What defined the Gilded Age? Are we in a Gilded Age today? Part 1: introduction the Second Industrial Revolution

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Page 53

What defined the Gilded Age? Are we in a Gilded Age today?

The Second Industrial Revolution in the United States (from about 1865 to 1900) is considered the Gilded Age (explained further on page 473). The word ‘gilded’ means covered in gold. Mark Twain introduced this term to describe the easily recognizable wealth and accomplishments that covered up the larger problems of poverty and corruption.
Based on what you read on the back, list one group of people that would best fit in the gilded exterior of obvious wealth and accomplishments during this time period in the outer circle below. Then, list three groups or problems that would best fit in the larger core of corruption and poverty on the inside circle.

groups or problems hidden behind the shiny exterior:
he Gilded Age

group or accomplishment in the shiny exterior:




The Second Industrial Revolution (the Gilded Age): 1865-1900
Read the article and underline/highlight/circle/etc. important information to complete the front.
The late nineteenth century was a period of intense change, which transformed the United States from a mostly rural nation into a modern industrial society.
Technological innovations led to the growing mechanization of the production process, creating a need for large numbers of unskilled workers. While industrial mass production created new jobs, it also changed the nature of work, destroying traditional crafts and limiting workers to repetitive and boring tasks. In an attempt to improve their working conditions, some workers joined labor unions. The efforts of organized labor, however, were disrupted by policies that barred most immigrant, black, and women workers from union membership, as well as the fierce and often violent opposition of factory owners to labor unions.
While this machine age contributed to the emergence of the working class, it also gave birth to corporate empires and great individual wealth. Many entrepreneurs and skilled craftsmen, increasingly unable to compete with large-scale industrial production, were forced out of business, and a few industrialists accumulated the nation's capital. These industrialists gained unprecedented wealth. Some people saw them as captains of industry due to their leading role in industry, while others referred to them as robber barons because they often used unethical methods to accumulate wealth.
The unprecedented growth of industrial production during the Gilded Age also sparked demographic changes. Attracted by factory jobs, large numbers of rural migrants and immigrants flocked to the industrial cities of the Northeast. The resulting urbanization led to an increase in the number and size of American cities. The urban centers of the Gilded Age were larger, more densely populated, and ethnically more diverse than any previous cities.
While many urban residents migrated to the cities from rural areas in the United States, the majority of the newcomers were immigrants. The concentration of these new arrivals in select urban areas led to the emergence of distinct ethnic neighborhoods and increased nativist (anti-foreigner) fears. Many native-born white Americans, fearing job competition and race suicide, demanded immigration restriction in an attempt to limit the incoming non-Protestant immigrants. Their efforts peaked in the 1924 National Origins Quota Act, which severely limited the number of immigrants who were allowed to enter the country each year.
As urban populations grew, rural populations declined. Farmers faced hard times until the end of the 1800s. They organized to help themselves and protest the unfair practices of big business, especially the railroads. The farmers’ organizations peaked with the Populist party’s endorsement of Bryan in the 1896 presidential election. The Populists, however, failed to attract many voters, perhaps because a growing segment of the American population had moved to the cities and had no interest in supporting an agricultural platform.
In addition to American cities, the West attracted large numbers of new settlers in the late nineteenth century. The 1862 Homestead Act, as well as the 1869 completion of the first transcontinental railroad triggered westward expansion. While Native Americans in the West tried to retain their culture, white land greed and racism succeeded in weakening the Native American way of life.
Racism also played a big role in the lives of African Americans. In the late nineteenth century almost all African Americans lived in the South, where they worked in agriculture. While they had gained their freedom as a result of the Civil War, they remained economically dependent on whites who maintained control of the plantation lands. During the post-war Reconstruction years, African Americans enjoyed political rights under the protection of Union troops.
Following the 1877 withdrawal of the last Union troops, however, southern whites regained power and systematically deprived African Americans of the gains they had made during Reconstruction. White southerners introduced poll taxes, the grandfather clause, and literacy tests in an attempt to disfranchise (keep from voting) African Americans. When legal means failed, they resorted to lynchings and other forms of violence to intimidate African Americans. In an effort to keep African Americans in a position of inferiority, white southerners devised numerous laws, popularly known as Jim Crow laws, which provided for the complete segregation of the races. As race relations reached low point, many African Americans did not openly challenge segregation but instead advocated racial solidarity, self-help, and accommodation.

Name _________________________________

Page 54

What defined the Gilded Age? Are we in a Gilded Age today?

When is the Gilded Age?

What is another term for this time period?

Consider the following and answer in your own words:
We see huge accumulations of wealth being made by a few individuals during this time. What is it that separates those that are very wealthy and those that are not in this world? Hard work? Luck? Something else?

manual laborer

hat is Social Darwinism?

  • “survival of the

  • businessmen and others believed

Who is Horatio Alger, Jr.?

  • wrote ______________________________ stories about individuals who find __________________ through hard _____________ and _______________________

Consider the following and answer in your own words:

Who do you know that started poor and became rich?

If Horatio Alger, Jr. wrote that the rich earned the right to be rich, what does that imply about the poor?

What defined the Gilded Age? Are we in a Gilded Age today?

Look over pages 302-310 to find examples of new technology during this time period (you may include some technologies invented before the years given that would largely impact the period).



Name ____________________________

Page 55

What defined the Gilded Age? Are we in a Gilded Age today?

Read the front of this sheet. Then, read “Gaining a Competitive Edge” and “Horizontal and Vertical Integration” on pages 312-313, “New Ways of Doing Business” on pages 314-315, and “Andrew Carnegie: Wealth (1889)” on page 317. Ffill out the chart on the back. Be sure to use the terms below as appropriate.



exclusive economic control of an industry; basically, one company being the only one that sells something (therefore, they can charge whatever they want)

arrangement grouping several companies under one board of directors to eliminate competition and to regulate production; basically, businesses cooperating to rip off the consumer

one company controlling all the phases of a product’s development; for example, a steel company owning the mines, the railroads that transport the metal, the factories that make the steel, etc.

one company buying its competitors; this is one way of creating a monopoly

Andrew Carnegie

(When you are done reading about this person, circle one of the labels below):
Captain of Industry
Robber Baron

John D. Rockefeller

(When you are done researching this person, circle one of the labels below):
Captain of Industry
Robber Baron

What industry did he work in and what company is he associated with?

What bad methods did he use to get rich in this industry, making him a robber baron?

What good things did he do, making him a captain of industry?

Name _____________________________

Page 56

What defined the Gilded Age? Are we in a Gilded Age today?

How would you describe a sweatshop? If you have never heard of a sweatshop, describe what you think it might be based on the words “sweat” and “shop” that make up the term sweatshop.
Use our simulation of a sweatshop or pages 318-319 in the textbook to fill out the chart below.

our sweatshop

Gilded Age sweatshops

Workers _________________________________

  • _____________________________ led the _____________________________________ as the most influential of these unions (only white, male, skilled)

  • some other unions were more _________________ in their ______________ (i.e. IWW)

  • _____________________________ would fall apart due to being associated with radicals

methods used:
________________________________________: employees to negotiate with employers as a union

_____________: work stoppage caused by mass refusal of employees to perform work

________________________: business that only employs union members
ONLY about ________ of industrial workers would be ____________________ during the Gilded Age

Name ____________________________

Page 57

How did the growth of industry lead to the abuse of workers?

Background: Since business owners rarely agreed to negotiate, the American Federation of Labor and other unions would often resort to strikes.
Based on the video (or the chart and pictures below if absent), describe what the major strikes were like.

Read pages 322-324 to define each of the following strikes, especially how each ended.

the Great Strike of 1877 (a.k.a. Railroad strikes)—
the Haymarket Affair (a.k.a. the Haymarket Riot)—
the Homestead Strike—
the Pullman Company Strike—

Follow-up: Who helped owners in each of these to end the strike?

Options for owners to deal with labor unrest:
Background: On the front of this sheet, we saw that one major method that the industrialists used to fight the unions was to call in the military or police to end strikes. There were other methods as well. Define the first method listed below and at least two others.

  1. Sherman Anti-Trust Act (1890):

  • designed to

  • outlawed any

  • ironically used by

  1. connections in government

  1. high-priced lawyers

  1. black-lists

  1. yellow-dog contracts

  1. scabs

  1. strikebreakers

  1. spies

  1. thugs

  1. lockouts

Which method from the list would you use to stop each union activity we have previously discussed? Explain why for each.

  1. collective bargaining—

  1. strike—

  1. closed shop—

Name ___________________________

Page 58

What defined the Gilded Age? Are we in a Gilded Age today?

We are going to learn about the immigrants of the Gilded Age while practicing skimming. The purpose of skimming is to get the most important information without reading the entire text. It is helpful for review or when you do not have enough time to read everything. When you skim, read/look at the following:

  1. titles and subtitles

  2. underlined, bold-print, or italicized words or phrases (read the sentence in which they occur if you are not familiar with the word)

  3. pictures and captions

  4. charts and graphs

  5. the first sentence of each paragraph if time (remember, this is going to be the main idea of the paragraph 75% of the time)

Skim through pages 332-338. See if you can answer the following questions based on your skimming.

  1. The Old Immigrants came from Western and Northern Europe before the Civil War. Where did the New Immigrants come from after the Civil War (especially true by the early 1900s)?

  1. Where would New Immigrants settle when they arrived in America?

  1. What is one reason that immigrants came to America in the Gilded Age?

  1. From where did immigrants come if they entered through Ellis Island?

  1. From where did immigrants come if they entered through Angel Island?

  1. What is one way that Americans supported the idea of nativism during this time?

  1. How was the Chinese Exclusion Act a nativist act?

  1. Do you think that America has become a “melting pot” as many Americans predicted would happen about one hundred years ago?

Skim through pages 340-347 to answer the following questions.

  1. What is urbanization?

  1. In what part of the United States were the largest cities in 1900?

  1. What are two ways that technology changed the look of American cities in the Gilded Age?

  1. What are four problems that city governments faced as the urban population grew?

  1. What are tenements?

Based on what you have learned, write a Gilded Age caption for the pictures below. Use at least two of the words overall from the word wall in your captions and underline these.





Name ___________________________

Page 59

What defined the Gilded Age? Are we in a Gilded Age today?

What are some ways that politicians can be corrupt? List some ideas in the space below.

What caused political corruption in the Gilded Age?

  • rapid ______________________________ and ______________________________ government (a government that “lets it be”)

  • support for ____________________ leaders from _____________________________ desperate for help from anyone

How were politics corrupt in the federal government during the Gilded Age?

  • ­____________________ were common

    • __________________________________________________ (executive branch)

    • __________________________________________________ (Congress)

      • __________________________ (giving __________ to people who helped you get elected)

How were politics corrupt in local government during the Gilded Age?

      • _______________ (using political influence to do special favors for people, such as _________________________ or taking _______________)

      • ________________________________________ (group that controls the ____________________ activities in a city, led by a _________________________)

    • the most notorious political machine was _____________________________________ (a.k.a. _______________________________) in New York City, led by ______________________________

    • _________________________________________ cartoons commonly attacked ___________________

The Gilded Age: Play Project Depicting Problems of the Time
In your groups, write a play about the Gilded Age. Each person in the group should represent a different character in the play. If absent when this is done in class, create a play with at least two characters and three terms. Use at least four terms of the Gilded Age (see your yellow page 51) Underline each term when used.

Ulysses S. Grant: Why are there so many scandals in my administration such as the Whiskey Ring scandal?
Congressman: I don’t know, but I sure got a lot of great railroad stock in the Credit Mobilier scandal.

rubric for the play:


0 points if:

1 point if:

2 points if:

3 points if:


no term is used correctly to depict the Gilded Age

one term is used correctly to depict the Gilded Age

two terms are used correctly to depict the the Gilded Age

three terms are used correctly in the play to depict the the Gilded Age


only one character makes at least one statement relevant to the problems of the Gilded Age

all but two makes at least one statement relevant to the problems of the Gilded Age

all but one makes at least one statement relevant to the problems of the Gilded Age

each character makes at least one statement relevant to the problems of the Gilded Age


the play is largely illegible and largely unclear who is talking at any given time

the play is somewhat legible and it is somewhat clear who is talking at any given time

the play is mostly legible and it is mostly clear who is talking at any given time

the play is legible and it is clear who is talking at any given time

Gilded Age problems

the play is not clear about the problems of the Gilded Age

the play is somewhat clear about the problems of the Gilded Age

the play is mostly clear about the problems of the Gilded Age

the play makes clear the problems of the Gilded Age

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