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Modern US History Lecture Notes

by: melissa williams

Modern US History Lecture Notes 1073

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Lecture notes from week 2
modern US History
jason ward
Class Notes
history, jaosn, ward, Modern
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This 8 page Class Notes was uploaded by melissa williams on Sunday August 28, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to 1073 at Mississippi State University taught by jason ward in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 4 views. For similar materials see modern US History in HI at Mississippi State University.


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Date Created: 08/28/16
Modern US History Lecture Notes August 22, 2016 Wealth and Work in the Gilded Ages Horatio Alger o 1870-1900 o “poor, young boy strikes it rich” o Who would make it? Always a boy Had to have the tools for success Always broke “started from the bottom now we’re here” o The enemy was usually a boy born into wealth o Mirrored the idea that America was a land of opportunity America Enters the Industrial Age o Railroad Industry  Transcontinental railroad completed o 1870-1900  Rails grow to 200,000 miles  This is essential to rapid industrialization 1. Movement of raw materials and labor 2. Communication networks are set up along the railroads 3. Towns are being built which leads to the westward expansion of people o How was Industrialization so Rapid? 1. Access to Natural Resources 2. Space to Expand, Creating markets 3. Influx of Immigration=more labor 4. Technology Available 5. Favorable Government Policies a. Laissez-faire in regards to regulation b. Very hands on in the financing and bailing out of businesses 6. Urbanization 7. Horatio Alger Factor Social Darwinism and the Gospel of Wealth o Social Darwinism  “Survival of the Fittest”  Horatio  If you did not rise in the ranks and accumulate wealth, there was no one to blame but yourself o The Gospel of Wealth  Combined older ideals with newer ones  Old ideals 1. Liberty =right to acquire property 2. Equality= everyone has the right to the opportunity  New ideals 1. Progress=accumulation of wealth 2. Democracy= capitalism. Ideal Real Life Examples: o Andrew Carnegie  Immigrant  No school after 12  Richest man in the world  Steel mill  Carnegie steel company  Owned 1/3 of the steel Strategies o Vertical trust (integration) -Company owns every step of the process o Devoted all money to philanthropy before he died Rockefeller o Wealth is the result of God’s favor and skill Strategies o Horizontal o Buy out the oil companies How did he do this? 1. Underpricing then raising 2. Pooling 3. Trusts o Wealth is good because they can invest back o Big spenders  Large mansions  Gilded “covered in gold” Critics o Large cap of wealth o Standard of living rising  1% controls 33% of wealth o No income or inheritance tax  Money stays where it goes Tensions The Great Railroad Strike of 1877 o West Virginia o Cut their wages o Strike spreads  National company o State militias break it up o Workplace move organized and efficient o Less control for workers Efficiency o Scientific method  You can study business in school  One more person over worker’s shoulders  2/3 people working for other people  Longer hours  More rules, less power  Machines=replacement  Employment unsteady  Take overs  Recession  More dangerous  No insurance What to do? o Workers organize o Knights of Labor  Child labor reforms  Graduated income tax  Economic cooperation over wages  Workers make decisions  8 hour work day Labor Strikes 1880 o North East hot bed o Demands are not met o 300,000 walk off job Haymarket Riot May 4, 1886 o Labor rally o Chicago police fires into the crowd o Labor organizers executed for their radical ideas Samuel Gompers o Advocates moderate changes o Founder of AFL o Organizes skilled workers  Craft unions o Immigrant Knights of Labor o Broad o More violent AFL o Not political o Moderate o Sectional Dilemmas of Gilded Age How should Americans respond? o Urbanization and rural decline o Social concerns (immigration, poverty, moral issues) o Big business and corporation Could the tension be reduced? The Populist Movement o Response of farmers to the problems with industrialization o Public work Went to work for someone else because you couldn’t provide for yourself o Educate and unite Plight of the Farmers o Slavery is gone=share cropping and tenant farming o No distribution of land o System of debt and credit Sharecropping o Share your crops o Half back to the owner Tenancy o Don’t own your own land o Decrease in land ownership, increase in debt Problems within Agriculture o Crop-lien System  Owner is entitled to half  Land and labor used as collateral o One crop agriculture  Depleting the soil  Self-sufficient decrease  Dependence on owner for food and materials Problems for Farmers in an Industrial Society 1. Railroads a. Discriminate against rural people b. Cheaper for long haul than short haul c. Too expensive to ship crops 2. Taxation system a. Land the most commonly taxed commodity 3. Agriculture trusts 4. Deflation a. Borrowing more than you think 5. Currency problem a. Gold standard b. System backed up by gold c. Solution: silver currency opens up more credit The Grange o Advocate scientific agriculture o Land-grant universities o Regulate the railroads o Established cooperations Supplies, food, etc Cut out the middleman Farmers Alliance o one-crop agriculture (cotton) o crop-lien system How do you bring people together? o Traveling lectures o Mobil school o When people are educated  Organize  Bulk cotton  Higher purchasing agents  Self-sufficient and self-respect  Survival of the fittest depleting o Laborers and farmers concerned about taxes, currency, and railroads o Collective identities  Producers Farmers Alliance o Boycotting for Knights of Labor o Pushes into politics o Two party system based on religion o Populists could disrupt regions Upset the balance of power o Some stay loyal to Republican Forming the Populist Party FA first to issue a platform/yardstick for candidates Alliance Yardstick: 1. Free coinage of silver 2. Regulation of railroads 3. Sub-treasury system a. Federal government builds crop warehouse b. Wait for the right price o Successful o Four governors elected o James B. Weaver candidate o Transcends regions Omaha Platform o Ocala Platform Free coinage of silver Regulate railroads Sub-treasury 8 hour work day Abolition of private police Immigration regulation Graduated income tax Not extremely successful but did win states o 1893  Terrible depression  Populist in greater distress  Populist are a threat to both parties Election of 1896 o Democrats in trouble o Other parties take ideas from populists o Williams Jennings Bryan uses populists issues and language  Nominated for democrats Republican Campaign of 1896 o Bryan is a radical o If workers voted for him..  They would be fired  Bankers would stop loans o Electoral participation declines Populist Party Fails 1. Difficult for a 3 party to make an impact 2. No structure or money 3. Based on a single or narrow issue


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