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The Gilded Age, an overview

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PowerPoint presentation on the Gilded Age for a US History class

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The Gilded Age, an overview

  1. 1. The Gilded Age:Industry, Urbanization, and the West<br />
  2. 2. Second Industrial Revolution<br /><ul><li>Began during Civil War
  3. 3. Shift: consumer to capital goods
  4. 4. RRs crucial: 320,000 miles by 1900
  5. 5. Abundant natural resources: </li></ul> coal, iron, copper, timber, oil<br /><ul><li>Immense demand for labor
  6. 6. Huge domestic demand for goods
  7. 7. Abundant Capital – U.S. & European
  8. 8. Labor saving technologies
  9. 9. Talented managers and entrepreneurs
  10. 10. Major Inventions: communications, electricity
  11. 11. Supportive government</li></li></ul><li>Gilded Age Politics: Conservatism & Complacency<br /><ul><li> Shift in focus from politics to economics
  12. 12. Shift from idealism to cynicism
  13. 13. Era of “forgettable presidents”
  14. 14. Problems re: the growth of cities & </li></ul> industry were avoided by national politicians, <br /> left to state and local politicians<br /><ul><li> Widespread patronage and corruption
  15. 15. Civil Service Reform: Pendleton Act (1881) -- </li></ul> shift in role of party workers<br /><ul><li> Tariffs: big disagreement!</li></li></ul><li>Laissez-Faire Economics<br /><ul><li>Adam Smith’s “Invisible Hand”
  16. 16. Hands Off vs. Helping Hands
  17. 17. Pro-business government
  18. 18. Capitalist Work Ethic
  19. 19. Horatio Alger myth: the </li></ul> self-made man a rarity – <br /> psychological effects<br /><ul><li>Social Darwinism</li></li></ul><li>Industrial Empires<br /><ul><li>Railroads (Vanderbilt and Gould)
  20. 20. The Steel Industry: Carnegie Steel; U.S. Steel (J. P. Morgan)
  21. 21. J. D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil
  22. 22. Anti-Trust Movement</li></li></ul><li>Causes of Labor Unrest<br /><ul><li>De-skilling created loss of </li></ul> autonomy, repetitive & <br /> monotonous work<br /><ul><li>Concentration of wealth & </li></ul> sharper class divisions<br /><ul><li>Wage-based labor: long hours, low pay
  23. 23. Dangerous working conditions: accidents, </li></ul> chemicals & pollutants <br /><ul><li>Court injunctions
  24. 24. Industrial warfare: strikes, lockouts, blacklists, yellow-dog contracts, private guards & state militias
  25. 25. Panics of 1873 and 1892</li></li></ul><li>National Labor Unions<br /><ul><li>National Labor Union (1866), </li></ul> goals: higher wages, 8-hour day, equal rights for women & blacks, monetary reform, co-ops<br /><ul><li>Knights of Labor (1869, public 1881): Powderly (leader) goals: worker co-ops, ending child labor & monopolies
  26. 26. AF of L (1886): Gompers (leader) goals: higher wages & safer conditions; tactics: collective bargaining -- first really successful Union</li></li></ul><li>Major Events<br /><ul><li>Great RR Strike (1877)
  27. 27. Haymarket bombing (1886)
  28. 28. Homestead Strike (1892)
  29. 29. Pullman Strike (1894)
  30. 30. Coxey’s Army (1894)</li></li></ul><li>Immigration<br /><ul><li>1850-1900 : 16 million immigrants </li></ul> arrived & U.S. pop. grew from 23 to 76 million<br /><ul><li>Reasons for immigration from Europe
  31. 31. displacement, overcrowding, persecution
  32. 32. freedom, econ. opportunities, cheap transport
  33. 33. 1840s to 1880s: NW Europe: Protestants, literate & skilled, meshed well with natives (“Old Immigrants”)
  34. 34. 1890s to 1914: SE Europe: mostly Catholic, Orthodox & Jewish, illiterate , poor, from autocratic countries (“New Immigrants”) – dangerous work in factories
  35. 35. Strong Anti-Immigrant movement
  36. 36. First legal restrictions, more rigorous standards
  37. 37. Labor Unions, Social Darwinists, American Protective League</li></li></ul><li>Urbanization<br /><ul><li>Industrialization / Population influx
  38. 38. Skyscrapers: spread upward, technology transformed skylines (steel skeletons, elevators, central heating)
  39. 39. Streetcar cities: spread outward from commercial center
  40. 40. Wealthy left central business districts & poor moved in
  41. 41. Landlords divided up older housing
  42. 42. New tenements overcrowded, dirty, disease-y
  43. 43. Distinct ethnic neighborhoods
  44. 44. Boss & machine politics: consolidated power, corrupt </li></ul> but provided social welfare to immigrants <br /><ul><li>By 1900, every major U.S. city had suburbs</li></li></ul><li>Farming: Crisis & Response<br />Numbers of farmers<br /> declined sharply 1860-1900<br />Increased production = falling prices<br />Rising costs: equipment, middlemen, railroads, warehouses, elevators, taxes<br />National Grange Movement <br />Farmers’ Alliances: 1 million members, some inter-racial orgs in the South<br />Interstate Commerce Act (1886) <br />National Alliance’s Ocala platform (1890) re: election reform, tariffs, taxes, banking<br />
  45. 45. Post-Reconstruction South<br />Economic Development: <br />new industries (lumber, <br /> tobacco, cotton mills) <br /> & cheap, non-union labor<br />Most profits went North to investors<br />High Poverty Rates: most southerners were sharecropping farmers, barely got by<br />Agricultural Development: increased productivity re: cotton, diversification of crops<br />Farmers’ Southern Alliance (1 million); Colored Farmers’ National Alliance (250,000) -- lack of unity undercut effectiveness<br />
  46. 46. Segregation and Loss of Civil Rights<br />“Redeemers” enacted segregation<br />Used poor whites’ racial fears to <br /> deflect common economic concerns<br />Supreme Court: Congress can’t prohibit racial discrimination by private citizens, including railroads, hotels…<br />Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) “separate but equal” ushers in the Jim Crow era <br />Grandfather clauses, literacy tests, property requirements, poll taxes used to disfranchise blacks or liberal whites<br />Blacks couldn’t serve on juries, harsher punishments, shut out of good jobs<br />Waves of lynching & other forms of terror<br />
  47. 47. Black Responses<br />Migrate: western U.S.; Africa (Bishop Henry Turner, International Migration Society 1894)<br />Ida B. Wells-Barnett, newspaper writer and editor fought against lynching & Jim Crow, death threats forced her to flee to North<br />Booker T. Washington: economic uplift, industrial, technical ed., no agitation (Tuskegee Inst. 1881)<br />W.E.B. Du Bois: end segregation, equal civil rights, higher ed., political activism<br />

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