In this section, we will look at the political movements of the late 1800’s and how they shaped the nation for future generations.
In the late 1800’s, farmers were caught in a vicious economic cycle. Prices for crops were falling and banks were foreclosing on their land. Railroads were also exploiting the farmers by charging high rates for shipping and storage. The price for a bushel of wheat dropped from $2.00 in 1867 to 68 cents in Railroads were also brokering deals to control storage prices. At that time it was cheaper to send grain to England by boat from Chicago than to have to shipped from the Dakotas to Minneapolis by train.
The farmers knew they needed to unite to accomplish their goals. In 1867, Oliver Hudson Kelley started the Patrons of Husbandry. This group eventually became known as the Grange. The goal of the Grange was to provide a social outlet and an educational forum for isolated farmers.
The Farmers’ Alliance grew out of the Patrons of Husbandry. Alliances sent lecturers from town to town to educate people on topics such as lower interest rates on loans and government control on railroads and banks. One of the most notable speakers of that time was Mary Elizabeth Lease. Membership in the alliances grew to 4 million people. The majority of the people coming from the South and the West. The Southern Alliance, which consisted mainly of white Southern farmers, was the largest. About 250,000 African Americans belonged to the Colored Farmers’ National Alliance. Some alliance members supported cooperation between whites and colored farmers but the majority accepted the separation of the organizations.
Leaders realized that if they were to have far- reaching influence, they would need to create a base of political power. Populism, the movement of the people, was born with the founding of the Populist, or People’s, Party in The Populist Party demanded reforms to lift the burden of debt and to give the people a greater voice in their government.
ECONOMICPOLITICAL Increase in money supply. This would produce a rise in prices for goods and services. A graduated income tax. A federal loan program. The election of U.S. Senators by popular vote. A single term for U.S. President and Vice- President. The use of a secret ballot. This was intended to eliminate voter fraud. An eight-hour work day. Restrictions on immigration.
One of the major political issues in 1896 was the debate of the use of silver or gold. The Industrial Northeast favored the gold standard. This is the backing of currency with solely gold. Retaining the gold standard would provide a more stable, but expensive currency. The Democrats in the agrarian South and West favored the use of silver, or bimetallism. This system would create more currency but de-valuing the dollar. Supporters of this believed that this would help stimulate the economy. The Populist Party would back the Democratic candidate, William Jennings Bryan, as well as their stance on the free coinage of silver.
Populists faced a difficult campaign in “Gold Bug” Democrats nominated a separate candidate in the election. Consumers feared inflation if the free coinage of silver were to be implemented and voted for candidates who backed the gold standard. Bryan lost the election to William McKinley by 500,000 votes in the Election of With McKinley’s election, Populism collapsed, burying the hopes of farmers. Two powerful messages came from the Populist movement. One, the downtrodden can organize and have an impact. Two, many of the reforms they called for were eventually passed in the 20 th Century.
Which of the following would have been a typical supporter of a political machine in the late 1800s? a) A working class immigrant. b) Women. c) A wealthy industrialist. d) A farmer in the west.
This section will address how the United States coped with the Industrial Revolution. It will also analyze the relationship between the owners and workers in the different industries of that era.
The industrial machine in the Northeast directly opposed the Populist Movement in the West. Railroads, steel, and oil were all dominate at this time. As we have already pointed out, railroads were one of the main groups that took advantage of the farmers in the west. Leaders in the rise of “big business” were John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie Rockefeller
CARNEGIE ROCKEFELLER Continually looked to make better products more cheaply. Used new innovations and machinery. Hired the best people available. Encouraged competition between them to increase results. Used precise accounting methods to monitor finances. Practice vertical integration. Carnegie basically bought out anyone who supplied him (railroads, iron mines, coal fields). Instituted horizontal integration. He bought out any company who also produced the same goods as his company. Use trusts to get total control of the oil industry in the United States. Trusts are groups of companies all under the same control of a board of trustees. Rockefeller went from owning 3 percent of the oil output in the US in 1870, to controlling 90 percent by Rockefeller reaped huge profits by paying his employees low wages. He would charge low prices on his products to push his competition out of business. When he controlled the market, he would raise his prices far above his original levels. Critics of his tactics called him a “robber baron” Even though Rockefeller kept most of his profits, he donated over $500 million to various organizations. The Rockefeller Foundation, The University of Chicago, and donations to find a cure for yellow fever are examples of his philanthropies.
Vertical integration was used by Carnegie to control as much of the steel industry as he could. In this process, he bought out his suppliers in order to control the raw materials and transportation systems. Horizontal integration was used by Rockefeller to control as much of the oil industry as he could. He had Standard Oil Company take control of other companies also producing oil. Both Carnegie and Rockefeller used these practices to control as much of their respective industries as possible.
MONOPOLYTRUSTS One company buys out the stock of other companies. With this the buying company can control the industry’s wages, production, and prices. This tactic was used by Andrew Carnegie and J.P. Morgan. Not the board game in this case. This is a union between competing companies. Stock is turned over to a board of trustees. The board of trustees ran the group of companies like one large company. Companies would then share the dividends according to the trust. Rockefeller used trusts to corner the oil industry.
There were 3 major factors that lead to the tremendous industrial growth in the U.S. between 1860 and 1920? Abundant natural resources The United States continued its expansion across the continent and the land was at their disposal. New inventions Technology grew by leaps and bounds during this time and one of the places that it had the biggest affect was industry. A growing population The population of the nation grew tremendously during this time allowing for companies to use these workers in their factories.
One of the popular ideas of that time came from the book, Origin of the Species by Charles Darwin. Published in 1859, it was the inspiration of the idea of Social Darwinism. In this book, Charles Darwin concludes that the animals on the planet at that time were the best suited for survival. The idea of “survival of the fittest” emerged from his work. This idea was implemented into the business world to explain why only a few people held the majority of the wealth in the nation.
The mass production of steel in the United States started in Andrew Carnegie witnessed the Bessemer Process of creating steel in England and brought it back to the U.S. to earn his fortune. By 1899, Carnegie Steel Company was producing more steel than all the factories in England combined. With the increased steel production, things like skyscrapers became a reality in the 1800’s.
What made it possible to construct skyscrapers in the 1800’s? a) Fire safety standards. b) The Invention of the elevator. c) Cheap electric power. d) The invention of a cheap and easy way to make steel.
The railroads were one of the major reasons for the Populist Movement. They also contributed many things to the United States in the 19 th Century. Railroads allowed for greater westward expansion. By 1890, the United States had nearly 180,000 miles of rail lines across the country. Rail lines help create time zones and standard time. In 1869, Professor C.F. Dowd created the time system we still use today. Cities connected by rail lines could now specialize in certain products. Chicago became known for its stockyards while Minneapolis became known for their grain industries. Towns now owed their existence to the presence of rail lines in their area.
The usual laborer during this time period worked long hours and was paid low wages. One example was the Triangle Shirtwaist Company. Women there worked 14 hours days, 6 days a week, and received about $6 in wages. The low wages and long hours prompted workers to unite and form unions. 1866: National Labor Union (NLU) formed. With the refusal to admit colored people into the union, the CNLU (Colored National Labor Union) was formed. In 1868, the NLU persuaded Congress to legalize an eight-hour work day for government employees. 1869: The Knights of Labor were formed. By 1886, the Knights of Labor had 700,000 members In many cases, management of the striking companies would hire “scabs” to come in to work in an attempt to break the strike.
The Great Strike of 1877: workers from the Baltimore & Ohio (B&O) Railroads struck to protest their second wage cut in two months. Most freight and some passenger traffic, covering 50,000 miles, was stopped for more than a week. After several state governors pleaded to President Rutherford B. Hayes, saying that the strike impeded commerce, federal troops were sent in to end the strike.
The Haymarket Affair: In 1886, 3,000 people gathered at Chicago’s Haymarket Square to protest police brutality. As rain began to fall, about 10pm, the protest began to disperse. Then someone threw a bomb into the police lines In retaliation, the police fired into the protestors. Seven officers and several protestors were killed in the chaos that followed. After Haymarket, the public began to turn against the labor movement.
In June of 1892, Workers of the Carnegie Steel Company united and conducted a strike against the president, Henry Clay Frick, who announced a plan to cut wages. Frick hired the Pinkerton Detective Agency to protect scabs hired to break the strike. Violence ensued, nine workers and three detectives lost their lives. The plant shut down for three weeks until the Pennsylvania National Guard arrived to open the plant. The strike lasted until November but the union lost a tremendous amount of support. It was another 45 years before the steelworkers would mobilize again.
The government became concerned that the expanding corporations would stifle free competition. In 1890, the Sherman Antitrust Act was passed. With this law, it was now illegal to form a trust that interfered with free trade between states or with countries. Prosecuting companies under the Sherman Act was not easy. It did not clearly define what a trust was. Some companies simply reorganized because of the new laws. The Supreme Court threw out 7 of the 8 cases the federal government brought against trusts. Business leaders used the Sherman Antitrust Act against labor unions because they claimed the unions activities interfered with trade. This severely limited the activities of labor unions.
This section will deal with who came to the United States in the late 19 th Century, why they came, and how they dealt with their new lives in the United States.
Millions of immigrants came to the United States with the hope of attaining a better life. Immigrants had the option to start over in the United States or face famine, overpopulation, and/or religious persecution in their homeland. Some immigrants where known as “birds of passage”, they would simply come to earn money, and then return to their homeland.
For the Europeans who traveled to America, they had to go through processing at Ellis Island, off the coast of New York. About 20 percent of the immigrants coming through Ellis Island were detained for a day or more. Close to 2 percent were denied admission to the United States. From 1892 to 1924, an estimated 17 million people were processed at Ellis Island. For the Chinese and Japanese in the west, they were processed at Angel Island. Between 1910 and 1940, 50,000 Chinese entered the U.S. through Angel Island. The process here was far different than Ellis Island. Immigrants here endured harsh questioning in ramshackle buildings while they waited to find out if they would be admitted.
With the idea that the U.S. had jobs for everyone, many people settled in the major industrial cities in order to find work. In 1907 alone, over 1 million people arrived from Italy, Austria-Hungary, and Russia. With the 1898 annexation of Hawaii to the United States, the door opened for Japanese to come to the U.S. By 1920, 200,000 Japanese lived on the West Coast. The term urbanization was used to describe the growth in cities.
Once admitted into the country, immigrants now had to find a place to live, a job, and survive in a culture that was entirely new to them. Political groups helped the immigrants find medical treatment, housing, jobs, and schools. This was an attempt to influence their vote in later elections. Social reformers saw this practice as a exploitation of the newly arrived immigrants. They attacked them through various legal avenues eventually brought them down. Many immigrants searched for people who spoke their native language and ethnic communities were formed.
Many people who lived in America saw their country as a melting pot. This was the mixture of all the different nationalities to create an American culture. This did call for immigrants to drop the customs they were used to in order to become “Americanized”. Even with having to endure racial and ethnic prejudice, many new immigrants did not want to leave behind traditions of their old country.
Some groups who were against the influx of immigrants to the United States, called for tougher restrictions to be imposed. These people became known as Nativists. In 1894, Prescott F. Hall, founded the Immigration Restriction League. His league labeled British, German, and Scandinavians as “desirable” immigrants. Slav, Latin, and Asiatic races were considered “wrong”. Many in the nativist groups pushed for the elimination of cultural differences in the United States.
There were two major laws imposed directly against the admission of Asians in the late 19 th and early 20 th centuries. This was a direct result of Asian immigrants taking jobs of the native born Americans throughout the west coast. 1882: Congress stopped the immigration of Chinese for 10 years by passing the Chinese Exclusion Act. Only students, teachers, merchants, tourists, and government officials were permitted to enter the U.S. It severely limited the number of immigrants from China into the United States. It was extended another 10 years in 1892 It was not repealed until 1908: The Gentleman’s Agreement was signed between the United States and Japan. In 1906, the city of San Francisco forced all Japanese students to attend segregated schools. Japan protested in response to the move. Japan agreed to limit emigration to the United States in exchange for the repeal of the San Francisco school segregation.
In this section, we will look at how the government, as well as other groups, dealt the Industrialization of the United States, what was done to help the individual, and how it affected the United States.
There were three major groups of people coming into the cities in the late 19 th century, Immigrants Dis-placed Farmers African Americans There were 6 major problems that the cities, and the governments who ran them, faced as the masses moved in. Housing Transportation Water Sanitation Crime Fire
As problems in the cities mounted, concerned reformers worked to find solutions. One point of focus was trying to eliminate urban poverty. One avenue they took was to create settlement houses. These houses were built in slums neighborhoods to help the poor, especially immigrants. The house offered educational, cultural, and social services to their communities. Charles Stover and Stanton Colt are credited for opening the first settlement house in NYC in Jane Addams and Ellen Gates opened the Hull House in Chicago in In 1910, Janie Porter Barrett opened the first settlement house for African- Americans, the Locust Street Settlement, in Hampton Virginia. By 1910, there were 400 settlement houses in the United States. These houses helped cultivate a social responsibility for the urban poor.
Congress passed the law in This followed the Supreme Court decision to overturn Munn v. Illinois which allowed states to regulate railroad rates, which benefited farmers. The federal government now assumed responsibility to supervise railroad activities. The overall goal of the law was to lower excessive railroad rates and stop railroad abuses
In 1906, after spending time in a Chicago meat packing plant, Upton Sinclair publishes the book, The Jungle. It shed light on the conditions men had to work in while in the plants. It also showed what was going into the food they were packing. The public was outraged and the Meat Inspection Act of 1906 was passed. The Food and Drug Administration is a result of the uproar from The Jungle
With all the problems the nation faced, a new philosophy took over the government. The Progressive Era was based off a government that pushed to foster efficiency and respond to public needs. Progressive Era Presidents Theodore Roosevelt ( ) Woodrow Wilson ( ) legacy#theodore-roosevelts-acts-and-legacy
In this section, we will look at the popular social ideas of the Gilded Age.
The Social Gospel Movement was started in the late 19 th century to help improve the lives of the urban poor. They preached the salvation through service to the poor. Many did answer the call and began to help the urban poor. People like Richard Ely, Washington Gladden, and Walter Rauschenbusch were all influential leaders of the cause.
The ideology was popular to explain why only a small few had all the wealth in the United States. It was based off Charles Darwin book, Origin of the Species, which argued that the animals on the planet were the best suited for survival. Essentially it explained that the rich got that way because they are the smartest and have worked the hardest. It was the explanation used for the economic divide in the United States.
The name “Gilded Age” refers to the massive economic growth in the United States from 1869 through The phrase was actually coined by Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner. It was meant to ridicule those who attempted to impress others with their wealth. During this time the economy grew at 3.8% or more. It was the greatest economic growth in America’s history. With the wealth, it ushered in a time of political corruption. The “spoils system” was common in politics of that era. On the outside, America looked rich and a symbol of democracy, but a closer look would illustrate political corruption and greed.