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The Gilded Age

By sandt
  • Bessemer press

    Chiefly 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 Species

    The 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 wheels

    The 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 plains

    Native 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 Wars

    Surrendering 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 rails

    In 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 Act

    The 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 act

    A 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 population

    At 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 rails

    The 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 created

    Founded 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 Seymour

    The 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.
  • Kansas

    In 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 market

    Fisk 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 vote

    Women 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 rails

    A “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 1870

    The 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
  • Rockefeller

    Less 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 City

    Tweed 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 published

    Together 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 Grant

    Refrom-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 scadal

    Union 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 passed

    United States federal law which amended the Post Office Act[2] 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 1873

    Grant’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 Scandal

    In 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 passed

    The “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 crisis

    The 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 Bell

    One 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 1877

    Clash 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 ends

    The 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 Edison

    The 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 Poverty

    Progress 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 introduced

    Old 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 ChristianScience

    a system of religious thought and practice adopted by the Church of Christ, Scientist.
  • Salvation Army begins work in America

    The 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,[1] consisting of soldiers, officers and adherents known as Salvationists.
  • Arthur assumes Presidancy

    Arthur 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 Institute

    in 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 founded

    The 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 assasination

    A 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 act

    After 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 passed

    There 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 rails

    The Northern Pacific Railroad, stretching from
    Lake Superior to Puget Sound, reached its terminus
    in 1883.
  • Civil Right cases

  • Brooklyn Bridge completed

    The 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 up

    The 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 York

    Their 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 Zones

    Railroad 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 President

    James 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 Finn

    The 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 Railroads

    The 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 invented

    The 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 Chicago

    was 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 harbor

    The 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 effort

    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.
  • American Protective Association (APA) formedHatch Act supplements Morrill Act

    The 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 Commerce

    Stiff-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 Backward

    It 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 representative

    Into 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 Chicago

    Moody 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 Chicago

    Hull 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 tarrif

    the 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 1890s

    The 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 formed

    The 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 purcahse

    Cleveland 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 Weaver

    James Baird Weaver was a nominee for the populist in 1892. He wrote regarding the railroad magnates.
  • Depression

    Cleveland 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 Chicago

    The 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 York

    The 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 formed

    The 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 Turner

    For 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 railroads

    The last spike of the last of the five transcontinental
    railroads of the nineteenth century was
    hammered home in 1893.
  • Miracles of mechanization

    When 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
    becoming abundant.
  • Library of Congress opens

    The 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 Bill

    In 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 Awakening

    The 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 Carrie

    Sister 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 act

    The 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
    to prevent.
  • American production

    By 1900 America was producing as
    much as Britain and Germany combined.
  • Steel corporation

    United States steel corporation was formed.
  • Colored People (NAACP) founded

    The 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 tarrif

    The 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 Awakening

    this book written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and published in 1898. It is considered by many to be her single greatest work,[1] 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