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The Gilded Age (part I) Ch. 17 (p. 519-537)


The Gilded Age (part I) Ch. 17 (p. 519-537) What role did the presidents play in this era? Why is this era gilded and with what? Who benefitted from this era? – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Gilded Age (part I) Ch. 17 (p. 519-537)

The Gilded Age (part I)Ch. 17 (p. 519-537)
  • What role did the presidents play in this era?
  • Why is this era gilded and with what?
  • Who benefitted from this era? Who lost?

What is the chief end of man?--to get rich. In
what way?--dishonestly if we can honestly if we
must. Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain),1871
  • Gilded Age-period when corruption existed in
    society but was overshadowed by the wealth of the
  • gilded is when something is golden/beautiful on
    the surface but is really cheap/worthless
  • Term comes from a book written about the time
    period by Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner in
    1873 The Gilded Age
  • Explored political and economic corruption in the
    United States
  • The central characters were tied together in a
    government railroad bribery scheme
  • Depicted an American society that, despite its
    appearance of promise and prosperity, was riddled
    with corruption and scandal

USA in the Gilded Age 1870-1900
Ranching, Mining, Farming
Reconstruction Rise of Jim Crow
Ringing in a new age
  • The West
  • Farmers, ranchers, miners closed the last of
    the frontier at the expense of Indians
  • Mining was the 1st attraction to the West Miners
    created instant towns in areas where gold or
    silver was discovered
  • The South
  • After the failure of Reconstruction in 1877, the
    South entered the Jim Crow era

Industry was regional by 1890 (a) NE had 85 of
industry, (b) the sparsely-settled West provided
raw materials for industry, (c) the South was
still recovering from war (made tobacco, iron
textiles but ½ as many manufactured goods as NY
The Industrial North
  • Experienced an industrial revolution, mass
    immigration, urbanization
  • America became the worlds leader in railroad,
    steel, oil production

Second Industrial Revolution 1871-1914
  • Marked by enormous growth and consolidation of
    wealth and ownership
  • Major Industries
  • Railroads
  • Automobile
  • Steel
  • Oil
  • Electricity
  • Communication
  • The Industrialists or Robber Barons
  • William Vanderbilt (Railroads)
  • Jay Gould (Railroads)
  • Andrew Carnegie (Steel)
  • John D. Rockefeller (Oil)
  • Henry Ford (Automobiles)

Forced competitors out of business by reducing
wages thereby guaranteeing price control.
Socialism v. Capitalism
  • What is the role of government?
  • What role should the central government play in
    the economic development of the country?
  • How could government stop a Great Depression?
  • More government
    Less government
  • Liberal
  • Socialist
  • Democrat

Where do you fall ideologically?
  • Thomas Edison
  • Perfected the light bulb in 1880, and motion
  • Organized power plants
  • Established first research lab
  • Alexander Graham Bell
  • Telephone (1876)
  • Henry Ford
  • Assembly Line
  • George Eastman
  • Camera (1885)
  • Samuel Morse
  • Telegraph (1837)
  • Wright Brothers
  • Airplane (1903)
  • Christopher Sholes
  • Typewriter (1867)
  • Guglielmo Marconi
  • Radio

Wright Brothers on 1903 Flight
Samuel Morse
19th Century Typewriter
19th Century Camera
Alexander Graham Bell
Presidents of the Gilded Age
U.S. Grant 1869-1877
Chester A. Arthur 1881-1885
Rutherford B. Hayes 1877-1881
James Garfield 1881
Grover Cleveland 1885-1889 and 1893-1897
Benjamin Harrison 1889-1893
William McKinley 1897-1901
Scandals of the Grant Administration
  • During Grants terms as president, material
    interests (money, industry) became more important
    than the ideology and civil rights of Lincolns
  • The Gilded Age was enabled partly because most
    presidents during this era, including Grant, were
    weak in relation to Congress and business
  • The U.S. governments economic policy was relaxed
    during these years, allowing Americans to take
    advantage of the laissez-faire economics in
    increased speculation, investment, and

Jay Gould and James Fisk The Gold Ring (1869)
  • During the Civil War, Congress had authorized the
    Treasury to issue greenback banknotes to pay huge
    war debt
  • Unlike the rest of the currency, greenbacks not
    backed by gold or silver (bimetallism)
  • Caused inflation and forced gold-backed money out
    of circulation
  • Public Credit Act (1869) guaranteed that
    bondholders would be repaid in gold, not
  • To strengthen the dollar, Treasury Secretary
    started selling Treasury gold each month and
    bought back high-interest greenbacks
  • Reduced deficit, deflated currency
  • One group of speculators, the Gold Ring, Jay
    Gould, a Wall Street trader and railroad magnate,
    and his partner Jim Fisk, recruited Grants
    brother-in-law to get Grant to appoint a new
    assistant Treasurer of the United States, who
    agreed to tip the men off when the government
    intended to sell gold.
  • Tried to convince Grant and the Treasury that
    high gold prices would make the nation prosperous
  • Gould and Fisk began to quietly stockpile gold as
    they hoped to sell the gold at high prices

  • Gould began buying large amounts of gold, but
    never sold it, causing prices to rise and stocks
    to plummet
  • Gould and Fisk started hoarding gold, driving the
    price higher 30 more than 1868
  • After Grant realized what had happened, Treasury
    sold 4 million in gold
  • When governments gold hit the market, its worth
    plummeted within minutes
  • Investors scrambled to sell their holdings, and
    many of them bankrupted. This day was known as
    Black Friday.
  • Fisk and Gould escaped significant financial harm
  • The sale of gold from the Treasury defeated
    Gould's plan, relieving the growing economic
    tension and the economy resumed its post-war
    recovery (until 1873)
  • Grant's suspected involvement also led his
    presidency to be called the Era of Good

Crédit Mobilier (1872)
  • Crédit Mobilier scandal involved the Union
    Pacific Railroad and the fraudulent Crédit
    Mobilier of America construction company, which
    was to build the eastern portion of the First
    Transcontinental Railroad
  • Crédit Mobilier, created by Thomas C. Durant, a
    vice president of the Union Pacific Railroad, was
    a deliberate attempt to defraud the U.S.
    Government and public of millions of dollars.
  • It looked as if CM had been impartially chosen by
    the Railroads officers as the principal
    construction contractor. However, CM insiders
    hired themselves to build the railroad at
    inflated prices, earning them high profits
  • In 1868, a Congressman involved in CM sold shares
    of stock in Crédit Mobilier to other congressmen,
    in addition to making cash bribes, to keep quiet
    about the illegal business
  • The muckraking paper The Sun exposed the scandal
    during the 1872 presidential campaign

Panic of 1873
  • Grant signed the Coinage Act (1873), making gold
    the only money standard dollars would be
    exchanged on demand for only gold.
  • End of 1873 NY stock brokerage house fails to
    fully sell a bond on its own purchases in
    Northern Pacific Railway, and collapsed
  • Collapse panicked Wall Street other banks and
    brokerages with railroad stocks and bonds also
  • 89 of the 364 U.S. railroads went bankrupt.
  • New York Stock Exchange suspends trade 10 days
  • Grant, traveled to NY to consult leading
    businessmen and bankers for advice on how to curb
    this panic, which became known as the Panic of
  • Grant believed that, as with the Gold Rings
    collapse, the panic was just economic flux
    affecting only bankers and stockbrokers
  • Response Treasury bought 10 mill. in government
    bonds, injecting cash into economy
  • Purchases stopped Wall Street panic, but a
    five-year industrial depression started (Long
  • To help the economy, Congress passed an
    inflationary policy called the Inflation Bill
  • Farmers/workingmen favored addition of 64
    million in greenbacks to circulation
  • Eastern bankers opposed would weaken the dollar
  • Grant unexpectedly vetoed the bill because he
    thought it would destroy the nations credit
  • Veto was the beginning of the Republican Party's
    belief in gold-backed dollar

Whiskey Ring (1875)
  • Employees in President Ulysses S. Grants
    administration were accused of pocketing whiskey
    taxes, with the help of the liquor industry
  • Grant immediately called for swift punishment.
    That backfired on him when he tried to protect
    his personal secretary, with whom he allegedly
    had an affair, causing an even bigger scandal.

Compromise of 1877
  • The Compromise of 1877 was an informal, unwritten
    deal that settled the intensely disputed 1876
    U.S. presidential election, pulled federal troops
    out of state politics in the South, and ended the
    Reconstruction Era.
  • Through the Compromise, Republican Rutherford B.
    Hayes was awarded the White House over Democrat
    Samuel J. Tilden. Democrats complained Tilden had
    been cheated (also called the Corrupt Bargain
  • The compromise said Southern Democrats would
    acknowledge Hayes as president, but only if
    Republicans would meet points of the compromise
  • Removal of all remaining federal troops from
    former Confederate States
  • Appointment of at least one Southern Democrat to
    Hayes's cabinet
  • The construction of another transcontinental
    railroad using the Texas and Pacific in the South
  • part of the "Scott Plan," proposed by Thomas A.
    Scott, which initiated the process that led to
    the final compromise
  • Legislation to help industrialize the South and
    improve economy
  • Outgoing president, Republican Ulysses S. Grant,
    removed the soldiers from Florida. As president,
    Hayes removed the remaining troops in South
    Carolina and Louisiana. As soon as the troops
    left, many white Republicans also left and the
    "Redeemer" Democrats took control. African
    American historians sometimes call it "The Great

Roscoe Conkling as Mephistopheles (the devil)
while Rutherford B. Hayes strolls off with the
prize of the "Solid South" depicted as a woman.
The caption quotes Goethe "Unto that Power he
doth belong Which only doeth Right while ever
willing Wrong."
Rise of the spoilsmen
  • In the early 1870s, leadership of the Republican
    Party (mostly in the North) passed from reformers
    of the antebellum/CW era
  • Thaddeus Stevens (13th Amendment, radical)
  • Charles Sumner
  • To political manipulators under the influence of
    state party bosses.
  • Roscoe Conkling (NY)
  • James Blaine (ME)
  • These spoilsmen were deeply involved in
    patronage, or giving jobs and govt favors
    (spoils) to their supporters.
  • This would end with the assassination of Garfield

Corruption in Government
  • Patronage or Spoils System- giving government
    jobs to loyal party workers or friends
    (popularized by Andrew Jackson)
  • Were not qualified
  • Used position to get money from government
  • President James Garfield is assassinated by
    disappointed office seeker denied a position in
    the spoils system government

James Garfield
The assassin, Charles Guiteau
Republicans Split
  • James G. Blaine of Maine led the Republican
    faction known as Half Breeds
  • Nickname came from willingness to depart from
    Stalwart orthodoxy
  • Many, including President Hayes, believed the
    patronage system contributed to the scandals and
    graft during Grants presidency
  • Civil service reform became a popular cause among
    the Half Breeds
  • Roscoe Conkling was also the leader of the
    Republican faction known as the Stalwarts
  • stalwartsomeone/something who is stubborn or
  • Believed and furthered the idea of the patronage
    system and continued to believe that sectional
    appeals (waving the bloody shirt) were still
    valid even after gradual end of Reconstruction in
    the South

Thomas Nast, May 1881 Nast opened this series of
cartoons by showing Senator Roscoe Conkling (at
left) struggling with Secretary of the Treasury
James G. Blaine for influence over President
James Garfield. Conkling hoped that his friends
would be appointed to political positions by the
Pendleton Civil Service Act 1883
  • Attempted to end patronage/spoils System
  • Created the Civil Service Commission which
    required appointed govt. officials to pass the
    Civil Service Exam to base jobs on merit
    (qualifications) instead of friendship
  • Federal employees did not have to contribute to
    campaign funds and could not be fired for
    political reasons

President Chester A. Arthur signed Pendleton Act
into effect
The Gild
The Boldt Castle
Breakers of the Vanderbilt Family
The Mount of Edith Wharton
Lockwood-Mathews Mansion
Big Business
  • Monopolies (trusts) Companies that controlled
    the majority of one industry
  • Rockefellers
  • Standard Oil
  • Carnegies U.S. Steel
  • Vanderbilts railroads
  • Trusts -A group of separate companies placed
    under the control of a single managing board
  • Critics called these practices unfair and the
    business leaders Robber Barons

Rationalizing Big Business
  • Social Darwinism
  • Used Darwins theory to explain business,
    promoted by Harvard professor William Graham
  • Natural Selection, Survival of the Fittest
  • Laissez-faire -policy that US had followed since
    inception to not allow govt. to interfere with
  • Govt. should not interfere
  • Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890
  • Law outlawing a combination of companies that
    restrained interstate trade or commerce
    important to prevent monopolies. Not initially
    enforced properly.
  • Gospel of Wealth -belief that the wealthy are
    chosen by God to be successful and were
    therefore responsible to look out for the well
    being of those less fortunate. Many
    Industrialist shared wealth although rarely
    through direct welfare. Started museums, etc.
  • Captains of Industry a positive idea that
    industrial leaders worked hard and deserved their

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Andrew Carnegie
  • A Scottish immigrant, Andrew Carnegie helped
    build the American steel industryCarnegie Steel
    Co. (originally started as an ironworks foundry)
  • 1900 Carnegie Steel produced more of the metal
    than all of Great Britain
  • Richest man in the world at the time
  • One of the first philanthropists, gave his
    collected fortune away to cultural, educational
    and scientific institutions for "the improvement
    of mankind." (Gospel of Wealth)
  • Carnegie Hall, NYC
  • Carnegie-Mellon University
  • Over 2,500 public libraries
  • 350 million by the time he died
  • Carnegie was unusual because he preached for the
    rights of laborers to unionize and to protect
    their jobs.
  • However, Carnegie's steel workers were often
    pushed to long hours and low wages-- Homestead
    Strike of 1892

Building a monopoly(as described by Andrew
  • Vertical Integration
  • A process in which a company buys out all of the
    suppliers. (Ex. coal and iron mines, ore
    freighters, RR lines)
  • Horizontal Consolidation
  • -A process in which a company buys out or merges
    with all competing companies (JP Morgan bought
    out Carnegie steel and other companies)

The Steel Industrys Impact on America
  • Bessemer Process- developed around 1850 injected
    air into molten iron to remove impurities and
    make steel-a lighter, more flexible, rust
    resistant metal
  • Steel is used in railroads, farm equipment,
    canned goods
  • Engineers use steel to create skyscrapers and
    longer bridges (Brooklyn Bridge)

View Steel Industry Video
J.P. Morgan
  • Industrialist and financier who started U.S.
    Steel from Carnegie Steel and other companies
  • Became 1st billion- dollar corporation
  • Bailed out the U.S. economy on more than one

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John D. Rockefeller
  • He was a co-founder of the Standard Oil Company,
    which dominated the oil industry and was the
    first great U.S. business trust
  • As kerosene and gasoline grew in importance,
    became the world's richest man and the first
    American worth more than a billion dollars
  • Often cited as the richest person in history
  • Like Carnegie, was a philanthropist under the
    Gospel of Wealth
  • An abolitionist
  • Creator of Spelman College
  • Major donator to the University of Chicago and
    other major medical universities
  • Owned a large portion of real estate in
    Manhattan, NYC

Cornelius (The Commodore) and W.H. Vanderbilt
  • Originally a steamboat entrepreneur, C.
    Vanderbilt became a railroad magnate
  • Initially did not think his son was fit for the
  • W.H. became president of Central and Hudson River
    Railroad, Lake Shore and Michigan Southern
    Railway, the Canada Southern Railway, and the
    Michigan Central Railroad
  • An active philanthropist, giving extensively to a
    number of philanthropic causes
  • Funded the Metropolitan Opera
  • Funded College of Physicians and Surgeons at
    Columbia University.
  • In 1880, he provided the money for Vanderbilt
    University in Nashville, Tennessee

"The Great Race for the Western Stakes, 1870,"
Cornelius Vanderbilt versus James Fisk
Thomas Edison(The Wizard of Menlo Park)
  • An American inventor and businessman. He
    developed many devices that greatly influenced
    life around the world, including
  • Phonograph
  • motion picture camera
  • Long-lasting electric light bulb. one of the
    first inventors to apply the principles of mass
    production and large-scale teamwork to the
    process of invention, and because of that, he is
    often credited with the creation of the first
    industrial research laboratory.
  • One of the first to apply the mass production and
    large-scale teamwork to the process of invention
  • Created the first industrial research laboratory
  • Later electrical genius Nicola Tesla worked for
    Edison and is (unofficially) credited with many
    of his inventions
  • 1,093 US patents in his name
  • Inventions established major new industries
  • electric light/power, power utilities
  • sound recording, motion pictures
  • Telecommunications stock ticker, mechanical vote
    recorder, battery for an electric car, recorded
    music device

  • The Gilded Age
  • Traits of a Titan from the History Channels
    The Men Who Built America
  • Captains of Industry (
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