How the Gilded Age’s Top 1 Percent Thrived on Corruption

“This is a government of the people, by the people and for the people no longer. It is a government by the corporations, of the corporations and for the corporations.” Rutherford B. Hayes, 1886.

Gilded Age political corruption thrived because many public officials didn’t earn salaries but a cut of fees or taxes they collected, like sales commissions. Postmasters earned a percentage of stamps sold. Prosecutors earned fees for each case brought. The pay system easily morphed into bribery and fraud. Click to learn other reasons why political corruption ran rampant during the Gilded Age.

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