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Assignment #14: Industrialization

Industrialization in the last half of the 19th century changed the United States more than any other movement.  Millions moved to cities.  Millions more came to America for the first time.  Inventions transformed the political, economic and social dynamic of the world by bringing light to cities and homes, by building bridges and skyscrapers taller than anyone had imagined and by destroying distance with huge leaps in communication and transportation.  Someone who was born in 1850 and lived to be 100 would not have dreamed possible all of the changes.  It was extraordinary, and it (industrialization) made America one of the most powerful nations in the world. 

Readings: For this assignment, I have scanned information for you to use: an Industrialization Study Guide, text notes on Industrialization & Labor Unions (AMSCO), text notes on Urbanization & Immigration (AMSCO),  and a detailed chapter on industrialization, class division, labor unions, and more titled 'Robber Barons and Rebels' (Zinn).  You will read all three along with your Chapter 18 in the text over the holiday break.  Those of you who wish to get an early start may, of course, do so.

Discussion Forum Assignment: [Read, Describe, Choose, Research, Post & Respond] Students will 1) read their assigned section and then 2) describe ten facts (or statistics, events, individuals, issues, etc.) that represent some of the main ideas of your reading.  Each should be explained in detail, not just a few sentences.  Explore each fact in depth.  Students will then 3) choose one topic from their reading to research essay.  This essay may reflect any of the issues, events or individuals related to industrialization, immigration, urbanization, labor unions or class division.  Students will then 4) use the Internet (and other sources) to research their topic and then 5) post a descriptive (and comprehensive) essay concerning their findings (primary sources are encouraged and all sources must be cited).  Use this link to cite your sources.  It's very helpful.  The primary research focus is to examine your topics impact on America at the turn of the century.  Consider the many different perspectives, dynamics and reationships to other events, issues and individuals in your writing.  Finally, students will be asked to 6) respond to another students post by explaining what you learned either a) from their essay or b) from their sources concerning their topic. 

EXTRA CREDIT - PowerPoint Assignment: [Choose, Design, Post, Review & Grade]  Students will 1) choose one of the two topics theyve researched and 2) design a PowerPoint presentation on it.  Students will then 3) post their PowerPoints to my website.  A gallery of PowerPoint presentations will be created there for peer-review over the weekend.  Students will 4) review and grade one other presentation in the forum.  You will each grade each others work by using this rubric for PowerPoint presentations and this rubric for poster-board presentations.  The following guides are also helpful in creating PowerPoint presentations:, and   Have fun!  biggrin.gif



Ashley BaldoLabor Unions


            Labor Unions began to emerge in the late 1800s and the early 1900s.  They were at first unsuccessful in their efforts to reach their goals because of the companies that they worked for and because of the laws of the country.  There were no laws at this time that helped the workers; there were only laws to protect the business owner.  So many unions were fighting for better wages and better conditions in the workplace.            One of the first labor unions was the Order of the Knights of St. Crispin; it was founded in 1867.  It was a union for shoe workers and it fought against the encroachment of machinery and unskilled workers into the jobs of the skilled shoe makers of that time.  Their movement failed because the machines and the semi-skilled workers could produce more shoes than hand sewing could produce.            Then came the Knights of Labor in 1869.  It was the first real effective labor union.  Their leader was Terence Powderly and they included all workers and all people that were producers.  They grew explosively after 1880.  They sought to achieve their goals through political and educational means, not through any type of coercion.  Then came the Haymarket Affair of 1886 and they collapsed in the wake of the anarchists bombing.            Then there was the Pullman strike organized by Eugene V. Debs.  Included in the strike was the American Railway Union, and together they staged a boycott.  The Pullman Palace Car Company had cut wages and then refused to talk to the workers union about it.  So they refused to use Pullmans cars and that led to the shutting down of their production and a lockout of the factory.  On July 5, 1894 a fire was set at the Worlds Columbian Expedition which burned down many buildings including the train station.  This prompted federal attention and action to be brought in.  First an injunction was enacted by Edwin Walker.  This was of course ignored by the strikers.  Theodore Rhodie spoke to Judge Walker on behalf of the strikers, They kept cutting me down from last fall on the same kind of work and on the same amount of work we could not make $1.25 per day out of it.  They were eventually broken up by the United States Marshals and some members of the US army as well.  In the process 13 strikers were killed while a few dozen were wounded.            One of the most memorable acts of the time that was not actually related to the workers unions was the Haymarket Affair of 1886.  On May 4th August Spies was speaking to a crowd in Des Plaines Street in Chicago, Illinois, he was not inciting anyone in the crowd.  In fact the mayor went home early after the crowds stayed peaceful.  Later in the night, however, police began to march on the speakers wagon and a bomb was thrown into their lines.  The bomb exploded killing seven officers and four workers were also killed in the ensuing ruckus.  In the end a jury concluded that the defendants brought before them, August Spies: Michael Schwab: Samuel Fielden: Albert R Parsons: Adolph Fischer: George Engel. and Louis Lingg. guilty of Murder in manner and form as charged in the indictment, and fix the penalty at Death.            Time progressed and along came the American Federation of Labors convention of 1935.  There the different labor unions, John Lewis of the United Mine Workers of America called seven other leaders from different unions to form the Committee for Industrial Organizing.  William Green the current president of the AFL saw them as a threat because they opposed the AFLs opinion that was against Industrial Organizing.  Bad feelings escalated until the Congress of Industrial Organizations formerly known as the Committee for Industrial Organizing established itself as a rival of the AFL.            The CIO was headed mostly by John Lewis.  The funds that went behind drives by different labor organizations like the United Automobile Workers and the USWA, the textile workers union, were from his original union the United Mine Workers of America.  Lewis helped play the most important role in productive and conclusive negotiations in the Flint sit-down Strike.  At its peak the CIO held about 2,850,000 members of various different organizations and unions.            These different labor organizations led to the Labor unions of today.  They all grew and expanded.  Most eventually disbanded and died out because they were unsuccessful.  Others began to learn from their mistakes and formed new unions until they found ones that would work.  Today labor unions successfully negotiate wages, working conditions, and benefits for their workers through collective bargaining.  The most influential unions are the ones that protect workers in the public sector such as teachers and police.  Though unions today do not have the membership that they once had in the eighteen and nineteen hundreds they are still influential especially in the Democratic Party.


Primary sources:Theodore Rhodies testimony: Verdict on Haymarket:




10 FactsRobber Baron and Rebels


Andrew CarnegieWhen Andrew Carnegie was seventeen, he was a telegraph technician. He later became Secretary to the head of the Pennsylvania railroad. He became a millionaire by selling bonds and stocks on Wall Street as a broker. By 1880 however, he was in the steel business and was producing 10,000 tons of steel a month. By 1900, he was making $40 million a year, but decided to sell his company to JP Morgan for $492 million dollars.  JP MorganJP Morgan, before the war, was the son of a banker who made money and commission by selling stocks for the railroad companies. During the Civil War, he would buy rifles in bulk at cheap prices, and would resell them to army general at more expensive prices for a profit. He had not been made to go into the war, because he paid a substitute $300 to go into it for him. Morgan eventually went on to form the US Steel Corporation. He had purchased it from Andrew Carnegie and had combined it with other services. He was a successful businessman who sold stocks and bonds for $1.3 billion dollars. Morgan had purchased the company for Carnegie for $492 million dollars.


John D. Rockefeller Rockefeller started out in Cleveland as a bookkeeper. Later, he became a merchant, and his money started to add up, and John decided to become involved in the rising oil industry. In 1862, he bought his first oil refinery, and in 1870 he set up the Standard Oil Company of Ohio. Secretly he would give the railroad companies rebates and discounts, and by doing this, his competitors would be thrown out of the competition. By 1899, his Standard Oil Company was a holding company that controlled other companies stocks. The capital of the company was $110 million dollars, and it made $40 million dollars a year. Eventually, Rockefeller went into banking and other industries and the fortune of the Rockefeller family is an astounding $2 billion dollars.


Grover ClevelandGrover Cleveland ran for president as a democrat in 1884. The common thought of Americans was that his disliked large corporations and privately owned dominate industries. Many industrialists were scared when he won the presidency because they thought he would try to dispose of it. He ends up however, promising that no businesses would be hurt as long as he is president.


Russell ConwellRussell Conwell graduated from YaleUniversity to become a lawyer. He was the founder of TempleCollege. He was also a minister in Philadelphia and an author of best-selling books. He had the message that if anyone tried hard enough he could become rich. Conwell delivered a very famous speech entitled Acres of Diamonds, which he delivered about 6,000 times around the world.


Chinese ImmigrantsBy 1880, Chinese immigrants were being brought in to work on the railroads. Among immigrants, economic opportunities were greatly fought over. They earned very little wages for the hard work they did, and in California alone in 1880, there were 75,000 Chinese immigrants. Many times, violent crimes were committed against these immigrants, coming to America.


Edward BellamyEdward Bellamy was a lawyer and a writer from western Massachusetts. He was a writer who wrote in a very distinct language. He wrote the book Looking Backward. This book was about a man who falls asleep and then wakes up in the year 2000. This book also describes a lot about socialism. During his lifetime, Bellamy was also a Baptist minister. He had to withdraw from the ministry because many people thought he was a secret freemason.


Terence PowderlyTerence Powderly was the leader of the Knights of Labor. He opposed the strike of the American Federation of Labor. The strike occurred on May 1, 1886. At the time of the strike, the Federation was already five years old. Terence was also the son of two Irish immigrants. He served as the mayor of Scranton and represented the Greenback-Labor Party. He fought for an eight hour work day, and wanted to rid the country of child labor.


Emma GoldmanEmma Goldman was an anarchist who advocated birth control. She was the lover of another anarchist, Alexander Berkman. Along with Berkman, she entered Henry Clay Fricks office, and planned to kill him. Goldman also wrote an autobiography, entitled Living My Life. She participated in many Homestead strikes throughout her lifetime. Emma Goldman also published an anarchist journal entitled Mother Earth.


Eugene V. DebsDebs was involved in unionism and socialism. He was also greatly involved in the Depression of 1893. Debs was from Indiana, and had worked on the railroads for many years while he was growing up. Debs formed the American Railroad Union in 1892. He did this to unite all of the workers of the railroads. Some people from the Knights of Labor joined the American Railroad Union, and eventually both groups merged together to just become the Railroad Union. Many times in his lifetime, Debs was arrested and sent to jail for crimes he sometimes didnt commit.







   Breanne CabralRobber Barons and Rebels  John D. Rockefeller           John Davidson Rockefeller Sr. was born on July 8, 1839. During his lifetime he was very much involved in industrialization and significantly impacted the petroleum industry. Rockefeller started the Standard Oil Company in 1870 and kept running it until the end of his career in the late 1890s. He had numerous stockholdings in gasoline, and reserved them until they grew. Rockefeller became the worlds richest man when the prices of gasoline soared. He was also the United States first billionaire. His net worth was $305.3 billion dollars (Source: Forbes Magazine; September- 2007.)           Rockefellers Standard Oil Company ran until it was broken up in 1911 by Federal Courts. His fortune was used for many good things. Some of his money was used to fund research for cures for diseases such as yellow fever. Before his death he set up many foundations for medicine and education. After he died, his son, John Rockefeller Jr., was in charge of most of these foundations.           The Standard Oil Company of Ohio was founded in Cleveland. It was Clevelands most successful oil refinery. The funding of the company was provided by from the profits Rockefeller made from secret dealings with railroad companies. Once the company was up and running, it began to control almost all of the oil in America. At the companys peak, it controlled 90% of the kerosene market. When the country was broken up in1911, it was split up into 34 different companies. One eventually went on to become Exxon, and Standard Oil was changed into Sohio.           Throughout his lifetime, Rockefeller was always a very generous person. With his first check, he donated 10 percent of it to his church. As he earned more and more money, he would donate larger amounts of it to education and medicine funds. He also believed in the Efficiency movement. He stated, To help an inefficient, ill-located, unnecessary school is a is highly probable that enough money has been squandered on unwise educational projects to have built up a national system of higher education adequate to our needs, if the money had been properly directed to that end." (Source:           When giving contributions and donations, Rockefellers main interests was African American education and churches, especially Baptist. He became one of the first wealthy men to put his money into medical research, although many financial advisors advised him not to. He founded the Rockefeller institute for Medical Research in 1901. He also donated money to Harvard and YaleColleges. He gave a total of $250 million dollars to his medical foundation, and also set up PekingUnionMedicalCollege. He provided funds for World War I medical aid. His donations to his medical funds, and contributions elsewhere such as to charities totaled near $550 million dollars.          John D. Rockefeller, a man of a humble beginning is just an example of a man who started out with nothing and ended up with a large corporation. Even later on in his life, he is grateful for what he receives. Upon receiving presents from his son, John Rockefeller Jr., he writes a letter to his son thanking him. (January 18, 1909) I did not feel that I could afford such luxuries, and am grateful for a son who is able to buy them for me. Be assured that they are much appreciated. Mother unites with me in thanking you.(Primary Source:          Rockefeller is true inspiration for Russell Conways quote if anyone tried hard enough he could become rich. I believe he truly helped set up many jobs for people coming to America through his Standard Oil Company, and from the millions of dollars he donated, he helped pave the way for modern medicine in the 20th century. He was an industrialization mogul who impacted America in more ways than a normal person could ever envision.  Sources:Wikipedia-John D. Rockefeller SearchJohn D. Rockefeller



From reading Ashley's essay, I learned about when and how the first labor union in America were founded. I also learned about why at first, they didn't seem to be working out. For example, the laws of the United States didn't prohibit strikes and many workers were probably afraid of the consequences such as being jailed. Also, I learned more about Terence Powederly and how he formed the Knights of Labor.



10 Facts1.        Andrew Carnegie manufactured a major steel company that outdistanced his competition, Carnegie Steel Company. Andrew and his partner Henry Clay Frick were having some disagreements that ended in Andrew buying Frick out. Andrew wanted to pursue philanthropy so he sold his company to J.P. Morgan and his new partner, Frick for $500,000,000.  The company became known as United States Steel and it was not only the 1st billion-dollar company, but the largest enterprise too. 2.        Between 1865 and 1900, many thousands of immigrants supplemented the labor supply. The earlier immigrants called old immigrants, were from Northern and Western Europe, specifically the British Isles, Germany and Scandinavia and most had a high level of literacy. Immigrants before and up until World War 1 were called new immigrants, and they hailed from places in Southern and Eastern Europe. These immigrants were the Italians, Greeks, Croats, Slovaks, Poles and Russians and many of them were illiterate and poor. Some people, called birds of passage, immigrated so that they could make money to bring back home to their families. Immigrants brought a new wave of cultures that added to Americas diversity. Amsco book3.        In 1869, congress gave land grants to build the 1st transcontinental railroad connecting California with the Union. The Union Pacific tracks joined those of the Central Pacific Railroad to link the Atlantic states to the Pacific states. Four other transcontinental railroads were built before 1900. The Southern Pacific, connected New Orleans and Los Angeles and the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe, connected Kansas City with Los Angeles. {Funny how that one doesnt link any city in its title} Also the Northern Pacific connected Duluth, Minnesota and Seattle, Washington and a nameless one that connected St. Paul, Minnesota with Seattle. Amsco book  4.         Social Darwinism is not really philosophical and not really religious but nevertheless a view from                Herbert Spencer about Charles Darwins survival of the fittest and natural selection. Herbert was an English social philosopher was an influential Darwinist. Another Darwinist argued that help for the poor was misguided because it interfered with the laws of nature. That American Darwinist was Professor William Graham Sumner of Yale University. Amsco book5.        There were many useful as well as necessary inventions in this period. In 1844, Samuel F.B. Morse created the 1st workable telegraph and 20 years later, after the Civil War, Cyrus W. Field improved the transatlantic cable so people could send messages across the seas extremely fast. In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell created the greatest communication device, the telephone. Thomas Edison established a laboratory to create new technologies. Some of the inventions that he and his team created were the phonograph, the incandescent lamp and the motion picture camera, among others. Amsco book6.        Many women at the beginning of the 20th century were working for wages. About 5% of married women were working jobs besides domestic ones. Most factory opportunities for women were in the textile, garment, and food-processing industries. So working in the factories was like doing domestic work at home, but being mass-produced. There were also many teachers, nurses, and even a handful of doctors. Women even replace men in some occupations, but got lower wages. Amsco book7.        Ethnic neighborhoods were created when immigrants in tenement houses started to make new lives where they could maintain their own cultures. Each one of these neighborhoods consisted of a social club, a church, and a school and some even had a newspaper. These neighborhoods allowed immigrants to stay connected to their cultures. Their children born in America would have two different cultures. I think this is how we have people who have many different cultures to study. Amsco book8.        In the 20th century there were many changes and advances in education. Early-childhood education was becoming a common interest thanks to an idea borrowed from Germany, kindergarten. Reading, writing, and math, {then called arithmetic} and the laws in McGuffeys readers were taught in elementary school. And speaking of elementary school, new laws were created to increase the number of children attending school. Colleges changed too, more were created and the existing ones were made better. Colleges for women and coeducational colleges were created. As the new president of Harvard, Charles W. Eliot lessened the number of required courses and added electives. This is also the time when fraternities and sporting events between colleges began occurring. Amsco book9.        Music became very popular in cities in the 20th century. African Americans were the main innovators of most of the music we have today. Two musicians in New Orleans introduced the world to jazz, which is still extremely popular today. {My dad loves it} Ragtime and blues music from the South also became popular even in the North. Without the efforts of these African American musical geniuses, we would be listening to somebody down the street trying to sing. Amsco book10.     Work hours being cut and better transportation were some of the factors that promoted the enjoyment of amusements. Phineas T. Barnum and James A. Bailey created the still majorly popular circus, The Greatest Show on Earth. Actors performed in local theaters often in comedies and dramas. Sports such as baseball, football, basketball, and boxing became popular to watch. Professional baseball and boxing became popular while basketball was played in high school, college and in a professional league.  Most children played jumping jacks, card games, with kaleidoscopes, and baseball. For the girls, dolls became very popular this century. Amsco book Working Women

     During the late 19th century, many job opportunities opened for women. 95% of married women stayed as the keeper of the house and did domestic duties. Some of these duties consisted of ironing, doing laundry, and sewing clothes for the family. Some jobs in the kitchen were cooking 3 times a day, preserving vegetables and fruits, keeping fire on the wood burning stove and fetching water. One of the most important tasks will never change, taking care of the children. Young, single women and the 5% of married women that worked outside the home had different choices of jobs. Many women became teachers and nurses while a handful became doctors. Some women worked in the textile, garment, and food-processing factories and a select few became architects. Surprisingly, women began to fill male occupations such as secretaries, early librarians, typists, and telephone operators. One downfall of workingwomen was that they got lower wages and salaries. Women of this time period enjoyed higher education and newer fashions. Much like todays fashions dresses with bustles, and nipped waists and yards of heavy fabric and lace could be found in magazines. One popular, yet uncomfortable and potentially dangerous item of clothing was the corset. Doctors spoke against it and made theories about all the damaging effects it had on womens bodies. Increased pressure of the internal organs and of the nervous system due to blood flow to the head was a common one. Wearing corsets is said to cause broken ribs, collapsed lungs, displacement of the liver, and personality changes. When women were finally admitted to colleges, they were to womens only colleges, than later in the century there were coeducational colleges. Throughout all these advances in women becoming part of society outside the home, they were not treated equal for most of it. These women got paid less than male workers for doing the same work. Women were not exempt from spreading diseases of the time and about 5 out of a 100 women would die from tuberculosis by their 30th birthday and 8 out of 100 by the time they were 50. Nowadays women can work wherever they want at any job and get the same pay as a man. They can get promoted above a man and be a mans boss. Women today have longer life expectancies like a woman on the news today is celebrating her 100th birthday. Try living that long 2 centuries ago! Amsco book



Inventions and Innovations

By: Christopher Amaral

During the 19th and early 20th century scores of inventions and innovations were developed. Between the years 1860 and 1890 over 440,000 patents were granted by the U.S. government. Many of these inventions included the sewing machine (1855), the internal combustion engine (1858), the bicycle (1861), the machine gun (1862), and many others. Among these thousands of inventions many stand out as technological marvels and are still in great use today.

One of these inventions being the typewriter (which were widely used until the invention of the modern computer), which was patented in 1868. Invented by Christopher Latham Sholes with partners S. W. Soule and G. Glidden, this invention became the most significant everyday business tool prior to the computer. The earliest typewriters had one major flaw, and that was due to the sluggish action of the type bars, they tended to jam frequently when people typed quickly. To solve this problem James Densmore told Sholes that he should space apart common letter combinations on the keyboard so it would take a longer time to type. This hunt-and- peck method ensured that each type bar had time to fall back sufficiently far to be out of the way before the next one came up. In 1878, the No. 2 machine was introduced. It typed both upper and lower case, using a shift key. The type writer continued to be widely used by businesses and in the home as well until well into the 1970s when the first personal computers were developed.

Another great invention was Alexander Gram Bells telephone. Prior to the telephone the telegraph was widely used sending messages in Morse code over electrical lines to be deciphered by someone on the other side. This method though useful and effective was basically limited to receiving and sending one message at a time. After months of research on his harmonic telegraph, he heard the first sound ever sent over electrical wires (it was a twanging clock spring) in 1876. The success of Bells telephone took the public by storm. By the end of 1880, there were 47,900 telephones in the United States. with many more coming in the following years. Even in todays society the telephone is a crucial part of communication (only in recent decades adopting the chord-less telephone and the cell phone) in any business from huge fortune 500 companies to small mom-and- pop stores.

And finally one of the most important inventions of the 19th century and clearly the most important invention in improving transportation is the Automobile. The first autos were steam driven and not very effective, the first being invented in 1769 by Nicolas Joseph Cugnot. Then in 1886 Karl Benz invents a practical automobile that utilized the internal combustion engine for propulsion. However it was until 1908 when Henry Ford using his assembly line method, produced and sold the first model T Ford. The use of the assembly line made the cars more affordable and therefore very popular with average Americans who couldnt afford the more expensive automobiles being produced at the time. Nearly 15,500,000 (model Ts) were sold in the United States alone. Fords technological innovation heralded the beginning of the Motor Age that still goes on today. In 2007 over 987,152 cars were sold in the U.S. alone which shows the overwhelming contribution made by the early auto makers like Karl Benz and Henry Ford.



Industrialization and Labor Unions

Ten Facts:

The industrial boom of late 19th century America was largely due to the countrys vast natural resources. During this period many metallurgy businesses changed from organic fuel like wood, to burning fossil fuels like coal and later oil. The coal was also used in gas lighting, a new innovation which used the purified gas (removal of sulphur, ammonium, and heavy hydrocarbons) from burned coal to use in household and street lamps. The use of oil was

During this time many new inventions and scientific innovations were developed. During the years 1860 and 1890 over 440,000 patents were granted by the U.S. government. Thomas Edison invented many inventions including the Disc Phonograph, Electric Generator, Electric Lamp, Electric Light and Power System, Wax Cylinder Phonograph, ect. In 1838 Samuel Morse invented Morse code which created easy to decipher messages across electric wires which ran across the country, greatly improving communication. Many inventions like the typewriter, the stapler, the fountain pen, and especially the internal combustion engine improved business efficiency.

The influx of foreign immigration gave American businesses a huge supply of (easily exploitable) workers. After very little foreign immigration during the civil war era, the numbers soared to 11.7 million recorded as immigrating to the United States. This rise in unskilled labor although contributing greatly to American corporations, also gave way to anarchistic movements and strong labor unions which contributed to events like the Haymarket bombing and the homestead strike.

The gilded age produced a large number of new wealth (compared to other eras) like Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, and Cornelius Vanderbilt, while also creating a staggering under class of working poor at the lowest rungs of society. However this mammoth gap between the classes made way for a growing middle class who operated many times in middle management positions to put a firmer and more direct level of control over the company operations.

Transportation through the use of railroads boomed at this time. Prior to this period there were only 2,000 miles of track in 1850--by 1877 there were nearly 80,000 miles in use. Thisvast increase of railroads opened the door for an expanded market as goods from the resource rich west reached factories and processing plants in the East. One of the biggest names in the business was Cornelius Vanderbilt who after making a fortune in shipping bought out the Eerie, Lake Shore, Michigan Southern, the Canadian Southern, and the Michigan Central creating one of the largest corporate monopolies in the country.

The National Labor Union (NLU)was the first attempt to organize all workers in all the states - both skilled and unskilled. This movement was created in 1872 and was led by William H. Sylvis and was created largely to combat the appalling working conditions many poor workers faced, extremely long work days, and the protection of workers rights (including somewhat those of women and African Americans). Although the NLU was not very effective it did help to push for an 8 hour work day and somewhat influenced president grant to propose a bill prohibiting the lowering of wages (which was rejected by congress). The organization was then dissolved in 1872 due to the national depression during the 1870s.

The Gilded and progressive ages gave way to many self made millionaires who rose to be some of the most powerful men in the nation. Cornelius Vanderbilt (as stated before) started off in the shipping industry gradually and skillfully seizing every financial opportunity that came his way. Eventually his business sense made him the head of the largest railroad monopoly in the country amassing a fortune of over 100 million dollars. Andrew Carnegie born a poor Scottish immigrant moved to America with his family in 1848. He founded a company called the Pittsburg Steel Comp. (later called U.S. Steel) and implemented a business technique in which the company controlled every part of manufacturing from getting the raw materials to distribution. At the time of his retirement he sold his company to J.P. Morgan for 480 million dollars ( $120 billion in 2007 dollars) of which Carnegie received $225,639,000.

During this period American industry began to use other resources for fuel like coal and oil. The trust established by J.D. Rockefeller, William Rockefeller, Henry Flagler, chemist Samuel Andrews, and a silent partner Stephen V. Harkness established a strong foothold in the U.S. and other countries in the transportation, production, refining, and marketing of petroleum products. and attempted to make money on the home lighting market, converting whale oil to kerosene.. The invention of the automobile and Henry Fords model T (which became widely used in 1907) sent profits soaring as demand for gasoline spiked drastically. The trust later came under fire when the federal Sherman Anti-trust act was passed forcing the company to split.

The Gilded age in America is usually associated with big business owners, new wealth, and prosperity. However, a lot of that wealth was gained through corruption and behind the curtain deals. One example is the Credit Mobilier, where major stockholders in the Union Pacific Railroad formed a company, the Credit Mobilier of America, (which) gave it contracts to build the railroad. the shares of this company were given to influential congressmen in exchange for approving federal subsidies to build the railroads. Other examples of corruption can be seen in the Whisky Ring Scandal, the Tweed Ring, and many others.

The Haymarket bombing which occurred in Chicago on May 4, 1884 started out as a peaceful demonstration for workers rights, where many Knights of Labor Union members and anarchists were present. Although the demonstration was a peaceful one the police ordered the crowd to disperse. When the protestors refused the police walked in formation toward the crowd. As the officers approached a bomb was thrown at the police line killing seven officers (and several demonstrators in the proceeding gunfire from police). The event tainted the labor movement and the Knights who were the most visible union in the nation lost a lot of its popularity and members.



10 Facts, People, Statistics, etc.

1)      Panic of 1893 It was the worst time the country had economically up to that point.  Its major cause was because people were exchanging notes for gold until the government had reached its maximum, and then they couldnt be redeemed for gold any more. At the peak of the Panic the unemployment rate was between 17-19 percent.

2)      Andrew Carnegie Was a Scottish immigrant who made his fortune in the steel industry. He was considered one of the Captains of Industry.  Carnegie also gave away much of his fortune not only when he was alive but he also gave away 30 million dollars after his death. He eventually sold his steel company to JP Morgan.

3)      James Garfield James Garfield was the twentieth president of the United States. He had been a general in the U.S. Army, and a Representative before being elected President. He was only in office for 4 months before he was shot. He eventually died from his wounds 2 and 1/2 months later.

4)      Baseball Baseball was initially introduced in the 1860s on a minor league scale. However the National League (1876) and American League (1901) were founded much later. The 2 sections were rivals until 1903 when they decided on incorporating a World Series.

5)      Railroad Strike of 1877 The Railroad Strike of 1877 began in West Virginia on July 14, 1877. It lasted for over 45 days and was only put down after federal and state troops got involved.

6)      Jay Gould Jay Gould was a leading developer for the Erie Railroad Company. He was also involved in panic of Black Friday in 1869. Although he made money on the endeavor he completely obliterated his reputation and he eventually lost all of the profit in the lawsuits following the scandal.

7)      JD Rockefeller He is often thought of as the richest man in US History and was reportedly the first billionaire in the United States. He made his money in the oil business and he was the founder of Standard Oil Company.  He also gave a lot of money to scientific research, education and advances in medicine.

8)      Henry Ford Henry Ford was the founder of the Ford Motor Company. He is also considered the father of mass production and the implementation of assembly lines. The introduction of the automobile completely revolutionized American transportation forever.

9)      Ellis Island Ellis Island is most noted as the main entrance to the country that most immigrants passed through during the nineteenth century. It is also the location of the Statue of Liberty National Monument. 

10)   Samuel Tilden He was a major contender in the election of 1876 which was highly disputed due to the 20 lost electoral votes that were awarded to Rutherford B. Hayes in order for the Democrats to meet many of their goals in the South without Republican assistance.

Dan S.


Sherman anti-trust act -1890

            The Sherman Anti-trust Act of 1890 was the first action by the U.S. government to limit monopolies.  It was An Act to protect trade and commerce against unlawful restraint and in addition made it illegal to restrain foreign or interstate trade commerce via either combination or conspiracy.  It was authored by Senator John Sherman who was an Ohio Republican and also Secretary of Treasury and Secretary of State under two Presidents, and was signed by President Benjamin Harrison.  It was passed in the Senate by a vote of 51-1 and in the House by a unanimous vote.  It was created with the intention of prevention of the specific restriction of supply or trade to raise prices of goods and not specifically to prevent one company from dominating an industry.  Due to its wording being vague many companies used the loophole created form it arguing that it targeted matters in commerce and not manufacturing.

Socialist Labor party 1877

            The Socialist Labor Party of America is the first and oldest socialist party in the U.S. established in 1876 and then renamed from Workingmen's Party of America to the S.L.P.  It focuses on the teachings of and advocates for Karl Marx and Marxism.  Despite being small in membership it had influence in organizing some unions among foreign workers.  Many anarchists were associated with the party but eventually broke away in 1881 and formed the RSLP, Revolutionary Socialist Labor Party.  Later in 1890 the party came under the leadership of Daniel De Leon who changed the official language of the party to English and was also once approved by Lenin himself.  In 1901 people from the party defected and joined Eugene Debs Social Democratic Party to create the Socialist Party of America.

Interstate Commerce Commission

            The ICC was created by the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887 and was meant to regulate railroads to ensure fair rates and abolish rate discrimination.  The Act gave the commission the power to decide what the maximum reasonable rates would be and required that they be published.  Despite this power given to it lacked the power of enforcement so in the early years it had much trouble until the early 20th century where it gained these necessary powers to protect public interest. 

National Labor Union

            The National Labor Union was the first national labor federation to try and organize all workers in all states in the U.S. lasting from 1866 to 1870s.  Its goals were that of higher wages, the eight hour workday, equal work rights for women and blacks, monetary reform, and worker cooperatives.  It favored arbitration over strikes and at its height had 650,000 members.  Its decline was in part due to the depression beginning in 1873 and unsuccessful strikes in 1877.

Knights of Labor

            The Knights of Labor aka Noble and Holy Order of the Knights of Labor was established in 1869 by a couple of Philadelphia tailors led by Uriah S. Stephens.  The interest of this organization was to demand and end to child and convict labor, equal pay for women, a progressive income tax, and a cooperation of ownership between employers and employees of mines and factories.  It began in secret at first to protect its leaders but went public and open to all workers in 1881 and rapidly grew then reaching its height in 1886 to 730,000 members.  However it was loosely organized and could not be controlled everywhere where it was.  Membership rapidly declined after the Haymarket riot stained their name.

Haymarket Bombing

            The Haymarket riot happened on Mayday May 4, 1886 in Chicago, the first Mayday labor movement.  Of the participants in the event were 80,000 knights of the Knights of Labor organization accompanied by around 200 anarchists living there.  The people there were calm during the time there and the knights were speaking on a general strike to achieve an eight hour workday.  But as the police were trying to break up this public meeting it is alleged that an anarchist threw a bomb killing seven police officers.  The police attacked back killing at least four workers and injuring others.  The suspected anarchists leaders were later tried and hung despite that fact that the real bomb thrower was never found.

American Federation of Labor

            The AFL was founded by Samuel Gompers in 1886 in Columbus, Ohio and was the largest union grouping in the United States for half of the twentieth century having one million members by 1901.  It was formed by and dominated by craft unions through most of its existence and focused on attaining practical and reasonable economic goals.  Unlike other organizations it did not seek to reform society but sought after the basics: higher wages and improved working conditions.  It practiced walk-outs and collective bargaining as its methods of protest.

Antitrust movement

            The trusts that were formed before the 1880s came under scrutiny and attack in fear of what they could do.  Many middle-class citizens feared the power that these trusts and the mega-wealthy people controlling had and what would happen if they were left unchecked.  Many reformers began to try and make a change on the local and state level at first but were unsuccessful and so moved higher up.  They went to the federal authorities to do something on the situation and were successful in getting Congress to pass the Sherman Antitrust Act in 1890.  Despite even doing this there were flaws in the Act itself mainly being its vague wording which made loopholes for the trusts and companies.

Watered Stock

            Watered stock is an asset with an artificially inflated value.   An example of this is that of Jay Goulds, a speculator, where he would go into the railroad business for a short time to get a quick fortune by selling off the businesses assets and watering their stock by inflating the value of their assets and profits and then selling them to the public for millions.  So the company or business would have assets worth so much but on paper it would be worth more since they didnt have enough to back it up yet in assets.

Standard Oil Trust

            This company and trust was first established by John D. Rockefeller and would eventually control most of the nations oil refineries eliminating almost all competition.  It was created in 1863, four years after the first U.S. oil well was drilled, and he took charge of the industry by employing the latest technology and business practices.  These practices included extorting rebates from railroads companies and cutting prices of oil temporarily dramatically low to drive out and destroy other businesses in a certain area one at a time.  Through this method they were forced to sell out to his company and by 1881 controlled ninety percent of the oil refinery businesses putting him in control of the oil industry.  With this he used horizontal integration, bringing all the leaders of the conquered businesses under one roof and creating a trust, and thus regulated the price and production of oil which created his retirement fortune of 900 million dollars.      



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Posts: 6

hi you there guys !
you share pure interesting information, thank you
as a matter of fact i would like to use it in my essay
does any body have any objections ???



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Posts: 6

i would say you obviously can, why not! the author made it to public
Just one prevention make sure you ve cite it right)

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