Bessemer pressChiefly the
invention in the 1850s of a method of making cheap
steel—the Bessemer process. It was named after a
derided British inventor, although an American had
stumbled on it a few years earlier. William Kelly, a
Kentucky manufacturer of iron kettles, discovered
538 CHAPTER 24 Industry Comes of Age, 1865–1900
that cold air blown on red-hot iron caused the metal
to become white-hot by igniting the carbon and
thus eliminating impurities.
Charles Darwin publishes On the Origin of SpeciesThe old-time religion received many blows from
modern trends, including a booming sale of books
on comparative religion and on historical criticism
as applied to the Bible. Most unsettling of all was On
the Origin of Species, a highly controversial volume
published in 1859, on the eve of the Civil War, by the
English naturalist Charles Darwin.
Hotel on wheelsThe Pullman Palace Cars,
advertised as “gorgeous traveling hotels,” were
introduced on a considerable scale in the 1860s.
Alarmists condemned them as “wheeled torture
chambers” and potential funeral pyres, for the
Railroad Abuses 533
wooden cars were equipped with swaying kerosene
lamps. Appalling accidents continued to be almost
daily tragedies, despite safety devices like the telegraph
(“talking wires”), double-tracking, and (later)
the block signal.
Clash of cultures on the plainsNative Americans numbered about 360,000 in 1860,
many of them scattered about the vast grasslands of
the trans-Missouri West. But to their eternal misfortune,
the Indians stood in the path of the advancing
white pioneers. An inevitable clash loomed between
an acquisitive, industrializing civilization and the
Indians’ highly evolved lifeways, adapted over centuries
to the demanding environment of the sparsely
watered western plains.
Indian WarsSurrendering in 1877, Chief Joseph of the Nez Percé declared, “Our chiefs
are killed. . . . The old men are all dead. . . . The little children are freezing to death. . . . I want to have time
to look for my children. . . . Hear me, my chiefs. My heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands
I will fight no more forever.”
Expanding continent with railsIn 1862, the year after
the guns first spoke at Fort Sumter, Congress made
provision for starting the long-awaited line. One
weighty argument for action was the urgency of bolstering
the Union, already disrupted, by binding the
Pacific Coast—especially gold-rich California—
more securely to the rest of the Republic.
Morrill ActThe Morrill Act of 1862 was also known as the Land Grant College Act. It was a major boost to higher education in America. The grant was originally set up to establish institutions is each state that would educate people in agriculture, home economics, mechanical arts, and other professions that were practical at the time. The land-grant act was introduced by a congressman from Vermont named Justin Smith Morrill. He envisioned the financing of agricultural and mechanical education.
Homestead actA fresh day dawned for western farmers with the Homestead
Act of 1862. The new law allowed a settler to
acquire as much as 160 acres of land (a quartersection)
by living on it for five years, improving it,
and paying a nominal fee of about $30.
Receding national populationAt Sand Creek, Colorado, in 1864,
Colonel J. M. Chivington’s militia massacred in cold
blood some four hundred Indians who apparently
thought they had been promised immunity. Women
were shot praying for mercy, children had their
brains dashed out, and braves were tortured,
scalped, and unspeakably mutilated.
The laying of railsThe laying of rails
began in earnest after the Civil War ended in 1865,
and with juicy loans and land grants available, the
“groundhog” promoters made all possible haste.
Insiders of the Crédit Mobilier construction company
reaped fabulous profits.
American society for the prevention of cruelty to animals createdFounded in 1866, the ASPCA was the first humane organization in the Western Hemisphere. Their mission, as stated by founder Henry Bergh, is “to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States.” The ASPCA works to rescue animals from abuse, pass humane laws and share resources with shelters nationwide
Grant defeats SeymourThe Republicans freed from the Union part coalation of war days nominated Grant for Presidency. Grant was always a man of few words he struck a high power note in his letter of acceptance when he said "Let us have peace." This became a leading campaign slogan and was later engraved on his tomb stone. Grant won with 214 electoral votes to 80 for Seymour.
KansasIn 1868 a Kansas Pacific locomotive had to
wait eight hours for a herd to amble across the tracks.
Subduing the Indians 595
Much of the food supply of the railroad construction
gangs came from leathery buffalo steaks. William
“Buffalo Bill” Cody—sinewy, telescope-eyed, and a
crack shot—killed over 4,000 animals in eighteen
months while employed by the Kansas Pacific.
Fisk and Gould corner the gold marketFisk and Gould concoted a plot to corner the gold market. Their slippery game would work only if the federal Treasury refraind from selling gold. The conspirators worked on President Grant directly and also through his brother-in-law. On Black Friday, Fisk and Gould madly bid the price of gold skyward, while scores of honest businesspeople were driven to the wall.
Wyoming Territory grants women the right to voteWomen were increasingly permitted to vote in
local elections, particularly on issues related to the
schools. Wyoming Territory—later called “the Equality
State’’—granted the first unrestricted suffrage to
women in 1869. This important breach in the dike
once made, many states followed Wyoming’s example.
Paralleling these triumphs, most of the states by 1890
had passed laws to permit wives to own or control
their property after marriage.
Wedding of railsA “wedding of the rails” was finally consummated
near Ogden, Utah, in 1869, as two locomotives—“
facing on a single track, half a world behind
each back”—gently kissed cowcatchers. The colorful
ceremony included the breaking of champagne bottles
and the driving of a last ceremonial (golden)
spike, with ex-governor Leland Stanford clumsily
wielding a silver sledgehammer.
The Depression of 1870The depression of the 1870s finally goaded
the farmers into protesting against being “railroaded”
into bankruptcy. Under pressure from organized
agrarian groups like the Grange (Patrons of
Reforms in Railroading 535
Husbandry), many midwestern legislatures tried to
regulate the railroad monopoly.
The scattered state efforts screeched to a halt in
1886. The Supreme Court, in the famed Wabash
case, decreed that individual states had no power to
regulate interstate commerce. If the mechanical
RockefellerLess justifiable on grounds of efficiency was the
technique of “horizontal integration,” which simply
meant allying with competitors to monopolize a
given market. Rockefeller was a master of this stratagem.
He perfected a device for controlling bothersome
rivals—the “trust.” Stockholders in various
smaller oil companies assigned their stock to the
board of directors of his Standard Oil Company,
formed in 1870.
Tweed Ring in New York CityTweed and Ring in New York City vividly displayed the ethics typical of the age. Tweed employed bribery, graft, and fraudulent elections to milk the metopolis of as much as $200 million. Tweed's luck finally ran out. the New York times secured the evidence and published it.
Woodhull and Claffin's weekly publishedTogether with her sister, she was the first woman to operate a brokerage firm on Wall Street, and they were the first women to found a newspaper, Woodhull & Claflin's Weekly.
Liberal Republicans break with GrantRefrom-minded citizens banded together to form the Liberal Repulican party. Voicing the slogan “Turn the Rascals Out,” they urged purification of the Washington administration as well as an end to military Reconstruction. Liberal Republican agitation frightened the regular Republicans into cleaning their own house before they were thrown out of it. The Republican Congress in 1872 passed a general amnesty act
removing political disabilities from all but some
five hundred former Confederate leader
Credit Mobilier scadalUnion Pacific Railroad insiders had formed the Credit Mobilier construction company and then hired themselves at inflated pricesto build the railroad line. Fearing that Congress might blow the whistle, the company distributed shares of its valuable stock to key congressmen.
Grant defeats Greely
Comstock law passedUnited States federal law which amended the Post Office Act and made it illegal to send any "obscene, lewd, and/or lascivious" materials through the mail, including contraceptive devices and information. In addition to banning contraceptives, this act also banned the distribution of information on abortion for educational purposes.
Panic 1873Grant’s woes deepened in the paralyzing economic panic that broke in 1873. Bursting with startling rapidity, the crash was one of those periodic plummets that roller-coastered the economy in this age of unbridled capitalist expansion. Boom times became gloom times as more than fifteen thousand businesses went bankrupt. In New York City, an army of unemployed riotously battled police. Black Americans were hard hit.
Whiskey Ring ScandalIn 1874–1875 the sprawling Whiskey Ring robbed the Treasury of millions in excise-tax revenues. “Let no guilty man escape,” declared President Grant. But when his own private
secretary turned up among the culprits, he volunteered a written statement to the jury that helped exonerate the thief.
Resumptions act passedThe “hard-money” advocates carried the day. In
1874 they persuaded a confused Grant to veto a bill
to print more paper money. They scored another victory in the Resumption Act of 1875, which pledged the government to the further withdrawal of greenbacks from circulation and to the redemption of all paper currency in gold at face value,
beginning in 1879.
Hayes-Tilden election stand off crisisThe Republicans turned to a compromise candidate, Rutherford B. Hayes, who was obscure enough to be dubbed “The Great Unknown.” His foremost qualification was the fact that he hailed from the electorally doubtful but potent state of Ohio, where he had served three terms as governor. So crucial were the “swing” votes of Ohio in the cliffhanging presidential contests of the day that the state produced more than its share of presidential candidates.
Alexander Graham BellOne of the most ingenious inventions was the
telephone, introduced by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876. A teacher of the deaf who was given a dead
man’s ear to experiment with, he remarked that if he
could make the mute talk, he could make iron
Compromise 1877Clash or compromise was the stark choice. The danger loomed that there would be no president on Inauguration Day, March 4, 1877. “Tilden or Blood!” cried Democratic hotheads, and some of their “Minute Men” began to drill with arms.
the scenes, frantically laboring statesmen gradually
hammered out an agreement in the Henry Clay tradition—
the Compromise of 1877
Reconstruction endsThe year 1877 marked more than the end of Reconstruction.
As the curtains officially closed on regional warfare, they opened on scenes of class warfare. The explosive atmosphere was largely a byproduct of the long years of depression and deflation following the panic of 1873.
Thomas EdisonThe most versatile inventor of all was Thomas
Alva Edison (1847–1931), who as a boy had been
considered so dull-witted that he was taken out of
school. His severe deafness enabled him to concentrate
without distraction. Edison was a gifted tinkerer
and a tireless worker, not a pure scientist.
“Genius,” he said, “is one percent inspiration and
ninety-nine percent perspiration.”
Henry George publishes Progress and PovertyProgress and Poverty (1879), is a treatise on inequality, the cyclic nature of industrialized economies, and the use of the land value tax as a remedy.
Dumbbell tenement introducedOld Law Tenements are commonly called "dumbbell tenements" after the shape of the building footprint: the air shaft gives each tenement the narrow-waisted shape of a dumbbell, wide facing the street and backyard, narrowed in between to create the air corridor. They were built in great numbers to accommodate waves of immigrating Europeans. The side streets of Manhattan's Lower East Side are lined with dumbbell structures.
Mary Baker Eddy establishes ChristianSciencea system of religious thought and practice adopted by the Church of Christ, Scientist.
Salvation Army begins work in AmericaThe Salvation Army is a Christian denomination and international charitable organisation organised in a quasi-military structure. The organisation reports worldwide membership of over 1.5 million, consisting of soldiers, officers and adherents known as Salvationists.
Arthur assumes PresidancyArthur is now President of the United States.” The implication
was that now the Conklingites would all get good jobs. Guiteau’s attorneys argued that he was not guilty because of his incapacity to distinguish right from wrong—an early instance of the “insanity defense.” The defendant himself demonstrated his weak grip on reality when he asked all those who had benefited politically by the assassination to
contribute to his defense fund.
Booker T. Washington becomes head ofTuskegee Institutein 1881 he was named as the first leader of the new Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. Washington attained national prominence for his Atlanta Address of 1895, which attracted the attention of politicians and the public, making him a popular spokesperson for African-American citizens.
American Red Cross foundedThe American Red Cross (ARC), also known as the American National Red Cross, is a humanitarian organization that provides emergency assistance, disaster relief and education inside the United States. It is the designated U.S. affiliate of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
Grafield assasinationA disappointed and mentally deranged office seeker, Charles J. Guiteau, shot President Garfield in the back in a Washington railroad station. Garfield lingered in agony for eleven weeks
and died on September 19, 1881.
Barnum and Bailey first join to stage the“Greatest Show on Earth”The Cooper and Bailey Circus was soon Barnum's chief competitor, exhibiting "Columbia," the first baby elephant ever born in the United States. She was born in March 1880 in Philadelphia, to "Babe" and "Mandarin", and later euthanized in November 1907 for aggressiveness. Barnum attempted to buy the elephant, and eventually agreed to combine their shows in 1881
Chinese exclusion actAfter 1882 the Chinese Exclusion Act barred nearly all Chinese from the United States for six decades. Many of the bachelors who had made the long journey to America died or returned home. Slowly, however, those men and the few women who remained raised families and reared a new generation of Chinese Americans. Like their immigrant
parents, this second generation suffered from discrimination.
First immigration-restriction laws passedThere have been a number of Immigration Acts in the United States, but the first restriction on immigration did not occur until 1875. Prior to that point, immigration was distinct from citizenship and naturalization.
Nothern Pacific railsThe Northern Pacific Railroad, stretching from
Lake Superior to Puget Sound, reached its terminus
Civil Right cases
Brooklyn Bridge completedThe Brooklyn Bridge is a bridge in New York City and is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States. Completed in 1883, it connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn by spanning the East River.
Pendleton Act sets upThe Pendleton Act partially divorced politics from
patronage, but it helped drive politicians into “marriages
of convenience” with big-business leaders.
Metropolitan Opera House built in New YorkTheir new opera house opened on October 22, 1883 and was an immediate success. The Academy of Music's opera season folded just three years after the Met opened.
Establishment of Time ZonesRailroad operators worried about keeping schedules and avoiding wrecks, this patchwork of local times was a nightmare. On November 18, 1883, the major rail lines that the continent would be divided into four time zones. Most communities adopted "standard time."
Cleveland defeats Blaine for PresidentJames G. Blaine’s persistence in pursuit of his party’s
presidential nomination finally paid off in 1884. The
dashing Maine politician, blessed with almost every
political asset except a reputation for honesty, was
the clear choice of the Republican convention in
Chicago. But many reform-minded Republicans gagged on Blaine’s candidacy. Blaine’s enemies publicized the fishy-smelling “Mulligan letters,” written by Blaine to a Boston businessman.
Mark Twain publishes The Adventures ofHuckleberry FinnThe book is noted for its colorful description of people and places along the Mississippi River. Satirizing a Southern antebellum society that had ceased to exist about twenty years before the work was published, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is an often scathing look at entrenched attitudes, particularly racism.
South RailroadsThe Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe, stretching
through the southwestern deserts to California,
was completed in 1884. The Southern Pacific ribboned
from New Orleans to San Francisco and was
consolidated in the same year.
Linotype inventedThe machine revolutionized typesetting and with it especially newspaper publishing, making it possible for a relatively small number of operators to set type for many pages on a daily basis. Before Mergenthaler's invention of the linotype in 1884, no newspaper in the world had more than eight pages.
Louis Sullivan builds the first skyscraper,in Chicagowas an influential architect and critic of the Chicago School, was a mentor to Frank Lloyd Wright, and an inspiration to the Chicago group of architects who have come to be known as the Prairie School.
Statue of Liberty erected in New York harborThe statue, a gift to the United States from the people of France, is of a robed female figure representing Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom, who bears a torch and a tabula ansata (a tablet evoking the law) upon which is inscribed the date of the American Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. A broken chain lies at her feet. The statue is an icon of freedom and of the United States: a welcoming signal to immigrants arriving from abroad.
Scattered states effortThe scattered state efforts screeched to a halt in
1886. The Supreme Court, in the famed Wabash
case, decreed that individual states had no power to
regulate interstate commerce.
American Protective Association (APA) formedHatch Act supplements Morrill ActThe American Protective Association (APA) was an American anti-Catholic secret society established in 1887 by Canadian Protestants. It was strongest in the Midwest, and came under heavy attack from Democrats until its collapse in the mid-1890s.
Interstate CommerceStiff-necked President Cleveland did not look
kindly on effective regulation. But Congress ignored
his grumbling indifference and passed the epochal
Interstate Commerce Act in 1887. It prohibited
rebates and pools and required the railroads to
publish their rates openly. It also forbade unfair discrimination against shippers and outlawed
charging more for a short haul than for a long one
over the same line.
Edward Bellamy publishes Looking BackwardIt was the third-largest bestseller of its time, after Uncle Tom's Cabin and Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ. It influenced a large number of intellectuals, and appears by title in many of the major Marxist writings of the day. "It is one of the few books ever published that created almost immediately on its appearance a political mass movement".
Thomas Speaker of House of representativeInto this tense cockpit stepped the new Republican Speaker of the House, Thomas B. Reed of Maine. A hulking figure who towered six feet three inches, he was renowned as a master debater. He spoke with a harsh nasal drawl and wielded a verbal harpoon of sarcasm. To one congressman who
quoted Henry Clay that he would “rather be right than be president,” Reed caustically retorted that he
“would never be either.”
Moody Bible Institute established in ChicagoMoody Bible Institute (MBI) is a Christian institution of higher education that was founded by evangelist and businessman Dwight Lyman Moody in 1886. Since its founding, MBI's main campus has been located in the Near North Side of Chicago.
Jane Addams founds Hull House in ChicagoHull House was a settlement house in the United States that was co-founded in 1889 by Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr. Located in the Near West Side of Chicago, Illinois, Hull House (named for the home's first owner) opened its doors to the recently arrived European immigrants
McKinley tarrifthe Billion-Dollar Congress also passed the McKinley Tariff Act of 1890, boosting rates to their highest peacetime level ever (an average of 48.4 percent on dutiable goods).
Sponsored in the House by rising Republican star William McKinley of Ohio, the new tariff act brought fresh woes to farmers. Debt-burdened farmers had no choice but to buy manufactured goods from high-priced protected American industrialists.
The Depression of 1890sThe imperial Morgan devised still other
schemes for eliminating “wasteful” competition.
The depression of the 1890s drove into his welcoming
arms many bleeding businesspeople, wounded
by cutthroat competition. His prescribed remedy
was to consolidate rival enterprises and to ensure
future harmony by placing officers of his own
banking syndicate on their various boards of directors.
National American Woman SuffrageAssociation formedThe National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) was an American womens' rights organization formed in May 1890 as a unification of the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) and the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA). The NAWSA continued the work of both associations by becoming the parent organization of hundreds of smaller local and state groups, and by helping to pass woman suffrage legislation at the state and local level.
Sherman Silver purcahseCleveland saw no alternative but to halt the bleeding away of gold by engineering a repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890. For this purpose he summoned Congress into an extra session in the summer of 1893.
James Baird WeaverJames Baird Weaver was a nominee for the populist in 1892. He wrote regarding the railroad magnates.
DepressionCleveland seated himself in the presidential chair when the devastating depression of 1893 burst about his burly frame.
Lasting for about four years, it was the most punishing economic downturn of the nineteenth century. Contributing causes were the splurge of overbuilding and speculation, labor disorders, and the ongoing agricultural depression.
Columbian Exposition held in ChicagoThe Chicago Columbian Exposition was, in large part, designed by Daniel Burnham and Frederick Law Olmsted. It was the prototype of what Burnham and his colleagues thought a city should be. It was designed to follow Beaux Arts principles of design, namely French neoclassical architecture principles based on symmetry, balance, and splendor.
Lillian Wald opens Henry Street Settlementin New YorkThe Henry Street Settlement is a not-for-profit social service agency in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City that provides social services, arts programs and health care services to New Yorkers of all ages. It was founded in 1893 by Progressive reformer and nurse Lillian Wald.
Anti-Saloon League formedThe Anti-Saloon League was the leading organization lobbying for prohibition in the United States in the early 20th century. It was a key component of the Progressive Era, and was strongest in the South and rural North, drawing heavy support from pietistic Protestant ministers and their congregations, especially Methodists, Baptists, Disciples and Congregationalists.
Frederick Jackson TurnerFor more than half a century, the Turner thesis
dominated historical writing about the West. In
his famous essay of 1893, “The Significance of the
Frontier in American History,” historian Frederick
Jackson Turner argued that the frontier experience
molded both region and nation. Not only the West,
Turner insisted, but the national character had been
uniquely shaped by the westward movement.
Transcontinental railroadsThe last spike of the last of the five transcontinental
railroads of the nineteenth century was
hammered home in 1893.
Miracles of mechanizationWhen Lincoln was elected in
1860, the Republic ranked only fourth among the
manufacturing nations of the world. By 1894 it had
bounded into first place. Why the sudden upsurge?
Liquid capital, previously scarce, was now
Library of Congress opensThe Library of Congress is the research library of the United States Congress, the de facto national library of the United States of America, and the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States.
Dingley Tariff BillIn due course the Dingley Tariff Bill was
jammed through the House in 1897, under the
pounding gavel of the rethroned “Czar” Reed. The proposed new rates were high, but not high enough
to satisfy the paunchy lobbyists, who once again
descended upon the Senate. Over 850 amendments
were tacked onto the overburdened bill.
Kate Chopin publishes The AwakeningThe novel's blend of realistic narrative, incisive social commentary, and psychological complexity makes The Awakening a precursor of American modernism; it prefigures the works of American novelists such as William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway and echoes the works of contemporaries such as Edith Wharton and Henry James.
Theodore Dreiser publishes Sister CarrieSister Carrie (1900) is a novel by Theodore Dreiser about a young country girl who moves to the big city where she starts realizing her own American Dream, first as a mistress to men that she perceives as superior, and later becoming a famous actress. It has been called the "greatest of all American urban novels"
Gold standard actThe Gold Standard Act of 1900,
passed over last-ditch silverite opposition, provided
that the paper currency be redeemed freely in gold.
Nature and science gradually provided an inflation
that the “Gold Bug” East had fought so frantically
American productionBy 1900 America was producing as
much as Britain and Germany combined.
Steel corporationUnited States steel corporation was formed.
Colored People (NAACP) foundedThe National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is an African-American civil rights organization in the United States, formed in 1910. Its mission is “to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination”. Its name, retained in accordance with tradition, uses the once common term colored people.
Wilson-Gorman tarrifThe Democrats had pledged to lower tariffs, but by the time their tariff bill made it through Congress, it had been so loaded with special-interest protection that it made scarcely a dent in the high McKinley Tariff rates. An outraged Cleveland grudgingly allowed the bill, which also contained a 2 percent
tax on incomes over $4,000, to become law without his signature.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman publishesWomen and Economics1899 Kate Chopin publishes The Awakeningthis book written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and published in 1898. It is considered by many to be her single greatest work, and as with much of Gilman’s writing, the book touched a few dominant themes: the transformation of marriage, the family, and the home, with her central argument, “the economic independence and specialization of women as essential to the improvement of marriage, motherhood, domestic industry, and racial improvement