Unit Six: 1865-1900
Gilded Age Politics
As America modernized,
politics played an increasingly important role in the lives of the common
men. Diverse groups participated in the political arena as they attempted
to reform the social, political and economical problems of the newly industrial
nation. Taking its name from the novel, The Gilded Age, the era referred
to the decades from the 1870s to the 1890s where Americans struggled to battle
corruption in a morally deteriorating society.
PENDLETON CIVIL SERVICE ACT:
Because of the Pendleton Civil Service Act, political candidates were forbidden
from soliciting contributions from government workers. This act also set
up a civil service commission to prepare competitive exams and establish
standards of merit for a variety of federal jobs. In 1883, Congress enacted
a civil service law introduced by Senator George Pendleton of Ohio. Although
President Arthur was a Stalwart, he had the courage to endorse the act which
reformed the spoils system.
Chester A. Arthur:
He became president after the assassination of Garfield. This 21st president,
who served from 1881 to 1885, rose above the political corruption prevalent
during the times and headed a reform-oriented administration that enacted
the first comprehensive U.S. civil service legislation. He supported the
passage of the Pendleton Act in 1883.
Election of 1884:
James G Blaine was nominated by the Republicans, while Grover Cleveland
was the Democratic nominee. The Independent Republicans, known as "Mugwumps,"
supported Cleveland, which cost Blaine the election. The Democrats controlled
the House, while the Republicans dominated the Senate.
Stalwarts, Roscoe Conkling:
The Stalwarts, who favored the spoils system of political patronage, were
lead by New York Senator Roscoe Conkling. The battle over patronage split
the Republican party into two factions: the Half-breeds and the Stalwarts.
The two differed mainly over who would control the party machinery.
They argued with the Stalwarts on the issues of who would control the party
of machine and would distribute patronage jobs. The Half-breeds supported
civil service reform and merit appointments to government posts. They were
joined together as the Republican party, but disputes over patronage split
it into two: Stalwarts and Half-breeds.
James G. Blaine:
Blaine was a Republican Congressman, senator, secretary of state under Garfield,
and a presidential candidate under the Republican Half-Breeds, who ran against
Conkling. Blaine was considered one of the most popular Republicans of his
time, and was elemental in his party’s success in elections.
term designated dissident members of the Republican party, who, in the presidential
election of 1884, refused to support the nominee of their party, James G.
Blaine. Instead, they supported the Democratic candidate Grover Cleveland,
who was later elected. The term was first used derisively in a New York City
newspaper, the Sun.
"Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion":
At a rally on election eve, a clergyman denounced the Democrats as the party
of "Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion." Blaine failed to repudiate the remark
and the Democrats widely publicized this insult to Catholics, drinkers and
patriotic Democrats. Blaine’s mistake allowed Cleveland to obtain New York’s
Republicans preferred high tariffs, while Democrats preferred low ones. Cleveland
supported low tariffs. The Dingley tariff of 1879 increased rates to an all-time
high levels while the Currency Act of 1900 officially changed the U.S. gold
standard. The Wilson-Gorman Protective Tariff also unsuccessfully attempted
to create an income tax.
The high tariffs were feeding a large and growing budget surplus. This surplus
stood as a continual temptation to distribute it in the form of veterans
pension or expensive public-work programs, known as pork barrel projects.
Cleveland was convinced that surplus constituted a corrupting influence.
After the Civil War, veterans formed the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR)
to lobby for pensions. Veterans disability pensions cost the government millions
dollars a year, but in 1879, bowing to GAR pressure, Congress had eased the
rules for securing them. The GAR actively encouraged veterans to file claims.
Between 1888 and 1896, 90% of all the states were convinced to adopt a new
ballot like the one in Australia, which was a method of voting that listed
voter options. This was a Populist goal articulated in the Omaha Platform.
The paper ballot emerged as a dominant voting method. The secret ballot is
also known as the Australian ballot.
Charles Murchinson wrote a letter to the British Ambassador to ask how he
should vote during the election of 1888. The ambassador fell into the trap
and advised Murchinson to vote for Cleveland, rather than Harrison. The Republicans
gracefully publicized the "Murchinson Letter" as a foreign attempt to meddle
in an American election.
Cleveland’s 1887 annual address:
Cleveland focused his entire annual address message to Congress on the tariff
issue. He argued that lower tariffs would not only cut the federal surplus
but also reduce prices and slow the development of trusts. His tariff message
upset many corporate boardrooms who thought that lowering the tariff would
hurt their prosperity.
Presidential Succession Act of 1886:
This act determined that if both the President of the United States and
the Vice President both died or if they were both disqualified, there would
be a line of succession. The line started with first the president pro tempore,
secretary of state, secretary of treasury, secretary of defense, and continued.
Election of 1888, candidates, issues:
Because Blaine decided not to run, the Republicans turned to Benjamin Harrison.
Republican focused on the tariff issue. The Republicans falsely portrayed
the Democrats as advocates of "free trade," which many felt would have horrible
consequences. Harrison won in the electoral college by defeating Grover Cleveland.
Benjamin Harrison, Billion dollar congress, Czar Reed:
Harrison quickly rewarded his supporters. He appointed a past GAR commander
as commissioner of pension. In 1890, Harrison signed the pension bill that
Cleveland had earlier vetoed. The Republican Congress of 1890 became known
as the Billion-dollar Congress.
His administration enacted a higher tariff in 1897 and committed the country
to the gold standard in 1900. It generally promoted business confidence.
Probably in part because of these policies, the economy recovered from a
severe depression, and the Republicans became identified with economic prosperity.
Election of 1892:
The Republicans re-nominated Harrison, while the Democrats turned to Grover
Cleveland who was a Conservative. The Populists nominated James B Weaver
who did not did better than expected. Voters generally reacted against the
high McKinley Tariff. Cleveland’s conservative economic policies brought
him support, and he won the election.
Morgan bond transaction:
During the depression of 1893 to 1897, the gold reserve dwindled to $41 million.
Cleveland turned to Wall Street bankers J.P. Morgan and August Belmont agreed
to lend the government $62 million in exchange for U.S. bonds at a special
discount. The government then bought gold, which restored confidence in the
In order to increase the sight of the governments role in an age of towering
fortunes, this tariff became a law without the signature of approval from
Cleveland. It did have a modest income tax of 12% on all income over $4000,
but the supreme court declared it unconstitutional in 1895.
The McKinley administration furthered its conservative platform through the
Dingley Tariff of 1897, which increased rates to all-time high levels. The
Currency Act of 1900 officially changed the U.S. to the gold standard. Due
to the discovery of gold in Alaska and the prosperity of farms prices, there
was little protest against the Dingley tariff.
Gold Standard Act, 1900:
This act officially put the United States on the gold standard. It was passed
by William McKinley’s administration during a time when both the House of
Representatives and the Senate were dominated by Republicans. Subsequent
to this act, the U.S. went on and off the gold standard several times and
abandoned it in 1971.
Growing into a leading
nation, the United States hoped to further its international standing by
emulating European nations that were expanding their influence throughout
the world. During the 1870s, the U.S. "new imperialism" was directed towards
finding access to resources, markets for surplus production, and opportunities
for overseas investments. Although the U.S. did expand its influence in other
countries, it preferred market expansion to the traditional European territorial
of state William H. Seward negotiated the purchase of Alaska in 1867. $7.2
million was paid to Russia for Alaska, and it was highly contested by Congress.
Also known as "Seward’s Icebox" or "Seward’s folly," it was generally thought
to be useless, but later proved to be an excellent addition.
Pan Americanism, James Blaine:
In 1881 Secretary of State James G. Blaine advocated the creation of an
International Bureau of American Republics to promote a customs union of
trade and political stability for the Western Hemisphere. The assassination
of Garfield kept Blaine from his organization until 1889.
US mediation of border disputes:
The United States offered its aid to promote the peaceful resolution of border
conflict between a number of states. The United States also worked to bring
an end to the War of the Pacific which was fought between Chile and the alliance
of Peru and Bolivia.
Port of Pago Pago:
Restless stirrings in America were felt in the far-off Samoan Island in the
South Pacific. The U.S. navy sought access to the Port of Pago Pago as a
refueling station. The U.S. ratified a treaty with Samoa in 1878 which gave
America trading rights and a naval base at Pago Pago.
Tariff autonomy to Japan:
During the Meiji period following the collapse of the shogunate, Japan transformed,
from its traditionally isolationist feudal society into a world power, taking
on imperialistic quailites. Emperor Meiji took it upon himself to enact tariffs,
and thus, Japan controlled its own tariffs.
Hawaii’s wholesale sugar prices plummeted as a result of the elimination
of the duty-free status enjoyed by Hawaiian sugar. Facing ruin, the planters
deposed Queen Liliuokalani in Jan 1893, proclaimed the independent Republic
of Hawaii, and requested U.S. annexation. Hawaii was claimed as an American
territory in 1898.
A Chinese patrol clashed with Japanese troops on the Marco Polo Bridge near
Beijing on July 7, 1937. Using the incident as a pretext to begin hostilities,
the Japanese army in Manchuria moved troops into the area, precipitating
another Sino-Japanese war. Although the war was never actually declared.
Captain Mahan, The Influence of Sea Power: .
A Union naval officer during the American Civil War from 1861 to 1865, Mahan
served in the navy for nearly 40 years. He was promoted to the rank of captain
in 1885. The title of The Influence of Sea Power upon History, received international
recognition as a comprehensive of naval strategy.
During the late 19th
century, the industrial sectors of society rapidly expanded. Corporations
emerged, and the captains of industry created ,major industrial empires that
drastically changed the face of American business. Although many opposed
the large businesses when they hurt individuals, Americans generally favored
industrialization. Even the common man shared in the American desire to gain
wealth through the new industrial economy.
It meant non-governmental interference in business. The doctrine favors capitalist
self-interest, competition, and natural consumer preferences as forces leading
to optimal prosperity and freedom. It began in the late 18th century as a
strong liberal reaction to trade taxation and nationalist governmental control
known as mercantilism.
Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations:
In The Wealth of Nations, published in 1776, Adam Smith believed that self-interest
was an "invisible hand in the marketplace, automatically regulating the supply
of and demand for goods and services." He endorsed a laissez-faire approach
to economics and was the first to define the system of capitalism.
Carnegie decided to build his own steel mill in 1870. His philosophy was
simple: "watch the costs and the profit will take care of themselves." At
the age of 33, when he had an annual income of $50,000, he said, "beyond
this never earn, make no effort to increase fortune, but spend the surplus
each year for benevolent purposes."
UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD, CENTRAL PACIFIC RAILROAD:
The Pacific Railroad Act of 1862 had authorized the construction of the transcontinental
railroad. The Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads were joined together
to form the first transcontinental railroad in May 1869 when railroad executives
drove a golden spike into the ground at Promontory Point, Utah in order to
connect the two. It allowed Americans to travel from coast to coast in a
week; it had previously taken several months to do so.
Known as the great captains of industy and as robber barons who lined their
pockets, these captains, or villains, of industry made their money by manipulating
the stock markets and company policies. Some of these Robber Barrons were
Jay Gould, Hill, and John D. Rockefeller.
John D. Rockefeller:
He is famous for his Standard Oil Company. He had a desire for cost cutting
and efficiency. Rockefeller helped form the South Improvement Company in
early 1872, which was an association of the largest oil refiners in Cleveland,
and he arranged with the railroads to obtain substantial rebates on shipments
by members of the association.
Standard Oil Company:
The Standard Oil Company was organized in 1870 by Rockefeller, his brother
William, and several associates. In 1882 Rockefeller formed the Standard
Oil Trust. This, the first corporate trust, was declared an illegal monopoly
and ordered dissolved by the Ohio Supreme Court in 1892.
Within three years, the Standard Oil Trust had consolidated crude oil by
buying throughout its member firms. It had slashed the number of refineries
in half. Rockefeller integrated the petroleum industry horizontally by merging
the competing oil companies into one giant system.
The Standard Oil Trust had consolidated crude-oil buying throughout it members
firms and slashed the number of refineries in half. Rockefeller integrated
the petroleum industry vertically by controlling every function from production
to local retailing. He controlled all aspects of manufacturing from mining
to selling. Henry Clay Frick: Frick’s job was to manage the daily operations
of Carnegie’s company. With Frick’s great leadership, Carnegie’s steel mill
profits rose every year despite labor troubles and a national depression.
With Henry’s help, Carnegie was free to pursue philanthropic activities.
He became president of Carnegie Steel when he bought half of the company
for half a billion dollars. Therefore, he combined Carnegie’s company with
Federal Steel. After the agreement, Morgan set up the U.S. Steel corporation.
This became the first business to capitalize at more than $1 billion dollars.
Thomas A. Edison:
He epitomized the inventive impulse. An American inventor, his development
of a practical electric light bulb, electric generating system, sound-recording
device, and motion picture projector had advanced the life of modern society.
He shared the same dream as Carnegie to interconnect industry system with
Alexander Graham Bell:
An American inventor and teacher of the deaf, he was most famous for his
invention of the telephone. Since the age of 18, Bell had been working on
the idea of transmitting speech. He was one of the cofounders of the National
Geographic Society, and he served as its president from 1896 to 1904. He
also founded the journal Science in 1883. His other inventions includes the
induction balance, audiometer, and the first was recording cylinder introduced
An American Railroad magnate and a politician, he served as the Republican
governor of California and the U.S. senator from California. With Hill, he
started the Central Pacific Railroad Company, and in 1870, he founded the
Southern Pacific Railroad Company.
James G. Hill, Great Northern Railroad:
He reorganized and expanded the railroad industry in the 1870s and 1880s.
He was exemplified as a robber baron who manipulated stock markets and company
policies. He and three other partners bought the St. Paul and Pacific Railroad.
An American industrialist and philanthropist, he became associated with the
New York and Harlem Railroad in 1867, and became president in 1886. At the
same time he began to act as head of the Vanderbilt family. He founded the
Vanderbilt University. Bessemer process: The process consisted of a shot of air blasted
through an enormous crucible of molten iron to burn off carbon and impurities.
This new technology, combined with cost analysis, provided a learning railroad
experience for Carnegie. The bessemer invention offered a means of driving
up profits, lowering cost, and improving efficiency.
United States Steel Corporation, Elbert H. Gary:
Gary was a lawyer who later became president of the Federal Steel Company
in 1898. Gary was a strong foe of unions, but he introduced profit sharing
and encouraged higher wages and better working conditions. The city of Gary,
Indiana., originally a steel company town, is named after him.
Andrew Carnegie bought an ore company in the newly opened Mesabi Range in
Minnesota in 1892. The hills contained large deposits of iron ore. The Mesabi
Range is one of the chief iron-producing regions in the world. Iron production
began there in the late 19th century.
J. Pierpont Morgan:
When national depression struck a number of railroads in 1893, Morgan refinanced
their debts and built an intersystem alliance by purchasing blocks of stock
in the world of competing railroads. He also marketed U.S. government securities
on a massive scale.
Gustavus Swift, Phillip Armour:
Swift, a Chicago meatpacker, and Philip Armour turned pigs and cattle into
bacon, pork chops, and steaks. They also developed the technique of refrigerating
food in order to ship food across seas. They both won a large share of the
eastern urban market for meat.
James B. Duke:
An American tobacco industrialist and philanthropist whose career originated
with a small family business, James, along with four partners, merged to
form the American Tobacco Company in 1890. The family concentrated on cigarette
production in 1881. Within few years, James lead and dominated the national
An American financier, industrialist, and statesman, and educated at the
University of Pennsylvania, he started his career in the banking firm of
Thomas Mellon and Sons of Pittsburgh. He later became a partner and the president,
in 1902, of the firm that developed into the Mellon National Bank.
This term referred to the act of issuing stock certificates far in excess
of the actual value of the assets. Some who "stock watered" persuaded the
populace to buy up stock, but then sold the stock when prices rose, and made
a profit while ruining the business of other investors. This was during 1890
when the stock market was at an all time high.
Jay Cook Co.:
He was a Philadelphia banker who had taken over the new transcontinental
line, the Northern Pacific, in 1869. In September of that year, his vault
was full of bonds that he could no longer sell. Cook fail to meet obligation
and his bank, which was the largest in the nation, was shut down. Jay Gould and Jim Fiske: They attempted to corner the gold market
in 1869 with the help of Grant’s brother-in-law. When gold prices tumbled,
Gould and Fiske salvaged their own fortunes. Unfortunately, investors were
ruined. Grant’s reputation was tarnished and could not be restored.
Competition became so vicious that railroads tried to end it by establishing
pools in order to divide the traffic equally and to charge similar rates.
The pool lacked legal status, while the trust was a legal device that centralized
control over a number of different companies by setting up a board of trustees
to run all of them.
rebate is a partial monetary return of an amount paid. The Interstate Commerce
Act prohibited rebates for railway rates because they discriminated between
different groups. Small farmers were angered that they were required to pay
more than other interests were. This Act was passed in 1887 with the Interstate
Depression of 1873:
Early in Grant’s second term, the country was hit by an economic depression
known as the panic of 1873. Brought on by over expansive tendencies of railroad
builders and businessmen during the immediate postwar boom, the Panic was
triggered by economic downturns in Europe and by the failure of Jay Cooke’s
A holding company is a corporation that owns a controlling share of the stock
of one or more other firms. When Standard Oil faced the problem of antitrust
suits in 1892, lawyers invoked New Jersey law that allowed permitted corporations
to own property in other states by simply reorganizing the trust as an enormous
Fourteenth Amendment’s "due process clause":
The fourteenth amendment declared in its first clause that all person born
or naturalized in the United States were recognized as citizens of the nation
and as citizens of their states and that no state could abridge their rights
without due process of law or deny them equal protection of the law.
INTERSTATE COMMERCE ACT, INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION:
The Interstate Commerce Act of 1887 was passed to provide that a commission
be established to oversee fair and just railway rates, prohibit rebates,
end discriminatory practices, and require annual reports and financial statements.
The act established a new agncy, the Interstate Commerce Commission, which
allowed the government to investigate and oversee railroad activities.
Long haul, short haul:
It was cheaper to ship a long haul on the railroads than it was to ship
a short haul. Small farmers were angered that they, who made many short hauls,
were discriminated against. In the 1870s, many state legislatures, outlawed
rate discrimination as a result of protests led by the Grangers.
SHERMAN ANTITRUST ACT, 1890:
Fearing that the trusts would stamp out all competition, Congress passed
the Sherman Antitrust Act in 1890, which outlawed trusts and other restraints
of trade. Violators were fined up to five thousand dollars and one year in
prison. The Sherman Antitrust act failed to define either trust or restraint
of trade clearly. As a result, between 1890 and 1904, the government prosecuted
only eighteen antitrust suits, and it was instead used to hinder the efforts
of labor unions who acted "in restraint of trade."
Frank Norris, The Octopus:
The U.S. novelist Frank Norris, was a noted pioneer of naturalism in literature.
His novels portray the demoralizing effects of modern technology on the human
fate. His best-known works, The Octopus, published in 1901, and The Pit ,
published in 1903, attack the railroad and wheat industries in the United
New South, Henry Grady:
Henry Grady was a U.S. journalist and orator born in Athens, Georgia. He
bought share in Atlantic Constitution in 1879. As editor, he did much to
restore friendly relations between the North and South during a period of
bitter hatred and conflict. He often lectured on the concept of "The New
South," which referred to a rejuvenated south.
The Growth Of Labor
Reacting to the emergence
of big business, workers organized themselves to protect their welfare. Feeling
that they were helpless against the practices of the large corporations,
workers collectivized to gain power through their numbers. Labor Unions,
such as the National Labor Union and the Knights of Labor, were created in
order to establish forums for workers to express discontent.
National Labor Union, William Sylvis:
In 1866, acting on his dream of a nationwide association to represent all
workers. Sylvis called a convention in Baltimore that formed the National
Labor Union (NLU). The organization supported the eight-hour day movement,
but also embraced banking reform and an end to conviction labor.
KNIGHTS OF LABOR, URIAH STEPHENS, TERRENCE POWDERLY:
The Knights of labor dreamed of a national labor movement. This organization
was founded in Philadelphia in 1869, and was led by Uriah Stephens, who was
also the head of the Garment Cutters of Philadelphia. They welcomed all wage
earners, and demanded equal pay for women, an end to child and convict labor,
and cooperative employer-employee ownership. In their organization, they
excluded bankers, lawyers, professional gambler, and liquor dealers.
AMERICAN FEDERATION OF LABOR (AFL):
Confronted by big business, Samuel Gompers and Adolph Strasser put together
a combination of national crafts unions to represent the material interests
of labor in the matter of wages, hours, and safety precautions. They demanded
bargaining in labor contracts with large corporations such as railroads,
mining, and manufacturing. They did not intend to have a violent revolution
nor political radicalism.
An American labor leader, he, as president of the American Federation of
Labor (AFL), stressed cooperation between management and labor instead of
strike actions, as a means of obtaining labor demands. He led the AFL for
forty years, until his death in 1924.
The major function of unions is collective bargaining, a process by which
unions and employers negotiate terms of employment. The terms are set forth
in a written agreement that the union and the employer promise to enforce.
The AFL demanded collective bargaining in labor contracts with large corporations.
An injuntion is a court order. It was generally used against strikers. It
is an order or decree in the law of equity, requiring a defendant to refrain
from committing a specific act, either in process or threatened, injurious
to the plaintiff. Injunctions are generally preventive, restraining, or prohibitory
They were a group in Allan Pinkerton’s organization, the National Detective
Agency. They often spied on the unions for the companies. In 1877, when a
railroad strike broke out, they were called in as strikebreakers. In the
Homestead Strike, the Pinkertons fired on the strikers, killing many of them.
The closed shop is an agreement between a trade union and an employer which
is a collective bargain. It provides that employees in the bargaining unit
shall be union members and remain in good standing in the union as a condition
of employment. Many of these shops were banned by the Taft-Hartley Act of
Blacklist, Yellow Dog Contracts:
With the formation of labor unions, workers began to strike to obtain better
conditions. However, employers blacklisted employees that went on strike,
which which made getting another job later much harder. They also made employees
sign yellow dog contracts, which forced the employee to agree not to strike
or join a union.
First adapted by the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company in 1915, it was a company-sponsored
labor union that was dominated by the management. The workers wanted unions,
and they got them, but they were controlled by the management, so the company
had the final word on the labor policy.
Great Railroad Strike, 1877:
A group of railroad workers on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad rose up and
began to strike due to wage cuts. This spread up and down the railroad line
across the nation. Railroad roadhouse were torched. President Rutherford
B. Hayes sent in troops to stop the strike. 100 people died in the strike.
haymarket square riot: Strikers and police had a confrontation
while a strike was in progress on May 4, 1886, at the McCormick reaper works
in Chicago. Several protesters were shot by police the day before, and a
protest against police violence was called. The police were attempting to
break up the meeting when a bomb was thrown by a protester. A violent gun
battle ensuedin which seven police were killed. Many police and civilians
were injured as well.
John Peter Altgeld:
He served as the liberal governor of Illinois from 1893 to 1897. He was criticized
for pardoning the anarchists who threw the bomb in the Haymarket Square Riot
and for objecting to the use of federal troops in the Pullman strike. His
action was considered dangerously radical by the American public.
Called in 1892 by the Amalgamated Association of Iron, Steel, and Tin Workers,
it was one of the most violent strikes in U.S. history. It was against the
Homestead Steel Works, which was part of the Carnegie Steel Company, in Pennsylvania
in retaliation against wage cuts. On July 6, company guards and Pinkertons
opened fire on the strikers after four months of striking, killing and wounding
many strikers. The state militia dispersed the strikers.
American Railway Union:
Created by Eugene V. Debs, it was a union created in a short-lived attempt
to bring all of the railroad workers into one organization. This union was
a precursor of the union movement that followed in the 1930s. The union was
involved in the 1894 Pullman Strike.
The American Railway Union and Eugene V. Debs led a nonviolent strike which
brought about a shut down of western railroads, which took place against
the Pullman Palace Car Company in Chicago in 1894, because of the poor wages
of the Pullman workers. President Grover Cleveland interfered and stopped
the strike by saying that they had interfered with the right of the government
to maintain the uninterrupted transport of mail. Debs was arrested and the
strike was broken up.
Eugene V. Debs:
As the president and the organizer of the American Railway Union, he helped
bring about the shut down of western railroads with the 1894 Pullman Strike.
He was arrested for these actions. He also helped organize the Social Democrat
party in 1897, after meeting socialist Victor Berger. He was the party’s
presidential candidate five times: in 1900, 1904, 1908, and 1912. He later
became a lecturer and organizer for the Socialist movement.
He was the United States Attorney General from 1893 to 1897. He also sat
on the board of directors of three major networks of railroads. The General
Manager’s Association attempted to get an federal injunction from Olney against
the strikers for refusing to move cars carrying U.S. mail.
Danbury Hatters Strike:.
The Supreme Court declared in 1908, after a strike by workers in Danbury,
Connecticut, which was known for its hat industry, that unions were prohibited
from setting up boycotts in support of strikes. It was said that a boycott
was a "conspiracy in restraint of trade."
Rapid urbanization began
in the 1870s as people flocked to the cities. These urban centers quickly
crowded, and many cities became impersonal metropolises that were divided
into business, residential, social and ethnic centers. Amidst this chaos,
corruption thrived as political bosses ran the city for their own personal
gain. It appeared as if the nation was modernizing quicker than it could
deal with problems of urbanization.
George Washington Plunkitt:
A minor boss in Tammany Hall and a member of the New York State Assembly,
he was skilled in winning numerous votes for party candidates by associating
with and being kind to the people in New York. He was paid by these candidates,
and he received generous rewards.
This term, created by George Washington Plunkitt, referred to the police
corruption that took place in the Tammany Hall political machine. The practices
included paying bribes to make an individual a police officer, to get him
a promotion, or to get him to the position of a sergeant.
He was an important figure in New York’s political machine, the Tammany Society.
He held New York City and state political posts where he increased his power.
Forming the Tweed Ring, which bought votes, he controlled New York politics,
and encouraged judicial corruption.
Boss George B. Cox:
Cox, the boss of Cincinnati’s Republican political machine, had a reputation
for being one of the most honest bosses. He worked his way up the ladder
from being a newspaper boy to being the head of the political machine. In
addition, he helped with many public works in the city.
Founded by anti-federalist William Mooney, it is the name for the New York
Democratic party machine, also known as the Tammany Society, whose supposed
goal was to preserve democratic institutions. However, Tammany Hall gained
a great reputation for its corrupt practices, and was opposed by reform groups.
It began to gain power with the rise of Boss Tweed in 1868. Its leader, Alfred
E. Smith, ran for president of the United States.
A political cartoonist and caricaturist, he became an illustrator for Frank
Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper in 1855. He later worked for Harper’s Weekly.
He was best known for his cartoons slandering the corrupt Tammany ring of
New York during the period from 1869 to 1872.
The creation of electric streetcar systems allowed families to move farther
from the city’s center. Streetcar companies purchased land on the city’s
periphery and made tremendous profits on the sale of the real estate. The
streetcar system allowed people to live farther away from their work. This
facilitated the move away from the city’s center.
Built by a landlord, tenements were small housing units that were extremely
overcrowded, poorly built, and that contained filth. There was a lack of
fresh air and light in these housing units, and in addition, they were inhabited
mainly by new immigrants. The worst tenements became known as slums.
He was a labor leader who protested the increasing numbers of Chinese laborers
when California had an economic depression in 1877. With his support, he
formed the Workingman’s Party of California, which later became associated
with the Grange movement.
He was a British historian and statesman who became the leader of the Liberal
Party. He served as the ambassador to the United States from 1907 to 1913.
He was also the author of The American Commonwealth (1888), which is one
of the most discerning studies ever written on U.S. political institutions.
John A. Roebling:
Roebling was one of the creators of the suspension bridges. He also created
and manufactured steel-wire ropes which he used, along with steel cables,
in his construction. One of his most famous works was the Brooklyn Bridge
which he completed shortly before his death.
Sullivan was an American architect who used steel frames to design skyscrappers.
He was also the founder of what is now the Chicago School of Architects.
His most famous pupil was Frank Lloyd Wright, who later became a famous architect.
Together with his partner Dankmar Adler, he produced over 100 buildings.
Frank Lloyd Wright:
Wright was one of the greatest twentieth-century architect and is cosidered
a pioneer of the modern style. He began as a designer for the Adler Sullivan
firm, and he introduced many innovations, including double-glass windows,
metal furniture, and air conditioning. He created the philosophy of "Organic
Architecture." Ashcan School: This school contained a group of painters, known
as The Eight, who exhibited their style together as a group in 1908. Led
by Robert Henri, the Ashcan School focused on more contemporary subjects,
rather than on the academic and impressionist styles of the 19th century.
It was an art exhibition that took place in New York between February 17
and March 15, 1913 at the 69th Regiment Armory. It was an international exhibition
in which modern art was first shown in the United States. A quarter of a
million paid to see the show.
Comstock was a reformer, who helped organize the New York Society for the
Suppression of Vice in 1873, of which he became secretary. He was also influential
in the passage by Congress of the 1873 law concerned with obscenity in the
U.S. mails. It became known as the Comstock Law.
Jacob Riis, How the Other Half Lives:
Riis was a social reformer and writer who wrote one of the most influential,
popular, and early social documentaries in American history. He wanted to
reform tenement housing and schools. In addition, he was influential in bringing
about parks and playgrounds in overcrowded neighborhoods.
Thorstein Veblen, The Theory of the Leisure Class:
Thorstein Bunde Veblen was best known for his book, The Theory of The Leisure
Class, which was published in 1899. Introducing the concept of "conspicuous
consumption," his writing was an assault on the values and lifestyles of
the Gilded Age businessmen.
From Melting Pot To Salad Bowl
The earlier immigrants
to American consisted mainly of Northern Europeans. However, during the 1870s,
a flood of immigrants, arriving from Southern and Eastern Europe, gushed
into the already overcrowded metropolises. Many immigrants faced the dual
problems of changing cultures and migrating from a rural life to an urban
one. In addition to these difficulties, the new immigrants often faced prejudice
from nativist Americans.
They were a new group of immigrants coming into the United States that consisted
of Italians, Slavs, Greeks, Jews, and Armenians. They came from both Southern
and Eastern Europe, and also from the Middle East. In the 1890s, their numbers
first began to increase, and the numbers continued to increase for the next
three decades. Most of the immigrants came from peasant and poor backgrounds
and boosted America’s foreign-born population by 18 million. They were often
This Term applies to those migrating from Western and Eastern Europe. They
were the largest group of immigrants that migrated to the United States.
The largest group of approximately three million, came from Germany in the
1840s and 1850s. Next came the British, Scottish, and Welsh immigrants, which
totaled 2 million. In addition, one and a half million traveled over from
Ireland. All of these immigrants came over in search of jobs and of new economic
Passed by Congress in 1917in order to restrict immigration, the law enlarged
the group of immigrants that could be excluded from the United States. Literacy
tests were imposed on all immigrants, and any immigrant who could not pass
the tests was not allowed entry into the U.S.
Chinese Exclusion Law, 1882:
Passed by Congress, it was one of three laws that attempted to solve the
increasing immigration problem. There had also been increasing labor violence
against the Chinese. By this law, immigrants had to be examined, and all
convicts, polygamists, prostitutes, anarchists, persons suffering from loathsome
or contagious diseases, and persons liable to become public disturbances
and problems were all excluded form the U.S.
American Protective Association:
Founded by Henry F. Bowers, this was a secret anti-Catholic society founded
in 1887, in Clinton Iowa. The panic of 1893 greatly increased its membership,
and it supported the Republican Party until it split over the question of
whether or not to support William McKinley. It died in 1911.
The Middle Class Reform Impulse
As Americans viewed
the poverty throughout their cities, middle class Americans strove to enact
reform measures that would aid their society. Groups were formed to aid the
less fortunate Americans who inhabited the slums of the cities. Although
these citizens strove to aid their fellow man, in many cases, there was a
prevalent feeling of condecension towards the poorer classes.
Jane Addams, Hull House:
She was a social worker and a Nobel laureate. With the help of Ellen Star,
she created the Hull House in 1889 in Chicago, which was the first settlement
house in the U.S. It was a welfare agency for needy families, and it also
served to combat juvenile delinquency and to assist the recent immigrants
in learning the English language and in becoming citizens. In addition, in
1912, Addams played a large role in the formation of the National Progressive
Party and the Women’s Peace Party.
Lester Frank Ward:
Ward worked with the U.S. Geological Survey. He argued against William Graham
Sumner in his Dynamic Sociology and stated that the laws of nature could
be changed by mankind through government experts regulating big business,
protecting society’s weaker classes, and preventing the destruction of natural
It was a Protestant liberal movement led by Washington Gladden and Walter
Rauschenbusch that applied Christian principles to the numerous social problems
that affected the late 19th century United States as a result of industrialization.
The movement preached and taught religion and human dignity to the working
class in order to correct the effects of capitalism. In 1908 the Federal
Council of the Churches of Christ in America adopted a social creed that
called for many improvements in society.
He was a clergyman who was one of the leaders of the Social Gospel movement.
He sought to solve social problems caused by the industrialized society by
applying Christian principles. He also helped found the Society of Jesus
to publish periodicals for the working class.
He was a Congregationalist minister who became known for his pragmatic social
theology. He linked theological liberalism with strong social concern. He
worked with Walter Rauschenbusch as a leader of the Social Gospel movement.
In addition, he wrote 38 books, which include Working People and their Employers.
During and after the American Civil War, the laws regulating many aspects
of saloons were either reduced or eliminated. As a result, many people united
in this league in the fight against saloons. By 1916 they enacted anti-saloon
laws in 23 states and in 1917 they passed the 18th amendment beginning prohibition.
Founded by Methodist William Booth, it is a religious and charitable organization
dedicated to spreading the Christian faith and giving assistance to those
in need of both spiritual and material aid. It was founded in 1865 in England
as the Christian Mission, whose goal was to give aid to the London slums.
Sir George Williams founded this organization in response to unsanitary social
conditions in large cities at the end of the Industrial Revolution, and to
stop the young workers from gambling and engaging in other disreputable.
In the U.S., it began constructing gyms, libraries, and summer camps.
Rev. Josiah Strong:
Strong was the secretary of the American Home Missionary Society and the
minister of Cincinnati's Central Congregational Church. Afraid that poverty
was escalating, he wrote his book Our Country; Its Possible Future and Its
Present Crisis in 1885, where he stated that cities were centers of anarchy
It is a theory developed in the late 19th century by which individuals and
societies believed that people, like all other organisms compete for survival
and success in life. It was believed that human progress depended highly
on competition. Those who were best fit for survival would become rich and
powerful, and the less fit in society would be poor and the lower classes.
Many felt that this theory was expounded by Charles Darwin, but in reality,
they misinterpreted his words.
Spencer was a British philosopher, who was regarded as one of the first sociologists.
His works include Social Statics, Principles of Psychology, and A System
of Synthetic Philosophy. He created a system of philosophy that included
his own theory of evolution, but also incorporated all existing fields of
William Graham Sumner, What Social Classes Owe Each Other:
Sumner was a sociologist and author of What Social Classes Owe Each Other.
In this book, he stated that unchangeable laws of nature, such as survival
of the fittest, control all social order and they can not be changed by man.
Henry Ward Beecher:
Beecher was the pastor of the Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims in Brooklyn,
New York, who was also one of the earliest and best known abolitionists.
Also, he was an effective champion of women's rights and suffrage. He was
also editor in chief of the religious and political periodicals Independent
and The Christian Union.
Edward Bellamy, Looking Backward, 2000-1887:
He was an essayist and journalist who founded the Springfield Daily News,
and then turned toward literature. He published his most famous work in 1888,
which was entitled Looking Backward, 2000-1887. This novel was a depiction
of an ideal society in the year 2000. This novel led to the formation of
many socialistic clubs. To further publicize his views, Bellamy created the
journal, New Nation, in 1891.
Henry George, Progress and Poverty:
George was an economist and social philosopher. In his book Progress and
Poverty, he stated that land ownership is concentrated in the hands of a
few, and these people reap the benefits of the rise in value of the land.
He recommended a shift to what he called a single tax.
The Single Tax:
Developed by social philosopher and economist Henry George, it was a doctrine
of social reform where all taxation should be reduced to a single tax on
land. The doctrine was described in his book Progress and Poverty, and it
was influenced by 17th century philosopher John Locke and British economist
The Flowering Of American Culture
Along with the new social
currents of the day caused by rapid urbanization, immigration, and the growth
of business, came a fervor of cultural display. American culture diversified
as Americans saw the society around them drastically changing, causing them
to strive to express their views through various forms.
James was a writer and brother of philosopher William James. He wrote about
the impact of European culture on Americans who traveled or lived abroad.
Some of his famous writings include The Ambassadors, The Wings of the Dove,
and The Golden Bowl.
Darwin was a British Scientist who created the theory of modern evolution.
In his theory, the development of organisms came through a process called
natural selection, which is often called "survival of the fittest." His theories
were presented in his novel The Origin of Species.
Rev. Russell Conwell, "Acres of Diamonds":
Conwell was a Baptist minister who preached about ordinary man's and capitalist's
materialistic longings. He used religious virtue to justify the quest for
wealth as a Christian endeavor. This was the message in his "Acres of Diamonds"
lecture, which he gave over 6000 times.
Dwight L. Moody:
Moody was the creator of the Illinois Street Church which was later renamed
the Moody Memorial Church. Together with Ira Sankey, he began a series of
revival meetings and opened the Northfield Seminary for Young Women and the
Mount Hermon School for Boys. He also founded the Bible Institute in Chicago
Rerum Novarum, 1891:
Formulated by Pope Leo XIII, it was the Catholic social doctrine. It held
private property as a natural right, and it found fault with capitalism for
the poverty and insecurity that it left the working class in. Many Catholic
socialism movements are derived from this.
Charles Sheldon, In His Steps:
He was a Congregational clergyman and a social reformer. He was also the
author of the book In His Steps , which is the story of people who tried
to pattern their lives after the life of Jesus. It emphasized social problems
which tied it into the Social Gospel Movement.
Mary Baker Eddy:
She was the founder of the Christian Science Association and the Church of
Christ, Scientist. After a remarkable recovery from sickness, she published
Science and Health, about the fundamentals of her metaphysical system of
healing. In addition, she founded the international daily newspaper Christian
Methodists John Heyl Vincent and Lewis Miller founded this movement, which
combined daily Bible studies with healthful recreation. It later expanded
to include concerts, lectures, and courses in science and humanities. The
movement was imitated numerous times in the United States.
Johns Hopkins University:
Financed by John Hopkins, it is an institution of higher learning in Baltimore,
Maryland. It was founded in 1876. It is world renowned for its medical school
and its applied physics laboratory. Former President Woodrow Wilson received
his Ph.D. in political science here.
Charles W. Eliot, Harvard:
Educated at Harvard University, he was an assistant professor of mathematics
and chemistry there for five years. In 1869, he became the president of Harvard,
who remodeled the curriculum on a liberal basis. He created a set of books
containing 50 volumes known as Harvard Classics.
Josiah Willard Gibbs:
At Yale, he was a professor of mathematical physics for 34 years. He laid
the foundations of the modern understanding of electromagnetic phenomenon
and thermodynamics. The real importance of his studies and theoretical descriptions
of the behavior of subatomic particles have only been recently recognized.
Morrill Land Act, 1862:
Introduced to Congress by Republican Justin Morrill, the act introduced
a bill to establish state colleges of agriculture and to bring higher education
within the reach of the common people. Proceeds from the sale of public lands
were given to states to fund the establishment of these universities of agriculture
and mechanics. They were called land grant colleges and were located in the
Midwest and West. Many universities such as Michigan, Iowa State, and Purdue
profited from its provisions.
Hatch Act, 1887:
It was an act written by Representative William Henry Hatch of Missouri.
This act gave each state $15,000 a year to help establish and maintain agricultural
experiment stations. It was a supplement to the land grant colleges, which
the government in order to promte the teaching of agriculture.
Given its name by the novel by Mark Twain and Charles Dudley, it is a time
period which criticized the lobbyists, swindlers, politicians who took bribes,
and those who got rich in the postwar boom. The period was characterized
by industrial production, westward expansion, immigration, and urban growth,
as well as strikes, depressions, despair and bitterness, buoyancy and free-spending.
The span of this era ranges from the end of the Civil War, 1869, to the turn
of the century.
It was the new class of people which was created by the wealth and prosperity
generated from the industrial capitalism and the big businesses. This class
grew during the Gilded Age. Most of these people were self-made and showed
their importance through ostentatious displays. Robber barons were included
in this class.
James was a philosopher and psychologist, who came up with the philosophy
of pragmatism, which is summed up in his lectures entitled Pragmatism: A
New Name for Old Ways of Thinking. As a psychologist, he wrote his famous
Principles of Psychology which established him as one of the most influential
thinkers of the time.
Developed by William James and Charles Sanders Pierce, it is a philosophical
doctrine stating that the test of the truth of a proposition is its practical
utility, the effect of an idea is more important than its origin, and the
purpose of thought is to guide action.
E.L. Godkin, editor of The Nation:
Godkin was an editor, whose criticism in his book The Nation and New York's
Evening Post, which he edited, was influential in the reform movement. He
and others codified the standards in the Victorian era in both literature
and the fine arts. He was also a former mugwump and anti-imperialist.
William Dean Howells:
Howells was a novelist, critic, and editor of the Atlantic, who championed
authors such as Stephen Crane, Mark Twain, Frank Norris, and Henry James.
He was also president of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In his
life he wrote many works, including A Fearful Responsibility, and The Rise
of Silas Lapham.
Cranes was a writer and poet who began the use of the naturalistic style
of writing. His most famous novels include The Red Badge of Courage, Maggie,
a Girl of the Streets, and The Open Boats and Other Stories. The Black Riders
and Other Lines, and War is Kind and Other Poems are two volumes of his poems.
Garland was a short story writer who used his experiences working on farms
in Iowa and South Dakota as central themes for his countless short stories
that denounced American farm life. He published these stories under the titles
Main-Travelled Roads and Other Main-Travelled Roads.
Harte was a writer who was also the editor of the Overland Monthly, which
published many of his famous works. These stories included "The Luck of Roaring
Camp" and "The Outcasts of Poker Flat." He published a collection of his
works called The Luck of Roaring Camp and Other Short Stories. He also wrote
for Atlantic Monthly.
Twain was a writer named Samuel Langhorne Clemens, who used Mark Twain as
his pseudonym. He is characterized by his humor and sharp social satire.
His many famous novels include The Adventure of Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer,
and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.
The Gilded Age, Mark Twain and Charles Dudley: I
t is a novel written in a time when materialism and corruption controlled
the lives of Americans. It was written by Twain, and Dudley was the coauthor.
Many of the characters in the novel were recognized by readers of the book
as figures in society.
HORATIO ALGER’S BOOKS FOR YOUTH:
Alger was a writer of juvenile fiction. His novels held a theme of rags to
riches, where poor youth would win fame and money by having virtues of honesty,
diligence, and perseverance. Among his collection are Luck and Pluck, Tattered
Tom, and his most famous Ragged Dick. By emphasizing merit rather than focusing
on social status as the way to determine success, his more than 100 novels
had a major impact on the youth of that time.
James McNeill Whistler:
Whistler was an etcher and painter who was a champion of modern art. He also
incorporated Japanese styles of art and made many technical innovations in
art. He is also well known for his portraits. The White Girl and Twelve Etchings
from Nature are his most famous etchings.
One of the greatest American painters, Winslow Homer is best known for his
watercolors and oil paintings of the sea. These paintings often have great
dramatic effect because of the way they show man's powerlessness in the face
of the unfeeling and mysterious forces of nature.
Joseph Pulitzer was a large newspaper publisher. In the newspaper circulation
wars of the 1890s, publisher Joseph Pulitzer was one of the leading combatants.
His chief opponent was William Randolph Hearst. The two used every tactic,
including sensational yellow journalism, to encourage people to buy their
William Randolph Hearst:
Through dishonest and exaggerated reporting, William Randolph Hearst's newspapers
whipped up public sentiment against Spain, actually helping to cause the
Spanish-American War. Hearst was quite willing to take credit for this, as
his New York City newspaper testified in an 1898 headline: "How Do You Like
the Journal’s War?"
The Emergence Of Modern Woman
The new urban environment
fostered the growth of feminism. As millions of women began to work outside
the home, they saw themselves in a new light, and began to demand certain
rights. Many women asserted their independence by participating in social
reform movements. Along with their male counterparts, they crusaded for pressing
reforms, such abolition and prohibition.
Susan B. Anthony:
For more than half a century Susan B. Anthony fought for women's suffrage.
She traveled from county to county in New York and other states making speeches
and organizing clubs for women's rights. She pleaded her cause with every
president from Abraham Lincoln to Theodore Roosevelt.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton:
A pioneer in the modern quest for women's rights, Stanton helped to organize
a political movement that demanded voting rights for women. She was a prominent
leader in the campaign for what became the 19th Amendment to the United States
Constitution which guaranteed female suffrage.
Carrie Chapman Catt:
When Susan B. Anthony retired in 1900 from the NAWSA, she chose Carrie Chapman
Catt to take her place. Though Catt was forced to resign in 1904 due to her
husbands illness, she remained active in NAWSA and in 1915 became its president.
After this, Catt continued to play a large role in the fight for Women's
Alice Paul was a U.S. woman suffragist who was born in Moorestown, N.J. She
was imprisoned three times in England and three times in the U.S. for activities
in woman suffrage movement. She led the Congressional Union for Women's Suffrage,
later called the National Woman's party, in lobbying for the right to vote
during World War I.
Women’s Christian Temperance Union:
The Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) was founded in 1874. Partly
through their efforts, six states adopted Prohibition by 1890. It became
the nation’s first mass organization of women. Its activities included welfare
work, prison reform, labor arbitration and public health.
In 1874 a temperance crusade swept the United States. A young lecturer and
educator, Frances Willard, joined the movement, became famous for building
the Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). She soon became the president
of the newly formed union. Willard stressed religion and morality in her
Carry A. Nation:
A vehement foe of alcoholic beverages, Carry A. Nation would appear at a
saloon, berate the customers, and proceed to damage as much of the place
as she could with her hatchet. She was the scourge of tavern owners and drinkers
alike in Kansas, as well as in many other states.
Single-handedly, she organized supply depots to serve Civil War soldiers.
For four years after the war, she headed the search for missing soldiers.
In 1872 she campaigned to organize a branch of the Red Cross in the United
States. She succeeded in 1881. For 23 years she directed Red Cross work in
every great disaster.
Colleges admitting women:
By the end of the 19th century the number of women students had increased
greatly. Higher education was broadened by the rise of women's colleges and
the admission of women to regular colleges and universities. In 1870 an estimated
one fifth of resident college students were women. By 1900 this had increased
to more than one third.
Bicycling emerges as a hobby for women:
Constraints on women were loosened toward the end of the nineteenth century
when bicycling swept the U.S. Fearful of waning vitality, middle and upper-class
women turned to bicycle riding as a source of exercise, recreation, and a
way to escape the restrictive Victorian attitudes towards female physical
By the turn of the twentieth century divorce rate in the United States had
started to steadily grow. This was due to more opportunities for women which
made them less economically dependent on their husbands. An increased number
of people living in the cities also contributed to the fact that cities had
higher divorce rates than rural areas.
The Frontier West
As America expanded,
many Americans desired to move westward and cultivate new lands. Federal
government policies intended to facilitate the move westward, but it was
often at the expense of the Native Americans who already occupied the land.
As Americans continued to move the frontier farther and farther west, America
expanded across the continent.
Great American Desert:
For years, the geography of the U.S. was unknown to most Americans. Their
perceptions of western regions were drawn from descriptions left by early
travelers. Maps published prior to the Civil War often called the Great Plains
area the "Great American Desert." It was a region deemed unfit for settlement.
Homestead Act, 1862:
This act cut up Western public lands into many small holdings for the free
farmers. It was originally started by Andrew Johnson as the first homestead
bill but met strong opposition by Southern Representatives and therefore
could not be passed until the secession of the Southern States during the
Barbed wire, Joseph Glidden:
Barbed wire was invented and patented by Joseph Glidden in 1874 and had
a major impact on the cattle industry of the Western U.S. Accustomed to allowing
their cattle to roam the open range, many farmers objected to barbed wire.
Others used it to fence in land or cattle that did not belong to them.
Indian Appropriations Act, 1871:
By this act Congress decided that Indian tribes were no longer recognized
as sovereign powers with whom treaties must be made. Existing treaties, though,
were still to be considered valid, but violations continued to occur. This
lead to many conflicts, including that between the Sioux and the U.S. at
Little Big Horn.
Great Plains tribes began attacking wagon trains carrying settlers during
the 1850s. They had been angered by settlers who drove away the buffalo herds
they depended on for food, clothing, and shelter. When war would break out,
the Indians would either be defeated and transported, or a treaty would be
made in which they lost part of their lands.
The United States Army, led by Colonel John M. Chivington, attacked and
massacred the Cheyenne Indians that were settled along Sand Creek, Colorado
in 1864. At the time, the Cheyenne were being led by Chief Black Kettle,
and were attacked despite a previous agreement made with the governor.
Battle of Little Big Horn:
The Sioux refused to sell the land to the government in 1875, and refused
to leave the area to inhabit reservations. When the Sioux refused, the army
under Lieut. Col. Custer, was sent to enforce the order.In this battle the
main body of Indians, under Sioux leaders Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, wiped
out General Custer's men in 1876.
When he became chief of the Nez Perce Indian tribe in the American Northwest
in 1871, Joseph led his people in an unsuccessful resistance to white settlers
who were confiscating land. The tribe was ordered to move. Joseph agreed,
but when three of his tribe killed a group of settlers, he attempted to escape
to Canada with his followers.
Ghost Dance Movement:
As the Sioux population dwindled as a result of the federal government policies,
they turned to the Ghost Dance to restore their original dominance on the
Plains. Wearing the Ghost Shirts, they engaged in ritual dances that they
believed would protect them from harm. The ritual allowed them to reaffirm
their culture amidst the chaos.
Battle of Wounded Knee:
Convinced that Sitting Bull was going to lead an uprising, the United States
Army massacred more than 200 Indians at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, on Dec.
29, 1890. After the incident, the Ghost Dance movement which had been recently
revived by Indians rapidly died out. This event ended the conquest of the
Helen Hunt Jackson, A Century of Dishonor:
This book, by Jackson, was a discourse concerning the plight of American
Indians published in 1881. She gathered information regarding American Indians
and their lives while serving on a federal commission investigating the treatment
of Indians. Jackson also wrote Ramona concerning the same topic.
DAWES SEVERALTY ACT, 1887:
It was proposed by Henry L. Dawes, and was passed in 1887. It was designed
to reform what well-meaning but ignorant whites perceived to be the weaknesses
of Indian life-- the lack of private property, the absence of a Christian
based religion, the nomadic traditions of the Indians, and the general instability
in their way of life -- by turning Indians into farmers. The main point of
the law was to emphasize treating Indians as individuals as opposed to members
in a tribe, or severalty.
FREDERICK JACKSON TURNER, FRONTIER THESIS:
In his analysis of how the frontier, moving from east to west, shaped the
American character and institutions, Turner decisively rejected the then
common belief that the European background had been primarily responsible
for the characteristics of the United States. He also justified overseas
economic expansion as a means to secure political power at a time when America
began focusing on expanding its influence throughout the world.
Safety Valve Thesis:
This assertion stated that as immigrants came to the eastern United States
during the late nineteenth century and "polluted" American culture, citizens
of the U.S. would have the West as a "safety valve" to which they could go
in order to revitalize their pure Americanism.
One of the richest silver mines in the United States was discovered in 1859
at the Comstock Lode in Nevada. This discovery contributed to the speed by
which Virginia City, Nevada was built. An influx of settlers came to Nevada,
and Nevada granted statehood in 1864.
Reform Populism In The 1890s
Populism emerged in
the 19th century in order to reform the system from within. Creating the
Populist Party with James Weaver as their presidential candidate, the Populists
strove to bring their reforms into the political limelight. Although they
did not succeed in electing their candidate to the presidency, many of their
reforms were later enacted.
During the decade of the 1870s, U.S. farmers were beset with problems of
high costs, debts, and small profits. the farmers made their grievances known
through the Granger Movement. Membership peaked in the mid-1870s. There was
little the farmers could do concerning prices. Only in 1877 did the Supreme
Court rule that states could regulate businesses of a public nature. To counteract
unjust business practices, the farmers were urged to start cooperatives such
as grain elevators, creameries, and stores.
The Grangers in various states lobbied state legislatures in 1874 to pass
maximum rate laws for freight shipment. The railroads appealed to the Supreme
Court to declare the "Granger laws" unconstitutional. Instead, the Court
ruled against the railroad’s objections in Munn v. Illinois.
This alliance was a political organization created to help fight railroad
abuses and to lower interest rates. It called for government regulation of
the economy in order to redress their greivanes. It was founded in New York
in 1873, and consisted of the Northwest Farmers' Alliance in the north and
the National Farmers' Alliance and Independent Union in the south. They failed
to unite, however, and in 1892 gave way to the Populist party.
POPULIST PARTY PLATFORM, OMAHA PLATFORM, 1892:
The Populist party, or people's party, was a party that represented the
"common man." It was created towards the end of the nineteenth century. Some
of their goals included creating postal savings banks, enacting immigration
restriction, setting a graduated income tax and limiting the presidency to
a single six-year term. The Populist platform represented views of farmers
in the West. The Omaha platform of 1892 nominated James Weaver of Iowa for
"Crime of 1873":
This is the term given to a federal law of 1873, which adopted the gold standard
over the silver standard. This dropped silver coinage in favor of gold coinage,
by advocating free silver. This "Crime of 1873" was one of the motivating
forces behind the beginning of the Free Silver movement.
This act was passed over the presidential veto in 1878 and required the secretary
of the treasury to buy at least 2 million dollars of silver each month and
coin it into dollars. Because of its weight and bulk and the fact that it
had not been coined since 1806, most of the silver did not circulate; rather,
remained in the treasury.
Sherman Silver Purchase Act:
This act forced the treasury to buy 4.5 million ounces of silver each month..
However, the price of silver did not rise and precious gold was being drained
away from the treasury while cheap silver piled up. This act, therefore,
helped to precipitate the panic of 1893, and it caused a decrease in foreign
investments in the U.S. economy.
Bimetallism is the use of both silver and gold as the basis of an economy
as opposed to the use of one or the other or none. During the gold and free
silver campaigns of the early 1900s, the Republicans believed in a money
system based on the single gold standard, while the democrats believed in
The silverites’ most influential piece of propaganda was William H. Harvey's
Coin’s Financial School, published in 1894. It explained the monetary issue
in simplified partisan terms, denounced "the conspiracy of the Goldbugs,"
and insisted that the free coinage of silver would eliminate the debt.
This was a chiefly unsuccessful campaign in the late 19th-century U.S. for
the unlimited coinage of silver. Major supporters of this movement were owners
of silver mines, farmers, and debtors, for whom silver production would be
economically favorable. William Jennings Bryan led the democratic party to
support free silver during the 1890s.
16 to 1: During
the Panic of 1873 the world market ratio of silver to gold fell below the
ratio of 16:1 for the first time in world history. This coincided with the
opening of rich silver mines in the Western united States and also with post-Civil
War deflation. It resulted in the movement in favor of free silver and bimetallism
of the populists
Depression of 1893:
This panic swept the country two months after the second inauguration of
President Grover Cleveland. Banks closed their doors, railroads went bankrupt,
and farm mortgages were foreclosed. People hoarded gold, and the treasury’s
gold reserve was depleting. A notable cause was the struggle between the
free silver and gold advocates.
Coxey's Army, 1894:
This was actually a band of unemployed people who marched to Washington DC
during the depression of 1894 under the leadership of Jacob S. Coxey, a quarry
operator. They urged the enactment of laws which would provide money without
interest for public improvements, which would create work for the unemployed.
Repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act, 1893:
In 1893 President Grover Cleveland, who stood for the gold standard, succeeded
in having the Sherman Silver Purchase Act repealed over the strong objections
of William Jennings Bryan. However, little gold was in the treasury; thus,
the panic of 1893 could not be avoided and the crisis remained until 1896.
Ocala Demands, 1890:
These demands were essentially a platform of the Democratic/ Populist party
for the 1892 election created at a gathering in Ocala, Florida in 1890. Northern
leaders generally favored a third party candidate, while Southerners feared
that it would weaken the southern Democratic Party.
An U.S. journalist, legislator, and a southern alliance leader from Georgia,
he urged southern farmers to recognize their common plight and act together.
He was also the Populist party’s presidential candidate in 1904 and 1908,
served as a senator from 1921 to 1922, and edited The Weekly Jeffersonian,
a populist magazine.
James B. Weaver:
An United States legislator and prominent figure during the Populist movement,
he served as a congressman from 1879 to 1781 and 1885 to 1889. He was the
presidential candidate of the Greenback and People’s parties in 1892. Weaver
was also a former civil war general.
"Pitchfork" Ben Tillman:
An U.S. Populist party leader born in South Carolina, he was elected governor
of South Carolina in 1890 and 1892, and he served on the U.S. Senate from
1894 to 1912. Very progressively minded, Tillman promoted many reform programs
in South Carolina, including better public education.
Mary Ellen Lease:
She was a fiery lawyer from Wichita, Kansas who was very active in the movements
for agrarian and labor reform. She burst out on to the scene in the 1890's
as a spellbinding Southern alliance orator vehemently crying that the farmers
needed to "raise less corn and more hell."
"Sockless" Jerry Simpson:
He was an intelligent rancher from Kansas who lost his stock in the hard
winter of 1886 to 1887, and he became a major Southern Alliance leader. When
he mentioned the expensive silk stockings of a conservative politician and
remarked that he could afford no such fineries a hostile newspaper editor
named him "Sockless Jerry."
A noted United States writer and a champion of the Populist Party, Donnelly
served as an U.S. Congressman from Minnesota from 1863 to 1869. He also wrote
Great Cryptogram in an attempt to prove that Francis Bacon wrote William
WILLIAM JENNINGS BRYAN:
Despite the fact that he was defeated three times for the presidency of the
United States, William Jennings Bryan, the principal figure of the Populist
party, molded public opinion as few leaders have done. A surprise to the
public, he polled many votes during the 1896 election, which may have been
a direct result of his "Cross of Gold Speech." For many years he was the
leader of the Democratic party, and it was his influence that won the Democratic
presidential nomination for Wilson in 1912.
"Cross of Gold Speech":
William Jennings Bryan won the national Democratic convention's nomination
for the presidency in 1896 through a vigorous appeal for free coinage of
silver known as the "Cross of Gold" speech. Turning to those who wanted only
gold as the monetary standard, he exclaimed: "You shall not crucify mankind
upon this cross of gold." As a Populist, he did not support the gold standard
since it would deflate the currency, which would make it more difficult for
citizens to repay debts.
ELECTION OF 1896, CANDIDATES, ISSUES:
The presidential candidates were the Republican William McKinley from Pennsylvania,
and the Democrat William J. Bryan. The Populists also supported Bryan for
the presidency, but chose Tom Watson for the vice presidency. The Republicans
believed in the gold standard, while the Democrats believed in bimetallism
and the unlimited coinage of silver. McKinley won the election. The Populism
collapsed after 1896, but Progressivism emerged in its wake.
He was an industrialist who became convinced that the welfare of industry,
and therefore the nation, was bound by the fortunes of the Republican party.
To further his goals he waged the most expensive political campaign the nation
had ever seen to get William McKinley elected president in 1896. He also
served in the Senate.