Gilded Age-(1865-1900)

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Mr. Brush

A.P. U.S. History

APQ#10-Industrial Age and the Labor Movement
Gilded Age-(1865-1900)

  • corruption, greed and superficial appearance of wealth

Robber Barons

  • late-nineteenth century industrialists

  • used Darwin’s theory of natural Selection as scientific evidence that they deserved the wealth that they had accumulated (Social Darwinism)

  • Carnegie, Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, Morgan

Big Business Strategies

  • horizontal integration-taking over similar businesses in order to monopolize

  • vertical integration-by buying up all businesses related to the production an owner controls all aspects of the production process

  • monopolies-________________________________________________

  • interlocking directories-membership on more than one company’s board of directors. This is legal as long as the companies are not competitors

  • laissez-faire economic policy-little interfering from the government in big business/ Adam Smith

  • Bessemer Process-first inexpensive industrial process for the mass-production of steel from molten iron

Supporters of Capitalism

  • Social Darwinism

  • Horatio Alger- a novelist in the late nineteenth century, reflected a positive reaction to capitalism and Darwinism by inspiring boys to struggle for success through effort and sacrifice

  • Herbert Spencer

  • Russell Conwell

  • Gospel of Wealth- Andrew Carnegie articulated the view that the wealthy were morally obligated to use some of their wealth for the improvement of society

Regulation of Big Business

  • Interstate Commerce Commission

  • Sherman-Anti-Trust Act of 1890- It had little immediate impact on the regulation of large companies and it was used to destroy labor unions

  • United States v. EC Knight Company

  • The Pendleton Act

Effects of Big Business

  • South-Rapid growth in the textile industry encouraged Southern planters to grow cotton, making slavery more important to the economy

  • American Worker- The standard of living for most workers improved by the late nineteenth century, but workers had become mere mechanisms in the production process

  • International- By the late nineteenth century, the US economy was producing as much as Britain, France, and Germany combined in many sectors

  • How did the U.S. government initially react toward movements to establish unions in businesses and factories in the latter half of the nineteenth century:

- It actively supported business efforts to destroy unions before they could effectively establish themselves
Labor Unions

  • The government actively supported business efforts to destroy labor unions

  • The Sherman Anti-Trust Act was initially and primarily used to destroy unions

  • Injunction-prevent unions from striking

Types of Labor Unions

  • American Federation of Labor- endorsed the philosophy of “bread and butter” unionism by concentrating on demands for higher wages, shorter hours, and improved working conditions; Samuel Gompers lead it

  • Knights of Labor-

  • Molly Maguires-

  • National Labor Union- This labor union was formed right after the end of the Civil War and was the first major union to organize workers regardless of their race, gender or skill level

  • IWW- its objective was to eliminate the private ownership of the means of production


  • Homestead-

  • Railroad Strike of 1877- was the first time a president ordered U.S. troops to stop a strike

  • Haymarket Riot- involved a riot between workers and police

  • Pullman- President Grover Cleveland took the side of labor in the dispute

The American Labor Movement-

  • The most successful unions focused on higher wages and an eight-hour day

  • Strikes were often put down by local police, state militia and federal troops

  • Unions supported legislation to restrict immigration fearing competition for jobs

  • Federal laws, such as the Sherman-Anti-Trust Act, were used against unions

  • One of the major effects of the Industrial Revolution of the late nineteenth century in the United States was an increased emphasis on speed rather than quality of work


1. In the mid-nineteenth century, strong opposition arose in the United States to immigrants who came from Ireland and Germany.

- large numbers of Irish immigrants came to the United States in the 1840’s because of the potato famine

2. Immigrants coming to America from Eastern and Southeastern Europe during the late nineteenth century were most likely to settle in large cities in the Northwest or Midwest.

3. All of the following account for nativist sentiment against the “new immigrants” of the late nineteenth century:

- practiced different religions

-had different languages and cultures

-were willing to work for lower wages than native-born worker

-were not familiar with the United States political system

4. The first federal law to restrict immigration, passed in 1882, was aimed at

excluding Chinese immigration

5. The Burlingame Treaty permitted unrestricted Chinese immigration to the United States before the Immigration Act of 1882

6. The term “new immigration” refers to the large increase in immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe
Supreme Court Cases

  1. Northern Securities decision in 1904 led to drop in big business

  2. In United States v. E.C. Knight Company, the Supreme Court ruled that since the company was involved in production and not commerce, it fell under state jurisdiction.

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