The Gilded Age



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The Gilded Age
Organizing principle - The Gilded Age fostered the consolidation and centralization of business, the government, and disadvantaged economic and social classes.

I. Grant - politics and scandals

A. election of 1868 Republicans nominate the hero of the Union Grant

1. had limited qualification - expected that it was his rightful reward

2. Grant clubs organized to show appreciation

a. he was given a house and $105,000

b. accepted them without hesitation believing they were his just rewards

3. Grant was probably never a threat to become a military dictator - doesn’t seem to have that type of aspiration - also seems to lack the energy

4.. campaign slogan was “Let us have peace.” - grafters saw it as “let us have a piece”

5. platform

a. support for the gold standard - sound money - Republican party is the party of big business

b. continued Radical Reconstruction - though Grant seems to be unwilling to oversee the operation

3. waving the bloody shirt (Benjamin Butler speech) was the primary strategy

G. Democrats nominate Horatio Seymour

1. favor the “Ohio Idea” - retiring war bonds by the reissuing of greenbacks rather than paying them off only in gold as the Republicans favored - Seymour repudiates this plank of the platform

2. also favor the end of Reconstruction - meant placing Democrats back in control of state governments

H. outcome - Grant 214 - 80 EV - 3.0m - 2.7m PV

1. note the closeness of the election despite the fact that a Republican military hero is the candidate

2. Grant won by 300,000 PV - 500,000 Blacks had voted - thus it appeared essential that Reconstruction be continued

I. “the era of good stealings”

1. Grant administration (indeed government generally) was characterized by the loose morality that Morison contends always follows a great war

2. Grant was apparently not directly involved in the scandals but insists on staunchly defending his appointees and friends

3. Fisk and Gold bribed one legislator with $100,000 after he had already taken $75,000 from their rival - led to the definition - “An honest politician is one who, when bought, stays bought.”

4. the basis for being selected to Grant’s cabinet was largely whether or not one had helped Grant through one of the clubs which brought him material benefits

5. one notable exception is Secretary of State Hamilton Fish

J. cornering the gold market

1. Fisk and Gould determine to hoard gold and sell when the price gets high enough

2. they need the complicity of Treasury Department officials to guarantee that the government won’t attempt to maintain a fixed price (government generally bought or sold gold to maintain a consistent price level

3. Black Friday - 9-24-69 scheme begins as the price of gold rises dramatically

4. Treasury Department forced to dump gold and the plan fizzles only after Fisk and Gould have made a killing

K. Santa Domingo annexation schemes fall through UPGRADE

L. Tweed Ring in New York City - classic boss rule and corruption

1. estimated that between $50-200m was stolen from the city government

2. recorded bill of $130 m to a plasterer for two days work

3. taxes used as a weapon to cower opponents into submission

4. Samuel Tilden makes a name for himself prosecuting the Tweed Ring

5. Thomas Nast (political cartoonist) helps break the ring - Boss Tweed is said to have remarked “Them damn pictures.” - more effective with illiterate population

M. the Credit Moblier Scandal

1. designed to set up a dummy company to siphon off profits of transcontinental railroad construction

2. fears of discovery led to the bribing of Congressmen, Senators, and Cabinet officers

3. one of those who made millions was Leland Stanford who later established Stanford University

N. the Whiskey Ring - Treasury Department officials took bribes to avoid collecting excise taxes

O. War Department

1. Belknap Scandal - selling supplies earmarked for Indians for favors

2. Sanborn Contracts - right to trade with Indians awarded by the War Department

P. the Salary Grab - doubled the salary of the President and increased congressional salaries by 50% retroactively

O. indirectly these scandals led to the drive for civil service reform - do a degree they may also reflect the typical self-destruction of dominant parties.

II. Foreign affairs

A. a scheme to annex Santa Domingo for the assumption of it debts fell through

1. American people were lukewarm to the idea

2. concern seems to be shifting from expansion to development

B. beginnings of consistent problems with Spain over Cuba

1. 1873 several American gun-runners executed -Virginius Affair

2. Cuba seems in a state of almost continual rebellion

C. Maximillian’s plot in Mexico

1. French plot to establish Maximilian as a puppet government in Mexico

2. a way of circumventing the Monroe Doctrine

3. the French eventually abandon Maximilian after the Civil War

4. U.S. military mobilization and French financial losses probably combine to end it

D. Fenian uprising

1. feeble attempt of ex-Union Irish military men to invade Canada and hold it hostage for Ireland’s freedom

2. the British North American Act establishes commonwealth status for Canada

E. the Alabama Claims

1. Confederate blockade breakers had been constructed in British ports

2. their building constituted an unneutral act - they preyed on Union commercial traffic

3. the U.S. present claims for damages and the British agree to arbitration because they don’t want the same tactic used on them

4. Senator Sumner demands $15m in direct damages and $2b in indirect damages for prolonging the war

5. The Treaty of Washington 1871 agrees to an arbitrated settlement

6. Geneva Agreement settles claims for $15.5m

7. Bailey contends that the British foreign office hung the canceled check on their wall as a reminder of a serious policy lapse

III. the 1870s and the currency controversy

A. liberal Republican look to replace Grant (Carl Schurz and Bratz Brown)

1. they hold a separate convention and nominate Horace Greeley

2. Democrats decide to support Greeley as well

B. Republican insiders like Grant because he is easily manageable

C. the campaign is very nasty and personal

1. Greeley characterized as “an atheist, communist, free lovers, vegetarian, a brown bread eater, an idiot, a co-signer of Jefferson Davis’ bail bond”

2. Grant characterized as “a dictator, a loafer, a swindler, an ignoramus, a drunkard, an utterly depraved horse jockey”

3. results Grant - 286 - 3.59m - Greeley 66 - 2.8m

4. within a month after the election Greeley loses his wife, his job, his mind, and his life

5. the effect of this liberal revolt caused some house cleaning if only to avoid wholesale civil service reform - politicians know you can only get away with being so crooked

6. the liberal revolt also demonstrates the typical third party role in American politics - to win enough votes to influence one of the major parties

D. the Panic of 1873 - most severe to that date

1. more than five hundred businesses fail

2. typical causes of overspeculation - Morison claims it is a typical post-war depression

3. it is broadly tied to the currency controversy

E. currency issues - two major concerns

1. tight or loose money policy

2. whether to pay off war bonds in gold or greenbacks

F. eventually these merge to the single issue of bi-metalism or the gold standard

1. farmers and debtors favor currency inflation - the printing of greenbacks (later the coining of silver) so that money is easier to get, even if its value is not as great

2. businesses and creditors tended to favor a stable currency so that the relative value of currency remains constant over time

G. 1870-71- Legal Tender Cases

1. Supreme Court first rules that the Legal Tender Acts requiring the acceptance of greenbacks in payment of debt are unconstitutional

2. later and enlarged court (9 rather than 7) upholds their constitutionality

H. through the buying and selling of gold and silver the government attempted to maintain the consistent ratio of 16-1 (ounces of sliver to ounces of gold)

1. shortages of silver meant that silver was worth more on the open market than the 16-1

2. thus in 1873 the government stopped coining silver dollars

3. shortly after the decision, new strikes of silver lowered the price

a. mining interests are going to favor the recoining of dollar

b. debtor and farm interests favor the same as a means of currency inflation


  1. business favors maintaining the gold standard because the value of currency will remain more stable

4. government decision is known as the “Crime of ‘73” by debtor classes

I. 1875 - Resumption Act - stated that in 1879 the government would begin redeeming Greenbacks for gold

(had been suspended during the Panic of 1873 and more Greenbacks had been printed)

1. government prepared for the rush by amassing $100m in gold reserves

2. the anticipated run never developed - why

a. economic recovery

b. confidence restored

c. Greenbacks were more convenient

J. 1878 - Bland-Allison act

1. called for the government to purchase and coin $2-4m worth of silver per month

2. government always bought the minimum amount - thus little relief for debtors

3. continued strikes led to further price decreases and the value of silver in a dollar fell to 93 cents

4. some expansion of currency in circulation was necessary in the period

5. 1870-1880 per capita money in circulation fell from $19.42 to $19.37 - this despite population increases - what does that mean

K. tariff policy - during the war tariffs had been kept high - would Republicans tend to favor high tariffs? - why?

1. 1872 tariffs revised downward from high wartime levels (-10%)

2. Panic of 1873 is blamed - Western interests demand lower tariffs

3. increased again in 1875

L. election of 1876

1. Republicans Grant is interested in a third term but the House passes a resolution warning him of dictator ambitions - two term precedent is strong

2. major Republican candidate is James G. Blaine - but he is tinted by the Mulligan letters

3. Republicans settle on the dark horse candidate Rutherford B. Hayes

4. platform provisions

a. permanent pacification

b. sound money

c. civil service reform

5. Democrats settle on Samuel Tilden - lawyer who helped smash the Tweed Ring

6. he has some machine and robber baron ties

7. the impact of the “bloody shirt” - Robert Ingersoll - “Every man that shot a Union soldier was a Democrat. The man that assassinated Lincoln was a Democrat. Soldiers, every scar you have on your heroic body was given you by a Democrat.”

8. results - Hayes 4.0m - 165 - Tilden 4.3m - 184

9. four states in doubt - Oregon, Louisiana, South Carolina, Florida

10. Tilden needed only one of the twenty electoral votes in question to be elected

11. “visiting statesmen” from both parties visit all states in question

12. each state submits two sets of electoral ballots

13. electoral commission is established to be made up of fifteen members - five each from the House, Senate, and Supreme Court

14. seven Democrats, seven Republicans, and Justice Davis - considered to be neutral

15. Davis resigns and the only remaining members of the Supreme Court are Republicans

16. initial vote finds for Hayes in each state - 8-7 in every case

17. Democrats threaten a filibuster - danger of not having an elected President

18. The Compromise of 1877

a. Hayes take office

b. Republicans agree to withdraw federal troops from the South

1. end military Reconstruction

2. allow Democratic governments to take over from Republican ones



  1. federally funded internal improvements for the South - especially designed to overcome war

damage

d. Republicans promise at least one Southern cabinet member with patronage at his disposal

e. unofficial acceptance of non-enforcement of the 14th and 15th Amendments

19. thus Hayes is seated - “old 8-7”, “his fraudulency”

20. known as the “cold water” administration because “Lemonade Lucy” refused to serve alcohol at state functions

M. Hayes actually makes a pretty decent President

1. Reconstruction is ended (largely because the North was tired of it)

2. ironically, Tilden probably could not have ended Reconstruction

3. mild civil service reform occurs - “He serves his party best who serves his country best.”

a. there is a house cleaning at the New York customs office

b. Chester Arthur is released from his position

c. leads to a Hayes-Conkling feud

4. Hayes is forced to deal with serious labor strife - railway strikes of 1877 - Hayes calls out federal troops to help put them down - how would Republicans feel about this - why?

5. the Chinese Exclusion Act is passed over Hayes veto - a symbol of reemerging nativist sentiment

6. Hayes is not renominated in 1880 because party insiders couldn’t control him

IV. Politics in the 1880s

A. the election of 1880

1. Grant returns from a world tour too early to maintain enthusiasm

2. claims that the two term precedent applies only to two consecutive terms

3. James G. Blaine is the leading Republican - but the party is hurt by factionalism

4. developing split between Stalwarts and Half-breeds

a. Roscoe Conkling of New York heads the Stalwarts

b. Blaine is the leader of the Half-breeds

c. little difference in policy positions - primarily a dispute over which faction controls patronage

5. James Garfield (Ohio) emerges as the dark horse compromise candidate

6. Chester Arthur (Stalwart) is nominated for Vice President

7. platform largely avoids new issues

a. continued support for protective tariffs

b. pays lip service to civil service reform

c. one delegate - “My God! What are we here for but offices?”

8. Democrats nominate Winfield Hancock

a. promise civil service reform

b. importantly - favor a tariff for revenue only

9. results Garfield - 4.4m - 214, Hancock - 4.4 - 155, James B. Weaver (Greenback/Labor Party) - 300,000 - Weaver’s votes may have cost Hancock the election

10. office seekers immediately besiege Garfield - “What is there in this place that a man should ever want to get into it?”

11. July 2, 1881 Garfield assassinated - “Garfield lingered for nearly three months, receiving medical treatment that actually worsened what was originally only a moderately serious condition.”

a. Garfield assassinated by Charles Guiteau, a disappointed office seeker - “I am a Stalwart. Arthur is now President.”

b. Bailey contends that Garfield's assassination was his greatest contribution to U.S. history because dying when and how he did ultimately led to civil service reform

12. Arthur proves to be a better President than anyone had a right to expect - “Chet Arthur President of the United States. Good God!”

13. avoids any major bloodletting between Stalwarts and Half-breeds

14. Blaine does lose the position of Secretary of State after an encouraging beginning

15. major areas of concentration

a. civil service reform - “In general the federal service had become permeated with a class of men who were tempted to anticipate future removal by present corruption.” - get it while the getting's good

1. 1883 The civil Service Act (Pendleton Act) provides for the creation of the Civil Service System

2. designed to encourage appointment based on merit

b. initially only 10-12% of the federal jobs fell under its coverage

c. expanded over the years

1. 1901 - 41%

2. 1920 - 71%

3. 1939 - 67%

4. 1952 - 87%

5. 1962 - 45%

b. naval construction

1. when Arthur took office the U.S. Navy ranked just below that of Chili

2. first steps are taken to upgrade it

3. four steel ships are commissioned - each with full sail and steam power

4. by 1898 the U.S. Navy ranks fifth in the world

B. the election of 1884

1. Blaine (The Plumed Knight) finally wins the Republican nomination - “He had every political asset except a reputation for honesty.”

2. Democrats stand their best chance of winning in 1884 - why?

a. the “bloody shirt” is fading - Blaine is not a veteran

b. Republican corruption - including Blaine and the Mulligan Letters

c. Democrats can count on the “solid South”

d. Mugwumps defect from the Republican party - concerned with corruption - though primarily with civil service reform

e. Stalwart opposition to Blaine - Conkling, asked if he would campaign for Blaine replied, “I do not engage in criminal activity.”

3. Democrats nominate Cleveland - reform mayor of Buffalo, though basically a conservative - Bailey - “As bull-headed as bodied.” - 5’11’ - 240-270

4. slight philosophical differences - campaign becomes one of personal attacks

a. Mulligan letters - Blaine accused of providing special treatment for railroads while Speaker of the House - agrees to read portions of the letters - “Burn this letter.”

b. “Blaine, Blaine, James B. Blaine

continental liar from the state of Maine.”

c. Cleveland accused of fathering an illegitimate child for whom he had provided support though he was one of several possible fathers - insisted on acknowledging it rather than “lying like a gentleman” as party bosses urged

d. “Ma, Ma, where’s my Pa”

“Going to the White House, Ha, Ha, Ha!”

5. election hinges on New York where the Irish vote is critical

6. Blaine rally characterizes the Democrats as the party of “Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion”

7. results - Cleveland - 4.875m - 219 - Blaine - 4.852 - 182 - Cleveland carries New York by 1149 votes

8. Morison - “We should elect Mr. Cleveland to the public office which he is so admirably qualified to fill, and remand Mr. Blaine to the private life which he is so eminently fitted to adorn.”

C. Cleveland administration

1. philosophy is very conservative, honest, and frugal

2. laissez-faire outlook (define) - Texas relief effort requiring $14,000 appropriation for seeds - “Though the people support the government, the government should not support the people.” - “Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character.” - Herbert Hoover would refer to this as “rugged individualism”

3. some commitment to civil service reform

a. Mugwumps had helped elect him

b. spoils system prevails as Democrats are hungry for patronage

c. removed about two thirds of the Republican office holders

d. 27,000 added to the civil service list

e. Cleveland laments typical problems with office seekers

4. pension problems

a. government surpluses from the tariff encouraged wasteful spending

b. “pork barrel” legislation and increased pension rolls were used to buy political support from GAR (Grand Army of the Republic)

c. Arrears of Pension Act 1879 Cleveland vetoed Dependent Pension Bill 1887

d. personally reviews all private pension bills - approved many - disapproved some “terrific encounter with the measles”

e. purpose of many of these bills was to spend money so that a high tariff could continue to be justified

5. the tariff provides the major emerging philosophical difference between the parties

a. Cleveland favored reduction

b. elevates it to primary issue in the 1888 campaign against the wishes of top Democrats

c. “What’s the use of being elected or reelected unless you stand for something.”

d. 1881 - government surplus $145m per year

e. why was the tariff issue difficult to deal with

1. entrenchment political clout of big business - particularly when Senators were selected by state legislature

2. significant local interest - while many may favor tariff reduction generally, few favor reduction on goods produced in their area

6. Cleveland believed that the President should confine himself to execution rather than formulation of law

7. 81m million acres of western land reclaimed by Cleveland

8. Dawes Act passed in 1887

a. attempted to break up tribes by dividing up reservation land among individuals

b. this was an attempt to break down tribal loyalties

c. also established Indian schools away from the reservation to acculturate children

9. Interstate Commerce Act 1887 - first significant attempt to regulate big business

10. overall, the Cleveland administration stands out in an era of forgettable Presidents and proves that Democrats can function at a high level

D. the election of 1888

1. Cleveland the Democratic nominee though the tariff issue is downplayed

2. Benjamin Harrison the Republican nominee

3. campaign generally conducted at a high level - Lionel Sackville blooper hurts Cleveland in New York

a. Sackville, British diplomat says he supports Cleveland

b. how would this hurt Cleveland in New York?

4. results - Cleveland - 5.53m - 168 - Harrison 5.44 - 233 - Harrison wins New York by 7000 votes

E. overview of party politics in the Gilded Age

1. Bailey describes the period as an era of forgettable Presidents

a. why did good men not seek the Presidency?

b. theory - talent gravitates toward dominate power - in this period big business is clearly the dominant force in the country

2. Republican domination of the Presidency, but not the government

a. lost only twice between 1860 and 1908

b. however, four times they lacked a majority of the popular vote

c. seldom controlled both houses of Congress

d. election strategy

1. wave the bloody shirt

2. win GAR support

3. support high tariffs

4. otherwise avoid issues

e. party’s strength

1. the party of big business - manufacturing, railroads, bankers

2. party of established, prosperous farmers of the North

3. almost totally Protestant

3. Democratic philosophy

a. reliance on the basis of the solid South

b. support from small merchants who felt the squeeze of big business

c. support from labor, when not coerced by big business into Republican support

d. support from Great Plains and Southern (less prosperous) farmers

e. support from immigrant groups

f. support from Southern Protestants and Northern Catholics

4. generally similar on economic issues

a. both favor laissez-faire approach

b. tariff issue will eventually divide them

5. politics dominated by political bosses in various states

a. the Tweed Ring in New York

b. Harrison ascribed his victory in 1888 to Providence - Matt Quay (PA boss) - “Providence hadn’t a damn thing to do with it.” Harrison recognized that upon taking office - “When I came into power I found that the party managers had taken it all to themselves. I could not name my own cabinet. They had sold every place to pay for the election expense.”

c. Harrison and the Maine administration (Blaine’s influence) - Morison - 47

6. the role of what Bailey calls “doubtful states” (Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, New York)

V. Railroads - 1860-1900

A. the Civil War greatly greatly increased the impetus for the industrial revolution

B. this had the effect of stimulating railroad development

1. specifically it led to the selection of the central route for the first transcontinental railroad

2. dramatic railroad expansion follows that

a. 1860 - 30,000

b. 1870 - 52,000

c. 1880 - 93,000

d. 1890 - 163,000

e. 1900 - 193,000

C. Henry Adams - “The generation between 1865-1895 was already mortgaged to the railroads, and nobody knew it better than the generation itself.”

D. the transcontinental railroad

1. the Union Pacific starts west

2. the Central Pacific starts east

3. unlike European railroads, U.S. railroads were privately owned and operated though they received tremendous subsidies from the federal government

4. generous government support

a. $16,000 per mile of flatlands track

b. $48,000 per mile of mountainous track

5. total government spending on railroads

a. local governments - $300m

b. state governments - $228m

c. federal government - $65m

6. land grants to railroads amounted to twenty square miles of land for every mile of track

a. awarded in a checkerboard pattern

b. 155.5m acres granted by the federal government - 131m actually received by railroads

c. 49m acres awarded by the states

d. total amounts to a larger land area than the state of Texas

e. value of the land - sold for an average of $5 per acre - remember typical land prices of the time period

7. labor for the transcontinental railroad

a. Union Pacific relied on Irish Paddies

b. Central Pacific on Chinese Coolies

8. transcontinental railroad completed on May 10, 1869 in Promontory Point, Utah

a. Union Pacific wins the race to build the most track 1086-689

b. Morison - “The Union Pacific was regarded as the winner; but the Central Pacific promoters had made enough to enable them to buy the state government of California.”

9. four more transcontinentals completed before 1900

a. Northern Pacific

b. Great northern - James Hill

c. Santa Fe

d. Southern Pacific

E. consolidation is the key to railroad growth in the period (review organizing principle)

1. 1880 - 115 railroads had merged into larger companies

2. between 1880-1888 - 425 more railroads brought under the control of larger companies

F. technological advances also stimulate growth

1. conversion to steel rails - more flexible and durable

2. movement toward standard gauge track (4’81/2”)

3. Westinghouse’s development of air brakes

4. development of Pullman cars

5. creation of time zones within the U.S.

G. results of railroad building

1. sets the standard for consolidation and business organization (the corporation)

2. establishes an initial pro-business relationship with governments at all levels- relatively lasting

a. business and government form almost a partnership to accomplish goal

b. relate subsidies and land grants to a laissez-faire position

3. railroads further stimulate industrial development in heavy industry (steel, coal, etc.)

4. opens new markets for manufactured goods

5. gave easier access to raw materials

6. encouraged agricultural and mining expansion

a. gave remote fertile land easy access to urban markets

b. allowed untapped resources to be exploited

7. tapped a new source of labor

8. increased the trend toward urbanization and physical mobility

9. increased the stimulation for immigration - not for labor but through land sales

10. created the first great “robber barons” - and the robber baron philosophy of business

H. railroad wrongdoing

1. credit moblier

2. Vanderbilt attitude - “Law! What do I care about the law? Hain’t I got the power?” - “I won’t sue you for the law is too slow. I’ll ruin you.” - “The public be damned.”

3. primary complaint against the railroads was that they charged “all that the traffic would bear”- particularly important to midwestern farmers who were at the mercy of the railroads to transport crops to market

4. pooling - prearranged price fixing agreements dividing business or profits in a given region - they were designed to eliminate competition

5. rebates - favored large shippers over small ones - small shippers thus had to pay higher freight rates to underwrite the cost of the kickbacks

6. long haul/short haul differentials

7. free passes to Congressmen, Senators, Governors, etc.

I. government attempts at regulation

1. regulation was first attempted at the state level - this is a very important concept - in the laissez-faire attitude of the day, grassroots support for regulation must be demonstrated before the government will act - in what states was that most likely to occur?

2. midwestern states were the first to act (particularly Illinois)

3. the Granger Movement was the impetus for reform in the Midwest

a. state legislatures pass “Granger Laws”

b. designed to regulate big business (particularly railroads) and to benefit farmers

4. Illinois law regulating railroads is challenged in Munn v Illinois (1877)

a. at issue is whether a state can regulate interstate commerce in the absence of federal legislation

b. Supreme Court upholds Illinois act

5. 1886 Wabash, St. Louis, and Pacific Railway Company (Wabash case) the court reverses itself - rules that federal regulatory power over interstate commerce is exclusive - that is, even in the absence of federal legislation state governments may not act

J. Interstate Commerce Act 1887

1. first major governmental attempt to regulate big business

2. forbade discriminatory practices

3. rates had to be published and “reasonable and just”

4. the Interstate Commerce Commission was established to oversee enactment - had the power to issue cease and desist orders

5. was extremely weak early on - some historians contend that it was established without teeth to soothe public sentiment without greatly restricting big business

6. of the first sixteen cases which were appealed to the Supreme Court from the ICC, fifteen were decided in favor of the railroads

7. the right of appeal to the Supreme Court negated the effectiveness of the ICC because the Supreme Court was the most conservative branch of government throughout the period and consistently supported big business

8. review phases of Supreme Court history

a. federal v state power

b. government regulation v business freedom

c. government regulation v individual freedom

9. despite its weaknesses, the Interstate Commerce Act establishes the principle of government regulation of business

J. railroad problems late in the period

1. overexpansion and poor business practices left the railroads vulnerable

2. panic of 1893 severely damages railroads

3. by 1894 192 railroads were in the hands of receivers

4. by 1898 - 67,000 miles of track had been foreclosed on - one third of the total mileage

5. this tended to further the consolidation of railroads into fewer hands

6. railroads were rescued and put on a sound footing by J.P. Morgan

7. banking comes to supplant railroads as the dominant industry by the turn of the century

VI. Economic changes in the U.S.

A. category 1860 1869 1890 1900
population 31.4m 40.0m 62.6m 76.0m

number of factories 140.5thousand 355.4thousand

industrial workers 1.3m 2.0m 4.2m 4.7m

value of manufactures 1.9b 3.4b 9.4b 11.4b

value of factories 1.0b 6.5b

number of farms 2.0m 4.5m

# farm workers 6.8m 10.9m

value farm products 2.0b 8.5b

B. patents - in 1833 the head of the U.S. Patent Office resigned - “Everything seems to have been done. I just don’t see how anything else can be invented.”

1. between 1860 and 1890 - 440,000 new patents granted

2. 61-65 - 20725 81-85 - 97156

66-70 - 58734 86-90 - 110358

71-75 - 60976 91-95 - 108420

76-80 - 64462 96-00 - 112188

3. why are patents a sign of industrial development

C. U.S. moves from 4th in industrial production in 1860 to 1st in 1894

D. causes of industrial growth

1. plentiful raw materials

a. iron and coal - necessary for the development of industry (discuss location of raw materials and transportation alternatives) - why did the industry develop near Pittsburgh rather than upper Michigan or Minnesota - note the Mesabi Range - anthracite and bituminous

b. oil - 1859 - Drakes Folly near Titusville, PA

c. increased settlement and railroad expansion led to greater discoveries

2. available capital

a. since the U.S. had an unfavorable balance of trade through the early 19th century foreign investment in the U.S. totaled 3.3b by 1900

b. amassed fortunes during the Civil War increase the pool of capital

c. domestic capital available due to a declining role of the U.S. merchant marine

1. 1860 - 66% of U.S. exports carried in U.S. ships

2. 1900 - 9%

3. available labor

a. increased agricultural technology freed farm workers for jobs in industry

1. 1830 - 183 minutes to produce one bushel of wheat

2. 1900 - 10 minutes

3. between 1870-1890 - 4.4m workers freed from farms

b. immigration

1. 1860-1900 - 14m immigrants come to the U.S.

2. new immigrants were much poorer than old immigrants

3. they therefore sought industrial jobs near their port of entry rather than settling on farms in the interior

4. increased tapping of the women’s labor source, particularly after the invention of the telephone (Bell) and typewriter (Shoales)

4. American ingenuity

a. mass production techniques expand rapidly after the Civil War and there is a distinctive trend toward consolidation

b. increased inventions (see patent table)

5. expanding markets

a. lack of internal trade barriers (no internal tariff restrictions)

b. improved standard of living (more money to spend)

c. railroad building - increased markets for some products - accessibility to others



  1. efficiencies of scale led U.S. products to be cheap thus increasing the U.S. share of the world

market

6. encouragement of government

a. laissez-faire approach to regulation

b. subsidies and land grants to railroads

c. protective tariff policy

d. federal governments pro-business attitude regarding state regulation and labor unions

7. attraction of superior talent into the business community

C. steel industry - “Steel is king”

1. 1860 - 100,000 tons produced - 1860 - 500,000 - 1901 - 25m

2. in 1870 when Vanderbilt converted to steel rails they had to be imported from England

3. steel first had to become cheap

a. Bessemer and Wm. Kelly independently hit upon the same idea

b. Kelly’s fool steel v Bessemer converter

c. process was to blow cold air through molten iron ore to burn off impurities - result was high quality and low cost steel

d. advantages of steel over iron - strength and durability

4. raw materials and markets led to its location near Pittsburgh

5. Andrew Carnegie - began as a bobbin boy at two cents per hour - 60 hours per week

a. associated himself with Thomas Scott of the Pennsylvania Railroad

b. made shrewd investments as he came up through the ranks

c. by 1901 Carnegie controlled one fourth of the nation’s steel

d. dividends were $40m per year - Carnegie’s share $25m - would have to spend $68,493.15 per day just not to get richer

e. Carnegie attempted vertical integration - own everything necessary for the production of steel - how would this give one a competitive edge?

1. Carnegie owned iron mines, shipping companies, rail lines, coke companies, etc.

2. through eliminating the middle man he was able to sell steel cheaper than his competitors

f. will eventually sell out to J.P. Morgan for $400m (could spend $109,589.04)

g. U.S. Steel capitalized at $1.5b

h. the philanthropic Carnegie

1. write the Gospel of Wealth in 1901

2. “He who dies rich, dies disgraced.”

3. slant of his charitable contributions - never direct aid - always pointing toward self-help - established libraries and other public goods

D. the oil industry - John D. Rockefeller

1. humble beginnings like Carnegie

2. use of the corporate structure and the “trust”

3. sought “horizontal integration” (though some vertical used as well)

4. sought control of the final outlet of refined oil

5. by 1877, Rockefeller controls 95% of all of the refined oil in the U.S.

6. used ruthless, cutthroat tactic to eliminate competition - “He was just windward of the law.” - He broke no laws, but a lot of laws were passed because of him

a. powerful enough to coerce rebates from railroads

1. could cut off the supply of refined oil

2. financial clout

3. example of him building a competing railroad

b. American Beauty Rose theory - in order to have the finest American Beauty rose, all of the buds need to be cut off except for the one which is to receive all of the nourishment

1. Rockefeller believed that competition detracted from efficiency - economies of scale would be realized only when competition ceased to exist

2. use gas station example of cut-throat tactics

7. by the turn of the century Rockefeller was worth over a billion dollars

E. robber barons is the term coined for these multi-millionaires - some, like Carnegie, lived restrained lives, some like the Vanderbilts extravagant ones - Brinkley - In addition to many country estates, seven garish mansions on seven blocks of New York City’s Fifth Avenue” - or - Mrs, Bradley Martin who spent $368,000 on a single ball - created such a furor that she and her husband had to flee the country - Rockefeller kind of middle of the road

F. the trust (one companies ownership of the stock of competing companies) - designed to eliminate competition

1. the function of competition in the economy - lower prices - better quality

2. economies of scale

a. money saving techniques are more easily developed

b. mass production and marketing are possible

c. look toward modern day consolidation - horizontal, vertical, conglomerate

G. early attempts at control

1. 1890 - total value all all U.S. property 65b - corporation own 25b

2. 1887 - the ICC attempts to regulate railroads- largely ineffective

3. 1890 - Sherman Anti-trust Act is passed - made any combination in restraint of trade or commerce illegal

a. the government brings only 14 cases before 1901

b. seven of the first eight found in favor of business

c. in some cases the act is used to prevent strikes by labor unions

d. E.C. Knight Co. (1895) - controlled the manufacture of 98% of the refined sugar in the U.S. - found not guilty because the court saw a distinction between commerce and manufacturing

e. more trusts are formed under McKinley than any President until that time

f. nevertheless it demonstrates a greater willingness on the part of government to at least recognize that a problem exists

H. the impact of the economic revolution

1. increased the wealth of the country

2. increased the trend toward urbanization

3. creates the final transformation to an industrial based economy

4. increased opportunities for women

a. tended to delay marriage

b. tended to have smaller families - urban kids were a liability

5. accentuated class differences - by 1900 one-tenth of the population owned nine-tenths of the wealth

6. creates impetus for a change in foreign policy - with the increased need for foreign markets, the U.S. became more aggressively involved in world affairs

7. creates the beginnings of a change in attitude about the function of government - moves slightly toward a benefactor of the people concept

I. Billington’s impacts of the industrialization process

1. social and intellectual readjustments

a. a decline in individualism

1. consolidation into larger units reduced the role of the individual - Rockefeller - “The day of the combination is here to stay. Individualism is gone, never to return.”

2. mass production techniques decreased individual ownership of the finished product and pride in workmanship

3. urbanization also stifled individuality

NOTE -consolidation in industry forces a consolidation in the social arena as well.

b. decline of the laissez-faire philosophy

2. economic changes

a. decline in the importance of farms

1. relate the psychological impact of declining importance in agriculture to the antebellum South

2. look for agrarian discontent to accelerate as the urban lifestyle supplants the social foundations of the farm

b. increased importance of labor unions - Steinbeck - “When property accumulates in too few hands, it will be taken away.”

c. impetus for humanitarian reforms because of a variety of problems each with economic roots

3. political changes

a. rising importance of cities as political forces - the increased need of parties to address the problems of the urban masses

b. degradation in politics

c. rise of imperialism

VII. Labor Unions

A. while unions develop as early as 1790, they are relatively unimportant

1. one of the reasons was the dominance of agriculture - 90% - 1790

2. cheap land - one day’s wages = one acre

a. scarcity of labor is always a problem

b. dominant attraction to land ownership rather than factory work

B. early industrialization (1820-30s) causes a change in the concept of labor

1. declining camaraderie with owners

2. increasingly labor becomes a cost of production to be managed - more impersonal

3. exploitation of labor resulted from this

a. hours - 12-14 per day

b. $1-6 per week unskilled - 4-10 per week for skilled

c. as late as the turn of the century the average income of American workers was $400-500 per week when a reasonable standard of living required $600

4. legal restriction son the right to organize were imposed - many viewed organized labor as a criminal conspiracy - “It is the right of every person to sell his labor upon such terms as he deems proper.” - thus collective bargaining was viewed as an infringement on the right of contract

5. prior to 1835 only 24 strikes

6. 1842 - Commonwealth v Hunt rules that labor unions are not illegal conspiracies and that strikes are legal

C. women and children

1. 1820 - one half of the industrial workforce was composed of children

2. benefits of employing women and children

a. wages could be kept low

b. easier to control and coerce

D. such early unions as were formed functioned much like craft guilds - limiting entry into a profession

E. serious obstacles in organizing the American labor force

1. workers tended to view themselves as individuals - never develop a class consciousness as European workers did

2. passive nature of American workers - not greatly motivated by radical political doctrine

3. immigrant labor pool tended to depress prices - particularly late in the 19th century (some say this was caused by industrial advertisements for labor in Europe)

4. ethnic tension - between various early immigrant groups and between blacks and whites

5. tremendous political and financial resources of industry (examine later)

6. mobility - two aspects

a. laborers - easier to move than to endure hardships and win victories that require a major effort (safety valve theory)

b. industry - easy access to strikebreakers

7. increase in the absolute standard of living during the period suppressed dissatisfaction - cheap goods contributed greatly to this

8. American Dream concept - focus on the idea that if one could not rise above his condition with individual effort, the problem was with the character of the man - possibility of social mobility in this country - everyone thought they would someday be better (Carnegie and Rockefeller examples)

9. association of the labor movement with radical foreign elements - thereby giving labor unions the connotation of being un-American

F. gains during the century

1. Commonwealth v Hunt (1842) - unions and strikes legal

2. state adoption of the ten hour day in NH and PA - except for expressed contracts - pre-signed agreements to vary the condition of hiring

3. Jacksonian democracy and the gains in suffrage for the common man - this meant that the industrial worker began to have more political clout

4. 1840 - Van Buren establishes the ten hour day on public works projects

5. 1868 - eight hour day established on public works projects

6. 1884 - establishment of the Bureau of Labor - indication that the federal government was more receptive to working conditions

7. 1885 - prohibition of the import of contract labor

8. 1892 - establishment of the eight hour day for government employees

9. 1898 - Erdman Act - arbitration required for interstate carriers

10. as well, states passed similar labor laws during the period - however, by the end of the century 70% of all workers still worked 10-12 hour days, 6-7 days per week

G. post-Civil War labor climate

1. Civil War caused the expansion of unions - look at hard times as opposed to good times relative to labor movement growth

2. during good times labor unions are viewed as unnecessary

3. during bad times workers may not be able to afford membership - strikes are more easily broken

H. post-war problems regarding organization

1. increased technology - long term gains in employment may require short term sacrifices - particularly for skilled workers

2. increasingly glutted labor market - increasingly dominated by immigrants

3. railroad accessibility allowed greater latitude in where industry was located - away from strong union centers

4. increasingly sophisticated employer tools used to discourage the growth of labor

a. scabs - Jay Gould - “I can hire one half of the working class to kill off the other half.”

b. big business ties to government

1. courts particularly prone to issue injunctions against unions -could issue cease and desist orders - punishments - fines or imprisonment of leaders

2. state and federal troops were used to protect the property of owners and to put down strikes (civil unrest)

c. lockout - why would this tool work? - owners could hold out longer than the workers

d. yellow-dog contracts - pre-hiring agreements (contracts) that established guarantees of non-union involvement as a condition of one’s employment

e. blacklists - circulated lists of union activists which precluded their hiring by other employers

f. newspaper bias - ties to big business (they were part of big business)

g. public bias against union stemming from the American Dream mentality

h. general distrust of immigrants - fear of union ties with radical groups - anarchists

I. the National Labor Union

1. organized in 1866 by William Sylvus

a. at its peak it boasted a membership of 600,000

b. organized all workers into one big union - skilled, unskilled, farmers

2. major problems

a. it was an outgrowth of the antebellum utopian reform movements of the 1840s - as such it was sadly out of place in post-war society

b. goals were nebulous and utopian - believed that workers should establish workers cooperatives which would compete with major industries of the times

c. goals stressed education and political power - it was opposed to strikes - discuss the problem of utopian and unmeasurable goals for labor unions

d. attempted to organize too many diverse people with different goals

e. dies after the railway strikes of 1877

J. early labor unrest

1. Molly McGuires - Pennsylvania coal miners unwilling to accept pay cuts after the panic of1873

a. mine owners cut wages, crushed strikes with strikebreakers and armed guards

b. Molly McGuires resort to violence against mine owners - sabotage, intimidation, murders, and beatings

c. Pinkerton detectives hired - eventually ten Molly McGuires were convicted and hanged

d. net effect - Bruner - “No strike was inaugurated by this secret society, but the murders, beatings, and other actions by it caused a feverish condition of the public mind, so that when the great era of historic strikes really opened the people feared for the continuance of industry and for the general prosperity and business of the country.”

2. railway strikes of 1877

a. series of wage cuts tied to the panic of 1873

b. strike began nationwide

c. state and federal troops were called out to restore order

d. in Baltimore nine were killed

e. in Pittsburgh - $10m in property damage

f. by July - 100 killed - 300 wounded

g. reflections on the sentiment of the American people toward the strike - Bruner - “In Baltimore, an officer told his men, ‘the order is shoot to kill. Those people are mutinous rabble, scurvy anarchists. I want them shot without mercy.’” - Dulles - newspapers described it as “an insurrection, a revolution, an attempt of communists and vagabonds to coerce society, an endeavor to undermine American institutions. The New York Times stated that only force could subdue this ‘ignorant rabble with hungry mouths.’ The Times characterized the strikers as hoodlums, rabble, bummers, looters, blacklegs, thieves, tramps, ruffians, incendiaries, enemies of society, brigands, rapscallions, riffraff, felons, and idiots and the Herald declared that the mob was a ‘wild beast and needs to be shot down.’

K. The Knights of Labor

1. established in 1869 by Uriah Stephens

2. similar to the National Labor Union in many respects

a. nebulous goals - Bruner - 122 - “Labor is noble and holy.” “A just and harmonious society.”

b. sought to establish one big union of skilled and unskilled workers

c. estimates of membership at its peak range from 700,000-1m

3. Terrance Powderly replaces Stephens

a. provides relatively poor leadership

b. is opposed to strikes

4. Haymarket Square riots

a. workers striking at McCormick

b. Pinkerton strikebreakers stage a lockout

c. workers protest outside the gate 5-3-86 - gates opened and shots fired - six strikers killed and twenty wounded

d. rally scheduled for the following day at Haymarket Square

1. raining - last speech of the day - only 500 people remain

2. police descend on Haymarket and order the crowd to disperse

3. bomb thrown - 7 police and 4 demonstrators killed - 200 wounded

5. Knights of Labor were associated with the incident in the public mind

6. 8 anarchists rounded up (no proof) - 4 hanged - 1 suicide - 3 given prison terms - eventually pardoned by Governor John Altgeld (liberal governor of Illinois)

7. Haymarket condemns the Knights - in the public mind there is guilt by association - newspapers play up the incident and the anarchist nature of the labor movement - why would newspapers do that?

8. membership declines to 100,000 by 1890 - by 1900 its dead

L. The American Federation of Labor

1. major differences from earlier labor organizations

a. they organize skilled workers only - thus they have greater leverage

b. individuals do not join the AFL but local labor unions join

c. blacks are excluded

d. AFL has concrete, manageable goals

1. improved wages

2. shorter hours

3. better working conditions

e. sought to use strikes as the primary weapon to attain goals

1. to a degree it avoided politics

2. gave up on an educated public

2. Samuel Gompers headed the AFL - dynamic, forceful, and tireless

a. reelected for 26 terms in 27 years

b. survived depressions, and strikes - by 1900 - 500,000 strong

3. by 1900, public opinion had begun to swing in the favor of unions - perhaps put off by excessive abuses of big business - AFL benefits from this change in attitude

M. labor violence in the 1890s - most brought on by the Panic of 1893

1. 1881-1900 - 23,000 strikes involving 6.6m workers - resulting in $450m in lost production

2. Homestead Strike of 1892

a. occurs at Carnegie Steel - Carnegie was actually receptive to unions but was out of the country - Henry Frick in charge (anti-union)

1. at issue was was a wage cut for a small minority of the workers

2. supported by other union members

3. lockout ensues - the construction of Fort Frick begins

4. 300 Pinkerton guards are called for - reaction - Bruner 132

5. 8000 state militia called out to restore order

6. public opinion shifts against the union when an anarchist attempts to assassinate Frick - totally unrelated to the union - nevertheless, the union reaps the ill-will resulting from the act

b. outcome of the Homestead strike

1. Frick abolishes the eight hour day and institutes two twelve hour shifts - seven days per week

2. 40% pay cut for skilled workers - 16.5 cents per hours for unskilled workers

3. 30 years before the union is again effective in the steel industry

4. Carnegie profits - in the 17 years prior to Homestead Strike - 27m - in the 9 years following the strike - 106m N. The Pullman Strike - 1894 - directly brought on by the Panic of 1893

1. George Pullman - sleeping car inventor - established the model town of Pullman for his workers

2. views of the model town - Dulles 172 - Bruner 135

3. Panic of 1893 forces layoffs of 3000 workers

a. other suffer wage reductions of 25-40%

b. services and rents in Pullman were not reduced

c. Dulles - “A worker seldom earned as much as six dollars a week after the company had taken its deductions. In one instance, an employee found that after payment for his rent was taken out his paycheck came to two cents. He never cashed it.”

4. strikers sought support from Eugene Debs (Socialist labor leader) and his American Railway Union

a. originally he was uninterested - after a visit to Pullman he changed his mind

b. ARU stopped handling trains with Pullman car attached creating a bottleneck in Chicago

c. railroads wanted federal troops called in - couldn’t get Altgeld to agree to make the request

d. Cleveland’s Attorney General was Richard Olney (former railroad lawyer) who was anxious to help former employers - he urged President Cleveland to act

e. railroad owners hit upon the idea of attaching mail cars to trains with Pullman cars - thus strikers would be interfering with the delivery of the mails

1. courts issue an injunction - Debs defies it and is jailed

2. Cleveland calls out federal troops - “If it takes the entire army and navy of the United States to deliver a postcard in Chicago, that postcard will be delivered.”

3. Altgeld reaction - “I will say that the state of Illinois is not only ready to take care of itself, but stands ready today to furnish the federal government with any assistance it might need elsewhere.”

4. 2000 federal troops are called out - 30 strikers killed - leaders arrested

f. Debs will run for President five times as a socialist

1. 1900 - 96,000

2. 1904 - 402,000

3. 1908 - 420,000

4. 1912 - 901,000

5. 1920 - 919,000 while in prison

5. the net effect of all of this is to indicate that the road labor traveled was not an easy one - imagine the perseverance necessary for the labor leaders of the day to continue on that path

VIII. Agrarian reform movements

A. agrarian statistics

rural wealth 1860 - 4m 1890 - 16m

urban wealth 1860 - 3m 1890 - 49m

% national wealth agriculture 1860 - 50% 1900 - 20%

# national income farming 1860 - 30% 1900 - 18%

farms under mortgage 1890 - 27% 1910 - 33%

farm tenancy 1890 - 25% 1910 - 37%

B. farm prices

wheat 1883-89 .73bu 1894 .49

corn “ .36 “ .21

cotton “ .11 “ .06

1. 1867-69 it took 1200 bushels of wheat to pay back a $1000 mortgage

2. 1886-88 it took 2300 bushels of wheat to pay back a $1000 mortgage

C. major farm problems of the period

1. overproduction due to technological advances

a. 1830 - one half hour to prepare and sow one bushel of wheat

1900 - 2 minutes

b. 1830 - 61 hours to harvest 20 bushels of grain

1900 - 3 hours

c. 1850 - 21 hours to harvest a ton of timothy

1900 - 4 hours

d. the result of this overproduction was falling prices

e. how can farmers maintain their standard of living in a time period of falling prices - raise more - what does that result in

2. outmoded way of life

a. industrialization left farmers feeling like the odd man out

b. social and physical isolation contribute to this

3. political losses

a. despite the fact that rural areas remain overrepresented, they obviously lose power

b. bossism and state political machines generally represented urban interests

4. natural factors

a. severe drought and harsh winters during the 1880s cattle farmers particularly hard hit

b. grasshopper plagues

c. marginal rainfall beyond the 100th meridian

5. imperialism

a. foreign (European) expansion increased world agricultural production further lowering prices and closing some world markets for U.S. goods

b. Brazil, Argentina, Russia, Canada, Australia all increase agricultural production

6. the nature of farming

a. need for the extension of credit

b. increasing need to buy improved technology on credit

c. effect of panics - foreclosures on mortgages, decreased food consumption

7. exploitation - note the similarity of the farmers plight to that of the antebellum South - they develop the same need to find scapegoats

a. railroads are seen as the chief enemy - farmers are totally dependent on the availability and price of transportation to get their crops to market

1. individual farmers have limited effectiveness in combating the abuses of railroads

2. if farmers protested, railroads would refuse to ship their produce at any price

b. credit institutions of the East from whom farmers had to borrow money were seen as villains charging excessive interest

c. protective tariffs hurt farmers

1. they sold in a free market which lowered prices

2. they bought in a protected market which increased prices

3. industrial goods were therefore more expensive than they might have been - estimated price increase due to tariffs - 33-66%

D. attempts at agrarian organization - link this to the broader theme of consolidation and centralization going on during the time period

1. 1860s - Greenbackers

a. sought to increase the money supply through the repeal of the Specie Resumption Act of 1875

b. in the early days they attempted to lobby for their believes but they lack the clout of big business

c. 1870s they will offer a third party challenge to the existing parties

d. 1878 - they poll over 1m votes in state and congressional elections

e. platform

1. lower tariffs

2. personal and corporate income tax - tie to tariff

3. increase the money supply through the printing of Greenbacks, later the free and unlimited coinage of silver

f. post 1873 economic recovery dooms their chances

1. 1880 - James B. Weaver polls only 300,000 votes

2. vote totals continue to decline as more consolidated organization take up some of their causes

E. The Grange - Patrons of Husbandry

1. founded by Oliver Hudson Kelley - official in the Department of Agriculture

2. purpose - “to keep agriculture in step with the music of the age”

a. designed as a self-help organization keeping farmers abreast of changes in technology

b. social aspects of the Grange take off - thus it becomes a focal point of farmer discontent

c. slow growth - in good times farmers are individuals - in bad times they are largely ignored - early attempts tried to locate Granges in cities

1. panic of 1873 causes rapid acceleration in membership

2. 1875 - 800,000 - 1.5m - with 20,000 lodges

d. expansion brought a change in focus, though its original ideas were never given up totally

1. focus shifts to economic matters

2. sought to establish cooperatives, stores, grain elevators, warehouses, insurance companies, and factories to produce farm machinery

3. reasons for failures

a. periodic prosperity - no one continues to make sacrifices during good times - these are long range support efforts

b. lack of capital

c. opposition from within - initial higher cost of goods destroys some efforts

d. mismanagement - lack of expertise in management techniques

e. opposition from without - big business can cut prices to undersell cooperatives, discriminatory rate schedules, etc.

3. political arena - fair success - particularly at the state level

a. attempted to work through existing parties rather than third party

b. gain control of some state legislatures - particularly in the upper Mississippi River and Ohio River valleys

c. passage of Granger Laws designed to regulate the abuses of big business - trusts and monopolies

1. Munn v Illinois - 1877

2. court hostility - Wabash case - 1886

F. Farmers Alliances - C.W. McCune - 1875 - merged in 1886

1. Southern farmers Alliance - 4.5m - Northern - 2m - black - 1.5

2. goals are similar to those of the Grange

a. cooperative stores, banks, processing plants

b. similar problems - opposition and mismanagement

3. by the late 1880s they come up with concrete political goals - Ocala Demands

a. experience considerable political success in state and congressional elections in 1890

b. claim 12 legislatures, 6 governors, 3 Senators, 50 Congressmen

c. claims are exaggerated because many are duel candidates

4. nevertheless, by 1892 they are ready to launch a third party attempt for the Presidency

G. the Populist Party - 1892 (Omaha Platform)

1. strongest in the Rockies, the Great Plains, and the South

a. weakest in areas where the Grange is the strongest

b. appeals most strongly to small, one crop, minimally mechanized, family farm, and tenant farmers - characteristic they all have in common is that they are obsolete types of farming - they also represent the debtor class

2. the Populist Party was unable to attract the labor vote due to lack of a common ground

3. it is unwilling to appeal to blacks - racism is more entrenched than problems

4. leadership is composed of middle class farmers, lawyers, editors

a. Mary Lease - government was “of Wall Street, by Wall Street, for Wall Street - urged farmers to “raise less corn and more hell”

b. Eastern view -”popocrats” - “complaint not corn was their chief crop” - “We don’t want anymore states until we can civilize Kansas”

5. philosophy is composed of three basic elements

a. a concrete program of reform complete with specifics

b. vocal denunciation of their enemies - revivalist in style - why?

c. establishment of a just and stable society - the elimination of laissez-faire - movement toward the new view that the government is responsible for the economic welfare of its citizens

6. specific planks

a. establishment of a sub-treasury system - government loans against surplus crops

b. elimination of national banks

c. end of absentee ownership

d. direct election of Senators - why - end ties with big business

e. initiative and referendum

f. government ownership of railroads, telegraph, telephones

g. graduated income tax

h. currency inflation - increased supply

i. free and unlimited coinage of silver

7. nominate James B. Weaver - 1892

a. polls 1m PV and 22 EV

b. Southern problem insurmountable for Populists - how do you win voted from Democrats when your appeal is to the same people

H. the silver issue and the politics of the 90s

1. 1888 - both parties attempt to avoid problems - fear of alienating voter groups

2. it is increasingly difficult to do so, however

3. Cleveland tried to make the tariff a major issue in 1888 -not wholly successfully

4. concern is the surplus of 145m per year (1881)

5. 1888 - Harrison defeats Cleveland - 233ev-168ev - 5.4m - 5.54m

6. revisit the concept of doubtful states (Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, New York)

7. in Indiana - votes were said to be going for $20 apiece

8. Harrison - the ice-chest in the White House

a. Congressional problems- Republicans have only three more than a quorum - Democrats frequently refuse to answer the roll call o the House cannot conduct business

b. “Czar” Reed counts them present anyway - it was said of Reed that “he would rather let go a cutting remark and lose a friend than hold his tongue and retain one” - reputed to have responded to someone’s statement that “I’d rather be right than President” by saying “He’ll never be either.”

9. the Billion Dollar Congress - control by big business - spends money rather than reduce the tariff

a. veteran’s benefits soar - 81m - 135m - this helped save the tariff by reducing surpluses

b. Sherman Anti-trust Act passed 1890 (why does it pass - the need to quiet public clamor?)

c. Sherman Silver Purchase Act - McKinley Tariff - 1890

1. Sherman Silver Purchase Act - 4.5m ounces of silver would be purchased each month - paper currency would be issued - redeemable in either gold or silver

2. McKinley Tariff raised duties to 48.4

3. does this seem to be something of a deal?

10. 1890 Congressional elections - Democrats gain control 235 - 88 - 9 (Democrats, Republicans, Farmer’s Alliances - in the Senate the Democrats have a majority of 8

11. campaign of 1893 relatively clean - Cleveland and Harrison rematch

a. outcome - Cleveland 277 - 145

b. tariff reduction becomes one of the first priorities

c. Wilson-Gorman Tariff

1. reduced rates by about 10% - originally designed to be more significant - 634 amendments added - most higher - final rate 41.3%

2. established an income tax - 2% on incomes of more than $4000

3. quickly ruled unconstitutional 1895 - Pollock v Farmer’s Loan and Trust - 5-4 ruling

d. Panic of 1893 hurts Cleveland's chances of accomplishing much

1. caused by overspeculation, labor discord, agricultural depression

2. Cleveland (stubborn) blames the Sherman Sliver Purchase Act

I. the silver issue - review

1. U.S. was on a bimetallic standard since 1790 - ratio 16-1

2. disparity in value led the amount of silver in a dollar to be worth more than a dollar to manufacturers

a. thus the coining of silver is discontinued in 1873 - “Crime of 73”

b. new strikes increase the silver supply - decrease its value - thus the selling of silver to the government again becomes practical

c. miners and farmers come to favor the free and unlimited coinage of silver as a means of currency inflation

3. Bland-Allison Act - 1878 - the government agrees to purchase $2-4m dollars worth per month

4. 1890 - Sherman Silver Purchase Act - passed as part of a compromise to ensure the enactment of the McKinley Tariff - government agreed to purchase 4.5m ounces which was nearly all of the domestic production - to be paid for in treasury notes - silver not to be coined - treasury notes could be turned in for gold - caused a run on U.S. gold reserves

5. Populists failed to seize upon the silver issue early - later saw it as a means of gaining campaign contributions from mining interests

6. Wm. Harvey - Coin’s Financial School

7. Panic of 1893 causes a run on gold

a. government attempted to keep $100m in reserve

b. reserves of 190m in 1890 dwindled to 100m in 1893

c. by 1894 they fell to 41m and there was fear that the U.S. would be forced off the gold standard

d. Cleveland sought repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act - succeeded - caused great bitterness within the party

e. 1895 - J.P. Morgan agreed to purchase $65m in bonds so the government could purchase more gold - made a profit of $7m

J. election of 1896

1. Wm. McKinley (Mark Hanna’s fairhaired boy) nominated by Republicans

a. platform had two primary planks

b. maintenance of the gold standard

c. high protective tariff

2. Democrats were unhappy with Cleveland - Sherman Silver Purchase, tariff, panic 1893

a. in mid-term elections Republicans had regained control of the House 244-105

b. convention was held in Chicago - silverites gain the majority but are leaderless

c. William Jennings Bryan emerges after his famous “Cross of Gold” speech

1. Bailey - “A great voice rather than a great brain.”

2. known as the “boy orator of the Platte

3. boy orator of the Platte was a fitting title according to his opponents the Platte is “six inches deep and six miles wide at its mouth.”

d. Cross of Gold speech - “You come and tell us that the great cities are in favor of the gold standard. We reply that the great cities rest upon the broad and fertile prairies. Burn down your cities and leave our farms, and your cities will spring up again as if by magic. But destroy our farms, and grass will grow on the streets of every city of the country...You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns: you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.”

e. “gold bugs bolt after the Bryan nomination - form National Democrats

f. Bryan platform

1. reduced tariff

2. stricter regulation of railroads and industry

3. principle of the income tax

4. limiting the use of the injunction

5. free and unlimited coinage of silver

3. Populists are left out in the cold - options

a. nominate a candidate and sacrifice any chance of victory - though they keep their platform in tact

b. support Bryan and stand a chance of winning - but sacrifice a major portion of the platform (called Fussionists)

c. given these options - most supported Bryan

4. Republican campaign strategy

a. “McKinley and the full dinner pail”

b. an orchestrated front porch campaign

c. “spellbinders” - speeches and pamphlets

5. Democratic campaign strategy

a. took to the stump to utilize Bryan’s strength

b. travels 18,000 miles, speaks to 5m people, gives 500-600 speeches (36 in one day) - becomes known as the “Great Commoner”

c. covers the entire country

6. Bryan’s undoing

a. employer tools - threats to workers about jobs - bankers threats to foreclose

b. revivalist style alienates many Catholics - stress the importance of this as Bryan lost votes in eastern industrial centers

c. attracted few Republican farmers (generally prosperous content with laissez-faire view) - located in the doubtful states

d. price of wheat rises just before the election

e. inability to sustain emotionalism - campaign lost steam as the election approached - if it had been held in August he might have one - personal difficulty in maintaining a fever pitch - short attention span of American voters

f. campaign spending 3m to .3m in national election - 16m to 1m overall - Bailey points out the irony of the 16-1 ratio

7. outcome - McKinley 7.1m - 271ev - Bryan 6.5m - 176ev

K. McKinley administration - standpattism

1. conservative in outlook - controlled by bosses to a degree

2. 1897 - Dingley Tariff enacted - the highest in U.S. history to that date

a. 850 amendments to it - virtually all raise levels

b. level - Bailey - 46.5% - others 57%

3. Gold Standard Act of 1900 - redemption of paper currency in gold only

4. return of prosperity - reasons

a. foreign crop failures - 1898

b. full business recovery from the Panic of 1893

c. technology and new discoveries increase the supply of gold - currency inflation - cyanide process - Klondike, south Africa, Australia

VII. Immigration

A. 1890 - shift in the character of immigration

1. new immigration v old immigration

a. old immigrants - northern and western Europe (Ireland, Germany, England)

b. new immigrants southern and eastern Europe (Italy, Russia, Poland)

2. 1880s - 18.3% SE European - 1890s - 52% SE European - 1900s - 72% SE European

3. acceleration in the pace of immigration

a. 1860-1900 - 14m immigrants came (most in the 1890s)

b. 1900-1915 - 14.5m immigrants

B. negative reasons for immigration - four scourges

1. poverty

2. militarism (wars, social unrest, conscription)

3. religious persecution

4. political tyranny

C. positive factors for immigration

1. opportunities associated with economic growth

2. propaganda from steamship and railroad companies

3. recruitments by industry

4. glowing accounts of earlier immigrants

D. assimilation factors - characteristic of SE and NW immigrants

1. NW immigrant characteristics

a. similar language bases

b. similar customs (holidays, etc.)

c. relative wealth - middle class immigrants allowed the purchase of land and prevented the concentration of immigrants

d. similar governmental structure (limited government, democracy, stability)

e. higher rate of literacy

f. similar religions (mostly Protestant)

2. SE immigrant characteristics

a. different language bases

b. dissimilar customs (holidays, dress, eating habits)

c. abject poverty limited their mobility and opportunities and led them to concentrate in eastern industrial cities

Note: ironic that the end of a discernible line of frontier occurs in 1890

d. totalitarian governmental structures (democratic process was foreign to them - totalitarian governments are not changed through a democratic process but through violent upheaval - thus U.S. citizens were concerned about the threat to democratic institutions

e. illiteracy - not only with English but with native tongue - distinguish between illiteracy and stupidity - lack of educational opportunities - nativists associate this with stupidity

f. dissimilar religions (Catholic and Jewish)

D. movement toward immigration restriction

1. existed early with nativist groups like the Know Nothings

2. accelerated with the shift to SE immigration - why?

a. American Protective Association - 1887

b. Immigration Restriction League - 1894

3. reasons for these movements

a. labor unions tended to favor them - competition for jobs and control of unions - old immigrants don’t wish to give up control

b. Republican party - immigrants tended to align themselves with the Democrats

c. racism - KKK - fear of the mongrelization of the American race and character

d. relate this to the frontier thesis - has a distinctively American character developed or is this merely a rationalization for baser social and economic motives

E. path of formal restriction

1. 1882 - paupers, criminals, convicts excluded

2. later - polygamists, insane, prostitutes, alcoholics, anarchists

3. 1882 - Chinese Exclusion Act

4. 1885 - contract labor immigration prohibited

5. 1907 - Gentlemen’s Agreement with Japan - 1890 - 2000 - 1910 - 110,000

6. 1917 literacy test (in foreign language)

7. 1920s Quota System imposed

a. 1921 - Emergency Quota Act (Johnson Act)

1. limited immigration to 3% of the foreign born living in the U.S. in 1910

2. 1921 - 805,228 immigrants - 1922 - 309,556

b. 1924 - National Origins Act

1. limited immigration to 2% of the foreign born living in the U.S. in 1890

2. maximum total allowed 164,000 - 1927 reduced to 150,000

3. specifically designed to limited southern and eastern Europeans

4. Great Britain and Ireland - 65,721 - Italy - 5802

c. 1929 - NW - 132,000 - SE - 20,000

8. 1931 - first year in which emigrants outnumber immigrants

9. 1952 - McCarren-Walter Act - slight adjustments to the quota system (Red Scare)

10. 1965 - Immigration Act of 1965 - eliminates quota system

11. Ellis Island - Castle Garden

12. earlier assimilation of immigrant children

13. discuss the melting pot theory - beef stew theory - need to destroy the Statute of Liberty -

“Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,

Send these the homeless, temptest-tost to me

I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

Emma Lazarus

VIII. Urban expansion

A. the effect of transportation

1. “walking cities” - old style

a. characterized by compactness

b. mixture of classes

2. horse-drawn (later electric) streetcars, trolleys, and subways revolutionize cities

a. those with means moved outside the crowed center city

b. thus residential patterns of class developed

1. poor - center city (slums and ghettos)

2. middle class - apartment fringes and suburbs

3. wealthy - suburbs

3. mobility between cities (job mobility)

B. major urban problems

1. policing the city

a. Horatio Alger Ragged Dick - problems encountered

b. drunkenness - fuels prohibition movement

c. immigrant gangs

d. remember - police forces had been in existence and merely had to deal with new types of problems created by urbanization and industrialization

e. Lexow Report indicate widespread corruption

2. government

a. rapid expansion led to increased opportunities for graft and corruption

b. boss politics - machine politics - Tammany Hall - The Tweed ring

c. relied on patronage to survive

d. Thomas Nast - “Let us prey”

3. poverty

a. new organizations formed to deal with it YMCA, YWCA, Salvation Army (Wm. Booth)

b. The Social Gospel (William Rainsford, Washington Gladden, Walter Rauschenbusch)

1. designed to awaken middle-class churchgoers to the plight of the urban poor - the true Christian fights social injustice where he finds it

2. assumed responsibility because of the brotherhood of man

c. Settlement-House Movement

1. Jane Addams, Lillian Wald (Hull House, Henry Street Settlement House)

2. streessed environmental causes for poor conditions

3. combination of self-help, child care, language training, legal aid and health care

4. by 1895 - 50 settlement houses

5. not always successful because they ignored local leadership

4. the physical city - “City Beautiful Movement”

a. parks and public places - Frederick Olmstead, Andrew Jackson Downing

b. Richard Morris Hunt - neoclassical art

c. city planning

1. Boston’s Back Bay

2. broad avenues, uniform height

3. Louis Sullivan and the skyscraper (elevator, fireproofing, internal metal frame

d. movement favored the rich and well-borne

e. tied architecture to social order

f. tenements - dumbbell buildings

g. problems with sanitation

1. typhoid, smallpox, diphtheria

2. sewerage and water major problems

IX. Social setting/women and blacks

A. 1870-1900 the number of women working outside the home tripled

1. unskilled jobs in industry

2. impact of technology - typewriter, telephone

3. work outside the home was nevertheless seen as temporary

B. decreasing family size

1. class differentiation

2. middle class v farmers and working class

C. cult of domesticity (cult of true womanhood) - women’s sphere

1. women’s ideal in the 19th century was not to have to work (class status)

2. ideal role for women was as director of the household

3. create an uplifting cultural environment

D. the role of Victorian manners and morals

1. behavior became class status

2. sobriety, industriousness, and self-restraint

3. social graces separated higher from lower classes

E. blacks continued as second-class citizens in a segregated south

1. Jim Crow laws

2. Plessy v Ferguson - separate but equal

F. debate over black goals

1. Booker T. Washington and the Atlanta Compromise

a. emphasized delaying social and political equality

b. saw the achievement of economic equality as a precusor of these

c. the role of vocational training - Tuskegee

2. W.E.B. DuBois and the Niagara Movement - forerunner of the NAACP

a. believed in full equal citizenship

b. emphasized classical education for the talented tenth

3. examine background differences

G. rise of social Darwinism - survival of the fittest in society

H. mass production and mass marketing



I. art and leisure


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