Guilded Age

Growth of the American Industry and its impact (1865 – 1920)

Main Ideas:

Mass production led to the increased urbanization of America

Federal policy of Laissez – faire allowed the growth of Big Business with subsequent abuses.

Labor unions were formed in response to poor working conditions

Increased immigration led to cultural pluralism and the rise of nativism

Changing condition for farmers led to the growth of grassroots movements: Populist Party.

 Material Covered

  1. Economic Transformation
    1. Factors leading to growth: available resources, ideas, capital, laissez – faire economy government policy.
    2. Economic Theory: supply, demand, price, scarcity, business cycle
    3. Corporation replaced proprietorship and partnership as the main form of business: trusts and other form of combinations emerge.
    4. Expansion of railroads creates a national market: continued growth into the international market
  1. Captains of industry
    1. Rockefeller, Ford, Mellon, Morgan, Vanderbilt, Carnegie
    2. Work ethic: Cotton Mather to Horatio Alger: Social Darwinism vs. Gospel of Wealth
  2. Abuses of Big Business and responses
    1. Treatment of labor and the formation of labor unions

    Knights of Labor and the American Federation of Labor :

   Industrial Workers of the World:

Collective Bargaining: tactic of labor and management

4.      Leaders: Debs, Gompers

5.      Conflicts: Haymarket riots, Homestead Strike, Pullman strike

Monopoly: Sherman Anti – Trust Act: United States vs. Knight

    1. Pooling: Rate inequalities and the farmer (agrarian protest)

1.      Grange, cooperatives, populists, interstate commerce commission

2.      1896 election – William Jennings Bryan “Cross of Gold” Speech


  1. Changing patterns of movement


    1. Urbanization, ethnic neighborhoods
    2. The great migration: De facto segregation
    3. Immigration – Old vs. New: assimilation vs. Cultural Pluralism, nativism, ghettos, Jane Addams and the Hull House
    4. Closing of the frontier and the impact on Native Americans: Homestead Act, railroads, reservations, broken treaties, wars,
    5. Dawes Act (Assimilation)


  1. The growth of the Middle Class and changing role of the family


Progressive Reform (1900 – 1920)


Main Ideas:

  1. Grassroots efforts for reform led to greater government involvement
  2. Government began to support unions and consumers

Material Covered:

  1. Problems cause by industrialization
  2. Groups struggled for reform.
    1. Muckrakers; stiffens, tarbell, Norris, Sinclair, pure Food and Drug Act, Meat Inspection Act

 b.  Women’s Movement

1. Suffrage: Seneca Falls, Stanton, Mott, Catt, Stantion

2.Temperance: WCTU

3.Birth control

a.      Black Movement: Washington vs. W.E.B. DuBois: NAACP, Ida Wells, Garvey

    1. Anti - defamation League


  1. Government Steps in


    1. Establishing fair standards : Lochner v. new York, Muller v. Oregon
    2. State Reformers: Wisconsin: LaFollette, New York, Roosevelt,
    3. State Reforms: Referendum, recall, initiative
    4. Presidents

1.      Teddy Roosevelt: Square deal, trust busting, conservationist, consumer advocate

2.      Taft: trust busting : 1912 election

3.      Wilson: New Freedom: Underwood tariff, income tax, Clayton Anti- Trust, Federal Reserve, 19th amendment (Women’s Suffrage)

    1. World War I effects the reform movement.