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America’s Gilded Age, 1870–1890 Norton Media Library Chapter 16

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Presentation on theme: "America’s Gilded Age, 1870–1890 Norton Media Library Chapter 16"— Presentation transcript:

1 America’s Gilded Age, 1870–1890 Norton Media Library Chapter 16
Eric Foner

2 I. The Statue of Liberty

3 II. The Second Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Economy By 1913, the United States produced one-third of the world’s industrial output The 1880 census showed for the first time that a majority of the work force engaged in non-farming jobs Growth of cities were vital for financing industrialization Great Lakes region Pittsburgh Chicago

4 II. The Second Industrial Revolution (con’t)
The National Market The railroad made possible what is sometimes called the second industrial revolution The growing population formed an ever-expanding market for the mass production, mass distribution, and mass marketing of goods The Spirit of Innovation Scientific breakthroughs poured forth from Thomas A. Edison

5 II. The Second Industrial Revolution (con’t)
Competition and Consolidation Depression plagued the economy between 1873 and 1897 Businesses engaged in ruthless competition To avoid cutthroat competition, more and more corporations battled to control entire industries Between 1897 and 1904, 4,000 firms vanished into larger corporations

6 II. The Second Industrial Revolution (con’t)
Captains of Industry The railroad pioneered modern techniques of business organization Thomas Scott of Pennsylvania Railroad Andrew Carnegie worked for Scott at Pennsylvania Railroad By the 1890s, Carnegie dominated the steel industry Vertical integration Carnegie’s life reflected his desire to succeed and his desire to give back to society John D. Rockefeller dominated the oil industry Horizontal integration “Captains of industry” versus “Robber Barons”

7 II. The Second Industrial Revolution (con’t)
Workers’ Freedom in an Industrial Age For a minority of workers, the rapidly expanding industrial system created new forms of freedom For most workers, economic insecurity remained a basic fact of life Between 1880 and 1900, an average of 35,000 workers perished each year in factory and mine accidents, the highest rate in the industrial world Women were part of the working class

8 II. The Second Industrial Revolution (con’t)
Sunshine and Shadow Class divisions became more and more visible Many of the wealthiest Americans consciously pursued an aristocratic lifestyle Thorstein Veblen on “conspicuous consumption” The working class lived in desperate conditions

9 III. The Transformation of the West
A Farming Empire More land came into cultivation in the thirty years after the Civil War than in the previous two-and-a-half centuries of American history Even small farmers became increasingly oriented to national and international markets As crop production increased, prices fell and small farmers throughout the world suffered severe difficulties in the last quarter of the nineteenth century The future of western farming ultimately lay with giant agricultural enterprises

10 III. The Transformation of the West (con’t)
The Day of the Cowboy The cowboys became symbols of a life of freedom on the open range The Corporate West Many western industries fell under the sway of companies that mobilized eastern and European investment to introduce advanced technology New Mexican sheepfarming

11 III. The Transformation of the West (con’t)
The Subjugation of the Plains Indians The incorporation of the West into the national economy spelled the doom of the Plains Indians and their world As settlers encroached on Indian lands, bloody conflict between the army and Plains tribes began in the 1850s and continued until 1890 The Union army launched a campaign against the Navajo in the Southwest Once numbering 30 million in 1800, buffalo were nearly extinct from hunting by 1890

12 III. The Transformation of the West (con’t)
Let Me Be a Free Man The Nez Perce were chased over 1,700 miles before surrendering in 1877 Chief Joseph spoke of freedom before a distinguished audience in 1879 Defending their land, Sioux and Cheyenne warriors attacked Custer at Little Big Horn These events delayed only temporarily the onward march of white soldiers, settlers, and prospectors

13 III. The Transformation of the West (con’t)
Remaking Indian Life In 1871, Congress eliminated the treaty system that dated back to the Revolutionary era Forced assimilation The crucial step in attacking “tribalism” came in 1887 with the passage of the Dawes Act The policy proved to be a disaster for the Indians

14 III. The Transformation of the West (con’t)
The Ghost Dance and Wounded Knee Some Indians sought solace in the Ghost Dance, a religious revitalization campaign reminiscent of the pan-Indian movements led by earlier prophets like Neolin and Tenskwatawa On December 29, 1890, soldiers opened fire on Ghost Dancers encamped on Wounded Knee Creek in South Dakota, killing between 150 and 200 Indians, mostly women and children

15 IV. Politics in a Gilded Age
The Corruption of Politics Americans during the Gilded Age saw their nation as an island of political democracy in a world still dominated by undemocratic governments Political corruption was rife Urban politics fell under the sway of corrupt political machines Boss Tweed Corruption was at the national level too Credit Mobilier

16 IV. Politics in a Gilded Age (con’t)
The Politics of Dead Center Every Republican candidate for president from 1868 to 1900 had fought in the Union army Union soldiers’ pensions Democrats dominated the South and Catholic votes The parties were closely divided and national elections were very close Gilded Age presidents made little effort to mobilize public opinion or exert executive leadership In some ways, American democracy in the Gilded Age seemed remarkably healthy

17 IV. Politics in a Gilded Age (con’t)
Government and the Economy The nation’s political structure proved ill-equipped to deal with the problems created by the economy’s rapid growth Tariff policy was debated Return to gold standard in 1879 Republican economic policies strongly favored the interests of eastern industrialists and bankers The Civil Service Act of 1883 created a merit system for federal employees Congress established the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) in 1887 Sherman Antitrust Act

18 IV. Politics in a Gilded Age (con’t)
Political Conflict in the States State governments expanded their responsibilities to the public Third parties enjoyed significant, if short-lived, success in local elections The Greenback-Labor Party Farmers responded to railroad policies by organizing the Grange Some states passed eight-hour-day laws

19 V. Freedom in the Gilded Age
The Social Problem As the United States matured into an industrial economy, Americans struggled to make sense of the new social order Many Americans sensed that something had gone wrong in the nation’s social development Freedom, Inequality, and Democracy Many Americans viewed the concentration of wealth as inevitable, natural, and justified by progress Gilded Age reformers feared that with lower-class groups seeking to use government to advance their own interests, democracy was becoming a threat to individual liberty and the rights of property

20 V. Freedom in the Gilded Age (con’t)
Social Darwinism in America Charles Darwin put forth the theory of evolution whereby plant and animal species best suited to their environment took the place of those less able to adapt Social Darwinism argued that evolution was as natural a process in human society as in nature, and government must not interfere Failure to advance in society was widely thought to indicate a lack of character Social Darwinist William Sumner believed that freedom required frank acceptance of inequality

21 V. Freedom in the Gilded Age (con’t)
Liberty of Contract Labor contracts reconciled freedom and authority in the workplace Demands by workers that the government help them struck liberals as an example of how the misuse of political power posed a threat to liberty

22 V. Freedom in the Gilded Age (con’t)
The Courts and Freedom The courts viewed state regulation of business as an insult to free labor The courts generally sided with business enterprises that complained of a loss of economic freedom Lochner v. New York voided a state law establishing ten hours per day or sixty per week as the maximum hours of work for bakers, citing that it infringed upon individual freedom

23 VI. Labor and the Republic
The Overwhelming Labor Question The 1877 Great Railroad Strike demonstrated that there was an “overwhelming labor question” The Knights of Labor in an Industrial Age The Knights of Labor organized all workers to improve social conditions The Conditions Essential to Liberty Labor raised the question whether meaningful freedom could exist in a situation of extreme economic inequality

24 VI. Labor and the Republic (con’t)
Middle-Class Reformers Alarmed by fear of class warfare and the growing power of concentrated capital, social thinkers offered numerous plans for change Progress and Poverty Henry George’s solution was the “single tax” George rejected the traditional equation of liberty with ownership of land

25 VI. Labor and the Republic (con’t)
Gronlund and Bellamy Lawrence Gronlund’s Cooperative Commonwealth was the first book to popularize socialist ideas for an American audience It explained socialist concepts in easy-to-understand prose Freedom, Edward Bellamy insisted, was a social condition, resting on interdependence, not autonomy Bellamy held out the hope of retaining the material abundance made possible by industrial capitalism while eliminating inequality

26 VI. Labor and the Republic (con’t)
A Social Gospel Walter Rauschenbusch insisted that freedom and spiritual self-development required an equalization of wealth and power and that unbridled competition mocked the Christian ideal of brotherhood Social Gospel adherents established mission and relief programs in urban areas The Haymarket Affair On May 1, 1886, some 350,000 workers in cities across the country demonstrated for an eight-hour day A riot ensued after a bomb killed a police officer on May 4

27 VI. Labor and the Republic (con’t)
Employers took the opportunity to paint the labor movement as a dangerous and un-American force prone to violence and controlled by foreign-born radicals Seven of the eight men accused of plotting the Haymarket bombing were foreign-born Labor and Politics Henry George ran for mayor of New York in 1886 on a labor ticket The events of 1886 suggested that labor might be on the verge of establishing itself as a permanent political force

28 The Railroad Network, 1880 • pg. 596

29 U.S. Steel: A Vertically Integrated Corporation • pg. 598

30 Indian Reservations, ca. 1890 • pg. 611

31 Political Stalemate, 1876–1892 • pg. 616

32 Table 16.1 • pg. 594

33 fig16_03.jpg Page 592: The dedication of the Statue of Liberty, October 18, 1886. Credit: Reproduction from the collections of the Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, LC-USZ

34 fig16_04.jpg Page 594: Permanent and Temporary Bridge at Green River, Wyoming, by Andrew J. Russell, who took hundreds of photographs in 1868 and 1869 of the construction of the Union Pacific portion of the transcontinental railroad. In the background is Citadel Rock. Credit: Reproduction from the collections of the Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, LC-USZC

35 fig16_07.jpg Page 600: Next!, a cartoon from the magazine Puck, September 7, 1904, depicts the Standard Oil Company as an octopus with tentacles wrapped around the copper, steel, and shipping industries, as well as a state house and Congress. One tentacle reaches for the White House. Credit: Reproduction from the collections of the Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, LC-USZC4-435.

36 fig16_08.jpg Page 601: A turn-of-the-century photograph of the Casino Grounds, Newport, Rhode Island, an exclusive country club for rich socialites of the Gilded Age. Credit: Reproduction from the collections of the Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, LC-USZC

37 fig16_10.jpg Page 603 top: The opening image in Matthew Smith’s book, Sunshine and Shadow in New York (1868), contrasts the living conditions of the city’s rich and poor. Credit: Bettmann/Corbis.

38 fig16_13.jpg Page 605: A combined reaper-thresher harvests wheat on a western “bonanza” farm, in a photograph from around 1890. Credit: Yale Collection of Western Americana, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

39 fig16_15.jpg Page 608: Hunters shooting buffalo as the Kansas-Pacific Railroad cuts across the West, 1870s. Credit: Bettmann/Corbis.

40 fig16_19.jpg Page 614: Villa of Brule: The Great Hostile Indian Camp, an 1891 photograph depicting an encampment of Sioux Indians who fled their homes on a South Dakota reservation after the massacre at Wounded Knee and set up camp on the White Clay River (mistakenly identified as the River Brule by the photographer). The government soon forced them to return to the reservation. Credit: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, John C.H. Grabill Collection, LC-DIG-ppmsc

41 fig16_20.jpg Page 615: The Bosses of the Senate, a cartoon from Puck, January 23, 1889, shows well-fed monopolists towering over the obedient senators. Above them, a sign rewrites the closing words of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address: “This is the Senate of the Monopolists, by the Monopolists, and for the Monopolists.” Credit: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, LC-USZC4-494.

42 fig16_21.jpg Page 619: Laying Tracks at Union Square for a Railroad, an 1890 painting, depicts one of the era’s many public works assisted by state and local governments. Credit: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, LC-USZC4-494.

43 fig16_22.jpg Page 622: A detail from Capital and Labor, a cotton textile from around 1870, illustrates the free labor ideal, with an employer and employee shaking hands and laborers enjoying dignity at work and a “happy home.” During the Gilded Age, many worried that this vision of harmony no longer described American life. Credit: Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rogers Fund, (48.80) Photograph, all rights reserved, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

44 fig16_23.jpg Page 624: Ruins of the Pittsburgh Round House, a photograph published in the July 1895 issue of Scribner’s Magazine shows the widespread destruction of property during the Great Railroad Strike of July 1877. Credit: Scribner’s Magazine, July 1895.

45 fig16_24.jpg Page 625: An engraving from Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, October 16, 1886, shows black delegate Frank J. Farrell introducing Terrence V. Powderly, leader of the Knights of Labor, at the labor organization’s national convention in Richmond, Virginia. The Knights were among the few nineteenth-century labor groups to recruit black members. Credit: Corbis.

46 fig16_25.jpg Page 626: The Great Labor Parade of September 1, from Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, September, 13, A placard illustrates how the labor movement identified Gilded Age employers with the Slave Power of the pre–Civil War era. Credit: Bettmann/Corbis.

47 fig16_26.jpg Page 630: A cartoon from the 1880s depicts radicals as foreigners attempting to destroy the foundations of American society. A caterpillar labeled “communism” gnaws at the leaf “capital,” beneath which are the fruits of American society—among them education, industry, business, law, order, and peace. Credit: Bettmann/Corbis.

48 Go to website

49 Give Me Liberty! An American History
End chap. 16 W. W. Norton & Company Independent and Employee-Owned This concludes the Norton Media Library Slide Set for Chapter 16 Give Me Liberty! An American History by Eric Foner


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