietam."
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« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2017, 10:57:53 pm »


William Henry Trescot, American Diplomatist

  In an economical sense, the influence of the United States as a global power was nonexistent. Stepping from the ashes of the American Civil War, U.S. leadership confined itself to protectionist policies and an increased tariff for the sake of reconstructing the war-torn society. Burgeoning steel, rail and coal industries thrived in and throughout this period of favorable demand, soaring the general economy. These lucrative companies amassed unforeseen wealth and influence with the expanse of factorial production, and with that too arose political preeminence.

  Realizing a mutually beneficial partnership, figures within the government stood hand-in-hand with this class of business elite. An entanglement of corporate interests with federal policy came to be a defining feature of American politics as the scandalous, corruptible nature of the Ulysses S. Grant Administration reached the headlines. Regional epicenters of commerce, notably Chicago and New York, maintained strict alliances between capitalist bosses and elected representatives. "Machine Politics" acquired an entirely new meaning.

  As discussed in Allan Peskin's Republicanism, the modern GOP flourished as a sure consequence of the above factors. "Encapsulating the tide of unregulated industrialization, the Republican Party of the 1880s came to represent the interests of established profit-seekers, then termed as innovative financiers. Such forces appeared to have reacted with indifference to the intraparty strife." Peskin brings to the forefront an hypothesis as to the objectives of the Republicans of the era. This purports, plainly, that the beneficiaries of, in this case, President Garfield's policies were primarily these heads of industry. Furthermore, as stated by Peskin, "...the State Department under James Blaine fulfilled this task, and then some."

  Secretary James Blaine led a transformative age for the state department as it transitioned to a fervent enforcer of the Monroe Doctrine. He set out for a clear policy objective, that being the prevention of European interference in the Western Hemisphere through economical means. Blaine determined that a cooperative 'Congress of the Americas,' properly guided and steered by the United States, could solidify relations and ensure peace across the two continents. Thrilling opportunities for entrepreneurial investment and cross-market growth would, naturally, come as a distinct result of such a union.

  The Administration sought a reduction in protectionist policies and a proper reintroduction of free trade initiatives via this route of international negotiation. The economy wholly stable as is, the state secretary recognized the need for patient, diligent planning in this gambit. Blaine's overarching project was delayed, appropriately so, as an outcome of the attempted assassination on the president and, in moving ahead with his executive balancing act in the autumn of that year, these ideas took a backseat. With the president returned to serving in his elected role by the year's end, however, Blaine was now free to command his endeavor.

  Several large-scale, bloody conflicts in Latin America through the past twenty-odd years worried American speculators that the region may be unfriendly territory for U.S. investment. Ongoing since Garfield took office had been the destructive War in the Pacific: Combat struck between Chile and a Peru-Bolivia Coalition. Secretary Blaine, knowing the artificiality of calling for a continental treaty organization as these prospective entrants warred with one another, focused efforts on the peace process. As Blaine worked to present an envoy as a neutral mediator, he discovered that these South American nations held indisputable suspicions of the supercilious "Colossus of the North." For why, one may argue, would the United States seek peace in an adjacent continent unless it itself carried a vested interest in the region?

  Blaine's effort stalled as he encountered successive roadblocks. His proposal for a resolution essentially reverted national boundaries to those of the 1870s, but, considering Chile occupied the Peruvian capital by 1881, the Chilean government disdainfully brushed this idea off. Blaine soon learned of the inability of his foreign ambassadors to secure progress in their respective roles, prompting the secretary to call upon famed diplomat William Trescot of South Carolina. Once a war-tested colonel in the Confederate Army, Trescot counseled on behalf of the United States in previous fortuitous dealings with both the United Kingdom as well as China, and held a remarkable degree of skill in enticing uninterested powers to the negotiating table.

  The "Trescot Mission" thereby took shape. James Blaine informed the diplomat that his proposed gathering of American nations would come to pass within the year. Trescot embarked en route to South America with Walker Blaine (son to the state secretary) with the explicit task of issuing invitations to the governments of Chile, Peru and Bolivia. Blaine's envoy promptly secured a consultation with the foreign minister of Chile, and as per impartial terms of arbitration, the South American power guardedly complied with Trescot's request to attend. Peruvian and Bolivian authorities followed suit. The fate of the War in and Pacific and U.S. relations with its southern neighbors now rested with this conference, scheduled to begin April 12th, 1882.
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« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2018, 05:12:19 pm »


The Congress of American Republics, April 20th, 1882

  In Washington, the incumbent administration awaited the return of Trescot with a stark degree of apprehension. The recovered President Garfield wagered a great deal of his political capital on the success of this overseas expenditure. Bringing together these warring powers to a proto-neutral negotiating table was, for Secretary Blaine, especially, no small feat. However, for both Blaine and Garfield, an end result lacking in favorable economic certainty could set the stage for disaster, thereby setting the upcoming elections into a tailspin for the Republicans.

  As the American diplomatist and his deputation reached the capital alongside representatives of several South American nations, they were promptly greeted with a celebratory fair in their honor. Garfield's "Goodwill" welcoming parade, consisting predominantly of marching band processions, conveyed a sense of joyousness and optimism. He hoped that setting an upbeat tone from the start would white-out any trepidation from the visiting parties. Wishing to appear as an impartial party, President Garfield presided over this fantastical event and the opening ceremony thereafter, yet did not attend the true negotiations.

  With the pomp and circumstance tucked aside, the first day of the Congress of the American Republics now dawned. Debate kicked off with expectant tension flaring between the Peruvian and Chilean delegations in regards to territorial acquisitions. As per the timetable summary noted by attendee Agustin Palma, the procedures for the conference were haphazard and rapidly strained. "Speaking time was limited per set guidelines. These were not met. Each party was meant to grant consideration and courteously whilst another spoke. No such thing had been granted. All desired impartiality from one another, yet not one man signified a willingness to listen, much less compromise."

  The United States' role of uninfluenced mediator was a debatable facet. Each ambassador, diplomat and economist of the host nation possessed clear ambitions for the congress. Secretary Blaine, himself, held national motives with these international affairs. The foreign delegations knew this for a fact, and one may come to question the validity of this peace summit from the above statements alone. William Trescot perhaps presented the singular effective voice on behalf of the United States as opposing suspicions rang high. As Palma reflected, once Blaine's proposal for compulsory arbitration began to appear far too one-sided in its approach, Trescot moved along the conversation to a cooperative, cross-continental tone. This move countered the argument of Argentine Sáenz Peña, who had rallied against the "arrogance" of the U.S. and its "covert domination" of the continent. Although Blaine's proposal ultimately failed, this round of negotiations seemed to inch the U.S. closer to a favorable light.

  President Garfield paid close watch to the events unfolding at the C.A.R. He kept sharp correspondence with Secretary Blaine in order to paint a better picture of the general scenario, and truly retained a confident perspective in the face of deadlock. Garfield's letters indicate satisfaction with Trescot and Blaine's prominent roles in this regard. The president's came to find his attention divided in two as new developments in Congress sought significant alterations to existing law.

  The Republican-held Congress demonstrated a willingness to work with the administration through the early months of 1882. The president signed the Edmunds Act in March, effectively banning the act of polygamy. He also signed a compromise measure granting increased reparations for civil war veterans in dire condition. Then, on April 12th, as if tailor-made to act in simultaneity with the C.A.R., new legislation was introduced in the House which would entail sweeping immigration reform. Representative Horace Page (R-CA), in presenting this bill to Congress, declared that the Californian coast and its American labor force was under the threat of Chinese workers.

  The exclusionary bill entailed a total ban on "skilled and unskilled laborers" from China under penalty of imprisonment and deportation. Constructed following a turn in public opinion in the past decade over Chinese immigrants, the bill, according to historian Jay Perry, "[was a] visceral nativist reaction against an ethnic minority and a last-ditch attempt to ensure white working privileges." Page's measure also ingrained a provision requiring all settled individuals from China seek reentry documentation if returning from another country, thereby barring Chinese immigrants from citizenship. Though met with a somewhat varied reception, the House passed the bill, 202-37.

  Moving forward, prospects appeared dim for the incumbency. President Garfield's views on immigration restriction were mixed, however he stopped short of releasing a statement on Page's bill as it passed the House, likely processing that standing in the way of the tide risked political destruction. Meanwhile, Blaine's climb for peace in South America looked to be further and further out of reach. During negotiations on the floor of the Senate for the immigration bill, senator Thomas F. Bayard (D-DE), lent several words to the state of the White House. "We have granted this administration its due time in solace, but for no longer must we stand and witness this wastefulness, this stagnation. [...] Our liberty sits wanting as we foolishly host these dignitaries on our dollar. Our sovereignty leans on the brink, and in the case of failure, only ourselves be at blame." The Senate passed the exclusionary bill on April 28th.
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« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2018, 10:43:15 pm »

As always, a fantastic TL, Pyro. Love it!
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« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2018, 04:06:41 pm »

As always, a fantastic TL, Pyro. Love it!

Thank you!
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« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2018, 01:29:03 pm »


General Miguel Iglesias Pino de Arce

  In regards to the C.A.R., slightly over three weeks passed with insufficient, lackluster resolution taking place. Blaine and Trescot geared themselves toward avoiding the crux of the war discord thus far, instead shifting the conversation elsewhere. The suspense came tumbling down on May 2nd. Bolivian delegates demanded there be repercussions for Chilean invasion and a universal condemnation of territorial conquest. Argentina and Peru voiced their agreement with the proposal, putting the United States in a quandary.

  A state of war remained prevalent in Peru's southern region with a favorable outcome for Chile seemingly set in motion. Chilean military personnel had occupied their neighboring countries with an indisputable dominance. Continuous offensives directed by Rear Admiral Patricio Lynch crippled city upon city in a relentless pursuit of victory. In a pure European fashion, Chilean leadership demanded substantial concessions in any prospective treaty deal. Resistance fighters serving under Peruvian Andrés Avelino Cáceres nonetheless dug in through several counter-offensive measures and demonstrated an unwillingness to give in.

  Now recognizing the unsteady relationship between the U.S. and Chile, a delegate from the latter nation visibly recoiled upon the delivering of Bolivia's statement. William Trescot caught glimpse of this show of dramatics and, fearing for the withdrawal of Chile from the congress, vocally inquired as to the thoughts of the Chilean perspective. The delegate answered, plainly exclaiming that the war was in all essence completed. Resistance "ploys" merely delayed an inevitable conclusion and, according to the representative, needlessly furthered the bloodshed. He also slyly poked at U.S. hypocrisy in condemning military conquest while the host nation had itself been the beneficiary of massive territorial expansion following the Mexican-American War.

  Subsequently, some dozen minutes of near-shouting debate encompassed the negotiations. Trescot rose to speak once order presided and presented a succinct address to the congress on this matter. Directing his words primarily toward Peru, the diplomatist stated that from an objective and militarian point of view, the inertia and strength of numbers counted against the defending powers, and such evidence must not be shrouded in working through a meaningful compromise. Cutting off an interruption, Trescot interjected that the congress ought to instill, through peace terms, a platform to ensure the sovereignty of equal states in Latin America. Quoting Secretary Blaine, he reminded the delegates of, "our sole aim, to seek a way of permanently averting the horrors of bloodied, cruel combat between countries."

  Trescot then presented a proclamation offered by Peruvian General Miguel Iglesias. It read as thus. "The urgency to adjust the peace with Chile in the best possible way and for the republic to rise united and vigorous to shake off the past missteps and enter fully into the regenerative path appears to me beyond doubt." The diplomat went on, describing Iglesias' account of the fall of Lima, the increasing number of civilian casualties in the occupation (this, perhaps, a jab to the Chilean delegation) and various other damages throughout the war's span. "This congress," he affirmed, "shall not end without settlement."

  The C.A.R. failed in its mission to ensure a permanent and concrete method of arbitration within North and South American nations. It did not succeed in establishing significant bonds betwixt the United States and its cross-continental neighbors, nor had an American Zollverein been founded as Secretary Blaine and President Garfield intended. The congress did, for the first recorded instance in the modern history of the Western Hemisphere, open face-to-face discussions on an international level, and through Trescot's efforts the United States gained a higher degree of respect from its nearby residents, as well as vice-versa. Beyond symbolic feats, the C.A.R. did indeed unanimously pass the Treaty of Washington on July 1st, 1882, later ratified by the governments of Chile, Bolivia and Peru that same year. This formally ended the War of the Pacific through a limited exchange of territory and indemnity and further stipulated that future entangling conflicts shall be mediated through subsequent meetings of the Congress of American Republics.
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« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2018, 05:33:15 pm »


Patriot Speech Portrayal in "American Experience: The Era of James Garfield," 2012

  President Garfield, in his authorizing of Secretary Blaine to head the Inter-American endeavor, allocated the appropriate time to consider his options on the domestic front. Via newspaper observations, personal correspondence, and contemporaneous accounts, James Garfield kept vigilance over Senate and House proceedings. Drawing from the administration's reluctance to release a statement on the exclusionary bill in its introductory stage, historians have come to assume that the president likely underestimated its stock as a 'pet' or regional issue. With its prompt passage, however, this aroma of a laissez faire approach fast perished.

  The bill's likelihood for success in the Senate had been slim. The senators representing the U.S. West Coast, pressured by their constituency, was guaranteed to vote in the affirmative. Southern Democrats appeared split on the measure, and the bulk of Republicans appeared to stand against it. Once the House had approved the measure, coinciding with a stark, controversial rise in anti-Chinese xenophobia and scapegoating of Asian-born workers, fear above all held the advantage and may have drove a re-evaluation amongst select senators in this 47th Congress.

  Prospective Nay votes began trending in the other direction. Much of the South now leaned in favor of passing the legislation and several prominent GOP senators voiced their indecision on the measure. Exuberantly influential Senator David Davis (D-IL), former Supreme Court justice, announced his intention to vote in favor of the measure, rocking the once-solid "No" Midwest. Senators Pendleton (D-OH) and Angus Cameron (R-WI) followed suit. Nevada and Nebraska flipped, along with the state of Colorado. Horace Page's bill passed, 32-15. 29 members of the U.S. Senate abstained from the final vote.

  President Garfield wavered. The White House persisted in its silence to the end of April, raising eyebrows throughout the halls of Congress. The president's views on immigration were somewhat mysterious, only once hinted with the derided and deemed-fraudulent pro-immigration Morey Letter during the election. 'Nay Republicans', inter-party factions aside, chiefly accepted the results of the vote and looked beyond this failure to future legislation. Californian representatives lauded the bill's passage and excitedly awaited their electoral rewards come November. Representative Page himself declared victory on the 28th and spoke to a crowd of supporters that same evening, congratulating the efforts of his proponents.

  Page, therefore, surely experienced quite a shock to read of President Garfield's veto on May 4th. Alongside this contentious move, the president bestowed to the public an appeal. From a White House podium, he revealed the novel, metamorphic course for the United States distinctly named, "Patriots for the Global Sphere". In this address, Garfield intrinsically illustrated a scene of international cooperation and peaceful arbitration, with the U.S. leading such a harmonious charge. Echoing the general themes of the Congress of American States, he exclaimed that the continental powers of the Earth must find with one another mutual respect and the betterment of all. "In all the interests of man," the president proclaimed, "Be it social, commercial or spiritual, in turn, America shall be obliged to seek general accord."

  This vision, in the terms put forth by James Garfield, depended on the United States representing itself as a force worthy of such a call. Connecting the theme of the speech with the exclusion bill and referring to existing treaties with China, the president established, "Our signature is our word." Page's bill indeed would have nullified specific immigration provisions in an 1880 treaty with China. Garfield lent several lines to the other draconian stipulations, condemning all those who have seen fit to make matters worse, "on the industrious poor." Hearkening back to his inaugural pose on civil rights, the president once more asserted that equal protection under the Constitution shall preside above all else.

  The address met with a diverse reaction. Republicans in the vein of James Blaine applauded the outright internationalism set in the tone of the speech and prepared to defend this such cause in upcoming political bouts. Nay voters in Congress largely sat in relief over the veto and sent correspondence to the White House expressing gratitude. Those representing the West Coast, and too the rural West, were supremely outraged, fully comprehending the exceptionally unlikely scenario of a Senate override. Much of the goodwill gained by the administration in this area since Garfield's hospitalization now seemed to vanish. A despondent article printed in the "San Francisco Chronicle" on May 8th reported that all flags along the coast had been raised at half-mast in honor of their somber defeat. In simultaneity, the publication polled its readership on the matter, and several weeks following the veto discovered above 90% strongly rejected the president's perspective, with 65% indicating an intention to vote for the Democratic candidate in 1884.
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« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2018, 05:36:33 pm »

Elections for the 48th United States Congress

U.S. Senate Results
Democratic: 38 (+1)
Republican: 35 (-2)
Readjuster: 2 (+1)
Independent: 1 (-)

U.S. House Results
Democratic: 209 (+69)
Republican: 108 (-39)
Readjuster: 4 (+4)
Greenback: 2 (-8)

  The Garfield Administration strode along the edges of a wasp nest in its recent ventures. Pacing toward the midpoint in his term, the president had enacted several resolutions since overcoming the harrowing attempt on his life, each transformational of preexisting policy. Polygamy, by governing federal law, was now felonized. The once-impossible task of laying waste to political patronage was now well underway. The cause for restricting immigration based on ethnicity was dealt a declarative blow with the contentious veto delivered by President Garfield. As for the tide of foreign policy, the U.S. flung open its doors to diplomatic talks with the nations of America and emerged with an element of deference. These steps taken by the ruling incumbency found varied success in the realm of public opinion.

  Weighted research of traditionally uncommitted districts taken in the autumn of 1882 indicated a minor trend away from the governing party, though stable approval for the president persisted nonetheless. According to presidential historian H. William Ackerman, as discussed in Prelude to the Unraveling: The Nation Under Rutherford Hayes and James Garfield, "Pervasive in all accounts of swing-line voters was a distinct preference for the House Opposition. Some voter perspectives indicated a desire for the continuance of Republican reign in the White House alongside a Democratic presence, or 'check', in Congress. [...] The root cause differs dependent upon the state and, perhaps even district. Take one model. Some dozens of congressional Republicans voted against the Pendleton Act. A pro-Garfield, albeit swing, voter may choose the opposing candidate in said case."

  The November 1882 races gauged the electorate's mood and effectively judged whether or not the present direction was of their preference. Assessing the noted results, that of the Democratic Party's rebound to a majority in the House of Representatives, it is clear that the above theory presented by Ackerman holds merit. There exists little in the amount of voter testimony of this era, however a disdain for corruptible, anti-reform (Stalwart) congressmen is indeed a not-so-discreet facet of local and state-wide results articles. The "San Jose Mercury", for instance, stated in a celebratory tone on November 8th, "Democrats, Hurrah! Major General Stoneman [Democrat] washes Estee [Republican] & Shall Be Governor. "

  Keeping in mind that the governing Republicans have suffered losses in each and every mid-cycle election since President Grant took office, it could be argued that those on the losing side of these House and Senate races assumed as much for their fate. A visceral reaction to the exclusion bill's veto brought West Coast Republicans to heel as the region endured a stupefying shift from the GOP to the Democrats. George Stoneman (D-CA) strode to the governorship with nearly 60% of the vote. Oregon Governor W.W. Thayer, a conservative Democrat, narrowly defeated state senator Joseph Dolph (R-OR) in his state's Senate election. Democrats trounced Republican opponents in all six of California's House elections, as well as in Oregon and Nevada's At-Large seats.

  One of the greatest shocks of the final tally had been the moment when Speaker of the House J. Warren Keifer, already presumed to forfeit his speakership, was defeated in Ohio's 8th District by Democratic challenger John Little. In this slim loss, the Republican Party endured a massive symbolic and psychological defeat. Keifer, an ally of Garfield's, thus became the first Speaker to lose his re-election bid since Galusha Grow (R-PA) in 1863.

  Faced with an overwhelming blow to his authority, the president and his administration began to plot a new course for the following two years. Moderate House Republicans, once celebratory of Garfield's monumental accomplishments, severely altered their tone on November 8th: Imploring the Executive Branch release its grip on the reigns. The Democratic majority in Congress were more than pleased with this development.

 
Senators Elected in 1882(Class 2)
John Tyler Morgan (D-AL): Democratic Hold
Augustus Garland (D-AR): Democratic Hold
Norman H. Meldrum (D-CO): Democratic Gain
Eli M. Saulsbury (D-DE): Democratic Hold
Alfred H. Colquitt (D-GA): Democratic Hold
David Davis (I-IL): Independent Hold
James F. Wilson (R-IA): Republican Hold
Preston B. Plumb (R-KS): Republican Hold
James B. Beck (D-KY): Democratic Hold
Randall L. Gibson (D-LA): Democratic Gain
William P. Frye (R-ME): Republican Hold
George F. Hoar (R-MA): Republican Hold
Thomas W. Palmer (R-MI): Republican Hold
Dwight M. Sabin (R-MN): Republican Hold
Lucius Q.C. Lamar II (D-MS): Democratic Hold
Charles F. Manderson (R-NE): Republican Hold
Austin F. Pike (R-NH): Republican Hold
John R. McPherson (D-NJ): Democratic Hold
Matt W. Ransom (D-NC): Democratic Hold
W.W. Thayer (D-OR): Democratic Hold
Henry B. Anthony (R-RI): Republican Hold
Matthew Butler (D-SC): Democratic Hold
Isham G. Harris (D-TN): Democratic Hold
Richard Coke (D-TX): Democratic Hold
Harrison H. Riddleberger (RA-VA): Readjuster Gain
John E. Kenna (D-WV): Democratic Hold
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« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2018, 05:45:28 pm »


Speaker of the House John G. Carlisle

  Following an abysmal showing for the leading party in the midterm elections, 1883 proved to be a sobering affair for President Garfield and his administration. Coming to terms with those seats lost in the House and Senate, those governing the nation considered the available options. Blatant had been the failure of Republican representatives in convincing the electorate of their merit, and with this, the Democratic opposition rose to prominence: winning majorities in both houses of Congress.

  John G. Carlisle (D-KY) became the newly delegated Speaker of the House. A well-known conservative Democrat, Carlisle gave a voice to ardent supporters of free-trade and low tariffs. Elevated to the level of speaker, the Kentuckian assured his base that in all coming debate, he would provide "reason" where there had been none. In all truth, the new House speaker found agreement with many of the governing policies. Carlisle may have approved of some aspects of Garfield and Blaine's reach out to neighboring nations, however, joining with his fellow representatives in Congress, condemned the Congress of American Republicans as a "fruitless Executive expenditure."

  President Garfield's legislative allies were wiped out, and for the bulk of the duration of this 48th Congress, his agenda came to a screeching halt. The president's polices in regard to regulatory and domestic reform had little chance of emerging from the Democratic-controller House. In the spring of 1883, Representative Charles O'Neill (R-PA) introduced a measure which would have created new education programs in the South in order to combat discouraging illiteracy rates. Identifying this legislation as one which sought further expansion of the Executive Branch and, as well, the federal government, Southern Democrats charged against this bill and successfully prevented it from coming to a floor vote. "Our hope for an age of progress and bipartisanship," reflected a federal employee, "appears lost."

  Aside from its resistance to the president's policies, the 48th Congress faced off with a more unanticipated foe. Although the economic outlook appeared brilliant moving into the second half of Garfield's term, contemporary accounts reported of economic advisers warning William Windom, Secretary of the Treasury, of a prospective downturn. Windom's reaction to this news was far from panicked, and he only spoke of this topic at length to the president as these signals worsened. In the months since the new Congress came to order, the general economy began to develop signs of a modest contraction.

  The rail industry waned in substantial activity since the turning of the decade, provoking a notable decline in steel, iron and oil industries from, at least, November of that year. Across the board, investment dulled. Manufacturing stocks steadily fell in the United States throughout 1883. Several export markets neared rupture, including Pittsburgh and Bradford oil companies, with industrial consolidation appearing plausible. Over the course of the year, U.S. commercial confidence began to descend in a distinct fashion as the nation found itself now mired in recessed economic life. Secretaries Windom and Kirkwood advised Garfield proceed with a hands-off approach. Recognizing the reality of newfound legislative limitations and perhaps too fearing the potential political consequences, the president complied and decided against a planned call for economic reform in the latter weeks of August of 1883.
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« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2018, 10:32:04 am »


State Secretary James G. Blaine, Chief Architect of Pres. Garfield's Foreign Policy

 With general approval of the present administration sinking along with the economic forecast, the Garfield Cabinet sought turnabout. Once wholly admired despite partisan differences, printed editorials disparaging the Republican vision popped up in reputable publications, including the "Washington Post." One such piece written that summer decried the "immovability embedded in [the Republican] gentry," and further proposed market-friendly legislation to assist in the theoretical recovery. These accounts suggest a developed frustration with the incumbency, but far more so, reflect a media dialogue that appeared to favor the new oppositionist majorities in Congress.

  Secretary James Blaine intended to alter the direction of this discourse, and did so through two distinct means. First, he and the president authorized a biweekly column be released on a national scale. Blaine was convinced, presumably through either members of the State Department or other presidential advisors, that the most effective method of altering a prevailing political dialogue was to confront it and speak directly to the crux of the issue. As opposed to President Garfield addressing each subject before a podium, this routine release would serve as the president's (realistically, Blaine's) voice in printed form.

  The introductory piece, entitled, "From the White House," reached its initial print on September 3rd's issue of the Post. In meticulous language, revised some dozen times in the span of two days, the premier article highlighted the achievements of the Garfield Administration and laid out the basic tenants of the Patriot Speech. It echoed the broad sense of cooperation betwixt American governments and emphasized the longstanding productive benefits of such an arrangement. The column's authors relayed these sentiments to the great many consumers of the publication and, as had been the case in John Haverstraw's correspondence to the public, general interest in the affairs and perspective of the president catapulted, as did sales figures for ensuing issues of the "Washington Post."

  Second, Blaine revealed the first concrete steps toward an internationalized United States. On September 24th, the secretary enthusiastically announced the signing of a new economic agreement with Brazil. Ambassador Thomas A. Osborn discussed terms with the irresolute government of Emperor Pedro II repetitiously since the closing of the C.A.R., steadfast in his and Blaine's end-goal of a unified America. Far more than Argentina or Chile, William Trescot discovered kinship and common ground in dealings with the Brazilian C.A.R. delegation. However, not until an appropriate length of time had passed since the complete ratification of the Treaty of Washington did the breakthrough take hold.

  This charter signed by each power pledged favorable commercial relations for a minimum period of ten years. The emperor, as well as Prime Minister Lafayette Rodrigues Pereira, authorized the signing of this document in full knowledge that it gave the impression of limiting extra-hemispheric commerce. It did not contain, to the resentment of Blaine, a clause eclipsing trade with the Old World, but rather awarded the U.S. equitable standing. Pro-European governments in South America, notably Argentina, feared an austere response from fellow, prominent trading partners like England, however none materialized.

  Secretary Blaine, in a joint-pronouncement with William Windom, declared that this charter opened the gates to a new and globalized economic future for the United States. "Hemispheric trade," the State Secretary stated, "grants our nations a mutually beneficial arrangement." Windom concurred and applauded Blaine's work in securing the first shores for entrepreneurial ripening. Receding markets, closing in on their dreariest point during the autumnal equinox, stabilized in the immediate aftermath of this announcement in anticipation of a cross-continental expansionary effort.
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« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2018, 10:39:43 am »


An Anti-Tariff Political Slide, Jacksonian Era

  With news of hemispheric trade becoming a fixed reality for American business interests, jubilant commercial markets weighed their prospects, fantasizing just how far this internationalist future could take them. Secretary Blaine contemplated new developments in Brazil as a foundation in ushering in a new, cross-continental age for the Americas, economically speaking. However, this optimism, that of Blaine's and of the speculative markets, was detached from the political realities of the time. As the leaves turned and the first snow piled on Washington, D.C., the economic outlook had remained stifled.

  Responding to the financial woes of an observed stagnated United States, Congress considered alterations to existing taxation policy. Democrats rallied in this decade around the reduction of the federal tariff rate. Espousing a permanence of free trade and an end to anti-European barriers built up over prior administrations, a slew of newly elected representatives championed a massive tariff cut in order to juggernaut the economy. To the prototypical Democrat, lowering this levy on foreign goods encouraged a consumer-friendly environment and lessened the burden on rural farmers. As a jab to the Republicans, Democratic representatives also emphasized a low tariff's potential in heightening investment interest from foreign markets.

  The Republicans largely opposed a lessening of the tariff. To them, an increased tariff, and as such, a protectionist policy, ensured measured economic success and a fair climate to American industries. The bulk of Republicans in Congress attacked the tariff reducing motion, exclaiming that doing so in the wake of a recessive dip in the economy threatened destructive effects on factories and mines across the country. Instead, the GOP promoted a reduction in excise taxes as an alternative. Democrats disagreed.

  President Garfield, exceedingly well-versed in tariff debate from his own years in Congress, was keen to each side of the table. Albeit sympathizing chiefly with his own party's views on the matter, the president signified a willingness to compromise and therefore staked out the center in this debate. In a move which served to satisfy neither side, Garfield hesitantly stated that the best course of action would be to moderate the tariff rate from its present height. A handful of Republican congressmen refuted their party leader's point as "ill-advised" and Democrats critically lambasted the president for "irresponsible" and "undefined" economic policies. Reports of Garfield wavering from a position of strength in the tariff debate, as released on October 22nd, dampened support nationwide.

  "James Garfield found himself cornered," wrote historian H. William Ackerman. "The tariff debacle in 1883 lent a crucial signal to the Democratic Party revealing once more divisional tendencies on the opposing side. Garfield may have emitted an aura of invulnerability from the point of attempted assassination through the closing of the 47th Congress. Mass support enjoyed by the president in this time rode high, even throughout the debate over Chinese immigration, yet, so they say, 'All Good Things.' The pipeline could endure no further, and ruptured under the weight of intense scrutiny by the opposing press and congressional majorities."

  A frequent critic of federal overreach, firebrand Senator Thomas Bayard of Delaware spoke at length on the senate floor to the shortcomings of President Garfield. No longer had Bayard been perceived as a lone-voice of criticism, but now appeared to embody a sentiment echoed with the rise of the Democratic Party in the midterm elections. "We find ourselves nearing the end of this president's third year in office. Three years - of misfortune, and of disillusionment. The patience of the American people has worn thin to the point of transparency!"

  In the Republican aisle, Senator Roscoe Conkling once more became the face of opposition. The New Yorker had grown uncharacteristically silent in the prior congressional session, knowing his untouchable grandeur and party supremacy lied on the brink of ruin. True to form rising for the opportunity to achieve retribution, Conkling unleashed a tirade against the incumbency in the midst of the tariff debate. At last giving credence to an undeniable feature of the Garfield Administration, the senator proclaimed, "Of all else, one facet (has been made evident). In our present standing, by all indications the authority of this White House lies not with the duly elected president, but rather an unelected charlatan in Mr. Blaine."
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« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2018, 02:41:55 pm »

Purple heart
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« Reply #17 on: February 08, 2018, 04:17:44 pm »


WP Newspaper Header

 In describing the unfolding circumstances, William Ackerman wrote, "Retrospectively, our knowledge of events illustrates that the tariff issue was never the true cause for debate. The point of contention was a perceived rise in presidential authority - an occurrence particularly noted under President Garfield." He expands from this point, stating that the Democratic leadership in Congress, as soon as June of 1883, blocked bipartisan legislation in favor of deriding the Executive Branch. "The opposition may have initially manifested itself as a check on the White House, but found itself devolving into a debate-focused contingent adamant in discrediting President Garfield and the Republican tenure in the White House. The 'Elephant in the Room' so to speak."

  Ackerman continued, "This sentiment was not limited to Democrats, as it too rang a bitter chord with the ever-spiteful congressional Stalwarts. Senator Roscoe Conkling of New York unceremoniously launched his accusation of a sitting Cabinet official in James Blaine, and in doing so pulled the curtain on any subtlety that was the autumn tariff dispute. [...] In this, we witness Conkling embody the degeneration of the United States Congress."

  Author David Jordan, biographer and historian, reflected on the senator's blow to the president in his own work. He established, "The words spoken in the Senate Chamber [by Conkling] were on the minds of most all present in Washington. James Blaine's overwhelming capacity in the administration proved to surpass, in terms of influence, that of Seward under Lincoln. Blaine called for a moderated tariff within hours of his Cabinet appointment, whereas Garfield maintained the belief of a high tariff - as was standard procedure for Republicans in the nineteenth. It is exceptionally likely, therefore, that the president's mind was changed, that his view on the topic was entirely altered, due to the SOS. That was Roscoe Conkling's presentation in essence, albeit compressed."

  Fellow Republican colleagues shouted against the claims put forward by Senator Conkling, however there was no turning from that point. In the span of some minutes, the discredited politician once more crossed the threshold to stardom and discovered himself quoted in publications nationwide. The claim of an undemocratic influence onto the president spread as wildfire, engulfing the press and derailing any semblance of civility in the tariff dispute.

  President Garfield looked ahead and saw an unwinnable battle. The administration's biweekly column attempted to recover as much credence as possible through its offer of a counter narrative - stating in print the perspective of the president - but it failed to radically alter the conversation as so hoped. Garfield's stature in the realm of potential progress now appeared to crumble before him. Antagonistic editorials pilled up, decrying Garfield as an ineffective leader and still more criticized the role of Blaine in the White House.

  Garfield instructed his staff print an additional piece apart from his weekly slot in the "Washington Post." It released on December 20th, 1883 and knocked the latest statements from Conkling and Bayard from the front page. The work - abbreviated below - quoted in plain language an appeal offered by the president, directed primarily to his supporters.

"Reader, I humbly ask for your observance and adherence in the addressed manner. In the trials of governance, I have sought unity of nation and of man. I reassert my conviction in that all who stand in the road of progress must be circumvented. It is for this concern in our present time that I now, in sincerity, advise against my nomination for president. I thank you, my fellow citizens, for your kindness and support."
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« Reply #18 on: February 16, 2018, 10:45:15 am »
« Edited: February 16, 2018, 10:54:38 am by Pyro »


The Home of Sen. Roscoe Conkling in Utica, NY

II: An Eclipse

  The president's decision to release his message to the general public was one made in the absence of Cabinet approval. Revealed at about the turn of the nineteenth century by Joseph Wood, an officer within the State Department, Secretary Blaine fell to a state of despondency in the wake of his dishonor. Knowing full well the staying power of the accusations put forth in recent weeks, he vocalized his displeasure in the present situation and frequently expressed a desire to leave Washington. Blaine reached out to speak to President Garfield on this matter and discuss a plan of defense. As it turned out, he discovered all too late the president's succinct letter as revealed in the "Washington Post".

  Dealt a crushing blow of guilt, Blaine, at last, met with his superior some hours following the memorandum unveiling. The state secretary, according to Wood, emphatically derided the president's choice of action at length, exclaiming that his own resignation would have satisfied the hunger of the virulent accusers. Once the air calmed, Garfield responded that he would never have accepted such a proposal. In the words of Joseph Wood, "For the president, the prospective departure of Mr. Blaine was an unfit reward for his years of service to the country and the objective of global tranquility." Eventually accepting this rebuttal, Blaine however let it be known that he himself would in no condition vie for the nomination if the opportunity arose.

  Other Cabinet officials felt similarly to Blaine and articulated their displeasure with the president's decision-making in this instance. The seven department leaders unanimously implored Garfield reconsider, citing his unmatched, fine-tuned judgement in matters of law and policy. Vice President Arthur, frequently absent from his post due to an ongoing kidney ailment, returned at once in order to join the Cabinet in condemning the president's call. The often hushed Arthur joined with Blaine in publicly opposing the prospect of running for president. He remarked to Garfield that only an incumbent stood a chance at knocking down the rising opposing contingents in both parties.

  Relishing in this victory over his greatest political adversaries, Senator Roscoe Conkling epitomized this rising opposition. He had successfully recovered from, in his terms, the "hideousness" of the service reform era to a point of stabilization post re-election. The rejuvenated Stalwarts now kept in lockstep with Conkling and thereby duly followed in his voting patterns throughout the 48th Congress. In all intents and purposes, this became a viable bloc in Congress, and one that stood apart from the moderated, established Republican Party. Conkling, in company with Stalwart allies like Senator John A. Logan (R-IL), rallied against the initiatives put forward by the Democratic majority as well as the Garfield-Republican minority leadership in the Senate.

  Senator Conkling found new camaraderie with freshman Senators Austin F. Pike (R-NH) and Dwight M. Sabin (R-MN), each underwhelmed with President Garfield's tenure and each too incredibly dissatisfied with the actions of James Blaine. Frustrated with the reckless expenditures in South America, Conkling continuously professed his distaste with the administration's foreign policy in vocal as well as written form. Insofar as his opinion of the trade pact in Brazil is concerned, the senator blasted the "harebrained" deal, proclaiming that its perceived advantages for the U.S. were an illusion.

  The senator from New York, up to this point, resisted any inkling to imply his engrossment in the presidency. He feared the great risk posed to his political career and chose to hold his breath for confirmation of Blaine's and Robert Lincoln's disinterest in running. With the above prospect coming to an apparent fruition, Conkling and his colleagues in New York delved into the early stages of political research into a plausible run. He communicated periodically with his home office in search of gauging the enthusiasm of his supporters as he worked alongside his staff in Washington throughout the New Year.
 
  A polling report orchestrated by the "The New York Journal of Commerce" found Conkling leading Garfield in favorability figures, 59 to 41. On March 2nd, Roscoe Conkling officially voiced his interest in rising to the Executive level and announced his intention to run for the Republican nomination. As if planned beforehand, impending heavyweights like U.S. Minister to France Levi P. Morton and Lt. General Philip Sheridan endorsed the presidential candidate that same day and drove forth public curiosity in the Conkling Campaign as it embarked.
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« Reply #19 on: February 22, 2018, 03:51:57 pm »


Four Contending Democrats: (Left to Right) Allen Thurman, John Carlisle, Grover Cleveland, Thomas Bayard

  With an electoral brawl set on the horizon, those within the Democratic Party could hardly believe their luck. For six consecutive opportunities, the candidate for president on the Democratic ticket had failed to overcome the Republican machinery and navigate to a proper victory. From Stephen Douglas to Horace Greeley, it appeared as though the party was permanently relegated to the opposition. Samuel Tilden (D-NY), a northern reformer and anti-corruption advocate, came strikingly close to toppling Republican rule in the highly disputed 1876 race. In the end, Governor Tilden snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

  Although James Garfield may have defeated Democratic rival Winfield Scott Hancock in an initial showdown for the Executive office in 1880, abysmal approval reports presented now a scenario that vastly favored an anti-Garfield contender. Once the president announced his wish to restrict himself to a single term, the race was on. The pieces now fell pleasantly into place for a potential landslide win unseen in thirty years.

  The field for the Democrats grew wider with each passing moment. It was far from custom to announce one's candidacy far in advance of the national convention, meaning only sparse, minor candidates revealed their intentions at the time of the Garfield Letter. Michigan State Senator Allen B. Morse cited his interest in running as soon as December of 1883 and Supreme Court Justice Stephen J. Field let it slip that he too considered his options. January saw the official entrants declare. This lineup included the aforementioned Justice Field, Representative Orlando Potter (D-NY), and Senator Joseph E. McDonald (D-IN).

  Hancock formally refused to be considered for the party's nomination in mid-January, citing general disinterest in the prospect. Once named the 'Hero of Gettysburg,' Hancock resigned himself to heading various veterans organization including the Loyal Legion, and would do as such up until his death in 1886. To the heartbreak of his supporters, Samuel Tilden also declined, per ill-health. The New Yorker loomed over the Democratic bout, nonetheless, and officiated much of the convention's ceremony that summer.

  Several additional, albeit largely unrenowned, candidates joined as the temperature rose with the dawning of spring, although the first heavy hitters held their breath until news finally broke of Secretary Blaine's declination to contest. Former Senator Allen G. Thurman (D-OH) announced his candidacy for president near the final days of February. Thurman, an Old Guard Democrat, represented in his run the traditionalist, conservative voice of the party and carried with him multiple decades of public service. The Ohioan stressed courteousness and remarked frequently on the breaking down of honor in the Republican Party.

  Speaker of the House John G. Carlisle joined the race for the nomination shortly following Thurman. His leadership in the lower congressional chamber thwarted the gains of the Garfield Administration and his name became synonymous with the belief of strident anti-federalism. The calculative Carlisle campaigned in Washington on the lowering of the tariff and a genuine move toward a free-trade foreign policy whilst the nation remained within its "natural boundaries." He garnered national press throughout his term and had little difficulty securing name recognition as a result.

  Next announcing his inclination to run arose the famed governor of the state of New York, Grover Cleveland. In an era strained with machine politicking and an overgrowth of state and federal corruption, Cleveland made his reputation as Buffalo mayor and New York governor in tackling these monstrous interests. Despised wholeheartedly by the infamous nucleus of the state party, namely, Tammany Hall, Cleveland's brand of Democratic politics frankly mismatched that of his time.

  The governor's tenure was not without his own drawbacks and controversies. Cleveland had been a no-nonsense pro-business politician, fiercely and without scruples. His take on governing became exemplified through a veto on a fare-reducing measure for the sake of curbing superfluous spending. By all accounts, city residents determined the governor's action an unfairly earned reward for Jay Gould, the expressly unpopular owner of the elevated trains in question. Perhaps, in typical circumstances, Governor Cleveland may have evaded such shortcomings. However, one of the final presidential entrants had managed to build a groundswell of popular support in the duration of James Garfield's reign which appeared to far surpass that of Cleveland's.
 
  Known affectionately among Democrats as the 'Firebrand of the 48th', Senator Thomas F. Bayard (D-DE) declared in mid March that he would challenge the then-unknown Republican candidate to win the seat presently held by President Garfield. Bayard, in a sense, grew to prominence as one of the most ruthless critics of the president, though he first made his name as a vigorous opponent of Radical Reconstruction following the Civil War. The senator, essentially taken in as a protégé of Samuel Tilden, had been well seasoned in Democratic party politics from the perspective of its national entity. In serving as an active campaigner for Tilden in 1876, Bayard meticulously cultivated his reputation and flourished in befriending the necessary allies within the party elite - a crucial facet of politicking of which Grover Cleveland struggled.

  In this era of American politics, presidential nominations were the furthest thing from what one may consider a bonafide democratic process. Each party conducted an internal operation and settled on a nominee at the time of the quadrennial convention. Although this may not have allowed for voters to engage in the nomination directly, it meant that the fiasco of designating an official presidential candidate was limited to the chaos of the summer opposed to an ordeal spanning two years. Naturally, the Democrats as a whole remained split on who exactly ought to be their endorsee right up until the deadline.
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« Reply #20 on: February 27, 2018, 02:08:56 pm »


Artist's Rendition of the Panic of 1884

  The incumbent administration endured a tumultuous loss of public support in the period situated beside the tariff debacle and the rise of stinging criticisms from the Democratic nominating field. Measured primarily through reader surveys in prominent state publications, a rough sketch of President Garfield's approval ranged from mild favor to unmoving disapproval. James Blaine's support tilted to the severe end of this spectrum, with select editorials appearing in the "San Francisco Chronicle" calling for a congressional investigation into his and the administration's internal affairs, thereby recalling memories of the Crédit Mobilier Scandal of the 1870s.

  James Garfield, confined to a sorrowed reality, greatly distanced himself from his colleagues. According to the written word of Joseph Wood, the president "refused to rest his eyes upon a lone soul apart from his spouse," and met with Cabinet officials only in the case of, "paramount necessity." Though relinquished to veritable solitude, the president had his focus forcibly shifted with the urgent appeal of one Secretary Windom. The news turned out to be most unpleasant. As the elected leader feared, the venom laced within the precarious economy now began to hemorrhage.
 
  An upsurge in economic morale following the trade pact with Brazil led to universal concurrence among all economic advisers to the president that the market contraction would recede in due time. This placed full confidence in an unregulated marketplace and, considering how he was assured no action need be taken, President Garfield adhered to national laissez-faire policies. Although interest in international growth remained a prevalent feature in the speculative markets for some time to come, the ongoing fiscal slump, an ignored volcano in a stage of dormancy, erupted in a most dramatic fashion.

  Economist Thomas Hellman described the events of May 1884 as such. "The tide soured from an auspicious readjustment in the financial sphere as a result of rose tinted speculation to a wide reaching frank and utter collapse. The debt infected Marine National Bank of New York imploded on May 6th, 1884, bringing with it its sister firm, Grant & Ward. These failures ushered in an exacerbating shock-wave on Wall Street, plummeting stock and bond pricing and tarnishing credit to the point of futility. In days, thousands of small firms met their end, culminating in what can only be described as a banking panic."

  For the incumbent administration and the whole of the United States, this brought about the unthinkable. The seismic quake in New York City looked to rehash the Panic of 1873 which had itself triggered the decade-defining Long Depression: the worst economic breakdown in a generation. Reporters confirmed rumored panicked bank runs throughout the city with a frightened populous fearing the worst. Streets in the Financial District full and tension escalating, the New York Clearing House vociferously declared its intent to bandage all it could via bailouts.

  As candidly disclosed by Joseph Wood, "All could hear. The conversation is undisputed." President Garfield, positively livid at the shortsightedness of his advisory staff, ordered Windom devise an earnest solution to remedy this crisis of capital. He implored this of the department head as a means to evade a second coming of the Long Depression. The atypically unbridled president submitted this demand as an ultimatum, understandably having enough to hear with conventional doctrine.

  The secretary professed a willingness to do so, himself a proponent of heightened industrial regulation. "Secretary Windom assured the president of his allegiance," Wood reflected, "yet cited a natural opposition in the [Democratic-led] Congress and, in all likelihood, the rather conservative electorate. Garfield responded in a routine quip of his own, and did so wearing the first smile I'd seen on him in months. 'A brave man is a man who dares to look the Devil in the face and tell him he is a Devil.'"
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« Reply #21 on: March 14, 2018, 02:02:36 pm »


The Capitol Building, Photographed in 1880

  In the hours following the partial collapse of central reserve banking in New York State, tenured economic advisers fought to comfort the president and lead him away from drastic decision making. Compared with events as chaotic and consequential as the previous financial panic, the economists argued, this latest catastrophe was limited to fragile Wall Street enterprises. Timely action by the New York Clearinghouse extended credit to the frail industry and depositor morale held at a steady rate. "These men insisted in the face of a skeptic president," Thomas Hellman wrote, "that the marketplace shakedown meant little for the economic standing of the United States. Garfield, an Ohio Congressman in the shadow of the Long Depression, stood frankly unwilling for matters to correct themselves."

  On May 11th, at the apex of the financial panic, President James Garfield called for a joint session of Congress in order to address a solution sufficient for the national trauma. A Democratic Congress, befuddled at this absurdity, welcomed the elected leader before them. Eager to extend their speculated advantage in the coming elections and comprehending the resounding disapproval of the incumbency, the Democratic leadership personally invited members of the press to report on the presumed final nail in the Republican coffin.

  Studious as ever, Garfield absorbed the glances of a resentful Congress as he stepped through the legislature and readied to speak. It was incredibly unorthodox, after all, for an incumbent president to address the bicameral Legislative body in person, much less propose an action whilst his party remained in a undisputed minority. Thomas Jefferson considered this merging of powers unwise, even monarchical, and persuasively deterred successors from the activity. Garfield broke with this Jeffersonian tradition in the clear belief that the present juncture called for an uncustomary act.

  Speaker Carlisle, donning a glower, called the irregular joint session into order. President Garfield dove directly to the brunt of the issue. "It has been said the preservation of our livelihood sits at the behest of a serene fiscal environment. It should be said that the responsibility of ensuring this balance must be embraced above all. The memory of 1873, and all the depression robbed of our generous economy, is still vivid." From his opening thesis, the president focused intently on the dangers of these banking panics, from the first shock to long-term despondency in the economy and among commercial enterprise.

  Author Ruth Whitaker clarified an overarching element of Garfield's financial doctrine in The President and Congress in American History. She formulated, "The point of view of James Garfield in his words to the legislature was not of a man pushing for a law, rather it was directed to an American people fed up with inaction and scared stiff at the prospect of a renewed depression. This was one final chance to present an amends to the public and indeed, in an assuredly delicate manor, beseech demand for centralized regulation of a volatile banking system."

  By all accounts, Garfield truly considered his presidency at an end. Incessant heckling from the Democratic majority forced a twenty minute speech to span close to a full hour. As reported contemporaneously, the president did not once break his determined expression nor did he raise his voice to overpower the boos. He expressed with a sly word of appreciativeness (often misattributed as facetiousness), as he did in his Inaugural Address, that he would continue to "greatly rely upon the wisdom and patriotism of Congress."

  Repercussions were felt on the spot. Seven members of the Treasury Department resigned in protest as the gathering begun. Contending the implications embedded in the president's perceived unjustified interference into a neutral financial industry, these economists announced that they flat out refused to go on as is. Secretary Windom said nothing in response. The regulatory speech was formerly printed, word-for-word, in the national press on May 12th, and four additional Cabinet members handed in their resignation papers. 

  The upper echelon of the Garfield Administration, notably Secretary Blaine, believed this to be an apparent inclination. "Rats escaping a sinking ship," he wrote. Republican allies proved to be of no use as few came to the defense of the president. Then it was that the tide shifted. In a public survey conducted by the Washington Post, a resounding 65% of those polled stated their favor with the president's proposals. "To the surprise of the sheltered White House," Whitaker explained, "the opinion of the general public deviated from that of Congress. Imagine that!"
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« Reply #22 on: April 11, 2018, 12:56:26 pm »


An Illustration of Wall Street, Circa 1880s

  The polling results first accounted for in the "Washington Post" rather curiously established that a clear majority favored some sense of federal intervention in the economy. Assured in their objection to President Garfield's wayward cause, a group of state Democratic officials in New Jersey funded a subsequent survey in "The Jersey Journal" publication. These politicians, and truly members of both major political parties, were stunned as the research found 58% of respondents favored regulatory measures as a means to stabilize the economy. A follow-up report printed in "The Star-Ledger" generally validated these findings. With New Jersey's standing as a Democratic-tilting state in mind, these numbers spawned new concerns.

  Democrats in the national spotlight, including those campaigning for the presidency, outright ignored these reports. Early political tallies and the practice of surveying readers was not considered a respectable, nor scientific, process, and therefore the above phenomenon (brushing off opinion polling) was considered appropriate in this era. Party officials instead pointed to midterm turnout and its results as a means to accurately gauge the general electorate. Incumbent representatives in swing districts appeared in retrospect to have taken the polling rather seriously as active campaigning efforts in such locations took off several months earlier than was typical.

  President Garfield, encouraged by his economic staff, resumed his then-halted newsprint column further expounding upon the ideas first presented in the Congressional address. He honed specifically in on, what he determined to be, a necessary statute authorizing the federal government's greater role in supervising the banking industry. From the president's perspective, the unrestricted ability of banks to invest depositor capital in high-risk schemes was an utter travesty. Garfield wrote of his prospectus, "By its very nature the success of a prosperous financial industry is contingent upon a delicate balance of market forces and standardization."

  Congressional Republicans, albeit tepid to the ideas proposed by the fairly unpopular elected leader, nevertheless espoused support for Garfield's economical initiatives as the month came to a close. Representative Benjamin Franklin Howey (R-NJ), a freshman in the legislature, was the first to voice support for a banking reform bill in the 48th Congress. Howey, speaking over the hisses and groans of an unamused Democratic majority, sermonized, "Not as long as I stand in this chamber can I allow for the dawn of a second major downturn to ransack our nation." Congressman Howey, then joined by fellow Republicans Lewis E. Payson (R-IL), Charles O'Neill (R-PA) and Thomas McKee Bayne (R-PA), stagnated the obstructionist legislature with incessant calls to reform.

  As David Jordan described, "The [Democrats], having blockaded the president's proposals in the Senate and House of Representatives, faced the realization that their resolute opposition to banking reform could be their unraveling." Speaker Carlisle and his colleagues remained firm in the belief that regulatory measures of any sort in the financial or banking sectors would inevitably crash the national economy. Locking the proposals in committee, the leadership tellingly refused to allow for a vote on a single draft of the reform bill. Editorials nationwide lambasted Speaker Carlisle and the ruling party for blocking an open discussion on the topic, thereby flipping the record of public opinion against the Democrats in a matter of weeks.
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