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Unit 1: The Gilded Age.

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1 Unit 1: The Gilded Age

2 “Gilded Age” term created by famous American author Mark Twain
To “gild” something is to lay a thin layer of gold over some rougher/cheaper base material

3 Gilded Age Refers to the period after the Civil War through 1900
Period of great economic and population growth Refers to the new found wealth of industrialists, which masked the extreme poverty of the majority 9% of Americans held 75% of the nation’s $ in 1890

4 The home of a Gilded Age industrialist The home of a Gilded Age factory laborer

5 Technology revolution

6 New forms of energy 1859 Edwin Drake struck oil Thomas Edison
Kerosene production Future products such as gasoline Thomas Edison Dependable lightbulb Central power stations made electricity widely available George Westinghouse Alternating current/transformers made home use safer/cheaper


8 Electricity changes business and life
electricity increased productivity (amount of goods created in a period of time) Lengthened hours of operation Powered machinery New inventions (especially appliances) Life changed factory work (longer work day) improved standard of living (lights in home) new products available new forms of entertainment new forms of transportation (electric trolley) allowed people to live further from work


10 Communication Revolution
Telegraph Morse code; 1870 linked the country; almost instant communication Telephone Alexander Graham Bell 1876 Used switchboard/operators to connect Mainly used by businesses until early 1900s More efficient ordering/production


12 Railroads create national networks
Industry relied on RR for shipping Created nationally linked market 1st “big business” model Communication revolution made RR more efficient/safe 1883 national time zone system


14 Bessemer Process Manufacturing process made steel production more efficient and cheaper Steel RR rails Skyscrapers (contributed to growth of cities) Suspension bridges

15 The Growth of big Business

16 Robber Barons or Captains of Industry?
Different interpretations of the same industrialists Robber Barons--negative Stole from the public, drained natural resources, bribed officials, destroyed competition, abused workers Captains of Industry—positive Leaders, increased supply of goods, created jobs, gave money to worthy causes (philanthropy)

17 Andrew Carnegie’s “Gospel of Wealth”
-philanthropy -they deserved the $, but had a responsibility to help society -$ should go to worthy causes, not be inherited Andrew Carnegie was a poor Scottish immigrant who became the wealthiest man in America, owner of Carnegie Steel. He gave most of his money away at his death to the Carnegie Foundation (Carnegie Hall, Carnegie Libraries)

18 J P Morgan, banking John D. Rockefeller, Standard Oil Trust Cornelius Vanderbilt, railroads

19 Laissez faire As industry grew rapidly, the US government promoted free enterprise (business that can operate competitively for profit with little government involvement/regulation) Laissez faire (“leave alone”)—freedom of economic conduct from dictation by the government

20 Pros/Cons of Laissez faire
Allows the market to govern itself, based on supply and demand Cons Limited government control reduces the possibility of regulation Increased chances for corruption

21 Business on a large scale
Railroad network, communications, electrification made it possible for businesses to expand Larger pools of capital ($) available More $ coming into business Corporations/investors Revised role of ownership—professional managers run business New methods of management—formal rules, specialized departments

22 Gaining a competitive edge
Monopoly—one business has complete control of a product or service Vertical consolidation—gaining control of all steps that it takes to create a product Creates economy of scale—as production increases, manufacturing cost per item decreases --Horizontal consolidation—bringing together many firms in the same business

23 Horizontal Consolidation—
control of one phase of a product’s development; a side-to-side line Vertical Consolidation—control all phases of production from raw material to finished product; up and down line

24 Response to big business
Many Americans resented monopolies (competition usually leads to better prices for consumers) Interstate Commerce Act 1890 Sherman Anti-trust Act—federal law forbidding businesses from monopolizing a market or limiting free trade Early 1900s effort to limit “bad” monopolies, but allow “good” ones (not very effective)

25 Working in the gilded age

26 Working in the Gilded Age
Millions of immigrants and Americans moved to cities for jobs worked 12 hours/day, 6 days/week, could be fired for being late, not working Few hundred $/year Piecework—workers got paid a fixed amount for each finished product Unsafe work conditions Sweatshop—employees work long hours at low wages in poor conditions

27 Workers seen as machinery; never interact with owner
Division of labor—worker performs one task in production, never sees finished product Workers seen as machinery; never interact with owner Frederick Taylor’s Scientific Management Analysis of worker’s movements/workspace to increase productivity

28 Working families Women Children Young, single
Unskilled jobs, mostly in textiles Paid less than men Children 5% of industrial workforce Left school at 12/13 to work full time Unsafe work in dangerous conditions Families often depended on kids’ income to survive

29 Darwin applied to society
There was no public assistance/welfare, worker’s comp, or unemployment insurance Social Darwinism—applied survival of the fittest to people Poverty resulted from personal weakness Relief for poor/unemployed would encourage idleness

30 Unions and strikes

31 Unions Labor leaders criticized owners/managers for Knights of Labor
Reducing competition (making prices higher) Paying low wages Unsafe working conditions Knights of Labor National union, skilled/unskilled, women, blacks American Federation of Labor (AFL) Craft union, skilled workers, “bread and butter”, used collective bargaining (workers negotiate as a group)

32 Employers Reaction Dislike and fear Forbid meetings Fired organizers
“yellow dog” contracts (to never join a union/strike) Refused collective bargaining Refused to recognize unions as representatives

33 Railroad Workers Organize
Great Strike of 1877 Unfair wage cuts/unsafe working conditions Violent/unorganized strike President Hayes sent troops to put down strike; employers rely on fed/state troops to repress labor Eugene V. Debs/ American Railway Union 1877 strikers organized “brotherhoods”, craft unions Debs proposed industrial union for all railway workers

34 Haymarket Riot, 1886 Issue: 8 hour workday
Violence between workers and scabs (replacement workers) At a rally to support strikers, anarchists (radicals who oppose all government) joined in Someone threw a bomb that killed a police officer; following riot killed dozens on both sides 8 anarchists tried/4 hanged for murder Public associates anarchists/violence with unions

35 Strikes Rock the Nation
Homestead, 1892 Carnegie’s partner, Frick cut wages Union called a strike, Frick called Pinkerton guards Anarchists (not with union) tried to kill Frick, union called off strike Public associates anarchist with rising labor violence Pullman, 1894 Strike slowing down mail delivery Judge uses Sherman Anti-trust Act for court order forbidding union activity that halted RR traffic Court orders against unions continued, limiting union gains for 30 years

36 Urban Life

37 Urbanization—the growth of cities
Why did cities grow during the Gilded Age? Technology Electric trolley/train/subway allowed people to move further out to suburbs (residential communities surrounding a city) Skyscrapers Immigration/migration People came for factory jobs

38 Conditions Tenements—low cost buildings to house as many families as possible; little space, communal bathrooms, poor ventilation Fire danger Rampant disease—no water treatment, sanitation

39 Reforms Dumbbell tenement floor plan for light and ventilation
Water treatment facilities Sanitation departments How the Other Half Lives, Jacob Riis; reported horrible living conditions to promote reform

40 Political Result of Growth
Political machines Unofficial city organizations designed to keep a political party in power Headed by a “boss” Fought for control of city government and revenue “helped” poor and immigrants in exchange for votes Worked through exchange of favors Graft: money paid to political machines for favors/jobs

41 Immigration

42 Getting Here Why did they leave home?
Persecution (pogroms—violent massacres of Jews) Government policies/taxes Crop failure Lack of land/jobs Pursue the American Dream (each generation will do better than the previous one)

43 Getting Here Crossing the Ocean Arriving 2 to 3 weeks
Steerage—large open area under ship’s deck Arriving From Europe, most went through New York From Asia, most went through San Francisco Physical exam; sick could be sent back; language/intelligence testing Faced language and cultural barriers Faced threat of poverty, struggled due to competition for jobs/living space Some skilled immigrants used their trade skills to open their own businesses

44 Ghettos—urban neighborhood dominated by an ethnic/racial group
Formed from desire to live near people with the same language and traditions Formed because of restrictive covenants (homeowners agreed not to sell real estate to certain groups) Formed when ethnic groups isolated themselves because of threats of violence

45 European Immigrants 10 million between 1865-1890
Mostly northwestern and central Europe 10 million between Mostly from central, southern, eastern Europe

46 Asian Immigration Majority from China or Japan
Mid-1800s million Chinese workers brought by railroad companies Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882—under pressure from labor unions, Congress prohibited Chinese immigration (until 1943) 1906, San Francisco school board segregated Asian students, angered Japanese government President Theodore Roosevelt’s Gentleman’s Agreement—no segregation, but Japan would stop giving laborers passports

47 Mexican Immigration Hired to work on farms, ranches, mines and railroads in southwest 1917, US entered WWI Labor shortage, recruiting workers from Mexico 1910 Mexican Revolution/Civil War—lots wanted to leave Immigration Restriction Act of 1921 limited immigration from Europe and Asia, increased Mexican immigration

48 Nativism—individuals opposed to new immigration
Based on competition for resources created tension and division Some faced exclusion from employment or housing Immigrants were encouraged to assimilate into American culture

49 Gilded Age Politics

50 Scandals Laissez faire government policy
Illegal bribes paid to politicians by business leaders common Credit Mobilier Fake railroad building company taking money to build RR, bribes paid to Congessmen to keep awarding $ to Credit Mobilier to keep building

51 The Spoils System When a politician won office, they were expected to reward supporters with jobs, contracts, etc. Led to corruption when dishonest people used their jobs for personal profit

52 Reforming the Spoils System
Civil service—government’s unelected workers James Garfield elected President 1880, assassinated by a disappointed job seeker, Charles Giteau Chester Arthur becomes President, supports the Pendleton Civil Service Act Applicants for government jobs had to prove ability to do the job

53 Ideas for Reform

54 Helping the Needy Middle/upper class movement Social Gospel Movement
Sought to apply the teachings of Jesus directly to society Focused on ideals of charity and justice The Settlement House Movement Community center offering social services Reformers lived in the neighborhoods they helped Jane Addams, Hull House in Chicago

55 Controlling Immigration and Behavior
Nativism Teach only English/American culture in schools Especially wanted to limited southern and eastern European immigration (too different from mainstream America) Prohibition—ban on alcohol Some felt alcohol was the root of social decline; link between saloons, alcohol and political machines Carry Nation, smashed bars with a hatchet Purity Crusaders Wanted to rid their communities of vice (immoral or corrupt behavior—drugs, gambling, prostitution) and political machines that often profited from it

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