Unit 2: New Industry, Immigration, Progressivism
I. Counter Reconstruction: 1870-1874
A. Racism: killed the Republican rule in the South because it deepened divisions within the party,
encouraged white violence, and eroded support in the North.
1. Southern Democrats – discovered they could use race baiting and racial violence to create racial
solidarity among whites (overcoming economic & class differences)
2. Northern response to racial violence in the South – weak due to growing scientific movement
that demonstrated the natural superiority of white people over black people.
3. By 1874 – growing concern over domestic problems that overshadowed Reconstruction
B. Racial violence in the South – centered in cities with large black populations
1. Ku Klux Klan – founded in Tennessee by six Confederate veterans in 1866
a. Directed most of the violence toward subverting the electoral process
b. Colfax, Louisiana (1873) – white mob massacred blacks in an attempt to take control of the
town from Republicans
c. White Democrats won significant victories in the South
C. Federal Government Legislation: 15th Amendment (1869) guaranteed right to vote, Enforcement Act
of 1870 – enabled federal government to appoint supervisors in states that failed to protect citizens’
voting rights. Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 – power of federal authorities to arrest & prosecute members
of groups that denied a citizen’s civil rights if state authorities failed to do so.
D. Liberal republicans – advocated civil service reform to reduce reliance on patronage and the abuses
that accompanied office seeking , tariff reduction & end to federal land grants to railroads,
recommended general amnesty for white people in the South & a return to “local self-government”
by men of “property and enterprise”
1. Unable to get the other Republicans to adopt their platform – they broke with the party and
merged with Southern Democrats.
II. Redemption : 1874-1877
A. The elections of 1876 – local, state, and national levels affirmed the triumph of white Southerners.
1. Southern Democrats called their victory Redemption
2. Violent resurgence – Democrats swept to victory across the South in the 1874 elections
B. Weak Federal Response
1. Civil Rights Act of 1875 – prohibited discrimination against black people in public accommodations
and guaranteed freedmen’s rights to serve on juries – no provisions for enforcing the 15th
a. 1883 – Supreme Court overturned the act declaring only states, not Congress, could redress
“a private wrong, or crime of the individual.”
C. Election of 1876 & Compromise of 1877
1. Election between Democrat Samuel Tilden and Republican Rutherford B. Hayes – disputed returns
in three Southern states left Hayes with the victory
2. Compromise of 1877 – installed Hayes as President and gave Democrats control of all state
governments in the South.
a. Southerners emerged as victors – Republicans would leave the South alone & in doing so
signaled the revocation of civil rights and voting rights for black Southerners.
III. Failed Promise of Reconstruction
A. Sharecropping – landowners furnished sharecroppers a house, a plot of land to work, some seed,
some farm animals and implements – advanced them credit at a store the landlord typically owned.
1. In exchange – sharecropper promised the landlord a share of their crop (one half) – sharecroppers
used the other half to pay their debt at the store = result was sharecroppers sank into deeper
B. Within the next two decades, the Supreme Court would uphold the legality of racial segregation and
1. Segregation laws in the South required blacks to use separate public facilities
a. Plessy v. Ferguson, 1896 – Supreme Court held that segregation did NOT violate the
Constitution when separate but equal accommodations were provided.
b. Jim Crow Laws – segregation statutes (laws)
2. Disfranchisement – discriminatory laws established to deny blacks the right to vote
a. Poll taxes: requiring citizens to pay to vote (disadvantage to poor)
b. Literacy requirements to vote (most blacks were illiterate)
c. Grandfather Clauses: right to vote automatically granted to anyone whose grandfathers could
have voted before 1867 (excluded descendants of slaves)
C. Response of Black Community
1. W.E.B. Du Bois – organized the Afro-American Council in 1890 to protest the deteriorating
conditions of black life.
2. Migration to Liberia, Africa – organized movement by the AME (African Methodist Episcopal)
3. Booker T. Washington – founded the Tuskegee Institute for black students emphasizing
4. NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) – founded in 1910
IV. New Industry (1870-1900)
A. Rapid industrial development changed the nature of the work force and workplace.
1. Large factories staffed by semiskilled laborers displaced skilled artisans and small shops
2. Accelerated urbanization (population of cities increased from 20% to 40%)
B. Gilded Age – taken from the title of a Mark Twain novel, satirizes the materialistic excesses of the day.
1. Reflects the period’s shallow worship of wealth – and its veneer of respectability and prosperity
covering deep economic and social divisions.
C. The Electrical Age – Technology transformed factory work, increased the scale of production, and
transformed city life.
1. Thomas Edison – electric light bulb & the electric generating system
2. Edison’s General Electric Company in 1892 – established the country’s first corporate research
and development division.
D. The Corporation – an association of individuals with legal rights and liabilities separate from those of
1. Key feature – separation of ownership from management. Corporation can raise capital by selling
stock – ownership shares – to shareholders who may have no direct role in running it.
2. Two Major advantages: (1) corporation can outlive its founders which permits long-term planning
(2) corporations enjoy limited liability = shareholders and officials not personally liable for
3. Ripple effect = large corporations needed huge supplies of capital – they turned to banks to help
meet those needs which resulted in the growth of banks.
4. Corporations stimulated technological change as they looked for ways to speed production,
improve products, and lower costs.
a. control of the workplace shifted from well-paid, skilled artisans to managers and semiskilled
and unskilled workers (new workers often foreign-born, performed repetitive tasks for low
5. Two organizational strategies of corporations:
(1) Vertical integration: involved the consolidation of all functions related to a particular industry,
from the extraction and transport of raw materials to the manufacture of products to finished-
product distribution and sales.
Ie. Gustavus Swift – meatpacking industry & refrigerated rail cars
(2) Horizontal integration: involved the merger of competitors in the same industry.
Ie. John D. Rockefeller – Standard Oil Company pioneered horizontal integration in 1880s.
Vertical integration = owned oil fields, pipelines, and refineries
a. Other entrepreneurs: James B. Duke = Cigarettes / Andrew Carnegie = U.S. Steel Industry
6. The modern corporation challenged the ideal of the self-made man and the belief that success and
advancement would reward hard work.
7. Giant corporations helped increase the efficiency of the American economy, raise the national
standard of living, and transform the U.S. into a major world power.
E. Changing nature of work
1. Increase in jobs but decrease in wages – work force continued to grow with millions of new
a. Poor working conditions = increased on the job injuries and death
1) The Jungle (1906) Upton Sinclair
2) 10 hour workdays – 6 days a week
3) Sweatshops – primarily in the garment industry (small, cramped, poorly ventilated)
2. Child Labor – common in garment trade and other industries (injuries and illnesses)
3. Working Women – 1870 to 1920 number of women and children in work force more than
a. Paid lower wages than men
b. 1900 – 85% of wage-earning women were unmarried and under the age of 25
c. Prostitution – 4 or 5 times the pay of factory work
d. Typewriter – new opportunities in office work
e. Higher education – by 1910: women made up 40% of college students = led to careers in
nursing, teaching, and library work
F. Responses to Poverty
1. Urban Housing
a. Tenement Apartments: urban slums, lacked ventilation and light.
b. Settlement Housing – sought to moderate effects of poverty through neighborhood
1) Chicago’s Hull House, 1889 – founded by Jane Addams
2) Provided working poor with facilities and education to help them improve their
environment and eventually escape it.
2. Gospel of Wealth: Theory popular among industrialists, intellectuals, and some politicians
a. Believed that any intervention on behalf of the poor was of doubtful benefit, hard work and
perseverance led to wealth.
b. Poverty resulted from the flawed character of the poor.
c. Andrew Carnegie (wealthy industrialists) – provided a softer view of the gospel of wealth
1) Stressed the responsibility of the affluent to set an example for the working class and to
return some of their wealth to the communities in which they lived.
Ie. Building libraries, cultural institutions, schools
3. Social Darwinism – flawed attempt to apply Charles Darwin’s theory of biological evolution to
human society emerged as a common justification for the growing gap between rich and poor.
a. Theory: the human race evolves through competition – the fit survive where the poor perish
– and humanity moves forward.
b. Wealth reflects fitness and poverty reflects weakness
c. For government or private agencies to interfere with this natural process is futile.
d. John D. Rockefeller (Owner of Standard Oil Trust) asserted that the survival of the fittest is
“the working out of a law of nature and a law of God.”
G. Unionization of Labor
1. The Great Uprising, 1877 – President Rutherford B. Hayes used federal troops to defend railroad
property against a railroad workers strike against pay cuts.
a. triggered a nationwide response by railroad workers who protested the Presidents’ actions by
refusing to work.
b. Violence erupted at strikes which led to further protest and deaths.
2. Knights of Labor – union of craft workers founded in 1869, welcomed blacks and women.
a. Led movement for 8 hour workday
b. Staged strikes and boycotts
c. Ran candidates for local elections
d. Haymaker Square incident where a bomb killed police officers and strikers led to a decline in
3. American Federation of Labor (AFL), 1886 – major organizing body of skilled workers
a. Led by Samuel Gompers – the organization emphasized collective bargaining (negotiations
between management and union representatives to secure workplace concessions)
b. Left out unskilled workers, black workers, and women
4. Pullman Strike, 1894 – Eugene V. Debs organized the ARU (American Railway Union) boycott of
any train that used Pullman cars, called for workers to walk off the job = crippling rail travel
a. Debs refused to honor a federal court injunction against the strike – President Cleveland, at
the railroads request, ordered federal troops to enforce it.
b. Debs was arrested – the strike and the union were broken
V. New Immigrants (20 million new immigrants between 1870 and 1910)
A. Pre-Civil War: primarily from Northwest Europe (Protestants) / Post Civil War (Antebellum to 1910)
primarily from Southern & Eastern Europe (Catholics & Jews)
1. Reasons for immigration: lack of land and economic opportunities in home land due to growing
populations (Russian Jews – migrated due to religious persecution: pogroms)
a. Railroads and steamships made travel safer and cheaper for immigration to America
2. Chain migration – early immigrants (mostly young men) laid foundations for family and friends to
B. The Job
1. Immigrants perceived the job as the way to independence and as a way out (back to Old World
or into larger American society)
2. Type of work available to immigrants depended on their skills, the local economy, and local
a. stereotypes channeled immigrants’ work options – sometimes benefiting one group at the
expense of another.
3. Goal for many immigrants was to work for themselves rather than someone else
C. Nativism: anti-foreign prejudice
1. Anti-foreign sentiment changed in two ways in the late 19th century from that of the antebellum
Period (post-Civil War):
1st - Target was no longer Irish Catholics – but the more numerous Catholics & Jews of southern
and eastern Europe.
2 - Nativism maintained there was a hierarchy of race – at the top: white northern
Europeans(Anglo-Saxons) then French, poles, Italians, Jews, Asians, and Africans
a. Social Darwinism, which justified the class hierarchy, reinforced scientific racism
3. Such sentiments generated proposals to restrict foreign immigration
a. Naturalization Act, 1870 – limited citizenship to “white persons and persons of African
descent.” Act was intended to prevent Chinese from becoming citizens (ban was not lifted
b. Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 – made Chinese the only ethnic group in the world that could
not emigrate freely to the United States
c. American Protective Association (APA), 1887 – sought ot limit Catholic civil rights in the U.S. to
protect jobs for Protestant workingmen
d. The Immigration Restriction League (IRL), 1894 – wanted to require immigrants to pass a
literacy test – failed to become law
4. The return of prosperity and the growing preference of industrialists for immigrant labor put an
end to calls for formal restrictions on immigration for the time being
5. Assimilation of immigrants in the late 19th century was a process of adjustment between old ways
and new, which resulted in entirely new cultural forms.
D. The Great Migration: Between 1880 and 1900 black families moved into the great industrial cities of
the Northeast and Midwest – drawn by the same economic promise that attracted overseas migrants
and were pushed by growing persecution in the South.
1. Had to compete with European immigrants for jobs as common laborers and domestic servants
2. They were restricted to segregated urban ghettos
3. Popular culture reinforced the marginalization of African Americans
E. The New Middle Class – late 19th century industrial technology and urban growth expanded the urban
1. Included professionals: doctors, lawyers, ministers and educators, as well as salespeople, factory
supervisors, managers, civil servants, technicians, white collar office workers.
2. New middle class = class of consumers – lived in all-electric homes, indoor plumbing, and
appliances that made food prep. Easier.
a. Advertisers now told Americans what they wanted – they created demand and developed
loyalty for brand-name products.
b. The department store came to epitomize the bounty of the new industrial capitalism
3. Sports and leisure separated by social class
a. Upper-class: Ivy league schools = football, private country clubs = golf & tennis
b. Middle-class: rode electric trolleys to parks, bicycling, professional baseball games
c. Working-class: tavern/saloon, amusement parks
VI. Partisan Politics
A. Democrats and Republicans had virtually the same level of electoral support – so they worked hard to
get out the vote.
1. Rarely did either party control both the presidency and Congress at once
2. Interrelated regional, ethnic, religious, and local factors determined the party affiliation of most
3. Party loyalty was largely a cultural trait passed from father to son
a. Republicans – identified their party with nationalism and national unity and attacked the
Democrats as an alliance b/w embittered South and slums of Northern cities
b. Democrats – portrayed themselves as the party of limited government and personal liberties
B. Third parties: organized around specific issues or groups
1. Prohibition party – abolition of alcohol
2. Greenback party – labor reform and currency inflation
3. People’s or Populist party – formed on the basis of Southern Farmers ‘ Alliance and other
organizations, mounting electoral challenges against Democrats in the South and Republicans in
a. Omaha Platform: election of 1892 – rejected laissez-faire policies, demanded government
ownership of railroads and the telegraph/telephone systems, national currency issued by
the government rather than private banks, a graduated income tax, redistribution of settlers
of land held by railroads and speculative corporations.
b. Accompanying resolutions: endorsed direct election of senators, the secret ballot, electoral
reforms to make government more democratic and responsive to popular wished.
C. Associational Politics – likeminded individuals, operating outside the electoral arena, worked to
achieve public policies beneficial to their members.
1. Granger Laws – public regulation to control the rates charged by railroads and grain elevators
2. Mugwumps – campaigned for honest and efficient government through civil service reform
3. National American Woman Suffrage Association – women’s suffragists
D. Federal Regulation – popular pressure compelled Congress to take steps toward the regulation of big
1. Interstate Compact Act, 1887 – prohibited rebates, discriminatory rates, and pooling and
established the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) to investigate and prosecute violations
2. Sherman Antitrust Act, 1890 – laws intended to break up or regulate corporate monopolies
a. Problem – vaguely written and weak in its ability to prevent abuses, Courts further weakened
it, presidents made little effort to enforce it.
VII. Progressivism: represented the coalescing (joining) of different and even contradictory movements that
sought changes in the nation’s social, economic, and political life.
A. Shared convictions of progressives:
1. Believed that to correct the disorders that industrialization and urbanization had produced
required new ideas and methods
2. They rejected the ideology of individualism in favor of broader concepts of social
3. Sought to achieve social order through organization and efficiency.
4. Believed that government itself, as the agent of public responsibility, should address social
and economic problems.
B. Industrial and Urban tensions: the economic, social, and cultural issues of the early 1900’s that led
to the progressive demands for reform.
1. economic – mergers of giant corporations threatened to squeeze opportunities for small
firms and workers, dominate markets, raised social tensions
2. Social – working conditions worsened with increased dangers in the work place and declining
3. Cultural – new immigrants (14 million between 1900-1917) filled cities –urban slums / ethnic
C. Social Gospel movement: reform minded Protestant ministers sought to introduce religious
ethics into industrial relations and appealed to churches to meet their social responsibilities
1. Washington Gladden: Congressional minister – ministered to working-class neighborhoods
that most churches ignored, endorsed unions and workers’ rights and proposed replacing a
cruelly competitive wage system with profit sharing.
2. The movement provided an ethical justification for government intervention to improve social
D. Muckraking: Journalists who spread reform ideas by developing a new form of investigative
1. Samuel McClure: McClure’s Magazine – published investigations of business abuses,
dangerous working conditions, and the miseries of slum life.
a) Ida Tarbell – revealed John D. Rockefeller’s sordid construction of Standard Oil
b) Frank Norris – dramatized Southern Pacific Railroad’s stranglehold of California farmers
c) Upton Sinclair – The Jungle exposed nauseating conditions in Chicago’s meatpacking
E. “Gospel of Efficiency,” to apply science in an attempt to direct change efficiency
1. they used scientific methods to collect extensive data and relied on experts for analysis and
2. Scientific management seemed the key to eliminating waste and inefficiency in government,
society, and industry.
3. Rural reformers thought that scientific agriculture could bring prosperity to impoverished
Southern countryside; urban reformers believed that improvements in medical science and
professionalization of physicians through uniform licensing standards could eradicate the
cities’ wretched public health problems.
F. Labor’s Demand for Rights
1. They resisted the new rules of efficiency experts and called for improved wages, working
conditions, and reduced hours.
2. They demanded new laws to compensate workers injured on the job, curb child labor, and
regulate the employment of women.
3. The sought to achieve some of these goals through state intervention (laws), they organized
strikes – marches, sit-ins, rallies.
G. Role of women reformers and their organizations in progressivism
1. Women became “social housekeepers” in the community
a. National Congress of Mothers worried about crime and disease, championing
kindergartens, foster-home programs, juvenile courts, and compulsory school attendance.
2. National Consumers’ League tried to protect both women wage earners and middle class
housewives by monitoring stores and factories to ensure decent working conditions and safe
3. WTUL unionized women workers and eliminated sweatshop conditions.
a. Feminist Alliance demanded the removal of all social, political, economic and other
discriminations which were based upon sex.
H. Opposing Views
1. American socialists
a. Condemned social and economic inequities, criticized limited government, and demanded
public ownership of railroads, utilities, and communications.
b. Most prominent socialist: Eugene Debs (organized the Socialist Party of America)
2. Protestant Fundamentalists: opponents of social reform
a. stressed personal salvation rather than social reform
b. attacked social gospelers as “godless social service nonsense.”
VIII. Reforming Politics and Government
A. Woman Suffrage: right to vote
1. Suffragists had been frustrated by the prevailing belief that women’s “proper sphere” was the
home and the family.
2. Suffragists shifted arguments to gain more support:
a. Spoke of the special moral and maternal instincts women could bring to politics if allowed
b. 19th Amendment, 1920 – guaranteed a woman’s right to vote
B. Electoral Reform: changes in the election process and the meaning of political participation
1. Australian Ballot: provided for secret voting and replaced individual party tickets with an
official ballot listing all candidates and distributed by public officials.
2. Decreasing ability of parties to mobilize voters was reflected in a steady decline in voter
participation (79% in 1896 to 49% in 1920)
a. Disfranchisement of blacks and poor whites further declined voter participation
C. Progressive Reforms in State Government
1. The Initiative enabled reformers to propose legislation directly to the electorate
2. The referendum permitted voters to approve or reject legislative measures
D. 17th Amendment, 1913 – provided for the election of U.S. Senators directly by popular vote
instead of state legislatures
E. Recall – enabled voters to remove unsatisfactory public officials from office