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U.S History Since 1877 Class Notes Week One

by: byrdtm

U.S History Since 1877 Class Notes Week One Hist 2020

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These notes are over the GIlded Age.
U.S. Since 1877
Dr. Newcomer
Class Notes
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This 8 page Class Notes was uploaded by byrdtm on Tuesday September 6, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Hist 2020 at East Tennessee State University taught by Dr. Newcomer in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 5 views. For similar materials see U.S. Since 1877 in History at East Tennessee State University.


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Date Created: 09/06/16
U.S History Since 1877 Class Notes Week One The Gilded Age, c. 1870­1900 Overview of Major Changes:  Western Settlement: “We finally accomplished it!”  Urban Growth: A new important part of American life; brings many problems  Modern Capitalism: Brings in a lot of wealth A Gilded Age?  There was tremendous wealth and new technology surfacing in this time period.   Mark Twain said: o “Achievements were tainted!” o Underneath all the gloriousness of wealth and cities it was all garbage. (Gilded  means gold plated. So this time period looked nice, but was actually full of  corruption.)  A Big Question: o Did government represent the people?  Democracy was redefined. Westward Expansion  There was still a divide due to the Civil War just ending.  o There were still strong regional opinions o North and South still divided Americans  “West” o The West was seen as a perfect future. o There was a common destiny among people.  o The view of the west was cinematic. Ex: Cowboys and Indians Territorial Expansion 1803­1854  1803 Louisiana Territory  1848 Oregon & American Southwest  1862 Homestead Act o Where the government provided free acreage for each member of your family if  you moved out west. o 80 million acres were settled. Railroad Expansion  They were building a railroad system from Coast to Coast o Five transcontinental routes, 1869­1900 (72,000 miles) o The best land from the west often went to railroads.  This causes a thing called “speculation” where people would try and guess where the railroad was going and try to buy up that land for cheap, so the  railroad company would purchase it for way higher.  A National Economy  With the railroads built, the east and west coasts became integrated into one economy.  o With the railroad in place, the country could function all together.  o For example, time zones were created, so there was a set time in each state/region.  Rail cities: Denver, Omaha, Ft. Worth, etc.  “Spin off” Industries: (industries that developed from the railroad)  o mining, lumber, cattle, services Population of Interior  U.S Army troops aided individual settlers out west.   Native Americans, 1865­1900 o Native Americans were trapped between expanding populations and occupied  “desirable” land  The Plains Wars, 1870­1880’s o Nomadic Nations:  Sioux, Comanche, Nez Perce o “Open Territories!”  Gold was discovered in Dakotas and Colorado  Natives were forced onto reservations o 1876, Battle of Little Big Horn  Last major Native American Victory o 1887 Dawes Severalty Act  gave private property to Native American individuals  attempted to make them farmers on reservations, so they didn’t need to be  nomadic  Any excess land from the distribution to Natives was given to settlers.  (50 million acres was taken away from Natives to settlers) “Closed” Frontier?  By 1890’s the expansion outwards was complete.  But what now? And what had been achieved? o Americans believed outward expansion would make everything so much better,  so they did not know where to go once it was completed.  Americans now will turn inward  o Tables set for reform era 1900­1920 End of Class One Notes Urbanization  Philadelphia, 1876 o Centennial Exhibition  Celebration of 100 years of independence  Shows American achievements to the world  There were no references to the Civil War  Featured modern, urban life  Looking Forward o Faith in Progress:  Cities symbolized the future o Emphasized Technology  Examples: typewriter, telegraph, popcorn, canned soup o This was the basis for new national identity Urban Growth  1870­1900: From 10 million­ 30 million o Chicago: 1850: 30,000,   1900: 1.7 million  The U.S population was still mostly rural but the ratio shifted from 1/5 to 1/3   In the U.S the new truth became that if you don’t own the whole farm, you can’t make a  living farming anymore.  Causes of Urban Growth  Mechanization (tractors mainly) o There was a decline in farm labor demand due tractors and other farm equipment  being invented.   Internal Migration o Factories attracted workers from rural areas. o Jim Crow Laws  They were strict segregation oriented laws  Caused people to move into more urban areas Immigration  Occurred throughout North and South America o There was steamship advertising for America  “Fields and Factories” o Eastern and Southern Europe were immigrating  Slavs, Armenians, Italians, Jews, etc.  They spoke scant English since their languages were not romance  languages it was harder for them to learn English.  They were also non­protestant which made most Americans uneasy.  New City Layout  The city was now organized by function. o There were industrial and residential zones.  It demonstrated the growing income gap o The wealthy built new suburban homes o The working class occupied the old city.  Growth of Suburbs  The old elite moved from the city center to the outskirts of the city.  They could afford services like: o Sewage, potable water, electricity, paved roads  The neighborhoods showcased wealth. Avenues  Avenues tied the city center to new suburbs. o New tramways connected neighborhoods.  Department Stores: o They were created in this time period.  o Examples: Sears, Montgomery Wards o They used advertising like magazines and catalogs Working Class Life  There was competition for limited jobs.  o The wages were generally low.  There was a huge rise in tenements and slums. o They were organized around factories where the tenants worked.  o There was locked water and public utilities.  There was racial and ethnic segregation in the working class.  Middle Class  They live between the suburbs and the slums. o They were fearful of the growing income gap. o There was crime, pollution, and overpopulation.   Key Questions: o Would the Middle class decline? o If I am middle class, am I headed for the suburbs or the slums? o How can one explain the growing poverty? Competing National Identity  There are two identities that emerge by 1900 to characterize the national identity of  America. o 1. Traditional, where agriculture and rural life is seen o 2. Modernity, where industry and urban life is found  However, the North/South identity from the Civil War is fading.  End of Class Two Notes George Washington Plunkitt  In the New York Times (1906) there was an article on Plunkitt called the “Honest Graft.” o It was an interview with him, and he basically said, while in office, he enriched  himself with public money, but it wasn’t a problem because every politician did  it.  o This reinforced the public’s suspicion of politicians.   Politicians: public servants or businessmen?  New Challenges  All the new challenges have to do with growth in the country. o Territorial and Population Growth o Growing Cities o Growing Income Gap o Critics failed to address the new problems Skepticism Toward Politics  Americans saw politics as a corrupt and outdated system  It was dominated by: o Self­interested politicians o Special interest groups o Partisan politics Political System  The political system had not changed since 1830’s.  It was all based on patronage.  o Patronage is where the voters literally get something in return for their vote.  o Ex: paved street for immigrant votes o Other examples include: service, government jobs, licenses, contracts, and  opportunities  Patronage or “Spoils”  It was good at solving local problems (like paving roads).  It was good at creating party loyalty.  o There was a huge voter turnout.   Democracy was aided by direct participation.  Two Party System  The two party system was solidified during the Gilded Age o Republicans and Democrats  It was strongly allied with traditional, regional constituencies.  Republicans  Every president but one was Republican from 1861­1913. o Northern business, industrial interests o Southern industrialists o Almost all republicans were former Union soldiers Democrats  “Solid South” o Southern agriculture interests o Many confederate veterans were Democrats  They also organized urban immigrants o One of their slogans was: “Rum, Romanticism, Rebellion!” “Civil War” Legacy  Politicians were advised not to recreate problems that would drive America into another  Civil War.   Politicians feared taking stands.  o Don’t “wave bloody shirt.”  Party loyalty was valued over problem solving.  “Safe” Issues  Safe issues were preferred by politicians. o Immigration: we “can’t vote against you” because immigrants were a huge part of the population.  o Temperance: They wanted to improve social values, but not really make any laws. Non­Partisan Concerns  Agriculture was in decline from 1873­1900  There was a huge Financial Panic in 1873 and 1893 which caused economic hardships.  There were problems for industrial workers.   There was a huge influence from big business.  Difficulty of Reform  Almost every election was decided by less than 1% of the population (it was a close  race.)  Presidents seldom had congressional support.   Westerners, women, and minorities had no real representation.  Grover Cleveland, D­NY  He served two terms as president (1884­88;1892­96).  He was a reluctant reformer.   In 1883 the Pendleton Act was put into law.  o It took all government job spoils and made the people who were given jobs just  for their vote take a test to see if they could actually do the job they had.  o It made people hate Cleveland even though it was put into law before he was  president.  Radicalism  It thrived in the absence of moderation.  o Anarchism and socialism   Two presidents were assassinated: o James Garfield (1881) o William McKinley (1901)  Killed by an anarchist (one who hates authority). End of Class Three Notes


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