The Industrial Revolution and the West
In a nutshell
The US experienced an industrial revolution during the late 1800s.
Although industrialization increased American power and the standard-of-living, it also created many new problems.
For farmers, workers, and consumers, industrialization created problems that led to a desire for government
intervention in the economy.
A. How did the US economy change after the Civil War?
With corporations forming the basis of economic wealth, the US entered an industrial revolution in the late 1800s.
Due to the industrial revolution the US experienced a growth in the size of cities, a greater concentration of wealth
and power in the hands of fewer people, a growth in labor unions, and a general improvement in the standard-of-
living. By the 1890s the US was the leading industrial nation in the world. By 1917 the US had become a creditor
nation for the first time.
B. How did the US government react to the industrial revolution in the late 19 century?
The government adopted a general policy of laissez faire during the late 1800s. The policy of laissez faire allowed a
few individuals to accumulate great fortunes through the elimination of competition. At the same time the
government violated that policy of laissez faire in several areas, including: railroad land grants, control of interstate
commerce, antitrust activities, and Indian policy.
C. What effect did the industrial revolution have on the union movement?
Due to low pay, long hours, and bad working conditions, more workers began joining labor unions in the late 1800s.
Many workers felt big business showed little concern for the welfare of individual workers and therefore demanded
collective bargaining in an attempt to improve the lives of working people. The labor unions of the late 1800s faced
many obstacles. In addition to the general anti-union policies of the government, workers were divided against
themselves and also faced many violent confrontations with business owners and the government.
D. What effect did the industrial revolution have on farmers?
Farmers faced serious problems in the late 1800s. Railroad monopolies increased the price of shipping farm goods
while a general deflation of the currency and agricultural overproduction drove farm prices down. Since farmers were
traditionally debtors, deflation also made loans harder to repay. Farmers were also forced to pay high prices for
manufactured goods, a result of protective tariffs and monopolistic pricing. Farmers’ organizations protested the
economic situation of framers by demanding government regulation of business and inflation of the currency.
E. Why was the Populist Party created?
Since both Democrats and Republicans seemed unresponsive to the needs of farmers, the Populist Party was
created in 1889. The Populist platform included demands for free silver, the nationalization of the railroads, a
progressive income tax, women’s suffrage, the direct election of senators, and the secret ballot.
F. What happened in the election of 1896?
In the election of 1896 both the Democratic Party and the Populist Party nominated William Jennings Bryan for
president; Republicans nominated William McKinley, a pro-business conservative. After McKinley won the election a
return to prosperity ended the farmers’ protest movement. Although the Populist Party died out, most of their reforms
were passed during the Progressive Era (1901-1917). The election of 1896 also established Bryan as a leader of the
Democratic Party. Bryan would be nominated for president in two more elections. Most importantly, the election of
1896 solidified a shift in American politics. Liberalism, which was traditionally in favor of limited government and
laissez faire economic policies, entered the twentieth century characterized by beliefs in big government and
regulation of the economy.
G. What changes occurred in the West between 1865 and 1900?
The natural environment of the Trans-Mississippi West and its native population posed special problems which had
to be overcome in that “last frontier” of the West in order to harness the resources there and accelerate our industrial
revolution. Those challenges were faced by miners, ranchers and final farmers as civilization spread west. Tensions
created by the rapid changes in the north, south, and west during this period led to the development of myths and
hero worship surrounding those individual risk takers who accepted the challenge of moving west. In addition to the
contributions made by these individuals, technology and active government policies were essential to the settlement
of the west. As the age of the cowboy ended, Frederick Jackson Turner advanced a thesis by about the relationship
of the frontier and its unique contributions to American character which has been much debated in the century since
it was developed.
Burn down your cities and leave our farms, and your cities will spring up again as if by magic; but destroy our farms
and the grass will grow in the streets of every city in the country.
– William Jennings Bryan, Cross of Gold Speech, 1896
Identify Key Terms and People – Chapter 16 Identify Key Terms and People – Chapter 17
01. Great American Desert (555) 01. Factors for Industrial Growth (595)
02. Frontier (555) 02. New Technologies (596)
03. Federal Government Assistance – 3 forms (556) - Cyrus Field
04. Indian Territory (556) - Alexander Graham Bell
05. Plains Indians (556-557) - Thomas Edison (see also 650)
- Sioux (weaknesses) - Henry Bessemer
- Buffalo - Edwin L Drake
06. Chinese coolies (560) - Standard Oil Company
07. Central Pacific Railroad (560-561) 03. G. Marconi (597)
08. Tongs (562) 04. Henry Ford (597-598)
09. Chinese Exclusion Act (563) 05. Taylorism (598)
10. Homestead Act – 1862 (564) 06. Cornelius Vanderbilt (599) (605)
11. Miners (566-568) 07. Corporation (599+602)
- 3 stages – placer mining (566) - limited liability
- corporation mining (568) 08. Andrew Carnegie (602)
- 59ers – Pikes Peak 09. JP Morgan (602)
- Guggenheim interests 10. Gustavus Swift (602)
- Henry Comstock (566) 11. Isaac Singer (602)
- Black Hills (567) 12. Systematic Administrative Structures (602-603)
- Anaconda Copper (567) 13. Consolidation (603)
- boomtowns (567) - Horizontal Integration
- vigilante law (568) - Vertical Integration
12. Cattle Kingdom (568-571) 14. John D. Rockefeller (603)
- open range (568-569) 15. Pool arrangements (cartels) (603)
- long drive (569) 16. Trusts (604)
- Cattle Trails (map) – Chisholm Trail – Abilene (569) 17. Holding Company (604)
- Range Wars (571) 18. Self-Made Man (605)
- Causes of decline (571) 19. Erie War (605)
13. Rocky Mountain School (571-572) 20. Survival of the Fittest (606)
14. Owen Wister – The Virginian (572) - Social Darwinism
15. Mark Twain – Roughing It (572) - Charles Darwin
16. Frederic Remington (572) - Herbert Spencer
17. Theodore Roosevelt – The Winning of the West (573) - William Graham Sumner
18. Frederick Jackson Turner (573 + 576) (577-579) - Adam Smith – law of supply and demand
- Frontier Thesis - invisible hand
19. Wild West Show – Buffalo Bill Cody (574-575) - free market capitalism
20. Nash Smith – Virgin Land (576) 21. Gospel of Wealth (607)
21. Indian Policies 22. Russell Conwell – Acres of Diamonds (607)
- Concentration Policy (576) 23. Horatio Alger (607) (608-609)
- Reservation Policy (580) 24. Lester Frank Ward (607)
22. Slaughter of the Buffalo (580) 25. Laissez Faire (607)
23. Indian Wars (581) 26. Henry George (607) (610)
- Sandy Creek Massacre 27. Edward Bellamy (610)
24. Elimination or Extermination Policy (582) 28. New Immigrants (after 1890) (611-612)
25. Assimilation Policy (582) 29. Labor complaints – wages, conditions, hours (612)
26. Battle of Little Big Horn (582) 30. Women – minimum wage (613)
27. Chief Joseph – Nez Perce (582-583) 31. Child Labor (614)
28. Apache – Cochise and Geronimo (583) 32. National Labor Union (614-615)
29. Wounded Knee Massacre (584) 33. Molly Maguires (615)
- Ghost Dance 34. The Great Railroad Strike – 1877 (615)
30. Dawes Act (584-585) 35. Knights of Labor (616)
31. Farming (586-588) 36. AFL (616-617)
- Transcontinental Railroad (586) 37. Haymarket Riot (617)
- Joseph Glidden (586) 38. Anarchism (617)
- Methods to drought (587) 39. The Homestead Strike (617-618)
32. Farmers’ Grievances – three (587-588) 40. The Pullman Strike (618-619)
41. Sources of Labor Weakness – 4 (619-620)
Identify Key Terms and People – Chapter 18 Identify Key Terms and People – Chapter 19
01. Assimilation (630) 01. The Third Political Party System (663-664)
02. Exclusion (631) - Positions on key issues (664)
03. New York Central Park (632) - Regional influence – North vs. South
04. Tenement (635) - Religious and ethnic influence
05. Jacob Riis – How the Other Half Lives (636) - Catholic
06. John A. Roebling – Brooklyn Bridge (636) - recent immigrants
07. Great Chicago Fire – 1871 (637) - poor workers
08. Salvation Army (638) - northern Protestants
09. Political Machines – The Boss (639) 02. Civil War pension system (665)
- Tammany Hall 03. Patronage (665)
- Boss Tweed - Stalwarts - Conkling
10. Chain Stores and Mail Order - Half-breeds – Blaine
- Montgomery Wards and Sears (641) 04. Garfield – Arthur and the Spoils System (666)
11. The Birth of a Nation (650) 05. Pendleton Civil Service Act (666)
12. Yellow Journalism (652) 06. Grover Cleveland (667)
- William Randolph Hearst 07. William Henry Harrison
- Joseph Pulitzer 08. Sherman Anti-Trust Act (1890) (667-668)
13. Darwinism (653-654) 09. US vs. EC Knight (668)
14. Pragmatism (654) 10. Wilson-Gorman Tariff (669)
15. John Dewey (655) 11. Wabash v. Illinois (669-670)
16. Public School Education (656) 12. Interstate Commerce Act - ICC (670)
13. The Grange – Oliver H. Kelley (670-671)
14. Cooperatives (671) (672)
15. Granger Laws (671-672)
16. Farmers Alliances (672)
17. Populists (673) (680-681)
- James B. Weaver
- Hicks Interpretation
- C. Vann Woodward interpretation
- Hofstadter interpretation
- Goodwyn interpretation
- Kazin interpretation
18. Omaha Platform – Populist Ideas (677-678)
19. Panic of 1893 (678)
20. Coxey’s Army (679)
21. Crime of ’73 – bimetallism (682)
22. William Jennings Bryan (683)
- Cross of Gold Speech
23. 1896 Election (684)
24. William McKinley (685)