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									AMSCO Chapter 16
The Last West and the New South, 1865 – 1900

• The West: Settlement of the Last Frontier
o Defined as the arid territory that included the Great Plains, the Rocky Mountains, and the
Western Plateau
o Known as the ―Great American Desert‖ by pioneers passing through
o There were few trees and small amounts of rain…made it difficult for farming
o The grasslands of the plains held many bison and buffalo that could be used for food,
clothing, shelter and even tools
o By 1900 the buffalo herds were completely wiped out
o Nine new states had been created
? Arizona, New Mexico, and Oklahoma were the only territories that remained
o Settlement of the last frontier was achieved by:
? Miners
? Cattlemen and cowboys
? Farmers
• The Mining Frontier
o Gold and silver strikes caused many settlers to head west
o Colorado, Nevada, Idaho, Montana, Arizona, and South Dakota kept a flow of people pushing
into the mountains
o The Discovery of the Comstock Lode was responsible for Nevada entering the Union
o Placer mining, using simple tools was the first way for people to find gold
o Deep-shaft mining became more popular and more expensive
o Mining towns arose almost overnight and later became ghost towns within a few years after
the gold and silver ran out
o Mining companies employed experienced miners from Europe, Latin America, and China
o About 1/3 of the western miners in the 1860s were Chinese immigrants
o Hostility to these foreign born workers was shown through the $20 fine placed and known as
the Miner’s Tax
o Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 forbid the immigration of any more Chinese laborers to the US
o A vast increase in the supply of silver created a crisis over the value of gold and silver
backed currency
o Many Native Americans lost their lands to the miners’ pursuit to instant riches
• The Cattle Frontier
o Cattle had been earlier raised and round up in Texas on a small scale by Mexican cowboys,
o Railroads were constructed into Kansas that would open up an eastern market for Texas
o Joseph G. McCoy built the first stockyard made at the end of the line in Chicago
o The cowboys were mostly black and Mexican and received only $1 a day for their dangerous
o The long cattle drives came to an end when overgrazing destroyed the grass and a winter
blizzard and drought killed nearly 90% of the cattle
o Homesteaders used barbed wire fencing to cut off access to the formerly open
range…limiting cattle
• The Farming Frontier
o The Homestead Act of 1862 encouraged farming on the Great Plains by offering 160 acres of
public land free to any family that settled on it for a period of five years
o Promotions of railroads and land speculators induced native-born and immigrant families to
attempt to farm the Great Plains
o Many families had to end up purchasing the land because the best public lands were
generally put in the hands of the railroad companies and speculators
• Problems and solutions
o First settlers made their homes of sod bricks
o Extremes of hot and cold, plagues of grasshoppers, and the lonesome life on the plains
challenged the families
o Water was scarce, and wood for fences was almost nonexistent
? Barbed wire, invented by Joseph Glidden, helped farmers to fence in land
o Long spells of severe weather, together with falling prices for their crops and the cost of
machinery, caused the failure of 2/3 of homesteaders farms
o Those who survived adopted ―dry farming‖ and deep plowing techniques to get moisture
o Russian wheat was planted and dams and irrigation saved many western farmers
• Turner’s frontier thesis
o Oklahoma Territory was opened for settlement in 1889 and hundreds of homesteaders
swarmed there
o Jackson Turner wrote an influential essay, ―The Significance of the Frontier in American
? He argued that 300 years of frontier experience had played a fundamental role in shaping the
unique character of American society
o The closing of the frontier trouble Turner because he saw the availability of free land as a
safety valve for harmlessly releasing discontent in American society
• The Removal of Native Americans
o In New Mexico and Arizona, Pueblo groups like the Hopi and Zuni lived in permanent
o The Navajo and Apache peoples of the Southwest were nomadic hunter-gatherers who
adapted a more settled way of life
o In the Pacific Northwest, the Chinook and Shasta developed complex communities based on
fish and game
o About 2/3 of the western tribal groups lived on the Great Plains
o Nomadic tribles…Sioux, Blackfoot, Cheyenne, Crow, and Comanche became skilled
horsemen and specialized hunters of buffalo
o Conflicts with the US Government came from the shites having little understanding of Plains
people’s loose tribal organization and nomadic lifestyle
• Reservation policy
o The federal government assigned the plains tribes large tracts of lands known as
reservations with definite boundaries
o Most Plains tribes refused to restrict their movements and continued to follow the migrating
• Indian Wars
o Colorado militia massacred an encampment of Cheyenne women, children and men at Sand
o Sioux War, an army column was wiped out by Sioux warriors
o The government attempted to isolate the Indians on smaller reservations, however, gold
miners rufused to stay off Indian’s lands
o Red River War – against the Comanche
o Second Sioux War led by Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse
? Before the went down to defeat, they ambushed and destroyed Colonel George Custer’s
command at Little Big Horn
o Chief Joseph attempted to lead a band of Nez Perce into Canada
• Assimilationists
o Helen Hunt Jackson wrote A Century of Dishonor about the injustices done to Indians
o Emphasized formal education and training and conversion to Christianity
o Board schools such as the Carlisle School in Pennsylvania were set up to segregate Indian
children from their people and teach them white culture and farming and industrial skills
• Dawes Severalty Act (1887)
o Designed to break up tribal organizations
o Divided the tribal lands into plots of 160 acres or less, depending on family size
o US citizenship was granted to those who stayed on the land for 25 years and adopted the
habitats of civilized life
o As a result, however, what was often considered the best land, was later sold to whites and
• Ghost Dance movement
o Sioux medicine man Sitting Bull was killed during his arrest
o Over 200 Native Americans were gunned down by the US Army in the ―battle‖ (massacre) of
Wounded Knee in the Dakotas
• Aftermath: US policy in the 20th century
o Federal government granted US citizenship to all Native Americans
o Congress adopted the Indian Reorganization Act
? Promoted the reestablishment of tribal organization and culture
• The New South
o Henry Grady was the editor of the Atlanta Constitution
? Spread the gospel of the New South that argued for economic diversity and laissez-faire
o Local governments hoped to spur the movement by offering tax exemptions to attract
investors to start new industries
o Cheap labor was another incentive for businesses to locate in the New South
• Economic Progress
o Birmingham, Alabama developed into the nation’s leading steel centers
o Memphis, Tennessee prospered as the center of the South’s growing lumber industry
o Richmond became the capital of the nation’s tobacco industry
o Cheaper labor rates helped some southern states to become the chief producers of textiles
o Railroads gave a boost to the emergence of the New South
• Continued Poverty
o The South remained a largely agricultural region…and the poorest region as well
o Northern financing dominated much of the southern economy
o Northern investors control ¾ of the southern railroads and all of the South’s steel industry
o Two factors were chiefly responsible for the poverty of the majority of southerners:
? The South’s late start at industrialization
? A poorly educated workforce
• Agriculture
o Postwar economy remained tied mainly to growing cotton
o The increase in the production of cotton actually provided a bigger problem
? The more cotton…the lower the price
o Over half of the region’s white farmers and ¾ of black farmers were tenants (or
o George Washington Carver promoted the growing of such products as peanuts, sweet
potatoes, and soybeans to diversify the southern economy
o The Colored Farmers’ National Alliance had about 250,000 members
• Segregation
o The Redeemers (Democratic politicians who came to power in the South) attracted two
? The business community
? White supremacists
o The latter group favored policies of separating public facilities for blacks and whites
• Discrimination and the Supreme Court
o Civil Rights Cases of 1883 the Court ruled that Congress could not legislate against the racial
discrimination practiced by private citizens, which included railroads, hotels, and other
businesses used by the public
o Plessy v. Ferguson said that because the railroad provided ―separate but equal‖ facilities that
Plessy was guilty
o Jim Crow laws were put into place by Southern states that required segregated washrooms,
drinking fountains, park benches, and other facilities
• Loss of civil rights
o Literacy tests, poll taxes, and political party primaries were put into place to keep blacks from
o Grandfather clauses allowed a man to vote only if his grandfather had cast ballots in
elections before Reconstruction
o African Americans were barred from serving on juries in southern courts
o Lynch mobs killed over 1400 African Americans during the 1890’s
o African Americans could not raised out of dead-end farming and low-paying domestic work
• Responding to segregation
o Some black leaders advocated leaving the oppression behind by migrating to Kansas,
Oklahoma, or even to Africa
o Bishop Henry Turner formed the International Migration Society to help American blacks
emigrate to Africa
o Ida B Wells devoted her efforts to campaigning against lynching and the Jim Crow laws
o Booker T. Washington established an industrial and agricultural school at Tuskegee,
o Washington argued that blacks should get the same skills and opportunities as whites
o He organized the National Negro Business League, which established the country to support
businesses owned and operated by African Americans
o W.E. DuBois would demand an end to segregation and the granting of equal civil rights to all
• Farm Problems: North, South, and West
• Changes in Agriculture
o Northern and western farmers concentrated on growing single cash crops for both national
and international markets
o As consumers farmers began to land their food from the stores in town and their
manufactured goods from the mail order catalogs
o As producers, farmers became more dependent on large and expensive machines
o Small, marginal farms could not compete, and, in many cases, were driven out of the
• Falling prices
o The static money supply in the US had a deflationary impact on prices
o AS prices fell farmers needed to grow 2 or 3 times as much to pay off old debts
• Rising costs
o Industrial corporations were able to keep prices high on manufactured goods by forming
monopolistic trusts
o Middlemen took their cut before selling to farmers
o Railroads, warehouses, and elevators took what little profit remained by charging high or
discriminatory rates for the shipment and storage of grain
o Taxes seemed unfair to farmers because they did not tax stocks and bonds
• Fighting Back
• National Grange Movement
o The National Grange Movement of Husbandry was organized by Oliver H. Kelley as a social
and educational organization for farmers and their families
o Greatest strength was in the region formerly known as the Old Northwest, now more
commonly called the Midwest
o Grangers in every part of the country established cooperatives…businesses owned and run
by farmers to save the costs charged by middlemen
o Storage fees assessed by grain elevators and freight rates charged by railroads became the
next targets
o With the help from local businesses, they successfully lobbied their state legislatures to pass
laws regulating the rates charged by railroads and elevators
o Munn v. Illinois – the Supreme Court upheld the right of a state to regulate business of a
public nature, such as railroads
• Interstate Commerce Act (1886)
o The Supreme Court ruled in Wabash v. Illinois – individual states could not regulated
interstate commerce…the court’s decision nullified many of the state regulations set by Grangers
o The Interstate Commerce Act of 1886 required railroad rates to be ―reasonable and just‖
o Set up the first regulatory agency, the Interstate Commerce Commission to investigate and
prosecute pools, rebates, and other discriminatory acts
• Farmers alliances
o Were formed to serve farmers’ needs for education in the latest scientific methods as well as
for organized economic and political action
o Unlike the Grange, the alliance movement had serious potential for turning into an
independent political party on a national level
• Ocala platform
o National organization of farmer met in Ocala, Florida to address the problems of rural
o The delegates supported:
? Direct election of US senators
? Lower tariff rates
? Graduated income tax
? A new banking system regulated by the federal government
o Demanded the Treasury notes and silver be used to increase the amount of money in
circulation…which would hopefully create inflation and raise crop prices
o Federal storage for farmers’ crops and federal loans which would free farmers from
dependency on middlemen and creditors

AMSCO Chapter 17
The Rise of Industrial America, 1865-1900

• By 1900, the US was the leading industrial power in the world, beating out Britain, France,
and Germany
• The rapid growth of the US economy is due to:
o Its vast resources including raw materials essential to industrialization – coal, iron, ore,
copper, lead, timber + oil
o An abundant labor supply, supplemented yearly by the arrival of hundreds of thousands of
o A growing population, combined with an advanced transportation network
o Capital was plentiful
o The development of laborsaving technologies increased productivity
o Businesses benefited from friendly government policies that protected private property,
subsidized railroads with land grants and loans, supported US manufacturers with protective
tariffs, and refrained from either regulating business operations or heavily taxing corporate profits
o Talented entrepreneurs emerged during the era
• The Business of Railroads
o After the Civil War, railroad mileage increased more than fivefold in a 35-year period
? From 35,000 miles in 1865 to 193,000 in 1900)
o Had the greatest impact on American economic life than all other technological innovations
o Created a market for goods national in scale
? Encouraged mass production
? Mass consumption
? Economic specialization
o Materials used in building railroads aided the growth of other industries – coal and steel
o The American Railroad Association divided the country into four time zones and created a
standard time for all Americans
o Created the modern stockholder corporation and finance system in tact today
• Eastern Trunk Lines
o In the early decades of railroading there were lots of small companies with problems
o After the Civil War there was a consolidation of competing railroads into integrated trunk lines
? (trunk line was a major route between large cities)
o ―‖Commodore‖ Cornelius Vanderbilt used his millions from a steamboat business to merge
local railroads into the New York Central Railroad
• Western Railroads
o Railroads promoted the development of the trans-Mississippi West by:
? Promoting settlement on the Great Plains
? Linking the West with the East (creating a national market)
• Federal land grants
o Government provided railroads with huge subsidies in the form of loans and land grants
o Land was given in alternative mile-square sections in a checkerboard pattern along the
proposed route of the railroad
o It was hoped that the completed railroad would increase both the value of government lands
and provide preferred rates for carrying the mails and transporting troops
o The Negative consequences to land grants and cash loans were:
? Promoted hasty and poor construction
? Led to widespread corruption in all levels of government
o Protests began when citizens discovered that the railroads controlled half o the land in some
western states
• Transcontinental railroads
o Government authorized the building of a railroad to tie California to the rest of the Union
o The Union Pacific was to build westward across the Great Plains starting form Omaha,
o The Central Pacific took on the formidable challenge of laying track across the mountain
passes in the Sierras by pushing eastward from Sacramento, California
o General Grenville Dodge directed construction of the Union Pacific using thousands of war
veterans and Irish immigrants
o Before 1900, 4 other transcontinental railroads were constructed
? The Southern Pacific (1883) tied New Orleans to Los Angeles
? The Atchison (1883) tied Topeka and Santa Fe
? Northern Pacific (1883) tied Duluth, Minnesota with Seattle, Washington
? Fourth one completed in 1893 tied St. Paul, Minnesota and Seattle
• Competition and Consolidation
o The building of too many railroads led to many unprofitable companies
? Frequently suffered from mismanagement and outright fraud
o Jay Gould and other speculators sold off assets and watering stock which led to the inflation
of the value of a corporation’s assets
o Railroads offered rebates and kickbacks to favored shippers while charging large freight rates
to smaller customers
o Railroads also formed pools that agreed to fix rates and share traffic to increase profits
o Panic in 1893 led to ¼ of railroads to go bankrupt
o J. Pierpont Morgan and other bankers moved to take control of the bankrupt railroads
and consolidate
o A positive result was a more efficient rail system
o A negative side was that the system was controlled by men who controlled the boards
of competing railroad corporations
? Railroad service was now provided by regional monopolies
o Public, local communities, states, and the federal government invested in the
development of railroad
o Customers felt they were victims of financial schemes
o Early attempts to regulate railroads did little good because the Granger laws were
overturned in courts
• Industrial Empires
• The Steel Industry
o Henry Bessemer (England) and William Kelly (US) discovered that blasting air through
molten iron produces high-quality steel
o The Great Lakes region, including Minnesota’s Mesabi Range, emerged as the leading
steel producer
• Andrew Carnegie
o Worked his way from being a poor Scottish immigrant to becoming the superintendent
of a Pennsylvania railroad
o Carnegie employed vertical integration (company would control every stage of the
industrial process)
• U.S. Steel Corporation
o Carnegie sold his company for over $400 million to a new steel combination headed by
J.P. Morgan
o First billion-dollar company that was the largest enterprise in the world
• The Oil Industry
o The first US oil well was drilled by Edwin Drake in Pennsylvania
• Rockefeller and the Standard Oil Trust
o Rockefeller took charged of the oil refinery business by applying the latest technologies and
o He got rebates from railroad companies and temporarily cut prices for Standard Oil to force
rival companies to sell out and buy them
o Standard Oil had a horizontal integration of an industry and had a board of trustees
o The Standard Oil monopoly was able to keep prices low for consumers by eliminating waste
• Antitrust Movement
o Middleclass citizens feared the trusts’ unchecked power
o Urban elites resented the increasing influence
o Reformers moved Congress to pass the Sherman Antitrust Act prohibited any contract,
combination, in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy in restraint of trade or commerce
o In United States vs. Knight Co., the Supreme Court ruled that the Sherman Antitrust Act
applied only to commerce, not to manufacturing
• Laissez-Faire Capitalism
o The idea of non-government regulation of business
• Conservative Economic Theories
o Adam Smith argued in The Wealth of Nations that business should be regulated by the law of
supply and demand
o In theory, if government laid their hands off controlling businesses, corporations would offer
improved goods and services at low prices
• Social Darwinism
o Herbert Spencer agreed with Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection and survival of the
fittest for the marketplace
? Concluded money in the hands of the fit was a benefit to all humans
o Professor William Graham Sumner believed that by helping the poor we were going against
• Gospel of wealth
o Many used religion as a justification of their wealth
? John Rockefeller said ―‖God gave me my riches‖
o In the lecture ―‖Acres of Diamonds‖, Reverend Conwell preached that everyone had a duty to
become rich
o Andrew Carnegie argued that the wealthy had a God-given responsibility to carry out projects
of civil philanthropy and gave money to the building of institutions
• Technology and Innovations
• Inventions
o Samuel F. B. Morse ---workable telegraph (1844)
o Cyrus W. Field --- improved transatlantic cable
? Made it possible to send messages across the seas in an instant’s time
o Alexander Graham Bell ---telephone
o The typewriter
o The cash register
o The calculating machine
o The adding machine
o The Kodak camera
o Lewis E. Waterman’s fountain pen
o King Gillette’s safety razor and blade
• Edison and Westinghouse
o After creating a machine for recording votes, Thomas Edison established a laboratory
in Menlo Park, New Jersey
o Introduced the world to teams rather than individuals working together to create
o Edison’s lab produced over a thousand patented inventions incuding:
? Phonograph
? Incandescent lamp
? Dynamo --- generating electric power
? Mimeograph machine
? Motion picture camera
o George Westinghouse held more than 400 patents and developed an air brake for
railroads and a transformer for producing high-voltage alternating current
? The second one led to the operation of electric streetcars, subways, machinery…
• Marketing Consumer Goods
o R.H. Macy and Marshall Field made the large department store the place to shop
o Frank Woolworth’s Five and Ten Cent Store brought nationwide chain stores
o Two mail order companies – Sears, and Roebuck and Montgomery Ward used the
o Packaged food items went under the names Kellogg and Post
o Refrigerating railroad cars and canning enabled Gustavus Swift to change the eating
habits of American by provided mass-produced meat and veggies
• Impact of Industrialization
• The Concentration of Wealth
o By the 1890’s, the richest 10% of Americans controlled 9/10’s of the nation’s wealth
o The Vanderbilts had summer homes that rivaled the villas of European royalty
• Horatio Alger myth
o Alger wrote books about a young man of modest means who became rich and successful
through honesty, hard work, and a little luck
o The typical wealthy businessperson of the day was a white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant male
who came from an upper or middle-class background and whose father was in business or
• The Expanding Middle Class
o The growth of corporations called for the labor of thousands of white-collar workers (salaried
works whose jobs usually didn’t include manual labor)
o Industrialization created jobs for accountants, clerical workers, and salespersons
o These middle-class workers increased the demand from professionals (doctors, lawyers),
public employees, and storekeepers
o The increase in the number of good-paying jobs after the Civil War increased the income of
the middle class
• Wage Earners
o By 1900, 2/3 of Americans were wage workers who were at jobs that required them to
work 10 hours a day, 6 days a week
o David Ricardo argued that raising wages arbitrarily would increase the working
population, and the availability of more workers would in turn cause wages to fall, thus
creating a cycle of misery and starvation
o Real wages (income adjusted for inflation) rose during the 19th century
• Working Women
o 1 in 5 women worked in 1900
? Most were young and single
o Factory work for women was usually limited to the textile, garment, and food-
processing industries
o As the demand for clerical workers increased, women moved into previous male
positions (secretaries, bookkeepers, typists, telephone operators)
o Usually received low wages or salaries
• Labor Discontent
o In many industries, such as railroads and mining, working conditions were dangerous
o Many workers were exposed to chemicals and pollutants that were later learned to
lead to early death
o Industrial workers changed jobs on average every 3 years
o Absenteeism and quitting were the most common forms of protest against intolerable
work conditions
o 20% of those who worked in factories dropped out rather than continued … much
more than joined labor unions
• The Struggle of Organized Labor
• Industrial Warfare
o Strikers could be easily replaced by brining in strikebreakers or scabs – unemployed
o Employers also did the following to defeat unions:
? The lockout: closing the factory to break a labor movement before it was organized
? Blacklists: names of prounion workers circulated among employers
? Yellow-dog contracts: workers being told, as a condition for employment, they must
sign an agreement not to join a union
? Calling in private guards and state militia to put down strikes
? Obtaining court injunctions against strikes
o If violence developed, employers could almost always count on the government for
• Great railroad strike of 1877
o Railroad companies cut wages in order to reduce costs during a depression
o A strike spread across 11 states and shut down 2/3 of the country’s rail trackage
o President Hayes used federal troops to end the labor violence
o Some employers improved wages and working conditions, while others took a hard
line by busting workers’ organizations
• Attempts to Organize National Unions
• National Labor Union
o The first attempt to organize all workers
o Desired higher wages and an 8 hour work day along with a equal rights for women and
blacks, monetary reform, and worker cooperatives
o Big victory = 8 hour work day
• Knights of Labor
o A secret society to avoid detection by employers
o Terence V. Powderly led the union that opened its membership to ALL workers
including women and blacks
o Advocated:
? Worker cooperatives “” to make each man his own employer”
? Abolition of child labor
? Abolition of trusts and monopolies
o Powderly preferred arbitration rather than strikes
o Declined rapidly after the violence of the Haymarket riot in Chicago
• Haymarket bombing
o Chicago population stats:
? 80,000 Knights
? 200 anarchists that wanted to overthrow all government
o in response to the May Day movement calling for a general strike to achieve an 8 hour
labor day, violence broke out in Chicago’s McCormick Harvester plant
o as police attempted to break up the meeting someone threw a bomb which killed 7
police officers
o 8 anarchist leaders were charged for the crime and 7 were sentenced to death
o many American concluded that the union movement was radical and violent
o Kings of Labor lost a lot of support
• American Federation of Labor
o Samuel Gompers went after the basics of higher wages and improved working
o Directed to local unions to walk out until the employer agreed to negotiate a new
o By 1901 the AF of L was the nation’s larges union
• Strikebreaking in the 1890’s
• Homestead strike
o Henry Clay Frick, the manger of Andrew Carnegie’s Homestead Steel plant cut wages
by nearly 20%
o Frick used the lockout, private guards, and strikebreakers to defeat the steelworkers’
o The failure of the Homestead strike set back the union movement in the steel industry
until the New Deal
• Pullman strike
o Pullman manufactured the famous railroad sleeping cars
o Announced a general cut in wages and fired the leaders in the workers’ delegation that
came to bargain with him
o The workers appealed for help from the American Railroad Union
o Eugene B. Debs, leader of the association, directed railroad workers not to handle any
trains with Pullman cars
o Railroad owners supported Pullman
o Grover Cleveland then said for the union to stop their strike, however, they did not and
Debs and other union leaders were arrested and jailed
o In the case of In re Debs, the Supreme Court gave employers a powerful tool to break
up unions
o Debs concluded that more radical solutions needed to cure labor’s problems
? He turned to socialism
o By 1900, only 3% of American workers belonged to unions
o Government generally took managements hand

AMSCO Chapter 18
The Growth of Cities and American Culture

o In 1893 Chicago, the White City, hosted the World’s Columbian Exposition
o 12 million people went to see the progress Americans had made through new industrial
technologies and architects’ grand visions of an ideal urban environment
o In less than half a century, Chicago’s population grew to over one million
o Central business district – modern urban structures (skyscrapers, department stores, and
o Outside was the worker’s housing for the city’s factories and warehouses
o Behind that were tree-lined suburban retreats for the wealthier class
o Chicago was also a ―gray city‖ because of its pollution, poverty, crime, and vice
o More than ¾ of Chicago were either foreign-born or the children of them
o There were 3 main forces of change:
? Industrialization
? Immigration
? Urbanization
• A Nation of Immigrants
o In the last half of the 19th century the population increased more than threefold
• 23.2 million in 1850 to 76.2 million in 1900
o 16.2 million immigrants arrived in the US between those years
• Growth of Immigration
o Forces driving Europeans to emigrate were:
• Poverty of displaced farm workers driven from land because of machinery
• Overcrowding and joblessness in European cities because of population boom
• Religious persecution of Jews in Russia
o Forces that were attracting immigrants to the US were:
• The US’s reputation for political and religious freedom
• Economic opportunities afforded by the settling of the Great Plains
• Abundance of industrial jobs in US cities
o Large steamships and relatively inexpensive passage made it possible for millions to
• ―Old‖ Immigrants and ―New‖ Immigrants
o Through the 1880’s the majority of immigrants came from northern and western Europe:
• British Isles, Germany, Scandinavia
o They were mostly Protestants, although a small minority were Irish and German Catholics
• New Immigrants
o Beginning in the 1890’s, the “new” immigrants came from southern and eastern
o They were Italians, Greeks, Croats, Slovaks, Poles, and Russians
• Many poor and illiterate peasants who had left autocratic nations and now lived in a
country with democracy
o Mostly Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, and Jewish
o Most new immigrants crowded into poor ethnic neighborhoods
o An estimated 25% of them were “birds of passage”
• Young men contracted for unskilled factory, mining, and construction jobs, who would
return back to their native lands once they had saved a fair sum to bring to their families
• Restricting Immigration
o In the 1870’s, when Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi began working on the Statue of Liberty
there were few legal restrictions on immigration
o By 1886 Congress passed a number of new laws restricting immigration. They
• Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 – placed a ban on all immigrants from China
• Restrictions on the immigration of “undesirable” (aka criminals or mentally
incompetent individuals)
• 1885 – law prohibited contract laborers to protect American workers
o Ellis Island was opened as an immigration center in 1892
• New arrivals had to pass rigorous medical and document examinations and pay an
entry tax before entering the US
o These efforts were supported by:
• Labor unions (feared employers would use immigrants to depress wages and stop
• Nativists society called the American Protective Association
o Prejudiced against Roman Catholics
• Social Darwinists who viewed the new immigrants as biologically inferior to English
and Germanic stocks
o At the turn of the century almost 15% of the population were immigrants
o 1920’s – Quota Acts almost closed Liberty’s golden door
• Urbanization
o Cities provided for a central supply of labor for factories and a principal market for
factorymade goods
o By 1900 almost 40% of Americans lived in towns or cities…changing to urban setting
o People moving into cities included immigrants and native-born Americans
o In the late 19th century, millions of young Americans (including African Americans from the
South) decided to seek economic opportunities in the cities
• Changes in the Nature of Cities
• Streetcar cities
o People began living in residences miles away from their jobs, using horse-drawn
o By the 1890’s, most horse-drawn cars and cable cars were replaced by electric
trolleys, elevated railroads, and subways
o The building of massive steel suspension bridges (Brooklyn Bridge) made possible
longer commutes
o Mass transportation had the effect of segregating urban workers by income
• Upper and middle class moved to streetcar suburbs to escape pollution, poverty, and
crime of the city
• Skyscrapers
o In 1885, William Le Baron Jenny built the 10-story Home Insurance Company Building
in Chicago…the first true skyscraper with a steel skeleton
o Structures of this size were made possible by inventions such as the :
• Otis elevator
• Central steam-heating system with radiators in every room
• Ethnic neighborhoods
o To increase their profits, landlords divided up their inner-city housing into small,
windowless rooms
o New York City passed a law in 1879 that required each bedroom to have a window
o The landlords reacted by building the so-called dumbbell tenements
• Ventilation shafts in the center of the building to provide windows for each room
o Overcrowding and filth spread deadly diseases, such as cholera, typhoid, and
o In crowded tenement quarters, different immigrant groups created distinct ethnic
neighborhoods where each group could maintain its own language, culture, church or
temple, and social club
• Many groups supported their own newspaper and schools
• Residential suburbs
o In Europe the wealthiest people live near the business districts of modern cities, the opposite
of the US standards
o During the 19th century, upper and middle class citizens decided to move out to the suburbs
to escape the problems of the cities
o The factors that promoted suburban growth were:
• Abundant land available at low cost
• Inexpensive transportation by rail
• Low-cost construction methods such as the wooden, balloon-frame house
• Ethnic and racial prejudice
• An American fondness for grass, privacy, and detached individual houses
o In the late 1860’s, the landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead designed a
suburban community with graceful curved roads and open spaces
• Private city versus public city
o At first, residents tried to carry on life in large cities like they had in small villages
o However, this led to a build up of waste, pollution, disease, crime and other hazards
because of a lack of public services from municipal governments
o Slowly advocates convinced citizens and city governments of the need for water
purification, sewerage systems, waste disposal, street lighting, police departments, and
zoning laws
• Boss and Machine Politics
o Political parties in major cities came under the control of tightly organized groups of
politicians, known as political machines
o Each machine had its:
• Boss – the top politician who gave orders to the rank and file and doled out
government jobs to loyal supporters
o Tammany Hall in New York City, a political machine, started social clubs and later
developed power centers to coordinate the needs of businesses, immigrants, and the
• In return he expected votes back on election day
o Political machines brought modern services to the city including a crude form of
welfare for immigrant
o Would find jobs and apartments for recently arrived immigrants and show up at a poor
family’s door with baskets of food during the hard times
o Political machines often stole millions from taxpayers in the form of graft and fraud
• Awakening of Reform
• Books of social criticism
o Henry George published a provocative book that jolted readers to look more critically at the
effects of laissez-faire economics (Progress and Poverty)
• His book proposed placing a single tax on land as the solution to poverty
o He succeeded in calling attention to the alarming inequalities in wealth caused by
o Edward Bellamy (Looking Backword) envisioned a future era in which a cooperative society
had eliminated poverty, greed, and crime
o Both books encouraged a shift in American public opinion away from pure laissez-faire and
toward greater government regulation
• Settlement houses
o A number of young, idealistic, and well-educated women and men of the middle class settled
into immigrant neighborhoods to learn about the problems of immigrant families at first hand
o They lived and worked in places called settlement homes
o Hoped to relieve the effects of poverty by providing social services for people in the
o Hull House in Chicago (started by Jane Adams) taught English to immigrants, pioneered
childhood education, taught industrial arts, and established neighborhood theaters and music
o Settlement workers would provide the foundation in a later era for the professional social
o Crusaded for child-labor laws, housing reform, and women’s rights
o Frances Perkins and Harry Hopkins went on to leadership roles in President Roosevelt’s
reform program, the New Deal in the 1950’s
• Social Gospel
o A number of Protestant clergymen preached the Social Gospel – the importance of applying
Christian principles to social problems
o Walter Raushenbusch worked in NYC’s Hell’s Kitchen and wrote several books urging
organized religions to take up the cause of social justice
o Encouraged many middle-class Protestants to attack urban problems
• Religion and society
o Roman Catholics gained enormous amounts from the influx of new immigrants
o Cardinal James Gibbons of Baltimore inspired the devoted support of old and new
immigrants alike by defending the Knights of Labor and the cause of organized labor
o Dwight Moody (Protestant) and his Moody Bible Institute would help generations of urban
evangelists to adapt traditional Christianity to city life
o The Salvation Army, imported from England, provided the basic necessities for the homeless
and poor while also preaching the Christian Gospel
o Mary Baker Eddy was supported by the urban middle class who taught that good health was
the result of correct thinking about ―Father Mother God‖
o Thousands joined her church -the Church of Christ, Scientist --- popularly known as Christian
• Families and women in urban society
o Urban life isolated families from the extended family and village support
o Divorce rates incread to 1 in 12 marriages by 1900 partly because a number of state
legislatures had expanded the grounds for divorce to include cruelty and desertion
o a reduction of family size also occurred (children were valuable on farms)
o Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony helped found the Nation American
Women’s Suffrage Association to secure the vote for women
o Wyoming was the first state to grant full suffrage to women
o By 1900 some states allowed women to vote in local elections, and most allowed
women to own and control property after marriage
• Temperance and morality
o Women were convinced that excessive drinking of alcohol by male factory workers
was a principal cause of poverty for immigrant and working-class families
o The Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) advocated complete abstinence
from alcohol
o Led by Frances E. Willard, had over 500,000 members by 1898
o The Antisaloon League became a powerful political force and by 1916 had persuaded
21 states to close down all saloons and bars
o Carry A. Nation of Kansas, created a sensation by raiding saloons and smashing
barrels of beer with a hatchet
o Anthony Comstock formed the Society for the Suppression of Vice to watch American
o Persuaded Congress to pass the “Comstock Law” which prohibited the mailing or
transportation of obscene and lewd material and photographs
• Intellectual and Cultural Movements
• Changes in Education
• Public schools
o Elementary schools after 1865 taught the 3 R’s (reading, writing, and arithmetic) and
traditional values
o New compulsory laws drastically increased the number of children enrolled in public
o AS a result the literacy rate rose to 90% of the population by 1900
o The practice of sending children to kindergarten (from Germany) became popular
o Growth of tax-supported public high schools
• At first they followed the college preparatory curriculum of private academies
• Soon the public high schools became more comprehensive and began to emphasize
vocational and citizenship education for a changing urban society
• Higher education
o Number of US colleges increased in the late 1800’s because of:
• Land grant colleges established under the Morrill Act of 1862
• Universities founded by wealthy philanthropists – The University of Chicago (Rockefeller)
• The founding of new colleges for women, such as Smith, Bryn Mawr, and Mount Holyoke
o By 1900, over 100 coeducational colleges had been founded
o Charles W. Eliot reduced the number of required courses and introduced electives to
accommodate the teaching of modern languages and sciences: physics, chemistry, biology, and
o John Hopkins emphasized research and free inquiry
o The US produced its first generation of scholars who could compete with the intellectual
achievements of Europeans
o At the same time some college life got tied over by social activities, fraternities, and
intercollegiate sports
• Social sciences and the professions
o New social sciences included:
• Behavioral psychology
• Sociology
• Anthropology
• Political science
o Richard T. Ely of John Hopkins attacked laissez-faire economic thought as dogmatic and
outdated and used economics to study labor unions, trusts, and other existing economic
o Evolutionary theory influenced Lester F. Ward (sociologist), Woodrow Wilson (political
scientist), and Frederick Jackson Turner (historian) to study the dynamic process of actual
human behavior
o Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. taught that the law should evolve with the times in response to
changing needs and not remain restricted by legal precedents and judicial decisions of the past
o Clarence Darrow, argued that criminal behavior could be caused by a person’s environment
of poverty, neglect, and abuse
o W.E.B. Du Bois was the first African American to receive a doctorate from Harvard
• Used statistical methods of sociology to study crime in urban neighborhoods
o He advocated full equal rights for blacks, integrated schools, and equal access to higher
education for the ―talented tenth‖ of African American youth
• Literature and the Arts
• Realism and Naturalism
o Romantic novels that depicted ideal heroes and heroines
o The first break with this tradition came with regionalist writers like Bret Harte who depicted life
in the rough mining camps of the West
o Mark Twain became the first great realist author
• The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn revealed the greed, violence, and racism in American
o William Dean Howells considered the problems of industrialization and unequal wealth in his
novels The Rise of Silas Lapham and A Hazard of New Fortunes
o A generation of authors in the 1890’s became known for their naturalism, which described
how emotions and experience shaped human experience
o Stephen Crane’s book Maggie: A Girl of the Streets told how a brutal urban environment
could destroy the lives of young people
• Also wrote the Red Badge of Courage about fear and human nature on the Civil War
o Jack London portrayed the conflict between nature and civilization in novels like The Call of
the Wild
o Theodore Dresier’s novel about a working girl in Chicago, Sister Carrie shocked the moral
sensibilities of the time
• Painting
o Winslow Homer was known for his paintings of seascapes and watercolors
o Thomas Eakins specialized in painting the everyday lives of working-class men and women
and used the new technology of serial-action photographs to study human anatomy and paint it
more realistically
o James McNeill Whistler became and American expatriate when he sailed to Europe at the
age of 21
• Most famous painting was Arrangement in Grey and Black – influenced modern art
o Mary Cassatt painted with impressionism, especially in her use of pastel colors
o ―Ashcan School‖ painted scenes of everyday life in poor urban neighborhoods
o The nonrepresentational paintings exhibited in the Armory Show in NYC upset realists and
• Art of that kind was rejected until 1950’s
• Architecture
o Henry Hobson Richardson created urban architecture based on the Romanesque style of
round arches
o Louis Sullivan rejected historic styles in his quest for a suitable style for the tall steel-framed
office buildings of the 1880s and 1890s
o Daniel Burnham designed numerous skyscrapers that influenced modern architecture
• Known for reviving class architecture during the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893
o Frederick Law Olmstead specialized in the planning of city parks and scenic boulevards,
including Central Park and the grounds of the US capitol in Washington
• Music
o By 1900 most large cities either had a symphony orchestra, an opera house, or both
o In smaller towns, outdoor bandstands were the setting for the playing of popular
marches by John Phillip Sousa
o African American musicians in New Orleans produced great music
• Jelly Roll Morton and Buddy Bolden introduced Americans to jazz
• Scott Joplin composed and performed music (Maple Leaf Rag)
o Jazz, ragtime, and the blues gained popularity through early 20th century
• Popular culture
• Popular press
o Joseph Pulitzers New York World was the first newspaper to exceed 1 million in
o Filled the paper with both sensational stories of crimes and disasters and crusading
feature stories about political and economic corruption
o William Randolph Hearst pushed scandal and sensationalism to new heights
o Mass-circulation magazines became increasingly popular
o Advertising revenues and new printing technologies made it possible for the Ladies’
Home Journal and other popular magazines to sell for as little as 10 cents a copy
• Amusements
o Leisure-time activities increase because of:
• Gradual reduction in the hours people worked
• Improved transportation
• Promotional billboards and advertising
• Decline of restrictive Puritan and Victorian values that discouraged “wasting” time on
o Drinking and talking at the saloon was the most popular activity
o Legitimate theaters for the performance of comedies and dramas flourished in large
o Circus was known as the “Greatest Show on Earth”… Barnum and Bailey
o Wild West show brought to urban audiences by William F. Cody (“Buffalo Bill”) and
headlining such personalities as Sitting Bull and the markswoman Annie Oakley
o Commuter streetcar and railroad companies created parks in the countryside near the
end of the line so that urban families could enjoy picnics and outdoor recreation
• Spectator sports
o Heavyweight boxer John L. Sullivan
o Professional boxing bouts drew mostly male spectators from the upper and lower
classes to cheer and wager on the favorite pugilist
o Baseball was very much an urban game that demanded teamwork
o President William Howard Taft started the tradition of throwing the first ball of the
o Basketball was invented and in only a few years high schools and colleges had
nationwide teams
o The first intercollegiate football game was played by 2 NJ colleges, Rutgers and
o American spectator sports were attended by men
• Amateur sports
o The value of playing sports as healthy exercise for the body gained acceptance by the
middle and upper classes in the late 19th century
o Women were considered unfit for most competitive sports, but they engaged in
croquet and bicycling
o Participation in golf and tennis grew but was limited to members of athletic clubs
o The very rich could separate themselves from lower-income people by pursuing the
expensive sports of polo and yachting
o Jews and Catholics were kept out of some private clubs, African Americans were the
most discriminated against because of Jim Crow Laws

AMSCO Chapter 19
National Politics in the Gilded Age, 1877-1900

• Politics in the Gilded Age
o Mark Twain first came up with the name Gilded Age
? Superficial glitter of the new wealth displayed in the later years of the 19th century
o Era of ―forgettable‖ presidents, none served two consecutive terms
o Many politicians ignored problems arising from the growth of industry and cities
• Causes of Stalemate
o Factors for the contentment and conservatism of the era included:
? The prevailing political ideology of the time
? Campaign tactics of the two parties
? Party patronage
• Belief in limited government
o Federal courts narrowly interpreted the government’s powers to regulate business
? Limited the impact of the few regulatory laws that Congress had passed
o Laissez-faire economics and social Darwinism were in tune with the ―do-little‖ government
• Campaign strategy
o Democrats won only two presidential contests in the electoral college in 1892 (neither the
Republicans or the Democrats took strong sides on the issues of the election)
o Controlled 8 of the 10 general elections in the House of Representatives
o Divided government besides the two years of the Harrison administration when Republicans
were in control of both the houses in Congress
o Election campaigns involved:
? Brass bands
? Flags
? Campaign buttons
? Picnics
? Free beer
? Crowd-pleasing public speaking
o Republicans usually organized on the state level while Democrats did so on the city-level
o 80% of voters showed up for election day
? functions out of identification and loyalty –often connected with the voters’ regional, religious,
and ethnic ties
o Republican politicians often waved the ―bloody shirt‖ in ever campaign
? Reminded millions of veterans of the Union army that their wounds had been caused by
southern Democrats and that Abe Lincoln had been murdered by a Democrat
o Lincoln’s party kept their antislavery past votes of reformers and African Americans
o Core of Republican strength came from men in business and middle-class, Anglo-Saxon
? Remained rooted in Whig past, supported economic program of high protective tariff for
o Democrats after 1877 could depend upon winning every election in the former Confederacy
o In the north, Democratic support was found from big-city political machines and immigrants
? Often Catholic, Lutheran, or Jewish who objected to temperance and prohibition crusades
conducted by Protestant groups
? Believed in states’ rights and limited powers of the federal government
• Party patronage
o Politics in this era was chiefly a game of gaining office, holding office, and providing
government jobs to the party faithful
o Republican Senator Roscoe Conkling (NY) became a powerful leader of his party by dictating
who in the Republican ranks would be appointed to lucrative jobs in the Customs House
? Him and his followers were known as Stalwarts, while their rivals for patronage were
Halfbreeds (led by James G. Blaine)
o Republicans who did not play the patronage game were called Mugwumps for sitting on the
• Presidential Politics
• Rutherford B. Hayes
o Ended Reconstruction be withdrawing the last federal troops from the South
o Attempted to reestablish honest government after Grant
o Hayes and his wife ―Lemonade Lucy‖ were temperance reformers who cut off the flow of
liquor in the White House
o Vetoed efforts to restrict Chinese immigration
• James Garfield
o Republicans compromised on the nomination of ―Halfbreed‖ Garfield and ―Stalwart‖ Arthur of
NY as vice president
o Democrats nominated Hancock (War hero from Gettysburg)
o Garfield was besieged by hordes of Republicans seeking some 100,000 federal jobs
o Garfield chose mostly halfbreeds and thus provoked a bitter contest with Conkling and his
o A deranged office seeker identified with the Stalwarts shot Garfield in the back while he
boarded a train
o Died 11 weeks later and Arthur became president
• Chester A. Garfield
o Distanced himself from the Stalwarts
o Supported a bill reforming the civil service
o Approved the development of a modern American navy
o Began to question the high protective tariff…thus was denied renomination by the Republican
• Congressional Leaders
o John Sherman did little but had his name attached to a number of bills
? Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890
o Thomas ―Czar‖ Reed became Speaker of the House and instituted an autocratic rule over the
House for years
o Senator James G. Blaine had potential to being a great political leader and largely succeeded
in reshaping the Republicans from an antislavery party into a well-organized business oriented
o Blaine’s (the Plumed Knight) reputation was damaged after he was found to be connected
with railroad scandals and other corrupt dealings
• The Election of 1884
o Republicans nominated Blaine for president
o Grover Cleveland was the Democratic AND Mugwump choice for president
o Cleveland was honesty, frugal, conscientious, and uncompromising
o Republicans made a big deal about Cleveland fathering an illegitimate child
o Democrats were labeled the party of ―Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion‖
o Catholic voters were ticked off by this and thus showed their numbers in the polls when
Cleveland became the first Democratic president since Buchanan
• Cleveland’s First Term
o Believed in frugal and limited government in the tradition of Jefferson
o Implemented new civil service plan and vetoed hundreds of private pension bills for those
falsely claiming to have served or been injured in the Civil War
o Signed into law:
? The Interstate Commerce Act of 1887—federal government first attempt to regulate business
? Dawes Act – reformers hoped would benefit the Native Americans
o Retrieved some 81 million acres of government land from cattle ranchers and railroads
• Issues: Civil Service, Currency, and Tariffs
• Civil Service Reform
o Public outrage of Garfield’s assassination pushed Congress to remove certain jobs from the
control of party patronage
o Pendleton Act of 1881 – set up the Civil Service Commission and created a system by which
applicants for classified federal jobs would be selected on the basis of their scores on a
competitive examination
? Law also prohibited civil servants from contributing money to politics
• At first only applied to about 10% of jobs…now it’s the majority of them
o Politicians began depending less on the armies of party workers and more on the rich to fund
• Money Question
o The money question reflected the tension between the ―haves‖ and the ―have-nots‖
o Debtors, farmers, and start-up businesses wanted more money in circulation since they
would be able to:
? Borrow money at lower interest rates
? Pay off their loans more easily with inflated dollars
o After the Panic of 1873, many Americans blamed the gold standard for restricting the money
o To expand the money supply easy or ―soft‖-money advocates campaigned for more paper
money (greenbacks) and then for unlimited minting of silver coins
o Bankers, creditors, investors, and established businesses stood firm for sound, or hard,
money-meaning currency backed by gold
o Dollars backed by gold would most likely hold their value against inflation
o Large holders of money knew that as the US economy and population grew, a limited number
of gold-backed dollars would gain in value…and they did as much as 300% between 1865 and
• Greenback party
o Paper money not backed by specie had been issued by the federal government in the 1860’s
as an emergency measure for financing the Civil War
o Northern farmers (received high prices during the war) associated greenbacks with prosperity
o Creditors and Investors said that not backing paper money was a violation of natural law
o Congress in 1875 passed the Specie Resumption Act that withdrew the last greenbacks from
o Supporters of paper money formed the Greenback party
o In the election of 1878 1 million votes for members were received, 14 elected to Congress
? James B. Weaver – future leader of the Populist party
o When the hard times of 1870’s ended, the Greenback party died out
• Demands for silver money
o Congress stopped the coining of silver in the 1870s (the Crime of 1873)
o Silver discoveries in Nevada revived the issue over coining silver
o The Bland-Allison Act we passed over Hayes’ veto
? A limited coinage of between $2 million and $4 million in silver each month at the standard
silver-to-gold ratio of 16 to 1
o Farmers, debtors, and western miners continued to press for unlimited coinage of silver
• Tariff issue
o During the Civil War, the Republican Congress enacted a high tariff to protect US
o After the war southern Democrats as well as some northern Democrats objected to high
tariffs because these taxes raised the prices on consumer goods
o Other nation retaliated against the tariff by placing taxes of their own on US farm products
o American farmers lost a share of the overseas market ? surplus of corn and wheat and low
o From a farmer’s point of view, industry seemed to be growing rich at the expense of rural
• The Growth of Discontent, 1888-1896
• Harrison and the Billion-Dollar Congress
o Cleveland proposed that Congress set lower tariff rates, since there was a growing surplus in
the federal treasury and the government did not need the added tax revenue
• The election of 1888
o Democrats campaigned for Cleveland and a lower tariff
o Republicans campaigned for Benjamin Harrison and a high tariff
? Lower tariff would wreck business prosperity
? Rose campaign funds from big businesses who depended on industrial prosperity
? Attacked Cleveland’s vetoes of pension bills to bring out the veteran vote
• Billion-dollar Congress
o Republicans controlled the presidency and both houses of Congress for two years
o The new Congress passed the first billion-dollar budget and also enacted:
? The McKinley Tariff of 1890 which raised the tax on foreign products to a peacetime high of
over 48%
? Increases in the monthly pensions to Civil War veterans, widows, and children
? The Sherman Antitrust Act, outlawing ―combinations in restraint of trade‖
? The Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890 which increased the coinage of silver, but too little
to make farmers and miner happy
? A bill to protect the voting rights of African Americans, passed by the House but defeated in
the Senate
• Return of the Democrats
o Voters from the Midwest replaced many Republicans with Democrats in Congress
o Reacted in party to unpopular measures including:
? Prohibition of alcohol and Sunday closing laws
o Voters who were not Anglo-Saxon or Protestant rushed back to the Democrats
• Rise of the Populists
o Members of the Farmers’ Alliances elected US senators and representatives, the governors
of several states, and majorities in four state legislatures in the West
• Omaha platform
o Alliance movement provided the foundation of a new political party – the People’s or Populist
o Delegates met in Omaha, NE to draft a political platform and nominated candidates for
o Determined to do something about the concentration of economic power in the hands of
trusts and bankers
o Platform called for the restoration of government to the people by means of
? Direct popular election of US senators
? Enacting of state laws by voters themselves through initiatives and referendums placed on
the ballot
o Economically the platform called for:
? Unlimited coinage of silver to increase the money supply
? Graduated income tax (greater an income…greater a tax)
? Public ownership of railroads by the US government
? Telegraph and telephone systems owned and operated by the government
? Loans and federal warehouse for farmers to enable them to stabilized prices for their crops
? An eight-hour day for industrial workers
o Seemed to form an alliance between poor whites and poor blacks
• The election of 1892
o Populist candidate – James Weaver
? Lost badly in the south and failed to attract urban workers in the North
o The fear of the Populists uniting poor blacks and whites drove conservative southern
Democrats to use every technique to disenfranchise African Americans
o Harrison vs. Cleveland --- Cleveland won
? Won mostly because of the unpopularity of the high-tax McKinley Tariff
• Depression Politics
• Panic of 1893
o Stock market crashed as a result of overspeculation, and dozens of railroads went into
bankruptcy as a result of overbuilding
o Farm foreclosure reached all time highs, and there was a 20% unemployment rate
o Cleveland dealt with the crisis by championing the gold standard and otherwise adopting a
hands-off policy toward the economy
• Gold reserve and tariff
o A decline in silver prices encouraged investors to trade their money in for gold
o The gold reserve fell dangerously low, and Cleveland had to repeal the Sherman Silver
Purchase Act
? Failed to stop the gold drain
o J.P. Morgan had to borrow the US $65 million in gold to support the dollar and gold statement
o Deal convince many that the government was only a tool of rich eastern bankers
o Democrats (Congress) enacted the Wilson-Gorman Tariff in 1894 which:
? Provided a moderate reduction in tariff rates
? A 2% income tax on incomes of more than $2,000
o Within a year of the passage, the Supreme Court declared an income tax unconstitutional
• Jobless on the march
o Coxey’s Army was a march to Washington led by the Populist Jacob A. Coxey
? Demanded that federal government spend $500 million on public works programs to create
o Coxey and other leaders were arrested for trespassing, and the dejected ―army‖ left for home
o William H. Harvey – Coin’s Financial School – taugh millions of discontented Americans that
their troubles were caused by a conspiracy of rich bankers, and that prosperity would return only
with the coining of unlimited amounts of silver
• Turning Point in American Politics: 1896
• The Election of 1896
• Bryan, Democrats, and Populists
o Democrats were divided between ―gold‖ Democrats – loyal to Cleveland, and prosilver
Democrats looking for a new leader
o Their national convention was dominated by the prosilver forces
o Willian Jennings Bryan – Cross of Gold speech – became the Democratic nominee for
o Platform favored the unlimited coinage of silver at the tradition ratio of 16:1
? Market price of the time was actually 32:1
o Populist party sided with Bryan because a common platform was formed between the two of
o ―Gold Bug‖ Democrats broke away and put together a separate ticket
• McKinley, Hanna, and Republicans
o Republicans nominated William McKinley
? High protective tariff but also a friend of labor
o Marcus Hanna financed McKinley’s campaign
o Republican platform:
? High tariff to protect industry and upheld the gold standard against unlimited coinage of silver
• Campaign
o Bryan traveled over 18,000 miles and gave more than 600 speeches
o He convinced millions of farmers and debtors that the unlimited coinage of silver was their
o Mark Hanna raised millions of dollars for the Republican ticket from business leaders who
feld that ―silver lunacy‖ would lead to runaway inflation
o Hanna used the money to sell McKinley through newspapers, magazines,…while the
candidate stayed home and conducted a safe, front-porch campaign
o Bryan was hurt by:
? Rise in wheat prices, which made farmers less desperate
? Employers telling their workers that factories would shut down if Bryan was elected
o McKinley carried all of the Northeast and the upper Midwest in a victory over Bryan
• McKinley’s Presidency
o Gold discoveries in Alaska increased the money sup ply under the gold standard
? Induced the inflation that silverites had wanted
• Farm prices rose, factory production increased, the stock market climbed
o Republicans enacted a higher tariff (the Dingley Tariff) and made gold the standard of the US
o He helped to make the US a world power as a leader of the war with Spain
• Significance of the Election of 1896
o The defeat of Bryan initiated an era of Republican dominance of the presidency
o Republicans were now the party of business, industry, and a strong national government
o Democrats were a sectional party of the South and host of whatever Populist sentiment
• Populist demise
o Thomas Watson and other Populist leaders gave up after seeing that racism was stronger
than common economic interests
o Much of the Populist reform agenda was adopted by both the Democrats and Republicans
during the Progressive era
• Urban dominance
o Election of 1896 proved to be the last hope of rural America to reclaim its former dominance
in politics
o The election marked the triumph of the values of modern industrial and urban American over
the rural ideas of the America of Jefferson and Jackson
• Beginning of modern politics
o McKinley got the US to become a major player in international affairs
o Mark Hanna created a model for organizing and financing a successful campaign focused on
winning favorable publicity in the mass media

The importance of the transition should not be ignored, however. In 1890, Vermont first
adopted use of the "Australian ballot" (government-printed ballots listing all qualifying
candidates). In the first election using this new system, in 1892, there was some protest
of the new ballot. Much of the protest focused around inadequate preparation. Prior to
this new system, voters could prepare ballots at home or simply pick up party ballots on
their way to the polls. Voters had no need to mark their ballots. They simply had to
deposit their ballots in the ballot box. Starting in 1892, voters had to go into voting
booths and find the names of their preferred candidates and mark the right number of
boxes depending on how many seats were being filled for each office. There were long
lines waiting for ballots and spaces in polling booths, accompanied by many complaints.
Rather than repealing the Australian ballot, the next legislature increased the number of
polling booths the towns had to provide from one for each 75 voters to one for each 50
voters. The transition to the modern "Australian ballot," a preference ballot, is a much
smaller step than was the 1892 change.

William Merriam was elected Governor of Minnesota in 1888 and was
reelected once. He served from January 9th, 1889 to January 4th, 1893. As
governor, he was instrumental in adopting the Australian ballot system, which
allowed people to vote in relative privacy.

Another of these local features is the primary election feature required by Minnesota, in
which state the various parties must hold their primary election at the same time and on
the same machine. The voter annotincing the party of his-preference finds the voting
de”ices on the machine of all other parties locked against him, but the voting devices of
his own party are open to his use.

AMSCO Chapter 21
The Progressive Era, 1901-1918

• Progressivism – individuals had a common desire to improve life in the industrial age
• Wanted to build onto the existing society by making moderate political changes and social
improvements through government action
• Progressives wanted:
o Limit the power of big businesses
o Improve democracy for the people
o Strengthen social justice
• Origins of Progressivism
o Origins in state reforms of the early 1890s…however acquired national support with the
swearing in of Theodore Roosevelt in 1901
o Lasted through the presidencies of Roosevelt, Taft, and the first term of Woodrow Wilson
? Entry into World War I diverted public attention away from domestic issues
• Attitudes and Motives
o Minorities were most disturbed by the racism and Jim Crow laws in the South
? Laws regulated African Americans to status of second-class citizens
o Crusaders for women’s suffrage added their voices to call for the political reform and greater
o Groups involved with the Progressive movement include:
? Protestant church leaders
? African Americans
? Union leaders – public support for their goals
? Feminists – lobbying for women’s votes
o They all believed that changes in society were badly needed and that government was the
proper agency for correcting social and economic ills
• Who were the Progressives?
o Chiefly middle-class residents of US cities
o The urban middle class had steadily grown during the final decades of the 19th century
o Disturbed about what might happen to democracy if:
? Conditions among the poor did not improve
? Excesses of the rich were not fixed
? There was an apparent decline in morality
o Protestant churches preached against vice and taught a code of social responsibility
? Caring for the poor and insisting upon honesty in public life
? Social Gospel was popularized by Walter Rauschenbusch
o Theodore Roosevelt and Robert La Follette (Republicans) and William Jennings Bryan and
Woodrow Wilson (Democrats) were strong leaders that led progressivism
• What was the Progressives’ philosophy?
o Charles Darwin in his Origin of Species, presented the concept of evolution
? Made people challenge the prevailing philosophy of romantic transcendentalism
? Now believed pragmatism
o Williams James and John Dewey were two leading American advocates of this new
? Dewey argue that ―good‖ and the ―true‖ could not be known in the abstract as fixed and
changeless ideals
? People then said that they should use a practical approach to morals, ideals, and
knowledge…and keep experimenting with ideas and laws until they found something that
seemed to work well for the better ordering of society
• Scientific management
o Frederick W. Taylor used the stopwatch to time the output of factory workers
o Progressives object to the political bosses partly because it was antidemocratic and partly
because it was inefficient…thought scientific people should organize government actions
• The Muckrakers
o Newspaper and magazine publishers found that their middle-class readers loved to read
about underhanded schemes in politics
o Writers specialized in investigative stories during the era…they were called muckrakers
• Origins
o Henry Damarest Lloyd *Muckraker* wrote a series of articles attacking the practices of
Standard Oil Company and the railroads
o Published Wealth Against Commonwealth that fully exposed the corruption and greed of the
oil monopoly but failed to suggest how to control it
• Magazines
o Samuel Sidney McClure *Irish immigrant* founded a magazine that became a major success
by running a series of muckraking articles by:
? Lincoln Steffens – Tweed Days in St. Louis
? Ida Tarbell – The History of Standard Oil Company
• Books
o Jackob Riis – wrote articles on tenement life – How the Other Half Lives
o Lincoln Steffens – The Shame of the Cities
? Described the corrupt details that characterized big-city politics
o Theodore Dreiser – The Financier and The Titan
o Frank Norris – The Octopus and The Pit
• Decline of muckraking
o Declined because:
? Writers found it more and more difficult to top the sensationalism of last story
? Publishers were expanding and faced economic pressures from banks and advertisers to
tone down their treatment of business
? By 1910 corporations were become more aware of their public image and developing a new
specialty: the field of public relations
• Political Reforms in Cities and States
o Progressives believed that the majority of voters would elect honest officials instead of the
corrupt officials handpicked by boss-dominated political machines
• Voter Participation
• Australian, or secret, ballot
o Political parties could manipulated or intimidate voters into voting for a certain candidate
o In 1888, Massachusetts established that voters had to mark their choices secretly within the
privacy of a curtained booth
• Direct primaries
o Robert La Follette introduced to his state a new system for bypassing politicians and placing
the nominating process directly in the hands of the voters
o System was not very effective because politicians devised ways of confusing the voters and
splitting the antimachine vote
? Some southern states used the primaries to exclude African Americans from voting
• Direct election of U.S. senators
o Nevada was the first state to give the voters an opportunity to elect senators directly
o Adoption of the 17th Amendment required that all senators be elected by popular vote
o Progressives’ efforts to reform the state legislatures were not as successful
• Initiative, referendum, and recall
o Amendments to state constitutions offered voters:
? Initiative – method by which voters would compel the legislature to consider a bill
? Referendum – method that allowed citizens to vote on proposed laws printed on their ballots
? Recall – enabled voters to remove a corrupt or unsatisfactory politician from office by majority
vote before the official’s term had expired
• Social welfare
o Urban life was improved by not only political reformers but by the efforts ot settlement houses
and other civic-minded volunteers
o Jane Addams, Frances Kelly, and other leaders found they needed political support for
meeting the needs of immigrants and their working class
o Lobbied vigorously and with considerable success for better schools, juvenile courts,
liberalized divorce laws, and safety regulations for tenements and factories
o Reformers fought for a system of parole, separate reformatories for juveniles, and limits on
the death penalty
• Municipal Reform
o Samuel M. ―Golden Rule‖ Jones was a self-made millionaire who delighted Toledo’s citizens
by introducing a program of municipal reform including: free kindergartens, night schools, and
public playgrounds
o Tom L Johnson devoted himself to the tax reform and 3 cent trolley fares for Cleveland
? Fought hard but wasn’t successful
• Controlling public utilities
o 2/3 of the nation’s cities owned their own water systems
o Many cities came to own and operate gas lines, electric power plants, and urban
transportation systems
• Commissions and city managers
o Gavelston, Texas was the first city to adopt a commission plan of government
? Voters elected the heads of city departments
o Dayton, Ohio – an expert manager was hired by an elected city council to direct the work of
the various departments of city government
• State Reform
o Charles Evans Hughes – NY – battled fraudulent insurance companies
o Hiram Johnson – CA – fought against the economic and political power of the Southern
Pacific Railroad
o Robert La Follette – WI – established a strong personal following as governor
? Won the ―Wisconsin Idea‖ – series of measures that included a direct primary law, tax reform,
and regulation of railroad rates
• Temperance and Prohibition
o Urban Progressives new that saloons were neighborhood headquarters for political
machines, however, did not side with the temperance movement
o Rural reformers thought they could clean up politics by abolishing liquor
? Known as ―drys‖ and were very successful
• Political Reform in the Nation
• Theodore Roosevelt’s Square Deal
o Theodore Roosevelt was the youngest president in American history…and most athletic
? Believed that it was the presidents job to set the legislative agenda for Congress
o Progressive movements hot into high gear under the dynamic leadership of an activist,
reform-minded, president
• ―Square Deal‖ for labor
o Roosevelt showed in the first economic crisis of his presidency that he favored neither
business nor labor but insisted on a Square Deal for both
o Strike of anthracite coal minders through much of 1902
? If strike continued Americans feared they would freeze to death in the Winter
o Roosevelt called the union leader and the coal mine owners to the White house to
? Mine owners refused to compromise and Roosevelt threatened to take over the mines with
federal troops
• Owners finally agreed to accept the 10% wage increase and a 0 hour day to the miners
• Trust-busting
o Roosevelt increased his popularity to enforce the Sherman Antitrust Act
o He wanted most to bust a combination of railroads (Northern Securities Company)
o Supreme Court upheld Roosevelt’s action in breaking up the monopoly
o Roosevelt later directed his attorney general to take antitrust action against Standard Oil
o Made a distinction between regulating ―good trust‖ and breaking up ―bad trusts‖
• Railroad regulation
o Roosevelt persuaded the Republican majority in Congress to pass:
? The Elkins Act
• ICC had greater authority to stop railroads from granting rebates
? Hepburn Act
• Commission could fix ―just and reasonable‖ rates for railroads
• Consumer protection
o The Jungle *by Upton Sinclair* detailed the gross conditions in Chicago stockyards and
meatpacking industry
o Caused Congress to enact:
? The Pure Food and Drug Act that forbade the manufacture, sale, and transportation of
adulterated or mislabeled foods and drugs
? The Meat Inspection Act that provided that federal inspectors visit meatpacking plants to
ensure that they met minimum standards of sanitation
• Conservation
o Roosevelt tried to protect the nation’s natural resources...he did this by:
? Making repeated use of the Forest Reserve Act of 1891 to set aside 150 million acres of
federal lands as a national reserve that could not be sold to private interests
? Winning passage of the Newlands Reclamation Act, a law providing money from the sale of
public land for irrigation projects in western states
? Publicizing the need for conservation by hosting White House convention on it
• National Conservation Commission was established under Pinchot…earlier been appointed
the first director of the US Forest Service
• Taft’s Presidency
o Taft (Republican) defeated Bryans (Democrat) in the race for presidency in 1908
• More trust-busting and conservation
o Prosecuted US Steel although Roosevelt had approved a merger
? Roosevelt felt that Taft was making a blow at Roosevelt’s integrity
o Established the Bureau of Mines
o Added large tracts in the Appalachians to the national forest reserves
o Set aside federal oil lands
o Mann-Elkins Act gave the ICC the power to suspend new railroad rates and oversee
telephone, telegraph, and cable companies
o 16th Amendment authorized the US government to collect an income tax
• Split in the Republican party
o Progressives in the Republican party were unimpressed with Taft’s achievements
o Joined the conservative wing of their party….their reasons were:
? Payne-Aldrich Tariff – Taft had promised to lower the tariff, instead Congress raised the tariff
on most imports
? Pinchot-Ballinger Controversy – Progressives liked Pinchot, however distrusted secretary of
the interior Richard Ballinger especially after he opend public lands in Alask for private
development. Pinchot criticized Ballinger and Taft fired Pinchot for insubordination
• Conservatives applauded, Progressives protested
? House Speaker Joe Cannon – Taft failed to support their efforts to reduce the dictatorial
powers of Congress’ leading conservative, Speaker of the House – Cannon
? Midterm elections – Taft openly supported conservative candidates for Congress in midterm
elections. After this election the Republican party was split wide between:
• Conservative faction loyal to Taft
• Progressive faction – fervently hoped Roosevelt would become their candidate
• Rise of the Socialist Party
o Dedicated to the welfare of the working class
o Originally called the Socialist Labor party…now the Socialist Part of America
o Platform = more radical reforms than Progressives favored:
? Public ownership of railroads, utilities, and major industries such as oil and steel
• Eugene V. Debs
o Candidate for president in five elections
o Former railroad union leader who adopted socialism --- outspoken critic of business and
champion of labor
• Influence
o Progressive and some Socialists joined forces in the fight for workers’ compensation and
minimum wage laws
o Progressives wanted to distance themselves from Socialists because voters favored only
mild reforms
o Public ownership of utilities, the eight-hour workday, and pensions for employees are all
Socialist ideas that were accepted
o Reached its peak in the presidential election of 1912
• The Election of 1912
o Reform efforts dominated a campaign that involved 4 notable candidates
• Candidates
o Taft – Republican
o Roosevelt – Progressive Republicans aka ―Bull Moose party‖
o Woodrow Wilson – Democrat
o Eugene V. Debs – Socialist
• Campaign
o Taft was unpopular, Debs was too radical
o Roosevelt called for a New Nationalism – more government regulation of business and
unions, women’s suffrage, and more social welfare programs
o Wilson pledged a New Freedom which would limit big business and big government, bring
about reform by ending corrupt and revive competition by supporting small business
• Results
o Wilson easily won the presidency
o Democrats gained control of Congress
• Woodrow Wilson’s Progressive Program
o Believed that a president should actively lead Congress, and when necessary, appeal directly
to the people to rally their support for his legislative program
o Pledged to bring back conditions of free and fair competition in the economy while he
attacked ―the triple wall of privilege‖ – tariffs, banking, and trusts
• Tariff reduction
o Passage of the Underwood Tariff substantially lowered tariffs for the first time in over 50
? Included a graduated income tax rate from 1 to 6 percent
• Banking reform
o Proposed a national banking system with 12 district banks supervised by a Federal Reserve
? Congress passed the act and ever since Americans have purchased goods and services
using the Federal Reserve Notes issued by the federally regulated system
• Business regulation
o Clayton Antitrust Act – strengthened the provisions in the Sherman Antitrust Act for breaking
up monopolies. Contained a clause exempting unions from being prosecuted as trusts
o Federal Trade Commission – agency that was empowered to investigate and take action
against any ―unfair trade practice‖ in every industry except banking and transportation
• Other reforms
o Wilson was at first opposed to an legislation that favored a particular group of people
o However, decided to extend his reform program to include:
? Federal Farm Loan Act – 12 regional federal farm loan banks were established to provide
farm loans at low interest rates
? Child Labor Act - *long favored by settlement homes* prohibited the shipment of intestate
commerce of products manufactured by children under 14
• Supreme Court found this act to be unconstitutional in the case of Hammer vs. Dagenhart
• African Americans in the Progressive Era
o African Americans were for the most part ignored by Progressive presidents and governors
o Wilson made conditions worse for black civil servants by issuing an executive order providing
for segregation in post offices and other federal buildings
o Racial segregation had been the rule in the South and in much of the north as well
o Progressive era coincided with years when thousands of blacks were lynched by racist mobs
o Progressives did nothing about it for two reasons:
? Shared the general prejudice of the times
? Considered other reforms to be more important than antilynching laws because such reforms
benefited everyone in American society, not just one group
• Two Approaches: Washington and Du Bois
• Washington’s stress on economics
o Argued that blacks’ needs for education and economic progress were of foremost
importance, and they should concentrate on learning industrial skills for better wages
o Only after establishing a secure economic base could African Americans realize their goal of
political and social equality
• Du Bois’ stress on civil rights
o Northerner with a college education who became distinguished scholar and writer
o In his The Souls of Black Folk he criticized Washington’s approach and demanded equal
rights for African Americans
o Argued that political and social rights were a prerequisite for economic independence
• Urban Migration
o People were leaving the south because of :
? Deteriorating race relations
? Destruction of their cotton by the boll weevil
? Job opportunities in northern factors that opened up when white workers were drafted in
World War I
o Depression in the 30’s slowed migration, but World War II renewed it
• Civil Rights Organizations
o Increased racial discrimination during the Progressive era was one reason that a number of
civil rights organizations were founded din the first decade of the 20th century
? Du Bois met with black intellectuals to discuss a program of protest and action aimed at
securing equal rights for blacks. Became known as the Niagara Movement
? On Lincolns birthday, Du Bois and other Niagara Movement members, and a group of white
progressives organized the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
*NAACP* Mission was no less than to abolish all forms of segregation and to increase education
opportunities for black children
? National Urban League helped those migrating from the South to northern cities. ―Not Alms
But Opportunity‖ reflected its emphasis on self-reliance and economic advancement
• Women, Suffrage, and the Progressive Movement
o Not all male Progressives endorsed the women’s movement
o Wilson refused to support the suffragists’ call for a national amendment until late in his
• The Campaign for Women’s Suffrage
o Carrie Chapman Catt became the president of the National American Woman Suffrage
Association (NAWSA)
o Argued for the vote as a broadening of democracy that would empower them…thus making
them to more actively care for their families in an industrial society
• Militant suffragists
o Some women took to the stress with mass pickets, parades, and hunger strikes
o Alice Paul broke from NAWSA to form the National Woman’s Party
? Focused on winning the support of Congress and the president for an amendment to the
• Nineteenth Amendment (1920)
o Guaranteed women’s right to vote in elections at the local, state, and national levels
o Carrie Chapman Catt organized the League of Women Voters, a civic organization dedicated
to keeping voters informed about candidates and issues
• Other Issues
o Women activists also campaigned for securing educations equality, liberalizing marriage and
divorce laws, reducing discrimination in business and the professions, and recognizing women’s
rights to own property

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