The Gilded Age 1865-1900 Assigned Reading

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The Gilded Age

Assigned Reading

  • Political Paralysis in the Gilded Age.

  • Pages 504-529


  • Immigration

  • Urbanization

  • The Gilded Age

  • The Birth of Reform


  • Steerage

  • Ellis Island

  • Jacob Riis

  • Angel Island

  • nativism

  • Chinese Exclusion Act

  • Skyscraper

  • Louis Sullivan

  • tenement

  • political machine

  • party boss

  • George Plunkitt

  • graft

  • William M. “Boss” Tweed

  • Gilded Age

  • Social Darwinism

  • Gospel of Wealth

  • Philanthropy

  • realism

  • vaudeville

  • ragtime

  • Scott Joplin

  • Henry George

  • Lester Frank Ward

  • Edward Bellamy

  • Naturalism

Test 5

  • 1. Analyze and describe the circumstances surrounding the great wave of immigration after the Civil War.

  • 2. Evaluate how nativism affected immigration policies.

  • 3. Explain the technological developments that made the growth of cities possible.

  • 4. Evaluate the role that political machines played in urban politics in the late 1800s.

  • 5. Evaluate the doctrine of Social Darwinism and the impact it had on American industry.

  • By the late 1800s, most European states made it easy to move to America.

  • By 1900, eastern and southern Europeans made up more than half
    of all immigrants.

  • Of the 14 million immigrants who arrived between 1860 and 1900,
    many were European Jews.

  • America offered immigrants employment, few immigration restrictions, avoidance of military service, religious freedom, and the chance to move up the social ladder.

  • Most immigrants took the difficult trip to America in steerage, the least expensive accommodations on a steamship.

  • The 14-day trip usually ended at Ellis Island, a small island in New York Harbor.

  • It served as a processing center for most immigrants arriving on the East coast after 1892.

  • Most immigrants passed through Ellis Island in a day.

  • However, some faced the possibility of being separated from family and possibly sent back to Europe due to health problems.

  • Most immigrants settled in cities.

  • They lived in neighborhoods that were separated into ethnic groups.

  • Here they duplicated many of the comforts of their homelands, including language and religion.

  • Immigrants who learned English, adapted to American culture, had marketable skills or money, or if they settled among members of their own ethnic group tended to adjust well to living in the United States.

  • Severe unemployment, poverty, and famine in China; the discovery of gold in California; the Taiping Rebellion in China; and the demand for railroad workers in the United States led to an increase in Chinese immigration to the United States in the mid-1800s.

  • In Western cities, Chinese immigrants worked as laborers, servants, skilled tradesmen, and merchants.

  • Some opened their own laundries.

  • Between 1900 and 1908, large numbers of Japanese migrated to the United States as Japan began to build an industrial economy and an empire.

  • In 1910 a barracks was opened on Angel Island in California.

  • Here, Asian immigrants, mostly young men and boys, waited sometimes for months for the results of immigration hearings.

  • The increase in immigration led to nativism, an extreme dislike for foreigners by native-born people
    and the desire to limit immigration.

  • Earlier, in the 1840s and 1850s, nativism was directed towards the Irish.

  • In the early 1900s, it was the Asian, Jews, and eastern Europeans that were the focus of nativism.

  • Nativism led to the forming of two anti-immigrant groups.

  • The American Protective Association was founded in 1887.

  • The party’s founder, Henry Bowers, disliked Catholicism.

  • He wanted to stop Catholic immigration.

  • In the 1870s, Denis Kearny, an Irish immigrant, organized the Workingman’s Party of California.

  • This group wanted to stop Chinese immigration.

  • Racial violence resulted.

  • In 1882 Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act that barred Chinese immigration for 10 years and prevented the Chinese already in America from becoming citizens.

  • This act was renewed by Congress in 1892, made permanent in 1902, and not repealed until 1943.

  • Meanwhile….

  • The urban population of the United States grew from about 10 million in 1870 to over 30 million by 1900.

  • Immigrants remained in the cities, where they worked long hours for little pay.

  • Still, most immigrants felt their standard of living had improved in the United States.

  • Farmers began moving to cities because of better paying jobs, electricity, running water, plumbing, and entertainment.

  • Housing and transportation needs changed due to the increase in the amount of people living in cities.

  • As the price of land increased, building owners began to build up.

  • Skyscrapers, tall steel frame buildings, were constructed for this reason.

  • Chicagoan Louis Sullivan contributed to the design of skyscrapers.

  • In the late 1800s, various kinds of mass transit developed to move large numbers of people around cities quickly.

  • Beginning with the horsecar, and later to the more sophisticated electric trolley cars and elevated railroads, engineers created ways to move the ever-expanding population around the city.

  • Definite boundaries could be seen between where the wealthy, middle class, and working class people lived.

  • Wealthy families lived in the heart of the city where they constructed elaborate homes.

  • The middle class, which included doctors, lawyers, engineers, and teachers, tended to live away from the city.

  • The majority of urban dwellers were part of the working class who lived in city tenements, or dark and crowded multi-family apartments.

  • The growth of cities resulted in an increase in crime, fire, disease, and pollution.

  • From 1880 to 1900, there was a large increase in the murder rate.

  • Native-born Americans blamed immigrants for the increase in crime.

  • Alcohol contributed to crime in the late 1800s.

  • Contaminated drinking water from improper sewage disposal resulted in epidemics of typhoid fever and cholera.

  • A new political system was needed to cope with the new urban problems.

  • The political machine, an informal political group designed to gain and keep power, provided essentials to city dwellers in exchange for votes.

  • Party bosses ran the political machines.

  • George Plunket, an Irish immigrant, was one of New York City’s most powerful party bosses.

  • The party bosses had tight control of the city’s money.

  • Many of the politicians became wealthy due to fraud or graft–getting money through dishonest or questionable means.

  • The most famous New York Democratic political machine was Tammany Hall.

  • During the 1860s and 1870s, Tammany Hall’s boss was William M. Tweed.

  • Tweed’s corruption sent him to prison in 1874.

  • Thomas and James Pendergast were party bosses in Kansas City, Missouri.

  • They led state and city politics from the 1890s to the 1930s.

  • Opponents of political machines, such as Thomas Nast, blasted bosses for their corruption. Defenders, though, thought machines supplied necessary services and helped to assimilate the masses of new city dwellers.

  • Meanwhile…

  • In 1873 Mark Twain and Charles Warner co-wrote the novel, The Gilded Age.

  • Historians use this term to refer to the time between 1870 and 1900.

  • The term “gilded” refers to something being gold on the outside while the inside is made of cheaper material.

  • The authors tried to point out that although this was a time of growth, beneath the surface were corruption, poverty, and a huge difference between rich and poor.

  • Industrialization and urbanization caused Americans to look at society in a different way.

  • This gave way to new values, art, and forms of entertainment.

  • A strong belief during the Gilded Age was the idea of individualism.

  • This is the belief that regardless of your background, you could still rise
    in society.

  • Horatio Alger, a minister from Massachusetts, left the clergy and moved to New York where he wrote over 100 novels about rags-to-riches stories.

  • Herbert Spencer, an English philosopher, first proposed the idea of Social Darwinism.

  • Spencer took Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution and natural selection and applied it to human society.

  • Like Darwin’s theory–that a species that cannot adapt to the environment will eventually die out–Spencer felt that human society evolved through competition.

  • He concluded that society progressed and became better because only the fittest people survived.

  • Industrial leaders agreed with Social Darwinism.

  • Social Darwinism paralleled laissez-faire, an economic doctrine that was opposed to government interference with business.

  • Many devout Christians and some leading scientists opposed the idea
    of Darwin’s conclusions about the origin of new species.

  • They rejected the theory of evolution because it went against the Bible’s account of creation.

  • Andrew Carnegie, a wealthy business leader, believed in Social Darwinism
    and laissez-faire.

  • However, he also felt those who profited from society should give something back, so he softened Social Darwinism with his Gospel of Wealth.

  • This philosophy stated that wealthy Americans were responsible and should engage in philanthropy, using great fortunes to further social progress.

  • A new movement in art and literature, called realism, portrayed people in realistic situations instead of idealizing them as the romantic artists had done.

  • Thomas Eakins, a painter from Philadelphia, observed and painted day-to-day living in a realistic fashion. He used realistic detail and precise lighting.

  • Writer and literary critic William Dean Howells wrote realistically about American life.

  • He also recognized talent in several writers of this time, including Mark Twain, who wrote Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in 1884.

  • Twain is thought to have written the first true American novel.

  • Henry James, an English writer, portrayed the lives of the upper class in his 1881 novel, Portrait of a Lady.

  • Edith Wharton won a Pulitzer Prize for the novel The Age of Innocence, which portrayed the complicated lives of the upper-class in New York in the 1870s.

  • Popular culture changed in the late 1800s.

  • People had more money to spend on entertainment and recreation.

  • Work became separate from home.

  • People looked to have fun by “going out” to public entertainment.

  • During the 1800s, the saloon acted like a community and political center for male workers.

  • It offered free toilets, water for horses, free newspapers, and free lunches.

  • Coney Island in New York was an amusement park that attracted working class families and single adults.

  • It offered amusements such as water slides and railroad rides.

  • Watching sports became very popular in the late 1800s.

  • Baseball began to appear in the United States in the early 1800s.

  • In 1869 the first salaried team, the Cincinnati Red Stockings, was formed.

  • Football and basketball also became popular during this time.

  • In the early 1880s, vaudeville became popular.

  • It was adapted from the French theater and combined animal acts, acrobats, gymnasts, and dancers in its performance.

  • During this time, people began enjoying ragtime music.

  • The most famous African American ragtime composer was Scott Joplin, who became known as the King of Ragtime.

  • Meanwhile…

  • Changes in industrialization and urbanization led to debates among Americans over the issue of how to handle society’s problems.

  • In 1879 journalist Henry George wrote a best-selling book called Progress and Poverty.

  • It raised questions about American society and challenged the ideas of Social Darwinism and laissez-faire economics.

  • In 1883 Lester Frank Ward’s Dynamic Sociology argued that humans were unlike animals because they could think and plan ahead.

  • He concluded that it was cooperation and not competition that caused people to succeed.

  • He wanted government to become more involved in solving societal problems.

  • These ideas became known as Reform Darwinism.

  • In 1888 Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward 20001887 became a bestseller and helped shape the thinking of American reformers in the late 1800s.

  • The book tells the story of a perfect society in the year 2000.

  • Realists argued that people could control their lives and make choices to improve their situation.

  • In a style of writing known as naturalism, writers criticized industrial society.

  • They suggested that some people failed in life due to circumstances they could not control.

  • Prominent naturalist writers included Stephan Crane, Frank Norris, Jack London, and Theodore Dreiser.

  • All wrote stories of characters caught up in situations they could not control.

  • Reformers began to organize to help the poor.

  • Organizations such as the Social Gospel movement, Salvation Army, YMCA, women’s clubs, settlement houses, and temperance movements formed to help the needy.

  • Minister Washington Gladden was an early supporter of the Social Gospel movement.

  • He wanted to apply “Christian Law” to social problems.

  • From 1870 to 1920, members of the Social Gospel group worked to better conditions in cities through charity and justice.

  • Baptist minister Walter Rauschenbusch later led the movement.

  • He believed that competition was the cause of many social problems.

  • This led to many churches taking on community functions to improve society by offering gyms, social programs, and daycare.

  • In 1878 the Salvation Army offered aid and religious counseling to urban poor.

  • The YMCA attempted to help industrial workers and urban poor through Bible studies, prayer meetings, citizenship training, and group activities.

  • They had facilities that offered libraries, gyms, pools, and low-cost hotel rooms.

  • Dwight L. Moody was an evangelical Christian and president of the Chicago YMCA.

  • He founded his own church, today known as Moody Memorial Church.

  • By 1867 Moody was so popular that he brought his revival meetings to other cities.

  • He was against Social Gospel and Social Darwinism.

  • He felt the way to help the poor was by redeeming their souls and not by providing them with services.

  • The settlement house movement was promoted by reformers who felt it was their Christian duty to improve the living conditions of the poor.

  • Jane Addams set up settlement houses in poor neighborhoods.

  • Addams opened Hull House in 1889 and inspired many others, including Lillian Wald’s Henry Street settlement house in New York City.

  • Medical care, recreation programs, and English classes were provided at settlement houses.

  • In the late 1880s, the increase of industry resulted in a need for better-trained workers

  • As a result, there was a need for more school and colleges.

  • Americanization, or becoming knowledgeable about American culture, was key to the success of immigrant children.

  • Due to the lack of educational opportunities for African Americans, Booker T. Washington led the crusade to form the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama in 1881.

  • The grammar school system in the city divided students into eight separate grades to help teach successful habits in the workplace.

  • The number of colleges greatly increased in the late 1800s.

  • This was partly a result of the Morrill Land Grant Act, which gave federal land grants to states for the purposes of establishing agricultural and mechanical colleges.

  • College attendance increased.

  • The number of women’s colleges also increased.

  • Free libraries provided education to city dwellers.

  • Andrew Carnegie donated millions toward the construction of libraries.

The end

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