Unit 6 Gilded Age Notes

Unit 6 Notes:
The Gilded Age
“The Trust Giants’ Point of View”
U.S. History & The Constitution
Mr. Weathers
Daily “Bell Ringer” Warm Up
2nd Nine Weeks
Bell Ringer #7 (11 & 12 Dec)
7.) How did Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) affect the rights of African Americans?
a.) It declared the doctrine of “separate but equal” constitutional.
b.) It forced colleges to admin persons of all races.
c.) It established harsh punishment for businesses that discriminated against
African Americans.
d.) It forced the South to repeal Jim Crow laws such as the poll taxes & eight
box laws.
Today’s Lesson Standard / Indicator
Standard USHC-4: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the
industrial development & the consequences of that development on society
& politics during the second half of the nineteenth & the early twentieth
USHC-4.1: Summarize the impact that government policy & the construction
of the transcontinental railroads had on the development of the national
market & on the culture of Native American peoples.
USHC-4.4: Explain the impact of industrial growth and business cycles on
farmers, workers, immigrants, labor unions, & the Populist movement & the
ways that these groups & the government responded to the economic
problems caused by industry & business.
Railroads Expand West
1.) 1870 – 1900: generous federal land policy & completion of
transcontinental railroad lines made rapid settlement of the West possible.
2.) Railroad linked the Atlantic & Pacific coasts of the U.S. in 1869. Allowed
for the expansion of settlers, goods, & markets west.
3.) By 1884, 5 transcontinental
railroads crossed the U.S.
4.) Railroad companies sold
land to farmers to help
raise capital (money) &
encourage settlement in
the West.
May 10, 1869, with the ceremonial driving of the
"Last Spike" at Promontory Summit, Utah
Railroads Expand West Cont.
First Transcontinental R.R. (1869)
Transcontinental Railroads by 1900
Railroads Expand West Cont.
5.) The growth of railroads westward allowed for:
- Industries to grow rapidly = keep up with the railroads demand for parts,
- Fostered the growth of cities & towns.
- Established new markets in the West.
Settlement of the West
6.) Homestead Act (1862): provided 160 acres to heads-of-household that
took their family to settle in the West.
7.) Conflict arose between the Native Americans of the Great Plains &
settlers that moved west.
- Settlers argued that Native Americans had forfeited their rights to
the land because they had not improved it.
Homesteaders & Their “Soddy”
Kansas Exodusters
“Indian Wars”
- Movement west led to
“Indian wars” between
homesteaders & Native
Clashes led to numerous massacres
throughout the late 1800s.
- Among these: Sand Creek, Fetterman & the
Wounded Knee massacres.
Plight of the Native Americans
8.) Native American tribes of the Great Plains were relocated to reservations
as territorial conflict between the Indians & settlers increased.
9.) Many American sympathizers to the plight of the Native Americans
supported assimilation, which encouraged a minority groups adoption of
the beliefs & way of life from a dominant culture.
Native American Assimilation into American Culture.
Reservation System
Current Reservation System
Indian Agent
Plight of the Native Americans
10.) U.S. Government passed the Dawes Act in 1887.
- Broke up reservations & gave 160 acres to the head of household &
80 acres to unmarried adults.
- The government sold the remaining land & allowed the Native
Americans to buy farm implements.
11.) Native Americans made no
money from the land
to settlers from the Dawes Act.
12.) The near extinction of the
buffalo by white settlers
brought an end to the
traditional lifestyle of the
Great Plains Indians.
Plight of the Native Americans
“Dawes Act” in Action
Plight of the Native Americans
Piles of buffalo hides ready for shipment
to the East, & a “hill” of buffalo skulls.
Rise of the Populist Party
13.) The late 1800s brought a viscous economic cycle that trapped farmers.
- Crop Prices were falling.
- Farmers mortgaged their farms to buy more land & produce more
crops = prices fell more.
- Banks were foreclosing on mortgages as farmers couldn’t
pay back their loans.
- Railroads were charging excessive prices for the shipping
& storage of crops.
Rise of the Populist Party
14.) The Grange was a farmer created
organization that pushed railroad
reform, including teaching members
how to organize, setting up
cooperatives, & sponsored state
legislation to regulate railroads.
15.) The Populist Party was created in
1892 as the “People’s Party” to
represent farmers & the working class.
Rise of the Populist Party
16.) Economic & governmental reforms proposed by the populists included:
- An increase in the money supply = rise in prices for goods &
- A graduated income tax & federal loan program.
- Election of senators by popular vote & single terms for
presidents /vice pres.
- A secret ballot to end vote fraud.
- Eight hour workday & restrictions to immigration.
Rise of the Populist Party
17.) The 1896 presidential campaign brought forth the issue of what precious
metal would back the nation’s money.
- Populists aligned themselves with the “silverites” that believed in
bi-metallism, which backed money with both silver & gold =
stimulate the economy, & the free coinage of silver.
- “Gold bugs” supported the backing of dollars only with gold.
18.) William Jennings Bryan was
nominated as the Democratic
candidate for the 1896 election
& backed by the Populists.
William Jennings Bryan
Election of 1896
McKinley & the Gold Standard
- Republican William McKinley
supported the gold standard.
- Strengthen the value of the dollar
& big business.
Election of 1896
19.) Bryan expressed his support for bimetallism in his “Cross of Gold”
20.) Ultimately, Republican William McKinley won the 1896 election & ended
the Populist movement.
21.) The two legacies left by the Populists included:
- The downtrodden could organize & have political impact.
- An agenda of reforms, which carried on into the 20th century.
(Progressive Era roots)
“Cross of Gold” – Williams Jenning Bryan
“Having behind us the commercial
interests & the laboring interests & all
the toiling masses, we shall answer their
demands for a gold standard by saying
to them, you shall not press down upon
the brow of labor this crown of thorns.
You shall not crucify mankind upon a
cross of gold.” – William J. Bryan
Gold Triumphs over Silver
1900 → Gold Standard Act.
confirmed the nation’s
commitment to the gold
A victory for the forces of
Republicans would dominate
politics the next decade
1896 Campaign Buttons
Are you a “silverite” or a “gold bug”?
Part Two
- The Rise of American Industry
(American Industrial Revolution)
Today’s Lesson Standard / Indicator
Standard USHC-4: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the
industrial development & the consequences of that development on society &
politics during the second half of the nineteenth & the early twentieth
USHC-4.2: Analyze the factors that influenced the economic growth of the
United States & its emergence as an industrial power, including the
abundance of natural resources; government support & protection in the form
of railroad subsidies, tariffs, & labor policies; & the expansion of international
USHC-4.3: Evaluate the role of capitalism & its impact on democracy,
including the ascent of new industries, the increasing availability of consumer
goods & the rising standard of living, the role of entrepreneurs, the rise of
business through monopoly & the influence of business ideologies.
USHC-4.5: Explain the causes & effects of urbanization in late nineteenthcentury America, including the movement from farm to city, the changing
immigration patterns, the rise of ethnic neighborhoods, the role of political
machines, & the migration of African Americans to the North, Midwest, &
Presidents of the Gilded Age
During the Gilded Age, it can be argued that the presidents of the
United States had less power than the business leaders.
James Garfield
Chester A. Arthur
Grover Cleveland
Benjamin Harrison
- The policies & actions of the government during the Gilded Age gave large
corporations the freedom to do most whatever it wanted, leading to an industrial
boom in the U.S.
Inventors & Inventions
Alexander Graham Bell
Samuel F.B.
"Mr. Watson -come here - I want to see you."
Inventors & Inventions
Thomas Edison
George Westinghouse
Natural Resources Drive Industrialization
The “Robber Barons” (Captains of Industry)
Entrepreneurs & Industrialists like Cornelius Vanderbilt, Andrew Carnegie,
John D. Rockefeller & J.P. Morgan were able to build great fortunes during
the Gilded Age
Cornelius Vanderbilt
Andrew Carnegie
John D. Rockefeller
The government created policies to support the industrialists
• High tariffs led to lower prices for American made goods
• There were very few government regulations on big business
• Government supported owners over workers in labor disputes
“History Repeats Itself – The Robber Barons of the Middle Ages
& the Robber Barons of To-Day.”
Introduction of the “Trusts”
- By 1900, a few large corporations, called "trusts", dominated in steel, oil,
sugar, meat & farm machinery.
- Used "vertical integration" to control each aspect of the production =
ensured that the profits made on the finished product were maximized.
- Controlled access to the raw materials = prevented opponents from entering
the marketplace.
- End result - sole producer of a certain manufactured good & no competition
in the marketplace to lower prices.
John D. Rockefeller
& Standard Oil Co.
Rise of Monopolies
- Monopoly = having exclusive control of a commodity or service in a
market, or a control that makes possible the manipulation of prices.
Rockefeller Political Cartoon
“What a Funny Little Government” by Horace Taylor
The Verdict Magazine (Sept 1899)
Horizontal vs. Vertical Integration
Rockefeller (early)
Carnegie (& later Rockefeller)
The Bessemer Process
- The Bessemer Process was the first inexpensive
industrial process for the mass-production of
- By the late 1880s an immigrant by the name
of Andrew Carnegie used this process to become
a millionaire.
The Gospel of Wealth
- Many believed that those who profited from
society owed something in return. This philosophy
of giving back to society became known as the
“Gospel of Wealth”.
- The Captain of Industry who most believed in the
Gospel of Wealth was Andrew Carnegie, who gave
millions of dollars to numerous charities.
Finance Capitalists
- 1892: Morgan arranged the creation of
General Electric through the merger of
Edison General Election & ThomsonHouston Electric Company.
- 1901: he formed the U.S. Steel
Corporation by buying Carnegie Steel
from Andrew Carnegie for $487 million
& consolidating it with several other
steel & iron companies.
- U.S. Steel became the first billiondollar company in the world with
$1.4 billion in authorized capital.
Protective Tariffs & Social Darwinism
- High import/export Tariffs taxed foreign imports
& made it easier for US businesses to sell their
- Europeans resisted buying US crops because
of higher prices = farmers suffered.
- Economic depressions occurred in 1873 & 1898.
- Social Darwinism: belief that life was a battle of survival of the fittest.
- Many business leaders adopted this philosophy to their business
- Many Christians rejected this philosophy as it went against their beliefs.
Free Enterprise System
- The free enterprise system is the economic
system in which citizens are free to run a
business the way they want.
- The system is based on the laissezfaire theory, meaning a business will
succeed or fail & the government will
not interfere.
The free enterprise system allowed the U.S. to become a world industrial
giant in the late 1800s & led to numerous new inventions.
The Gilded Age
- The era was called the Gilded Age
because although life in the U.S. looked
bright & shiny, underneath the surface,
there was lots of poverty & corruption.
Mark Twain’s novel,
The Gilded Age
Rise of industry in the “New South”
- During the Gilded Age, the South attempted to modernize & embrace
Interior of a southern Textile Mill
- Textile manufacturing became the dominant industry in the South
during this time.
Interstate Commerce Act (1887)
- Created the Interstate Commerce Commission.
- In response to Wabash v. Illinois, Congress passed a law that rates must be
reasonable & just (fair)
- Made it illegal to charge higher rates for shorter hauls (prohibited
discriminating against small markets)
- Ineffective because there was no enforcement of the law
Sherman Antitrust Act (1890)
- Made it illegal to combine a company
Into a trust or conspire to restrain
trade or commerce.
- Made monopolies illegal.
- The law was ineffective because it
was vague & the courts did not
enforce it.
“The Bosses of the Senate”Puck Magazine, 1889
"One sees his (Uncle Sam's) finish unless good government retakes the ship"
Part Three
- Immigration/migration
- Politics
- The Labor Movement
“Rags to Riches” & the “American Dream”
- Immigrants came to America with the
hope they could become rich &
successful if they worked hard enough.
- Novelist Horatio Alger wrote
stories where the main character
went from “rags to riches.”
- Going from “rags to riches” became known as achieving “The American
Migration & Population Shifts
- The Post Reconstruction South saw limited job availability in textile mills for
African Americans.
- The South was in an agricultural depression with crop failures.
- Social discrimination – Jim Crow Laws & increasing violence.
- Many African Americans moved
from the rural (country) areas of
the South to the urban (city) areas
of the NE & Midwest U.S.
- Usually last hired & first fired.
- Used as “strikebreakers” = resentment
by factory workers.
- Many African Americans moved to
the West (i.e. Kansas’ “Exodusters”).
Anti-Immigrant Reaction: Nativism
- Nativism: political position demanding favored status for certain established
inhabitants of a nation vs. newcomers or immigrants.
- Nativists opposed immigration &
supported efforts to lower the
political or legal status of specific
ethnic/cultural groups.
- Many felt immigrants couldn’t be
assimilated & threatened jobs for
“The Proposed Immigrant Dumping Site”
Cover of Judge Magazine, 1890
Chinese Exclusion Act 1882
- The Chinese Exclusion Act prevented
Chinese immigrants from legally
coming to the United States.
- It was not repealed until 1943.
“The Only One Barred Out”
Child Labor
- The common practice of using child labor in factories during the Gilded Age
brought issues of abuses to light.
- Working twelve+ hour days & six day weeks.
- Drawing children into the endless cycle of poverty.
- Many children simply missed out on their childhood.
Tenements in New York
“Dumbbell” Tenements in New York City
1870s Political Machines
- Political machines controlled the
activities of political parties in the city.
- Ward bosses, precinct captains, & the
city boss worked to:
1) ensure that their candidates were
1) make sure that city government
worked to their advantage.
- The “machines” exchanged jobs,
housing, citizenship, favors, etc.
for immigrants’ political votes & loyalty
- Graft, kickbacks, & corruption were
the standard.
1870s Political Machine Organization
- Like a pyramid: local precinct workers
& captains at the base, ward bosses in
the middle, & the city boss at the top
- City Boss = Power broker (most were
democrats & many were immigrants
William Marcy "Boss" Tweed
1869-1871 – “Tweed Ring”
“The Brains”
Thomas Nast
“The Tammany Tiger Loose” by Thomas Nast
Thomas Nast
- Political cartoonist for Harper’s Weekly.
- He attacked the Tammany Hall (Democratic) political machine that ran New
York City in the late 1800s .
- He created the Democratic Donkey (he did not like the Democrats), & the
Republican Elephant symbols, the Tammany Tiger, & even Santa Claus.
Republican Elephant
Democratic Donkey
Santa Claus
Patronage & Civil Service Legislation
- Patronage: act of giving government jobs to supporters of the winning
party in an election (Spoils System”).
- Reformers pushed for adoption of a merit system (hiring the most qualified
for jobs).
- The Pendleton Civil Service Act of 1883 authorized a bipartisan commission
to make appointments for federal jobs based on performance.
- Applicants required to take a civil service examination for government jobs.
Rise of Early Unions
- Free enterprise system = businesses made their own rules.
- No government interference = business owners could pay workers
what they wanted & make them work as long hours.
- Industrialization contributed to the development of organized labor because
it created low-wage, low-skill jobs that made employees easy to replace.
- Many Union organizers were blacklisted = impossible for them to get a job.
- Businesses locked workers out & refused to pay them.
- Workers were forced to sign “yellow dog” contracts saying they would not
join a union.
Key Labor Leaders
- Eugene V. Debs was the powerful
leader of the American Railway Union.
- Debs ran for president four times as a
candidate for the Socialist Party.
- Samuel Gompers was the first leader
of the American Federation of Labor;
a union of over 20 trade unions.
- He believed unions should stay out
of politics & should negotiate rather
than strike.
Great Railroad Strike of 1877
- 1877, an economic recession led to some railroads cutting wages,
triggering the first nationwide labor strike. It became known as the Great
Railroad Strike.
- Some workers turned violent & numerous states had to call out their state
militias to stop the violence.
First Union - Knights of Labor
- In response to the Great Railroad
Strike of 1877, labor organizers formed
the first nationwide industrial union –
the Knights of Labor.
- The Knights called for an eight-hour
workday, supported the use of
arbitration & began to organize strikes.
Haymarket Riot
- The Haymarket Riot - disturbance that took place on May 4, 1886, in Chicago,
- began as a rally in support of striking workers.
- A bomb was thrown during the rally, which started a riot. Eight men were
convicted; four were executed. One was a member of the Knights of Labor.
Homestead Strike (1892)
- Homestead Strike: workers of Andrew Carnegie’s U.S. Steel went on strike
after a tense labor dispute led to a lockout.
- One of the most violent strikes in U.S. history & a major setback for unions.
Pullman Strike
- The Pullman Strike: a nationwide
conflict between labor unions &
railroads that occurred near Chicago
in 1894.
- Organized by Eugene V. Debs after
union workers were fired.
- Shut down the nation’s railroads &
threatened the economy.
“The Condition of the Laboring Man at Pullman”
Impact of Union Strikes
- Union membership declined as many people saw unions as being
Un-American & violent (anarchists).
Groups that Suffered During the Gilded Age
Native Americans
- Native Americans were forced onto reservations & their children were
forced to
assimilate into American culture
Groups that Suffered During the Gilded Age
African Americans
Blacks were denied many basic rights and lynching of blacks was a common
occurrence in the South
Groups that Suffered During the Gilded Age
- Overproduction of goods and price gouging by railroads drove many
farmers out of business.
Groups that Suffered During the Gilded Age
- Many immigrants were discriminated against & most lived in horrible
inner city conditions.
Groups that Suffered During the Gilded Age
- Women were denied the right to vote in most states and could not work the
same jobs as men.
Groups that Suffered During the Gilded Age
- Most children lacked good educations because they went to work after
they learned to read & write.

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