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Civil War Pension---

Discussion in 'Civil War History - General Discussion' started by 5fish, Jan 9, 2009.

  1. 5fish

    5fish 1st Lieutenant

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    A little summary of the pension program for the Civil War Veteran's...I think it is interesting if you go back a read the arguments for and against giving pension to Civil War Veteran's.


    At the close of the Revolutionary War, the United States government began administering a limited pension system to soldiers wounded during active military service or veterans and their widows pleading dire Poverty. It was not until the 1830's and the advent of universal suffrage for white male and patronage democracy, however, that military pensions became available to all veterans or their widows. Despite these initial expansions, the early U.S. military pension system was minuscule compared to what it became as a result of the Civil War.
    Beginning in 1861, the U.S. government generously attended to the need of its soldiers and sailors or their dependents. Because the Federal government did not implement conscription until 1863, these first Civil War benefits in many ways were an attempt to induce men to volunteer. Although altered somewhat over the years, the 1862 statute remained the foundation of the Federal pension system until the 1890s. It stipulated that only those soldiers whose disability was "incurred as a direct consequence of . . . Military duty" or developed after combat "from causes which can be directly traced to injuries received or diseases contacted while in military service" could collect pension benefits. The amount of each pension depended upon the veteran's military rank and level of disability. Pensions given to widows, orphans, and other dependents of deceased soldiers were always figured at the rate of total disability according to the military rank of their deceased husband or father. By 1873 widows could also receive extra benefits for each dependent child in their care.
    In 1890 the most notable revision in the Federal pension law occurred: the Dependent Pension Act. A result of the intense lobbying effort of the veterans' organization, the Grand Army of the Republic, this statute removed the link between pensions and service-related injuries, allowing any veteran who had served honorably to qualify for a pension if at some time he became disabled for manual labor. By 1906 old age alone became sufficient justification to receive a pension.
    At the same time that pension requirements were becoming more liberal, several Southern congressmen attempted to open up the Federal system to Confederate veterans. Proponents justified such a move by noting that Southerners had contributed to Federal pensions through indirect taxes since the end of the war. These proposals met with mixed responses in both North and the South, but overwhelmingly, opposition came from those financially comfortable Confederate veterans and southern politicians who regarded such dependency on Federal assistance a dishonor t the Lost Cause. It should be noted that impoverished Southern veterans frequently were not averse to the prospect of receiving Federal pensions. In any event, no such law ever passed, and Confederate veterans and their widows never matriculated into the Federal pension system.
    Although U.S. Civil War veterans had received pensions since 1862 and Southern state governments had provided their veterans with artificial limbs and veteran retirement homes since the end of the war, it was not until the 1880s and early 1890s that the elevens states of the former Confederacy enacted what can accurately be called pension systems. The economic devastation of he war and the political upheaval of Reconstruction best explain this long delay. When Southern pension systems did finally emerge, they generally resembled the pre-1890 U.S. system: eligibility depended upon service-related disability or death and indigence, and widows as well as other dependents of deceased soldiers could receive pensions. Despite these similarities, however, there were striking differences. First, in the South widows collected pensions set at a specific rate for widows of deceased soldiers. These rates were generally lower than those to which their husbands would have been entitled should they have survived. Under the Federal system, there was no separate category for widows. Second, most Southern pension laws determined stipend amounts based only on the degree of disability. No regard was given to military rank. Third, there was never a Confederate equivalent to the 1890 U.S. Dependent Act. Although over time Confederate pension requirements became more liberalized, there was always an income and poverty limit-pensions were never given simply for service. Fourth, whereas indirect taxes funded Federal pensions, most Southern states financed their pension through a direct tax. And fifth, because Southern pension systems were on the state level only, they varied as to method and amount and were much less financially generous than U.S. pensions. Though the individual pensions of Southerners were minuscule compared to those of Federal veterans and war widows, as a percentage of state expenditures, Southern pension expenditures were monumental. Of all the former Confederate states, Georgia generally spent the most per year on pensions, Alabama ran a close second.
    Both the Federal government and Southern state governments continued to provide pensions for Civil War veterans and their widows well into the middle of the twentieth century. In all, billions of dollars were expended by both sides in an effort to "reward" the survivors of America's costliest war. Because of the high rates of expansion in both the Federal and Confederate systems, critics frequently accused pensioners and officials alike of corruption and fraud. Those pensioners most often labeled as frauds were widows, especially young women who had married veterans much older than themselves, supposed "cowards," and, in the Federal system, black veterans. By the mid-twentieth century, both systems were generally considered devoid of original integrity.
     

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  3. 5fish

    5fish 1st Lieutenant

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    I thought this was another intersting thing on pension and thei magizine called Puck...




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    PUCK MAGAZINE

    In 1876 a cartoonist named Joseph Keppler founded an American satirical/political magazine called Puck. The name came from the character in Shakespeare's "Midsummer's Night Dream" and Keppler's drawing of Puck, along with a key line from the Shakespeare play, graced the masthead of the magazine for many years.

    Keppler originally founded the magazine (in New York City) as a German language publication, but the following year he started publishing an English-language version as well. Keppler, a talented cartoonist and illustrator, had done editorial cartoons and drawings for Frank Leslie's Illustrated--a successful newsmagazine of the era. Puck was, to some degree, modeled on the older English publication, Punch, which had been published in London since 1841.

    The signature of Puck was its lavishly illustrated color cover editorial cartoon and secondary cartoons in the middle and back pages of the 16-page magazine. The cover cartoon was typically on political themes and the back-page cartoon on social issues, although sometimes either theme could appear on either page. Some of the most creative, and biting, satire of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era appeared in the pages of Puck.

    Keppler's politics and attitudes are not easy to categorize. He was anti-suffrage and generally antagonistic to trade unions; he crusaded against political corruption; savaged hypocrisy in public life; and had a mix of particular politicians and issues which got his literary dander up. On the national stage he criticized Ulysses Grant, depicting him as a drunkard and puppet of vested interests. Yet he also belittled Rutherford B. Hayes for his bluenose decision to ban alcohol from the White House. In the presidential election of 1884 Puck made a crusade against James G. Blaine, and the magazine is credited with having some influence in helping swing the election to Grover Cleveland. Much of Puck's editorializing concerned New York politics--both City and State.

    Keppler was especially harsh on what he viewed as religious hypocrisy--frequently attacking both the Catholic Church and such Protestants as Henry Ward Beecher. Keppler also attacked his fellow publishers, with Joseph Pulitzer being a favorite target (Pulitzer tried unsuccessfully to buy the magazine to silence Keppler.) Puck was generally pro-immigrant (Keppler himself being a German immigrant); it was critical of American imperialist adventures abroad, especially those of Teddy Roosevelt; and was not above depicting African Americans in terms of the common racial stereotypes of the day.

    After Keppler's death in 1894, his son, Joseph Keppler, Jr., took over the magazine and continued the family tradition. Keppler Jr. opposed Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft and supported Woodrow Wilson in the 1912 presidential campaign. In 1917 publisher William Randolph Hearst bought out Puck, and, after running it briefly with a new editorial focus, folded the magazine in 1918.


    PUCK ON CIVIL WAR PENSIONS

    In keeping with its oft-sounded theme of opposing corruption in public offices and public programs, Puck saw the Civil War Pension system as a classic example of political corruption. Many issues of Puck at the end of the century editorialized on the topic of Civil War Pensions.

    The first issue reproduced in part here, from December 1882, features a powerful editorial cartoon on the cover, whose meaning is pretty much self-evident, along with some observations from the editors on the inside front cover of the issue. The cartoon features a gluttonous, multi-armed, veteran feeding voraciously from the U. S. Treasury.

    The second cartoon was featured on the cover of Puck in the May 29, 1889 issue. This editorial features a golden Horn of Plenty reaching into the U. S. Treasury and pouring forth, through the Pension Bureau, unlimited money upon the up-reaching greedy hands of the public. The figure holding the Horn, labeled Tanner, was the director of the Pension Bureau during this time. The caption for the cartoon suggests that the Pension Bureau will exhaust any surplus in the Treasury before the election of 1892. This was an issue of the day because the outgoing President in 1889, Grover Cleveland, had left a sizable budget surplus at the end of his term and the editors of Puck (who were Cleveland supporters) feared that the new Republican President, Benjamin Harrison, would squander the surplus through extravagant pensions for veterans.

    The issue of veterans pensions also had special importance for the contest between Cleveland and Harrison in that Cleveland had made taking a hard-line against expansion of the system of Civil War pensions one of the major policies of his first Administration. In fact, Cleveland was the first postbellum President to actually veto a private bill from the Congress awarding a pension to a particular individual--he vetoed several hundred such bills. His vetoes of private bills led to the creation of a political organization of Civil War veterans, known as the Grand Army of the Republic, to push for a broader and more generous general pension bill, which Cleveland also vetoed and which was a factor in his defeat in the election of 1888.

    The third cartoon, from 1893, shows that the issue of pensions was still in political play following the election of 1892 in which Cleveland defeated Harrison and reclaimed the Presidency. After Cleveland took office in 1893 Harrison began the old attacks on the pension issue. At a GAR rally in Indianapolis he made the remark quoted in the caption of the cartoon. Harrison was complaining that Civil War pensions were not generous enough. The cartoonist is belittling this remark by Harrison and depicting Civil War pensions as an outmoded burden on the nation.

    We are also featuring three sets of editorial commentaries on the Civil War Pensions: the first is from the same issue as the first cartoon; the second was published in 1889, although not in the same issue as the second editorial cartoon; and the third is a commentary on the cover cartoon, which appeared in the same issue.
     
  4. 5fish

    5fish 1st Lieutenant

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    Cartoons...

    Here are some of Puck's cartoons about Civil War pension.....

    Cover cartoon from Puck magazine, December 20, 1882. Author's collection.

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  5. 5fish

    5fish 1st Lieutenant

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    Cartoon

    As you can tell the issue fo Civil War veteran's pension was not a cut and dry issue.


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    Puck editorial cartoon, September 20, 1893. Author's collection. ​
     
  6. 5fish

    5fish 1st Lieutenant

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    Cartoon--

    This is the last one. Even back then the right whinned about the government welfare programs....


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    Cover cartoon from Puck magazine, December 20, 1882. Author's collection. ​

     
  7. John Gross

    John Gross Private

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    [​IMG]

    Is that Ole from his modeling days?

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    John Gross
     
  8. M E Wolf

    M E Wolf Colonel Retired Moderator

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    Dear John Gross;

    Oh my sir!!!!!!!!!!!! You have caused need for lap belts on my computer chair!!!

    My duties as a Moderator though (through the tears of laughter)...enters into the gentle reminder sir; 'Please don't pick on Ole (Moderator) :wink:

    That said, rather well preserved and youthful body with a decent pose.

    Nice lance Ole. :smile:

    Respectfully submitted for consideration.

    M. E. Wolf
     

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