The Gilded Age in American History Industrialization, Immigration, and the expansion of Capitalism
Explosion of Industry Three significant events spur Industry • Edwin Drake successfully used a steam engine to extract oil. This began an oil boom. • Bessemer Process:. Bessemer developed a process to make a flexible rust proof metal—Steel. • Mesabi Range: huge iron discovery in the Mesabi Range of Minnesota
Two Manifestations? • Gilded Age West—Frontier, Populism, and Native American Removal • Gilded Age East—Worker abuse, Robber Barons, and Financial turmoil.
Dealing with Labor • Replacing muscle with steam and electricit • Steel processed at 3-5 tons per day (increase of 15x from 1860) Today 5 tons takes 15 minutes! • Steel: 1880-1,000,000 tons • Steel: 1900-25,000,000 tons • 1900 there was 193,000 miles of rail…up from 30,000 in 1860. • Farming—it took 61 hours to cultivate an acre of wheat…in 1900 it took 3 hours! • Mining—in 1860 14,000,000 tons were mind. By 1884 that number was now 100,000,000 tons with ½ the workforce.
Gilded Age Cities • New York • 1860: 800,000 • 1900: 4,000,000 • Chicago: • 1860: 110,000 • 1900: 2,000,000
Key Inventions • Thomas Edison—what didn’t he invent? Electrical devices, communication devices, and light. • Gustavus Swift: ice cooled railway car to transport food • James Duke: Cigarette rolling machine…1,000 cigarettes versus 100,000. Duke University
Crooked politics • Edison promised every legislator $1,000 gift for favorable legislation. • Jay Gould spent $1,000,000 in 1 year bribing the Congress. • Central Pacific (Gould) spent $200,000 bribing Congress for rights to 9,000,000 acres of free land. • Gould charged Congress $79,000,000 to build a railroad that cost $24,000,000. • Graft!
Finance • JP Morgan…an auspices beginning. Rifle story. • Loans to fuel industry were vital. • Stock sales becoming vital. • 1895: US ran out of gold to back currency. JP Morgan lent them the gold in exchange for bonds that they immediately resold for a 50% profit!
Competition • Businesses sought to crush one another. • Rockefeller and Carnegie—Monopoly Politics • Rockefeller eventually created a $2,000,000,000 empire valued at nearly 100 times that figure in today’s currency. • Morgan bought US Steel for $492,000,000 from Carnegie and created a global monopoly on steel.
Inventions promote change: Edison Edison Inventions • Thomas A. Edison—remarkable statistics about his invention prowess! • Incandescent Light • Production and distribution of electricity
Inventions change lifestyles • Christopher Sholes invented the typewriter in 1867 • A. G. Bell invented the teleophone in 1876 • These two innovations changed the way business had done and the role of women in the workplace.
The Age of the Railroads • Transcontinental Railroad opened: May 10, 1869
Railroad Innovations • In order to standardized travel and make it more convenient and efficient. The rail industry pushed the new innovation of using time zones to standardize travel.
Multiplier Industry • Railroads promoted other industries: • Mining • Steel • Coal • Car and line construction
Growth of Towns • Rail needs towns to sponsor lines and preserve order and stability along the route. • Industry and packaging became boom industries along the rail. • Growth of Chicago
Pullman, Illinois. • The people in the town built a factory for building sleeping cars. • Pullman provided all of the basic needs. • Prices were high rules were strict. • .
Regulating Railroads • A major goal of Populist Age • Farmers angry with abusive land grants, inconsistent rates, and high discounts for large shippers (none for small farmers) • Saw victory in the case of Munn (and Wabash) v. Illinois • Interstate Commerce Act of 1887-reinforced the power of the Federal Government to regulate interstate commerce.
Panic of 1893 Causes Outcomes • Railroad co. financial problems—collapse of Reading Railroad. • Currency problems • Credit shortage (2007-????) • 15,000 businesses closed • 600 banks • 74 railroads • Est. 20% unemployment-4,000,000 lost jobs
Rise of Big Business and Labor • No one defined the age like Andrew Carnegie • One of the first “titans” of Industry (Robber Barons) to build an empire of wealth. • True “Rags to Riches” story • Steel magnate
The Gospel of Wealth • Carnegie and Rockefeller both created endowments that gave away nearly 1 billion dollars (at that time). • “Wealth is like a stinking fish” Carnegie • Most of their money went to things to better humanity such as universities and libraries.
Social Darwinism • Philosophy of Herbert Spencer • Built on books by Horatio Alger
Social Darwinism • Riches were a “sign of God’s favor, and therefore the poor must be inferior or lazy people who deserved their lot in life” (text-449)
John D. Rockefeller • Led to creation of trusts…competing companies who joined together in trust agreements run by a board of trustees as one large corporation. • Rockefeller’s Standard Oil-controlled 90% of oil refinery in the US. • Charitable acts from this “robber baron”
Regulating Business • Sherman Anti Trust Act • Made it illegal to form trusts • Prosecution very difficult. • Courts dismissed most attempts.
Emergence of Labor Unions Strategy Plight of Labor • As business leaders consolidated and united, labor began to do the same. • Labor faced severe hardships: • Long work days • Dangerous conditions • No benefits • Risk of injury and death • Role of women and children
Two types of Unions Skilled Unskilled • This group had more bargaining power. • Craft unions such as the AFL • Had less bargaining power. • Example: The Knights of Labor Results? • Work week shrank and the pay increased between 1890 and 1915
Socialism and the labor movement • Big Bill Hawyood and the IWW. • “Wobblies” based their ideas off of those of Karl Marx.
Strikes and Violence • Purpose of a strike? • Examples of significant strikes. • Great Strike of 1877 • Haymarket Affair • Homestead Strike
Great Strike of 1877 • The Great Railroad Strike of 1877 began on July 17, 1877, in Martinsburg, West Virginia. Workers for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad went on strike, because the company had reduced workers' wages twice over the previous year. The strikers refused to let the trains run until the most recent pay cut was returned to the employees.