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Gilded Age (Reconstruction-1900)


GILDED AGE


  • 1870s-1900 dubbed "Gilded Age" by Mark Twain

  • 1873 novel The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today

  • Because like gilt (thin layer of gold over base metals) it was shiny on surface but cheap and tawdry underneath.

  • Period of rapid industrialization

  • Wealth and big business looked good

  • ​Wages rose ($380/yr 1880- to $564/yr. in 1890)

  • But huge gaps between rich and poor

  • Including poor immigrants from Europe

  • Rich bought votes and favors in Congress

  • Then fleeced consumers and workers

  • Politics looked smooth

  • But corruption and patronage beneath the surface

  • Coincided with Victorian era in Britain and Belle Epoque in France

  • Succeeded by Progressive Era (from 1890s)

POST CIVIL WAR

  • West expanding

  • South declining

  • North booming

  • In only 8 years

  • Postwar industrial production increased 75%

  • For 1st time: Workers outnumber farmers

  • Only Britain’s industrial output was greater than US

  • Government was very friendly to big business

  • Low taxes on investments

  • High tariffs on manufactured goods

  • Great influx of immigrants (1865-1873)

  • More than a million immigrants

  • Most settled in industrial cities in North and West

  • Causing suspicion to rise against non-native whites

POLITICS

PRESIDENTS

(See link: Presidents after Civil War)

RUTHERFORD B. HAYES (1877-1881) (R.)

  • Compromise of 1877 (End of reconstruction)

  • Bland-Allison Act 1878 (Silver)

  • Great Railroad Strike of 1877 (see below)

JAMES GARFIELD (1881) (R.)

  • Assassinated by a supporter who didn’t feel he had received enough for his support.

CHESTER ARTHUR (1881-1885) (R.)

  • Helen Hunt Jackson -- A Century of Dishonor (1881)

  • Chinese Exclusion Act (1882) (After 1875 Page Act that banned immigration of Chinese women)

  • Pendleton Act (1883) (Ending spoils system)

GROVER CLEVELAND (1885-1889) and (1893-1897) (D.)

  • Two, non-consecutive terms

  • Haymarket Square Riot (1886) Ended Knights of Labor

  • American Federation of Labor (1886)

  • Wabash v. Illinois (1886) (Only Fed. govt. can regulate interstate trade v. Munn v. Ill 1876)

  • Interstate Commerce Act (1887) (Regulating railroad rates)

  • Dawes Severalty Act (1887) (Indians on 160 acre plots)

BENJAMIN HARRISON (1889-1893) (R.)

  • McKinley Tariff (1890) (Tariff to protect U.S. industry)

  • Sherman Silver Purchase Act (1890)

  • Sherman Anti-Trust Act (1890)

  • Jacob Riis --"How the Other Half Lives" (1890)

  • Battle of Wounded Knee (1890) (To end Ghost Dances)

  • Populist (People's) Party (1892)

  • Homestead Strike (1892) (Carnegie, Frick, Pinkertons)

  • Sierra Club (John Muir) (1892)

GROVER CLEVELAND (Second Term) (1893-1897) (D.)

  • Panic of 1893 (Borrowed money from J.P. Morgan)

  • Repealed Sherman Silver Purchase Act

  • Hawaii, Queen Liliuokalani overthrown (1893)

  • Pullman Strike (1894) (Debs, American RR Union)

  • Coxey's Army (1894) (Protest of unemployed to DC)

  • Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) ("Separate but Equal")

WILLIAM MCKINLEY (1897-1901) (R.)

  • Election of 1896 (Bryan v. McKinley with Hanna)

  • Dingley Tariff (1897)

  • Gold Standard Act (1897)

  • De Lome Letter (1898) (Yellow Journalism)

  • Teller Amendment (1898) U.S. won't colonize Cuba)

  • Spanish American War (1898) (US gets Philippines, Guam, Puerto Rico)

  • Open Door Policy (1899) John Hay to countries in China

  • Wizard of Oz (1900)

  • Williams v. Mississippi (1898) (poll tax, literacy tests okay)

  • McKinley Assassinated by an anarchist

CIVIL SERVICE EXAMS

  • Pendleton Act (1883)

  • Passed by Chester Arthur after assassination of James Garfield by an angry office seeker

  • Applicants for federal jobs would be selected based on exam scores

  • First applied to 10% of federal job, eventually expanded to all federal jobs

  • Prohibited civil servants from making political contributions

  • Civil Service Commission

  • Set up to enforce the Pendleton Act

  • Background

  • George Washington appointed people based on merit

  • But politicians after Washington began giving jobs to supporters

  • "Spoils System" worsened under Andrew Jackson (1828)

  • In 1828, there were 20,000 federal employees

  • In 1883 there were 130,000 federal employees

  • And Industrial Revolution required more knowledge and skilled employees

CITY GOVERNMENT


  • Run by Political machines

  • Not municipal governments

  • Tammany Hall (Democrats) (Five Points, NY)

  • Began 1854

  • Got support from immigrants (esp. Irish)

  • Democratic Irish rioted against draft during Civil War

  • Because didn't want to compete for jobs with freed blacks from South

  • Tammany provided

  • Orphanages, hospitals, shelters for poor

  • Turkey’s at Thanksgiving

  • Jobs (Irish were police, Italians were firemen)

  • In exchange for votes

  • They understood mass politics

  • And how to mobilize their supporters for votes

  • "Vote early and vote often"

  • Political machines were financially corrupt

  • As chiefs of city, bosses had power to distribute contracts for work done around city

  • Example: Central Park

  • Corrupt politicians bought property around park before built, sold for huge profits

  • Brooklyn Bridge

  • Government buildings

  • Then asked for kick-backs from the people who received the commissions

  • Buildings would be build for $1000s more than they were worth

  • Rich ignored activities because property values were sky high

  • William Magear "Boss" Tweed (r. 1868-1873)

  • Most famous of the political bosses

  • Siphoned off more than $50 million from 100s of city projects.

  • In Oct. 1902, Lincoln Steffens wrote first Muckraking story

  • "Tweed Days in St. Louis," published in McClure's Magazine


INVENTIONS


  • Bessemer Process (patented 1856)

  • First inexpensive process for mass-producing steel

  • Removing impurities from pig iron.

  • Used by Andrew Carnegie

  • Light bulb

  • Invented 1876 by Thomas Edison (The "Wizard of Menlo Park," New Jersey)

  • First lit up headquarters of New York Times and offices of financier J.P. Morgan.

  • Significance

  • Allowed longer workdays

  • Many factories worked around the clock (day and night shifts)

  • Other inventions by Thomas Alva Edison

  • Edison held over 1000 patents

  • Moving pictures (film camera and projector)

  • Phonograph (record player)

  • ​Only wealthy could afford phonograph

  • Telephone

  • Invented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876

  • Improved communication and provided job opportunities for women as operators.

  • Roll film camera invented by Eastman Kodak in 1884

  • Put cameras in the hands of millions of people for the first time.

  • Westinghouse Air brakes (1868)

  • ​Allowed trains to stop more reliably and safely.

RAILROADS

  • After Civil War

  • 35,000 miles of rairoad track

  • 400 independent railroad companies (passengers had to change trains frequently)

  • Trunk Lines (major lines, built with subsidies by federal government)

  • Baltimore and Ohio (B&O) (Baltimore to Ohio River and St. Louis)

  • Pennsylvania (Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, then to NYC and Chicago)

  • Under J. Edgar Thompson (1852-1874) best-run RR.

  • Used to transport troops during Civil War

  • Nation's largest and richest railroad.

  • First to use Westinghouse air brake

  • Erie Railroad (Hudson River to Great Lakes)

  • Run by corrupt "Erie Ring"

  • "Jubilee Jim" Fisk

  • Jay Gould

  • Daniel Drew

  • New York Central

  • Created from dozens of short lines in New England and New York

  • By "Commodore"" Cornelius Vanderbilt

  • Transcontinental Railroad

  • Pacific railway Act 1862

  • Gave Union Pacific (UP) and Central Pacific (CP) the right to build railroads on federal owned land - from Omaha to Sacramento

  • For each mile of track they built, they got ten square miles of public land to sell

  • Government loaned them $16,000-$48,000 per mile at low interest rates

  • 2/3 of workers were Chinese

  • Corruption

  • Credit Mobilier was construction company owned by same men who owned UP

  • Owners skimmed $44 million of the UP's construction expenses by padding bills

  • CP also engaged in fraud but the owners burned the company's books

  • "Golden spike"

  • Last spike driven connecting the lines at Promontory Point, Utah, May 10, 1869

  • Standard Gauge 4 feet, 8 1/2 inches.

  • Because Roman roads in England had ruts of 4 ft. 8 1/2 in. - the space across 2 horses.

  • Westinghouse air brake, patented 1868

  • Before the air brakes

  • Trains used old brake system that required operators (brakeman) in each car to simultaneously apply a hand brake at the signal of the engineer.

  • George Westinghouse invented a fail-safe brake system

  • That applied compressed air pressure from reservoir tanks

  • Connected by a pipe to individual brake cylinders on each car.

  • When the engineer released the compressed air in the reservoir, it rushed to the individual cylinders

  • Which closed the brake shoes on the car wheels.

  • Since it was solely controlled by the engineer, there was no need for brakemen.

  • Time zones ("railroad time")

  • Proposed by Charles Dowd 1879, adopted by Congress 1883

  • Divided United States into four time zones to accommodate railroads


EFFICIENT FACTORIES

"Taylorism"

  • Frederick Taylor (1856-1915) developed plan to make factories more efficient

  • "Scientific management"

  • Employers must eliminate all brain work from manual labor (only management should make make all decisions)

  • Hire experts as managers

  • Develop rules for shop floor

  • Workers must do what they are told without asking questions or making suggestions.

  • Tasks should be timed, workers rewarded if faster.

  • Pay workers by the "piece" not by the day

  • More incentive to work harder and faster

  • Adopted by most factories but not a complete success

  • Workers resistant, expensive to enforce

  • And growing gap between managers (white-collar) and blue-collar workforce

  • Set stage for assembly line (Henry Ford)


Assembly line

  • First used by Swift in the meat processing plants

  • Henry Ford

  • Was the first one to best maximize Eli Whitney’s concept of interchangeable parts

  • By creating an assembly line in his Ford automobile factory

  • 12-14 hours a day workers doing same task over and over again

  • Mass production

  • ​Workers doing the same task over and over again

  • Dangerous --> resulted in 500,00 injuries a year

  • Ford Model T began in 1908

  • Only came in black for efficiency

  • Competitor, General Motors (GM), made cars in many colors.

  • By 1910 -- Ford factory producing nearly 12,000 cars per year

  • By 1913 – Ford began using an assembly line

  • Production rose dramatically to 250,000 per year

  • Allowed him to lower the price

  • So that everyone could have a Ford automobile

  • Raised wages so that his employees could own a car.

  • Consequences of mass production of cars

  • Companies rose up around car industry

  • Steel, Rubber, Oil, service stations, roads, inns.

  • Tourism

  • Kids making out away from parents

CAPTAINS OF INDUSTRY/ROBBER BARONS

Name (both refer to big business owners)

  • "Captain of Industry" -- positive name

  • Captains of Industry are innovative, clever

  • "Robber Barons" -- negative name

  • Robber Barons are corrupt, greedy, exploit workers

Wealth

  • Easy for wealthy business to make huge fortunes

  • Because of weak governments

  • That either ignored them

  • No or weak regulation of industry, monopolies

  • Or helped them

  • By enacting high tariffs, building roads,

  • Courts ruled in favor of big businesses against workers

Captains of Industry/Robber Barons


Andrew Carnegie

  • Came from Scotland a poor 12-year old 1848

  • Encouraged by Republican tariff, he entered the steel industry.

  • Built massive steel mill outside Pittsburgh (Homestead)

  • Using state-of-the-art Bessemer converter

  • Which made steel refining dramatically more efficient.

  • Steel became a major U.S. industry.

  • By 1900 U.S. steel produced as much as other top producers (Germ. and Br.) combined

  • Carnegie sold his steel company to Wall Street Banker J.P. Morgan


J.P. Morgan

  • ​Bought Carnegie Steel

  • Used the company as a foundation for the new US Steel Corporation in 1901

  • JP Morgan saved the country from bankruptcy in 1895 (after Panic of 1893)

  • When he loaned the US treasury more than $60 million

  • Showed the close relationship between government and big business


John D. Rockefeller

  • First oil well in US drilled in 1859 in Pennsylvania

  • 1863 Rockefeller founded company that controlled most of the country's oil refineries by eliminating competition (Horizontal Integration)

  • Forced railroad companies to give him rebates lowering prices. Other companies couldn't compete.

  • By 1881, Standard Oil Trust controlled 90% of oil refinery business.

Cornelius (the "Commodore") Vanderbilt


  • Descendant of Dutch indentured servant who migrated to NY in 1650

  • Ran his own Staten Island to Manhattan ferry service in NY at 16

  • At time when Gibbons fighting steamboat monopoly --> Gibbons v. Ogden 1824

  • Built his own steamship business from Albany to New York City, undercut rivals

  • Took over first railroad in 1847 then took small railroad lines, merging them and converting them into networks (see New York Central above)

  • 1869 created Grand Central Terminal (Grand Central Station, NY) - the largest railroad station in the U.S.

  • By 1870 he was the most powerful and richest railroad man in the world - worth $100 million, more than in U.S. treasury


HORIZONTAL/VERTICAL INTEGRATION

HORIZONTAL INTEGRATION (Monopolies/Trusts)

  • Businesses were free to engage in all kinds of uncompetitive practices

  • Like building monopolies or trusts

  • Company that is so big

  • That it buys out all its competitors

  • Allowing them to dominate an industry

  • And charge anything they’d like

  • Example: Standard Oil, run by John D. Rockefeller

  • Illegal today

VERTICAL INTEGRATION

  • Control all parts of a single industry

  • In order to cut out the middle man

  • Used by Andrew Carnegie (wealthy steel magnate)

  • ​Bought all the companies he needed to produce his steel

  • Raw materials to distribution

  • Made steel, shipped it and sold it himself

  • Legal as long as other companies can compete


SOCIAL DARWINISM

  • Charles Darwin

  • Wrote Origin of Species 1859 about evolution of animals

  • "Survival of the Fittest"

  • By 1870 – the scientific community and secular Americans accepted it a fact

  • Theory extended to humans by Herbert Spencer.

  • Claiming humans, too, existed in different stages of evolution

  • Believed Africans and Asians were earlier creatures

  • Justified colonization of Africa, Southeast Asia and, to some extent, China

  • Also justified the growing gap between rich and poor

  • Wealth and success by tycoons was part of natural selection

  • The wealthy were smarter and had worked harder than everyone else.

  • God have given them riches because of their genius and tenacity

  • Smaller, weaker companies would naturally succumb to bigger, stronger companie

  • Therefore unrestricted competition allowed "fittest" to survive

  • Government regulation would damage the benefits of this efficient form of natural competition.

LITERATURE

Looking Backward: 2000-1887 by Edward Bellamy

  • Main character, aristocratic Julian West, thought he was superior to working classes.

  • Julian looked down on frequent strikes which delayed construction of his home.

  • Julian falls into a 100-year sleep - he wakes up in the 20th century.

  • Where there is pubic ownership (not private)

  • Government shares all money equally.

  • Everyone gets a college education

  • Everyone can choose a career

  • Everyone retires at age 45.

  • There is no poverty or hunger.


Ragged Dick (1868) by Horatio Alger

  • Alger's fourth book

  • Story of a poor bootblack's rise to middle-class.

  • One of many books about a poor, hard-working, honest youth who escapes poverty

  • Called the "Horatio Alger myth"

Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea (1869) and Around the World in Eighty Days (1872) by Jules Verne

  • French author

  • "Father of Science Fiction"

  • Wrote about innovations and technological advancements

  • Years before they were realities.

  • In 1889, Nellie Bly (Elizabeth Cochran Seaman)

  • Female journalist

  • Who set out to mimic the 80-day journey of Phileas Fogg around the world

  • For an article in Pulitzer's New York World

  • She finished it in 72 days.

Progress and Poverty (1879) by Henry George

  • Full title:

  • "An Inquiry into the Cause of Industrial Depressions and of Increase of Wealth: The Remedy"

  • Henry George was appalled by shocking poverty in the middle of wealthy cities.

  • Explored the connection between poverty and economic and technological progress.

  • Question:

  • Why was their poverty when there was so much wealth in the U.S.?

  • Solution: single tax

  • Believed that land and all natural resources belong to all

  • No person or company should own land

  • they should only be able to rent it.

  • The rent should be paid to the public (the rightful collective owner of all land)

  • Businesses and individuals would own all profits that resulted from their efforts.

GOSPEL OF WEALTH


  • Carnegie’s belief in the Gospel of Wealth

  • Law of competition benefit society.

  • Hard work and perseverance lead to wealth.

  • But wealthy should not be selfish.

  • Heirs of large fortune should not squander money on unnecessary luxuries (conspicuous consumption)

  • Giving to charity, though,

  • Didn't guarantee that the money would be used wisely

  • Charity kept the poor impoverished

  • Instead, the duty of the rich was to live modestly

  • ​And recirculate surplus wealth for the good of society

  • And enrichment of the community.

  • By bettering society, rich would go to Heaven.

  • When Andrew Carnegie retired from the steel industry in 1901

  • He devoted the rest of his life to philanthropy

  • But in a responsible way

  • Not giving directly to the poor or spent in ways that "encouraged the slothful, the drunken, the unworthy”

  • Critics

  • Many Captains of Industry believed "Gospel of Wealth" was too radical.

  • Believed poor people were poor because they were lesser people than the rest (Social Darwinism)


LABOR


  • Industrial revolution led to creation of new class of largely unskilled industrial workers

  • Workers had little protection from the greed of employers

  • Government and courts ignored workers complaints

  • And supported big business

  • ​See Homestead Strike, Pullman Strike, Coxey's Army

  • Coxey's Army (called themselves "U.S. Industrial Army")

  • ​In 1894 500 unemployed workers affected by Depression caused by Panic of 1893

  • Marched in protest to Washington DC

  • Led by Jacob Coxey -- hoped to persuade Congress to authorize a program of public works.

  • The marchers were arrested for walking on the grass of the U.S. Capitol.

  • Public didn't support workers because:

  • Social Darwinism - the belief that the wealthy were more evolved than the poor.

  • The strong faith in individualism and self-reliance

  • (Ralph Waldo Emerson, transcendentalist)

  • People like Hamilton, Lincoln, Andrew Carnegie

  • All came from humble backgrounds

  • And pulled themselves up.

  • Horatio Alger stories: rags to riches


IMMIGRATION

Old Immigrants (1840s and 50s)

  • From north and western Europe

  • Irish after the potato famine (mostly unskilled, poor, Catholic)

  • And Germans after 1848 Revolutions (mostly skilled and literate, Catholic and Protestant)

  • Came as families

  • Quick to assimilate

  • Experienced in democracy

  • Mostly tall and fair

New immigrants (1880-1920)

  • Lower steam ship fares and faster transatlantic travel = 25 million new immigrants after 1870

  • Landed on Ellis Island, NY (1892-1954) and Angel Island (S.F.) (1910-1940)

  • Mostly between 15 and 30 years old.

  • From south and eastern Europe

  • Italy, Russia, Poland, Greece

  • As well as Asian locales

  • China and Japan

  • Catholic, Jewish, Eastern Orthodox

  • Illiterate and unskilled

  • birds of passage

  • Making money then return home

  • Clannish, didn’t assimilate

  • Poor

  • Short and dark

Push/pull factors


  • Some for political regions

  • Russian and Ukrainian Jews came seeking refuge from religious oppression by governments at home (pogroms)

  • Social reasons

  • More opportunities to move up the social ladder

  • “rags to riches” American dream

  • America as the land of opportunity

  • Where anyone willing to work hard, save money and be smart

  • Could become rich

  • Most came for economic reasons

  • Southern Italy - resources were scarce, vineyards decimated by disease

  • America’s industrial growth

  • = high demand for labor

  • Unfortunately, expectations fell short

  • Roads were not literally paved with gold

  • And social mobility was much more difficult than it seemed

  • Jacob Riis – NY – “How the Other Half Lives”

  • Statue of Liberty

  • “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

New Nativism

  • Chinese

  • 1875 Page Act - Outlawed immigration of Chinese women

  • 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act

  • Limited the number of Chinese immigrants allowed into U.S.

  • Renewed in 1892 an 1902

  • 1907 Immigration Act

  • Created Dillingham Commission

  • To study effect of immigration on moral welfare of nation

  • Concluded immigrants from southern and eastern Europe posed serious threat to American society and had to be reduced.

  • Also created "Dictionary of Races and People"

  • KKK resurgence in 1920s

  • This time targeting immigrants as well as black people

  • Branches all over the U.S., not just South



LIFE IN CITIES

  • Tenements

  • Water shared sink (chemicals to make it safe – but undrinkable)

  • No bathrooms (public bathhouses or rivers)

  • Dumbbell tenements – so every room had a window

  • Water

  • No bathrooms – had to go to bathhouse or bathe in river

  • Crime

  • 14,000 homeless in NY in 1890

  • Many children or “street Arabs”

  • Work difficult to get

  • Thievery, pickpockets etc.

  • Gangs

  • Five Points Gang

  • Mulberry Bend gang

  • Hell’s Kitchen gang

  • Demanded protection money

  • Prostitution

  • Transportation

  • Trains – El (steam-powered passenger trains – elevated)

  • Electric trolly

  • Amusement parks

  • To make money from distant properties

  • And on Sundays – when required to run

  • Coney Island NY

  • Revere Beach Boston

  • Willow Grove Philly

  • Elevators (Elisha Graves Otis)

  • “safety elevators” with spring-triggered catch if cable broke.

  • Top floors now desirable

  • Skyscrapers, Roebling Brooklyn Bridge 1883

  • Ignited real estate boom in Brooklyn

  • William L. Jenney

  • Made taller structures possible

  • 1885 steel “I” beam girder

  • Built high without massive supporting walls

  • Singer Building 1906 -- Record at 41 stories

  • Metropolitan Tower 1908 -- 50 stories

  • Woolworth Building 1913 -- 60 stories

GOLD AND SILVER

Greenbacks

  • To finance Civil War

  • Union government printed paper money (called "greenbacks")

  • Not backed by specie (gold and silver)

  • Caused inflation

  • Specie Resumption Act 1875

  • Congress withdrew all greenbacks from circulation

  • Critics of paper money (bankers/lenders)

  • Said paper money violated law of supply and demand and unstable

  • Supporters of paper money (farmers/borrowers)

  • Benefited from inflation (higher prices for crops = easier to pay back loans)

  • Formed "Greenback Party"

  • 1878 elected 14 members to Congress incl. James Weaver

  • Greenback party died out by end of 1870s

  • Silver Money (Bimetallism)


  • Coinage Act of 1873 (aka Mint Act or Fourth Coinage Act)

  • In 1871, Germany stopped mining silver

  • Caused a drop in demand and lower value of silver

  • To align with international standards Grant passed Act

  • Moved U.S. off bimetallism in favor of gold standard

  • Hurt miners, farmers and debtors who couldn't cash in on silver (called Act "Crime of 1873")

  • The move was partly responsible for the Panic of 1873

  • Bland Allison Act (1878)

  • Passed by Congress over Hayes's veto

  • Allowed a limited coinage of silver

  • Between $2-$4 million in silver each month

  • With 16 to 1 silver-to-gold ratio

  • Farmers and debtors wanted more.

  • Sherman Silver Purchase Act (1890)

  • Increased coinage of silver (farmers and miners still not satisfied)

  • Populist Party (1892)

  • Farmers demanded free coinage of silver

  • Demand was part of the Populist's Omaha Platform

  • 1892 Populist candiate James Weaver (won 22 electoral votes, but lost election)

  • Panic of 1893

  • Decline in silver prices encouraged investors to trade their silver dollars for gold dollars

  • Caused gold reserve in U.S. Treaury to fall to a dangerously low level.

  • President Cleveland had to repeal Sherman Silver Purchase Act

  • Didn't stop gold drain.

  • Cleveland borrowed $65 million in gold from J.P. Morgan to support the dollar.

  • Election of 1896

  • Democrat favored unlimited coinage of silver

  • Democrat candidate (and Populist supporter) William Jennings Bryan

  • Gave "Cross of Gold" speech.

  • Former Democrats who favored gold standard ("Gold Bugs") formed separate National Democratic Party or joined Republicans

  • Republicans (McKinley with support from Mark Hanna)

  • Raised money from business leaders who feared "silver lunacy" would lead to runaway inflation.


Gold standard, 1900

  • McKinley won 1896 election

  • Country's economy was reviving

  • Gold discoveries in Alaska in 1897

  • Which increased the money supply --> causing inflation = good for farmers

  • Prices rise, factory production increased, stock market climbed

  • McKinley made gold the official standard U.S. currency 1900

PANICS AND DEPRESSIONS

Panic of 1873 (under U.S Grant)


  • Causes

  • Railroad boom

  • Between 1868 and 1873 more than 33,000 miles of tracks were laid.

  • Boom caused by government land grants and subsidies to the railroads

  • Railroad industry was the nation's largest employer outside agriculture.

  • Industry

  • Large infusion of cash from speculators caused abnormal growth in industry.

  • Too much capital involved in projects with small returns.

  • Caused business failures

  • Coinage Act of 1873 (see above)

  • Moved US. to gold standard -- the U.S. would no longer buy silver or convert silver into silver coins.

  • Hurt Western mining, farmers and debtors (called the Act the Crime of '73)

  • Jay Cooke and Company (bank)

  • ​Bank had invested heavily in railroads

  • Had planned to build the second transcontinental railroad (North Pacific Railway)

  • But plan failed forcing Cooke and Co. to declare bankruptcy

  • Set off a chain reaction

  • ​Factories laid off workers

  • New York Stock Exchange closed for 10 days.

  • Dozens of the nation's railroads failed.

  • Construction of new rail lines stopped.

  • Consequence

  • Voters turned against Republican Party (esp. in South)

  • Northerners were less interested in funding Freedman's Bureau

  • Depression decreased interest in funding Reconstruction

  • Railroad construction stopped in South (leaving many states in debt and taxed)

  • ​Price cuts to railroad workers caused Great Railroad Strike of 1877

Panic of 1893 (Under Grover Cleveland)

  • Causes

  • Railroads

  • Like 1873, stemmed from overbuilding railroads and shaky railroad financing.

  • Big railroad companies bought out smaller companies risking their own economic stability

  • Big companies like Philadelphia and Reading Railroads over-extended

  • Run on gold

  • Many mines opened (with rail connections) flooding the market.

  • Decline in silver prices encouraged investors to trade their silver dollars for gold dollars

  • Caused gold reserves in U.S. Treasury to dwindle

  • Grover Cleveland borrowed gold from banker J.P. Morgan and repealed Sherman Silver Purchase Act.

  • Consequences

  • Blamed on Grover Cleveland(Dem), led to Republican victories after Cleveland

  • Coxey's Army (1894)

  • March of jobless demanding the governemtn spend $500 million on public work projects to create jobs.

  • Pullman Strike (1894)

  • Pullman Palace Car Company cut workers wages 25%, caused strike

UNIONS

MOLLY MAGUIRES

  • Not exctly a union.

  • The Molly Maguires was a secret group organized by Irish miners.

  • Named for an earlier group of protesters in Ireland who had disguised themselves as women and roamed Irish countryside beating landlords.

  • American Mollys were founded in 1866.

  • Some of the Moly's restored to intimidation, arson and murder

  • To combat bad working conditions of coal miners.

  • In 1876, 20 Mollys were brought to trial and executed for killing 16 people

Unions

  • Combination of factors led workers to protect themselves

  • By organizing into labor unions

  • And using strikes as their key weapon to force employers to bargain

  • Still only about 5% of population in unions

  • Because of strong belief in self-reliance and independence

  • Little bargaining power

  • Businesses could simply fire the Poles working in a factory

  • And hire Italians or blacks to take their place

  • Also lack of unity

  • Immigrants, races and 20% women and children.

KNIGHTS OF LABOR

  • Founded 1869

  • Started as a garment cutters association

  • Was a Protestant union that met secretly

  • Until Terrence Powderly (a Catholic) became the Grand Master Workman in 1879

  • ​Changed things

  • No longer secret

  • Began inviting many people to join

  • Women and men, white and black, skilled and unskilled, European immigrants

  • Not invited:

  • Chinese, bankers, lawyers, liquor dealers and professional gamblers

  • Group grew to 700,000 members by 1886

  • Sought out 8-hour workday and higher pay (bread and butter issues)

  • ​But also went beyond

  • Abolition of child labor

  • Equal pay for equal work

  • Political reforms (like graduated income tax)

  • Wanted to replace the capitalist system

  • Powderly didn't see strikes as effective

  • ​But gave in a couple of times

  • Like the strike that began in Chicago on May 1, 1886.

Haymarket Square Riot 1886


  • May 4, a rally was held by labor leaders to protest Chicago police brutality at strike at McCormick Reaper Works

  • When police arrived, a bomb exploded

  • Possibly by anarchists (radicals who don’t want any government)

  • Police and crowd members opened fire --> 7 police, 1 civilian died

  • Knights were particularly, though unfairly singled out for blame

  • Union soon collapsed

  • Reputation of labor unions worsened

  • Considered anarchists, socialists, extremists, cop-killers, foreigners

  • Who want to overthrow capitalist system of free enterprising

AMERICAN FEDERATION OF LABOR (AFL) 1886


  • Created same year as Haymarket Square riot in Ohio

  • Name “Pro-America”

  • Different from Knights of Labor

  • Association of craft works

  • Have a certain skill

  • Under its leader, Samuel Gompers

  • The union would be very discriminatory

  • Only skilled, white, male crafts workers could belong

  • Only concentrated on bread and butter issues

  • Wages, 8 hours 8 hours sleep and 8 for what we will, and better working conditions.

  • More effective

  • Because unskilled can be replace

  • And no blacks, whites etc. to have a better image.

  • Used strikes to manipulate exployers

  • From marginalized to maintream

  • ​1955 joined with Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO)

  • Largest union today

INTERNATIONAL WORKERS OF THE WORLD (IWW) (WOBBLIES)

  • The IWW or "Wobblies" was an international labor union

  • Founded in Chicago, Illinois in 1905.

  • It was a general union -- promoted idea of "One Big Union"

  • Believed that all workers should be united as a social class to supplant capitalism.

  • IWW had ties to socialists and anarchist labor movements.

STRIKES

GREAT RAILROAD STRIKE 1877

  • To make up financial losses since panic of 1873

  • Major railroads cut employees wages

  • July 1877 workers of Baltimore and Ohio Railroad walked off job in West Virginia to protest reduction in pay

  • Strike spread to New York and Pennsylvania railroads

  • Hayes asked to send troops to put down riots

  • People had joined the riots because of unfair practies of railroads

HOMESTEAD STRIKE 1892

  • Carnegie Steel (Pennsylvania)

  • Responsible for building America's cities (skyscrapers)

  • But in order to keep profits had to keep cutting costs (incl. wages

  • Mill workers had a strong union: Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers

  • At first Carnegie supporter workers' right to organze

  • But then decided collective bargaining was too expensive

  • In 1892 Carnegie hired Henry Frick

  • Ruthless businessman with reputation for getting what he wants at any cost

  • To keep plant running efficiently, workers worked 12-hours a day/6 days a week

  • Dangerous (many accidents)

  • Men exhausted and wanted livable wages

  • Frick wouldnt let a Union exist at Carnegie Steel

  • Posted sign saying he wouldn't negotiate and conditions wouldn't improve

  • Locked out members of union

  • Wouldn't be admitted unless abandoned union and signed new contracts.

  • 2,000 steel workers barricaded plant to prevent Frick from bringing in replacement

  • Frick called in Pinkerton Detective Agency (private law enforcement agency)

  • Gunfight between workers and Pinkerton Detectives

  • 9 dead, many others injured

  • Workers held ground

  • Frick appealed to Pennsylvania's governor

  • who sent state militia

  • Strike over, union died

PULLMAN STRIKE, Illinois 1894

  • George Pullman marketed luxury Pullman cars at Lincoln's funeral

  • Made millions inventing the sleeper car

  • Pullman, Illinois

  • Town for his workers

  • So he could pump the money he was paying them

  • Back into his own pockets

  • Workers not get full pay

  • Used portion of it to pay for rent int the company town

  • And food

  • And coupons for other things

  • No freedom of press etc.

  • 1890s had made millions

  • Panic of 1893 – not making as much as he was making

  • Decided to cut the wages of his 4,000 workers

  • But kept the rent and prices in Pullman town the same

  • Workers decide to go on strike

  • Not part of a union = Wildcat strike

  • Think Pullman’s going to come to the negotiating table -- but he doesn't

  • In comes Eugene v. Debs

  • American Railway Union joins Pullman worker

  • National strike against the RRs (27 cities, 250,000 workers)

  • Railroad companies react by hiring scabs (strike breakers)

  • African Americans who were not allowed in the American Railway Union.

  • Tell the government that the mail is being hindered (not entirely true

  • Grover Cleveland gets involved

  • Sends 12,000 US troops to break union and strike

  • Justification

  • Commerce clause

  • Post office

  • Sherman anti-trust act

  • Debs to prison for 6 months

  • Strike fails – Pullman never sat down to talk

FARMERS

POPULISTS

  • Formed in Omaha out of Farmer's Alliances in 1892

  • Omaha Platform

  • Wanted free and unlimited coinage of silver

  • Graduated income tax

  • Accomplished with 16th Amendment, 1913

  • Public ownership of railroads and telegraph

  • ​Accomplished during World War I

  • 8-hour workday

  • ​1869 Grant proclaimed 8-hour workday for government workers

  • 1912 election, Roosevelt campaigned for 8-hour workday

  • 1916 Adamson Act est. 8-hour workday for interstate railroad workers

  • 1926 Ford Motor Co. adopted 5-day, 40-hour workweek

  • 1937 Congress passed Fair Labor Standards Act, part of New Deal, maximum workweek of 44 hours or overtime.

  • 1940 - Fair Labors Standards Act amended to 40 hours.

  • Direct election of senators.

  • ​Accomplished with 17th Amendment

  • Australian secret ballot

  • One term limits for presidents

Link to John Green's Crash Course, Gilded Age.

PROGRESSIVE ERA

#GildedAge #RobberBarons #PoliticalMachines #Railroads #Taylorism #VerticalIntegration #HorizontalIntegration #Rockefeller #Carnegie #SocialDarwinism #GospelofWealth #HomesteadStrike #OldandNewImmigrants #Tenements #KnightsofLabor #AmericanFederationofLabor