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
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 (2007-8) • 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 Carneige • 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.
Haymarket Affair • 300,000 gathered to protest police brutality. • A striker had been killed the day before. • Someone tossed a bomb into the police line
Homestead Strike • Plan to cut wages once again and hire “Pinkerton’s” to allow the ownership to hire “scabs”. • National Guard had to be called in after workers took over the plant. • Workers lost influence after this strike.
Political Machines of the Gilded Age • “There is no denying that the government of cities is one conspicuous failure of the United States”. • “The worst government in Christendom—the most expensive, the most inefficient, and the most corrupt”.
Why so inept? • Explosion of population • Deluge of problems • New York’s population doubled five times in less than a generation given the millions of immigrants that flooded her borders.
Political Machines • An organized group that controlled the activities of a political party in a city, the political machine also offered services to voters and businesses in exchange for political or financial support. In the decades after the Civil War, political machines gained control of local government in Baltimore, New York, San Francisco, and other major cities
Organization • The machine was organized like a pyramid. At the pyramid's base were local precinct workers and captains, who tried to gain voters' support on a city block or in a neighborhood and who reported to a ward boss. At election time, the ward boss worked to secure the vote in all the precincts in the ward, or electoral district. Ward bosses helped the poor and gained their votes by doing favors or providing services. As Martin Lomasney, elected ward boss of Boston's West End in 1885, explained, “There's got to be in every ward somebody that any bloke can come to . . . and get help. Help, you understand; none of your law and your justice, but help.”
Help? • If therre’s a fire in Ninth, Tenth, or Eleventh Avenue, for example, any hour of the day or night. I’m usually there…as soon as the fire engines. If a family is burned out, I don’t ask them whther they are Republicans or Democrats, and I don’t refer to the Charity Organization Society, which would investigate their case in a month or two and decide they couldn’t help them. I just get quarters for them to buy clothes and fix them up until things are runnin’ again.”
“It’s philanthropy but its politics, too, mighty good politics…the poor are the most grateful people in the world, and let me tell you, they have more friends in their neighborhoods than the rich have in theirs… • Another thing, I can always get a job for a deservin’ man. I make it a point to keep on the track of jobs, and it seldom happens that I don’t have one up my sleeve ready for use.” • George Washington Plunkitt , Precinct Captain, Tammany Hall