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Lecture

Gilded Age.pdf

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Department
History
Course
HIS271Y1
Professor
Professor Candace Sobers
Semester
Summer

Description
REFORM, RADICALISM, AND REFINEMENT IN THE GILDED AGE 1870-1912 INTRODUCTION : ALL THE G LITTERS OF THE G ILDED A GE •This is a difficult period to get a handle on •The gilded age is anywhere between 1870 to 1918 -- such much of what is transformative in this period has to do with social life •Meshes into the Progressive Era •1880s and 1890s -- life on the frontier is very hard, but life back east is changing more dramatically than anyone could have imagined •The only real constant in the social world is change •By this point in American history, the Americans are feeling quite optimistic •The America that we recognize forms at this point •This is a nation of industry, machinery, urban, and diversity •A lot of money circulating in the United States of America The idea of it being a gilded age reveals something deeper • W ELCOME TO THE W HITE CITY : THE S ECOND NDUSTRIAL R EVOLUTION •The Statue of Liberty was a statue designed by a Frenchmen because they believed that it was fighting as the French aided the American achieve their victory •The Chicago World’s Fair, 1893 •The world’s fair is a fair to commemorate the 400 anniversary of Columbus arrival in America •Nations sent representatives and pavilions to the fair •Premiered the world’s largest ferris wheel •Innovation in food chemistry meant new snacks •27 million people goes to the fair -- proves to the world that the United States of America has arrived •Meant to showcase technological innovations TECHNOLOGICAL NNOVATIONS •1850s -- Singer Sewing Machines •1870s -- air brakes, Bessemer process, telegraph, telephone, electric light, typewriter 1880s -- steam turbine, elevator, skyscraper, incandescent lightbulb •1890s -- tabulating machine, phonograph, motion pictures, electric generator, • refrigerator, washing machine, internal, combustion engine •1900s -- automobile, airplane •The railroads are America's big business REFORM, RADICALISM, AND REFINEMENT IN THE GILDED AGE 1870-1912 T HE G OSPEL OF W EALTH AND THE R ISE OF BIG B USINESS R AILROADS LEAS THE WAY •First transcontinental railroads occurs when the eastern and western railroads combine in 1869 •This was the best way to get rich •Railroads were so important the federal government would provide subsidies, but most of the money comes from private investor •Connect industry to new markets •Set their own technological developments •Set their own standard time •In 1883, there is no standard time (each community has its own time) •Railway executives create 5 timezones •The United States government doesn’t get involved until 1918 C APTAIN OFINDUSTRY •People were really impressed by self-made men -- the American Dream CORNELIUSVANDERBILT(RAILROAD) •From a Dutch family that arrives in 1660 •Wealthy and influential guy before he gets involved in railroads •Real estate holdings between billions •Remains one of the wealthiest Americans ever ANDREW CARNEGIE(STEEL) •Emigrates from Scotland and makes a $1/month •Known for two great business innovations: hardening of steel (Bessemer process) and vertical integration •Vertical integration is when one person or company is responsible for all of a company’s materials •His steel controlled everything •By 1880 he is the largest producer of steel in the United States of America JOHN D. OCKEFELLER(OIL) •Started out as bookkeeper •Gets in on oil when it is discovered in Pennsylvania •1870 -- forms Standard Oil, the most profitable company in America •Pioneered horizontal integration •Combine aspects of a company that do the same thing, in order to buy out competition •He believed that competition was bad for business REFORM, RADICALISM, AND REFINEMENT IN THE GILDED AGE 1870-1912 •He creates a new company, a trust -- which basically creates a monopoly •Trusts destroyed competition •Federal government is unhappy with this because they see it as ending free trade •Sherman Anti-Trusts Act of 1890 gives the federal government authority to break trusts •Becomes America’s first billionaire JOHN P.MORGAN (FINANC) •The beginning of finance capital -- the rise of the corporation as the dominant form of business •He doesn’t make anything, he controls money (the capital) •He uses his access to capital to shape business •Carnegie sells his company to JP Morgan, in which he creates American Steel •Morgan is not interested building things, but controlling money •Can’t have industrialization without money THE G OSPEL OF W EALTH •Horatio Alger stories follow the same pattern: a poor young boy sells little things for money, gets recognized by a rich entrepreneur and becomes rich •Carnegie is the ideal examples rags to riches •William Brown Sumner is famous for advocating Social Darwinism (taking precepts of evolution and applying it the social world) •Sumner believes that success becomes it is deserved •Takes Darwin’s metaphor (Survival of the Fittest) and “proves” that the captains of industry are the fittest •Therefore aiding the poor is discouraged because they have poor traits •He looks at th
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