The Gilded Age in American History

Report
THE GILDED AGE IN
AMERICAN HISTORY
Industrialization, Immigration, and the expansion of
Capitalism
Explosion of Industry
Three significant events spur Industry



Edwin Drake successfully used a steam engine to
extract oil. This began an oil boom.
Bessemer Process:. Bessemer developed a process
to make a flexible rust proof metal—Steel.
Mesabi Range: huge iron discovery in the Mesabi
Range of Minnesota
Innovation: The Brooklyn Bridge
Barnum proves the safety of this 8th
wonder!
Inventions promote change: Edison
Edison

Thomas A. Edison—
remarkable statistics
about his invention
prowess!
Inventions


Incandescent Light
Production and
distribution of
electricity
Inventions change lifestyles



Christopher Sholes
invented the
typewriter in 1867
A. G. Bell invented the
teleophone in 1876
These two innovations
changed the way
business had done and
the role of women in
the workplace.
The Age of the Railroads

Transcontinental Railroad opened: May 10, 1869
The Golden Spike: Promentary Point
Utah
Railroad Innovations

In order to
standardized travel
and make it more
convenient and
efficient. The rail
industry pushed the
new innovation of
using time zones to
standardize travel.
Time Zones
Multiplier Industry

Railroads promoted other industries:
 Mining
 Steel
 Coal
 Car
and line construction
Growth of Towns



Rail needs towns to
sponsor lines and
preserve order and
stability along the
route.
Industry and
packaging became
boom industries along
the rail.
Growth of Chicago
Pullman, Illinois.



The people in the town
built a factory for
building sleeping cars.
Pullman provided all
of the basic needs.
Prices were high rules
were strict.

.

Violent Strike of 1894
Pullman Strike of 1894
Regulating Railroads


A major goal of
Populist Age
Farmers angry with
abusive land grants,
inconsistent rates, and
high discounts for
large shippers (none
for small farmers)


Saw victory in the case
of Munn (and
Wabash) v. Illinois
Interstate Commerce
Act of 1887reinforced the power
of the Federal
Government to
regulate interstate
commerce.
Panic of 1893
Causes



Railroad co. financial
problems—collapse of
Reading Railroad.
Currency problems
Credit shortage
(2007-8)
Outcomes




15,000 businesses
closed
600 banks
74 railroads
Est. 20%
unemployment4,000,000 lost jobs
Panic of 1893
Rise of Big Business and Labor




No one defined the age
like Andrew Carneige
One of the first “titans”
of Industry (Robber
Barons) to build an
empire of wealth.
True “Rags to Riches”
story
Steel magnate
The Gospel of Wealth



Carnegie and
Rockefeller both created
endowments that gave
away nearly 1 billion
dollars (at that time).
“Wealth is like a stinking
fish” Carnegie
Most of their money
went to things to better
humanity such as
universities and libraries.
Vertical and Horizontal Integration
Social Darwinism


Philosophy of Herbert
Spencer
Built on books by
Horatio Alger
Social Darwinism

Riches were a “sign of
God’s favor, and
therefore the poor
must be inferior or
lazy people who
deserved their lot in
life” (text-449)
John D. Rockefeller



Led to creation of
trusts…competing
companies who joined
together in trust
agreements run by a
board of trustees as one
large corporation.
Rockefeller’s Standard
Oil-controlled 90% of
oil refinery in the US.
Charitable acts from this
“robber baron”
Regulating Business




Sherman Anti Trust Act
Made it illegal to form
trusts
Prosecution very
difficult.
Courts dismissed most
attempts.
Emergence of Labor Unions
Strategy

As business leaders
consolidated and
united, labor began to
do the same.
Plight of Labor

Labor faced severe
hardships:
Long work days
 Dangerous conditions
 No benefits
 Risk of injury and death
 Role of women and
children

Two types of Unions
Skilled


This group had more
bargaining power.
Craft unions such as
the AFL
Unskilled


Had less bargaining
power.
Example: The Knights
of Labor
Results?

Work week shrank and
the pay increased
between 1890 and 1915
Socialism and the labor movement


Big Bill Hawyood and
the IWW.
“Wobblies” based
their ideas off of those
of Karl Marx.
Strikes and Violence


Purpose of a strike?
Examples of significant
strikes.



Great Strike of 1877
Haymarket Affair
Homestead Strike
Great Strike of 1877

The Great Railroad Strike
of 1877 began on July
17, 1877, in Martinsburg,
West Virginia. Workers
for the Baltimore & Ohio
Railroad went on strike,
because the company had
reduced workers' wages
twice over the previous
year. The strikers refused
to let the trains run until
the most recent pay cut
was returned to the
employees.
Haymarket Affair



300,000 gathered to
protest police
brutality.
A striker had been
killed the day before.
Someone tossed a
bomb into the police
line
Haymarket Affair
Homestead Strike



Plan to cut wages once
again and hire
“Pinkerton’s” to allow
the ownership to hire
“scabs”.
National Guard had to
be called in after
workers took over the
plant.
Workers lost influence
after this strike.
Homestead Strike
Political Machines of the Gilded Age


“There is no denying that the government of cities is
one conspicuous failure of the United States”.
“The worst government in Christendom—the most
expensive, the most inefficient, and the most
corrupt”.
Why so inept?



Explosion of population
Deluge of problems
New York’s population doubled five times in less
than a generation given the millions of immigrants
that flooded her borders.
Political Machines

An organized group that controlled the activities of
a political party in a city, the political machine also
offered services to voters and businesses in
exchange for political or financial support. In the
decades after the Civil War, political machines
gained control of local government in Baltimore,
New York, San Francisco, and other major cities
Organization

The machine was organized like a pyramid. At the
pyramid's base were local precinct workers and
captains, who tried to gain voters' support on a city
block or in a neighborhood and who reported to a
ward boss. At election time, the ward boss worked to
secure the vote in all the precincts in the ward, or
electoral district. Ward bosses helped the poor and
gained their votes by doing favors or providing
services. As Martin Lomasney, elected ward boss of
Boston's West End in 1885, explained, “There's got to
be in every ward somebody that any bloke can come to
. . . and get help. Help, you understand; none of your
law and your justice, but help.”
Help?

If therre’s a fire in Ninth, Tenth, or Eleventh Avenue,
for example, any hour of the day or night. I’m
usually there…as soon as the fire engines. If a
family is burned out, I don’t ask them whther they
are Republicans or Democrats, and I don’t refer to
the Charity Organization Society, which would
investigate their case in a month or two and decide
they couldn’t help them. I just get quarters for them
to buy clothes and fix them up until things are
runnin’ again.”



“It’s philanthropy but its politics, too, mighty good
politics…the poor are the most grateful people in the
world, and let me tell you, they have more friends in
their neighborhoods than the rich have in theirs…
Another thing, I can always get a job for a deservin’
man. I make it a point to keep on the track of jobs, and
it seldom happens that I don’t have one up my sleeve
ready for use.”
George Washington Plunkitt , Precinct Captain,
Tammany Hall
Getting Votes

“I hear of a young feller that’s proud of his voice…I
ask him to come around…and join our Glee Club.
He comes and sings, and he’s a Plunkitt follower for
life. Another young fellar gains a reputation as a
base-ball player. I bring him into our baseball club.
That fixes him, you’ll find him workin for my ticket at
the polls the next election day…I rope them in by
givin them opportunities to show themselves off. I
don’t trouble them with Politics” Plunkitt
The Boss

THE ROLE OF THE POLITICAL BOSS Whether or
not the boss officially served as mayor, he
controlled access to municipal jobs and business
licenses, and influenced the courts and other
municipal agencies. Bosses like Roscoe Conkling in
New York used their power to build parks, sewer
systems, and waterworks, and gave money to
schools, hospitals, and orphanages.
Using Immigrants

IMMIGRANTS AND THE MACHINE Many precint
captains and political bosses were first-generation
or second-generation immigrants.
Immigrants

The machines helped immigrants with naturalization
(attaining full citizenship), housing, and jobs–the
newcomers' most pressing needs. In return, the
immigrants provided what the political bosses
needed–votes.
Graft


NYC Courthouse example
Cost 13,000,000—in reality it was a 3,000,000
project.
Combating Machines




Became the quest of Newspapers
They attacked with little success in editorials.
What got them were the cartoons
“I don’t care what people write, for my people can’t
read. But they have eyes and can see as well as
other folk.” Boss Tweed.
The Cartoons of Thomas Nast
Exposing Gilded Age Scandal To
A Unique Audience.
Tammany Hall and Boss Tweed
• Political Machines
Dominate Local
Government…
• Certain Services are
met and improve, but
corruption is the order
of the day.
Nast slowly erodes Tammany’s
influence
A picture is worth 1000 words!
Who Stole the People’s Money?
Not Grrrrrrreat
In the political ring
Other creations…
Symbols for modern
republican and
democratic parties.
Uncle Sam, oh and…
Nast slowly erodes Tammany’s
influence
A picture is worth 1000 words!
Who Stole the People’s Money?
Not Grrrrrrreat
In the political ring
Other creations…
Symbols for modern
republican and
democratic parties.
Uncle Sam, oh and…
Tammany Hall and Boss Tweed
• Political Machines
Dominate Local
Government…
• Certain Services are
met and improve, but
corruption is the order
of the day.

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