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Two Sides of Gilded Sword
Transcript of Two Sides of Gilded Sword
Political corruption during the industrial revolution was a major concern for the government of the United States. Although, it was bad for people, it was great for industry.
The Industrial Revolution was the fundamental change in the method of production from handcrafted products made in the home, to mass production in factories. This resulted in a great number of changes in the United States including the development of cities, significant growth of business, an increase in immigration, political corruption, and the start of reform movements. All of these factors would vastly alter the nation, turning it into the industrialized power house we know today.
“Trout, incidentally, had written a book about a money tree. It had twenty-dollar bills for leaves. Its flowers were government bonds. Its fruit was diamonds. It attracted human beings who killed each other around the roots and made very good fertilizer.”
― Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
Two Sides of a Gilded Sword
Urbanization, the development and growth of cities, began with the development of factories and other technology from the Industrial Revolution. Major cities formed along bodies of water or along major railway lines. Factories and mass production required more workers to come together in a central location rather than being isolated in fields. Immigrants and many rural Americans flocked to new cities in search of job opportunities and businesses were happy to offer them.
Overall, urbanization benefited the nation by helping to fuel industrialization, but life within these new cities was terrible for the working class individuals.
Factory System- producing goods at a large scale involving machines
Mass Production- producing multiple goods at once, in quick and efficient ways
Assembly Line- each person has a specific job in creating a product, they pass it to the next person in line and repeat their own task
Railroads- tracks for trains to pass through, developing at this time, significant means of transportation
Canals- a water-way or channel
Turnpikes- a fast road, usually with tolls
Growth of Business
Industries created during the Industrial Revolution were given opportunities to grow without restriction and gain power and importance. Businesses most likely wouldn't have advanced and grown as much if restriction had been implemented from the start and American industrialization would not have been as fast-paced and all-encompassing.
Competition and rivalry were better motives for businesses to develop rather than government regulation. Companies grew and tried to out-do each other, continuously advancing. A key part of the Laissez Faire policy was the "invisible hand" of competition that would regulate commerce.
Lack of sanitation codes increased the spread of diseases
Streets filled with garbage because they had no garbage collection industry yet.
Insufficient police force to counteract crime
Crime rates increased, lead to an increase in the number of prison inmates
To reduce the amount of overcrowding in prisons and the number of people committing crimes, the government made more crimes punishable by death
Lack of medical assistance
The standard of living decreased as did life expectancy
Dumbbell Tenements created to increase the amount of people able to be housed in one area. These were 7-8 stories, packed with families and very unsanitary. They made the slums even more crowded and disagreeable.
Terrible Working Conditions
Most relied on a natural light source, but with few windows, the factories were dimly lit
Work hours could tally 16 hours a day seven days a week
No heating in the summer or cooling in the winter
Many people were injured from machinery
Workers only got 1 hour worth of breaks each day
Many children six and older were subjected to the same conditions
Children who did not work to potential were physically and verbally assaulted
Racial Equality Movement
For most, living in the city was not a walk in the park. Unless a family was in the upper classes, they struggled just to stay alive.
By Ami, Sereh,
Auston and Daved
More jobs opportunities for the worker as well as the business owner (more people to fill the jobs, more factories that needed workers)
Increase in size and number of factories led to industrial growth and power
Lowered transportation costs
More entertainment (theaters , libraries , sports etc. )
Greater sense of community arose within cities
Allowed for more rapid industrialization and further advancements
Since the government could not interfere with businesses, they were free to do as they wished and many big companies took advantage of that.
Immigrants were a vital part in the industrial revolution. They were cheap labors that were plentiful in number. Their numbers and wages made them a valuable part of the factory system. Their numbers also angered many natives.
Because of this "hands off" policy the government wasn't around to regulate working hours, wages, or factory conditions. The factory bosses aimed for the highest profit and didn't care about the individual workers. They were forced to work long hours (16 hour days) on small wages, in very dangerous conditions (heavy machinery, no safety regulations, unsanitary). The government could not interfere and post minimum wages, age restrictions or health codes so bosses were free to treat workers like animals in order to make the most revenue.
Laissez-Faire is the economic policy implemented during the Industrial Revolution in which the government had no control or regulation of commerce. This "hands off" policy allowed industries to grow and develop unchecked and unrestrained, allowing the United States to industrialize as quickly as it did. Corruption and monopolies by major businesses did come about due to the lack of federal control, but eventually the policy was altered to better suit the needs of the country and not just the desires of big bosses.
While Laissez-Faire is supposed to be strictly no government interference, it seemed to be encouraging monopolies, not fair trade. The government modified this in order to "restore and reserve freedom of competition" ("Laissez-Faire"
The Columbia encyclopedia, Sixth Edition
). Unfair competition was outlawed but the general theory was not. The government would still only interfere for the benefit of its nation's businesses and to promote free trade.
For Example, The Sherman Anti-Trust Act was implemented in 1890 to forbid trusts or combinations in business and was the first congressional attempt to regulate big business for public welfare.
The Interstate Commerce Commission was created to administer and enforce new legislation (Interstate Commerce Act 1887 required railroads publish rates openly) and acted as an orderly forum where competitors could peacefully work out conflicts.
Bosses of the Senate
An Idle Threat
This political cartoon represents the Chinese Exclusion Act, banning Chinese immigrants from entering the United States. Communists, Nihilists, Socialists, Fenians, and hoodlums were allowed in, all undesirable people, but it was the Chinese kept out. Boxes and bags with the words industry , order , peace ,and sobriety represent all of the good qualities that this man and all Chinese could have brought into the country along with them but still, they were banned. The gate stopping this chinese man from entering is the "Golden Gate of Liberty" expressing the hypocrisy of the situation. America claims to have liberty but this Act was portrays just the opposite.
With no government interference, businesses were free to do as they wished and many created monopolies to increase their power and maximize their profits. John D Rockefeller created the idea of Horizontal Integration- allying with competitors to monopolize a given market. His Standard Oil company was a prime example of this. Rockefeller took over competitors and controlled almost all oil in the country, regulating prices and working conditions.
Another example of a monopoly was the Railroad Plutocracy, run by William Vanderbilt, that controlled all construction and operation of the railroads. They used "stock watering" (grossly inflating claims about true assets and sold stocks and bonds for much higher prices that they were actually worth.
Because of these monopolies, smaller local businesses could not compete and many failed. Monopolists only cared about maximizing profit and because of that working conditions were compromised- long hours, small wages and an abundance of dangers for workers.
In this political cartoon, a big and powerful trust- Standard Oil- is depicted as a giant octopus monster taking anything and everything in its path. Standard Oil is controlling the government as it snatches up The White House, The Capitol, etc. This political cartoon represents how big businesses had immense power and manipulated anything that came in their path- even government was easily overtaken.
Immigrants took many jobs that had already employed Americans and were willing to work for lower wages, thus lowering the average income in the country.
Because of immigrants, many racist factions were created, such as the New England Elites and Ku Klux Klan as well as the American Protective Association, a nativist political group very similar to the Know-Nothings.
Because of the rise in immigration numbers, the United States put restrictions on the number(and kind) of immigrants allowed into the country. Prostitutes, Chinese men (Chinese Exclusion Act) and criminals were among the group that had their access revoked. The American Protective Association urged voting against roman catholic candidates.
Immigrants contributed to the over-population within the cities.
Greatly increased labor pool of the nation
Immigrants took many jobs that were deemed undesirable to Americans but essential to the nation
Supplied more labor for businesses helping them make more money which then helped to better the economy
Increased the diversity of the nation, bringing together new ideas and
a greater appreciation for foreign culture.
In this political cartoon, the entrance was overflowing with money bag monopolists. The money bags represented monopolies like the mail trust, and standard oil trust. They were much larger than the senate, which represented the fact that the monopolists overpowered the senate. The sign even quotes the Gettysburg Address in respect to the monopolists , stating that instead of it being for and by the people, it is by and for the money bags. The people entrance was closed because trusts were taking over the senate and they had they say instead of the people. This includes the rights of the people being stripped away by corruption.
Two Sides of a Gilded Sword
Monopolies blocked the way for fair competition and the success smaller businesses so the government did try to intervene and break up these monopolistic trusts in order to restore competition for the good of society.
The Industrial Revolution created a massive amount of jobs, and many women ventured out into the workforce to take advantage of these new opportunities- over a million women were working by 1890. Textile mills workers and telephone board operators were common jobs for women (Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone in 1876 that would help promote women workers). Because they now had jobs, women could become more independent socially and economically(even though they received lower wages than men), leading to further activism.
Settlement Houses were centers of women's reform; homes run by middle class women designed to help immigrants when they had no where else to go. The most prominent of these was the Hull House, created in 1889 by Jane Addams, that provided child care, English lessons, cultural activities and housing for immigrants. These settlements helped immigrants assimilate into the new nation and also gave women more independence and prominence in society.
A "new morality" was developing as women gained further independence. The Woodhull sisters were major promoters of this and publicly pronounced their belief in free love . Divorce rates began to increase along with the use of birth control as women were beginning to take control of their own lives.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman published "Women and economics" in 1898 calling on women to abandon their independent status and become involved in the economy.
The "Gibson Girl" became the ideal of the age; an independent and athletic woman, no longer a damsel in distress, portraying how society was beginning to change its views towards women.
The Industrial Revolution, Urbanization and Immigration all came together to create an overall sense of change and inspired many social movements to improve the lives of those less fortunate.
While the lives of many individuals may have worsened by the Industrial Revolution at first (terrible working or living conditions, wide class divisions, etc) it also ignited reform movements that helped to counteract and overcome negative effects making the Industrial Revolution beneficial in the long run.
Education wasn't just for children- the Chautauqua Movement create home courses for adult education as well.
The Morill Act of 1862 allowed the government to give grants of public lands that would be used for schools. Collges built on these lands became known as land grant colleges.
The Hatch Act of 1887 provided federal funds for establishment of agricultural experiments connected to land grant colleges
The sciences began to gain more importance in this time period and more people began to question the world around them. The bible was no longer the sole answer to every question- some began to look for explanations elsewhere. For example, Darwin's theory of natural selection may have made people question creationism and whether God truly created the world in 6 days (Genesis, the Bible). or if could be explained by another theory.
Andrew Carnegie was a major philanthropist and donated over $55 million dollars on libraries alone. He believed that libraries were very important to the public because any man with the desire could educate himself even if formal schooling was unavailable. Also, Carnegie thought immigrants like himself needed to learn of the culture of America and libraries were a great place to do so.
The earliest national union was the National Labor Union created in 1886 in order to unify workers across trades to challenge bosses.
In 1869, the Knights of Labor were created in secret and hoped to unite all workers, skilled and unskilled, into one great union to organize for social and economic reform.
Eventually, skilled workers realized that they had more leverage than unskilled because they could not be easily replaced so they left the Knights of Labor and created the American Federation of Labor under Samuel Gompers excursively for skilled workers. They hoped for larger wages, shorter hours and more humane and safer working conditions.They wanted companies to agree to a "closed shop" policy meaning that they would only allow unionized employees to work for the company. This would enable the union's challenges to be more respected and they could be able to more effectively make changes without workers simply being fired and replaced.
Many workers were sick of their terrible conditions put in place by big bosses, and many would unionize in attempt to strike back. Individually, lower class voices were ignored and overlooked but if workers could come together and rebel as a unit, they had a much greater chance of making a change and bettering their quality of life.
One Big Union
While lower class workers had no power individually, when they came together to all strike back against unfair conditions, the union would make a significantly greater impact. The workers were ignored and walked over but the demanding fist of union commanded attention.
After the Civil war, African Americans were given their freedom, citizenship and the right to vote but they were far from equal with their white counterparts. Segregation and racism were inescapable during this time period but gradually, with the help of reform movements and influential figures, Africans Americans would lessen these hardships and make progress towards racial equality.
Colored National Labor
Southern trees bear strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.
Pastoral scene of the gallant south,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh,
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh.
Here is fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.
By: Abel Meeropol
This poem gives a description of lynching happening in the South during the time period. This was written in 1937 but the subject matter is still relevant.
After the civil war, many freed slaves had to go back to work for their former masters as sharecroppers because they had no where else to work. They were basically treated as slaves still, with just a minimal salary.
The Jim Crow laws were passed in 1877 and created a system of racial segregation based around the idea of "separate but equal." Segregated facilities were created to prevent racial mixing and involved violence and intimidation.
Blacks were brutally discriminated against and any individual that tried to assert their equality would be lynched. Ida B Wells was a women's activist and inspired black women to launch an anti-lynching crusade in attempt to stop this inhumane act.
This labor union was created by blacks in 1869 when they were refused entrance in the National Labor Union. They had similar goals and tried to gain more control over the workplace. The Union was egalitarian, accepting men and women, skilled and unskilled workers.
The union was a way for blacks to start gaining more respect in society. Some of their plans like giving African Americans their own acreage were unsuccessful but they were given more a voice and this was an outlet for them to be heard.
Because of racial segregation, blacks had to develop their own education system separate from the whites. Booker T Washington was an ex slave and began teaching useful trades to blacks so that they could gain economic independence without undermining white supremacy. He created the Tuskegee Institute to further education for blacks in the South.
W. E. B. Du Bois was another prominent figure in this era and demanded complete equality for blacks. He founded the National Association for Advancement of Colored People, the nations oldest and largest civil rights organization that pushed for immediate black assess to mainstream American Life.
Corruption in Government
-Jim Fisk and Jay Gould: when the government made plans to buy back "greenbacks" from the public with gold, Fisk and Gould decided to (with the help of president Grant`s brother-in-law) buy large quantities of gold. They kept the gold that they brought, and this raised the value of gold they had because there was less in circulation. When the treasury realized what was happening, they released government gold into circulation.
- Credit Mobilier: The Pacific rail road company created a shell corporation called the credit mobilier, then they hired themselves to build a railroad with government funds. They made a profit by over-pricing costs. Government officials were paid to keep quiet.
-Roscoe Conkling: he created a system that rewarded people with jobs, if they sold their political vote to the company.
This cartoon reflects that the people rejecting immigrants from coming into the United States are in fact being hypocrites. The shadows in the background represent their pasts and ancestors who were immigrants coming into the country and made successful men of themselves. The wealthy are ignoring their pasts and not acknowledging that future immigrants could make themselves as successful as their ancestors did and completely looking down on them. This cartoon expresses the unfairness and hypocrisy of excluding immigrants became many Americans at the time had been or their ancestors had been immigrants and even the very foundation of the United States started as immigrants traveling from Britain.
-Resumption Act of 1875: this act forced the government to redeem citizens paper money for greenbacks.
-Pendleton Act of 1883: Government officials could no longer fund their parties campaign.
William Jennings Bryan believed that a government ran by farmers should be in place because they had a higher moral standard.
Strengthening of the Economy
The government receives more revenue and more power from the increase in business and in the amount of working people.
More jobs opportunities due to the factory system and people are more able to support themselves and their families.
By: Sarah Williams, Amy Tundel,
Austin Perry and David Stout
The Industrial Revolution in the 19th and early 20th century was overall beneficial for America. Industries blossomed and the US gained much national power that it did not have prior. For the lower class individual, quality of life greatly decreased at first but reform movements helped to counteract these effects, making the Industrial Revolution ultimately advantageous for the country as a whole.
The government became corrupt because businessmen and politicians were willing to do anything to make a profit and further themselves.
Quality of life for the lower classes greatly decreased because profit and advancement were the only focuses of business owners and they didn't take their workers' lives into account. Also, farmers had to work harder than ever to compete with new industries in markets.
More women began working outside of the home and became more independent, eventually leading to rights and suffrage movements
Increased diversity in the country with more immigration.
Time became standardized as a result of Railroads linking cities across the country.
Education movements began, teaching more than just vocational skills and not just for the wealthy.
New ideologies arose; With Charles Darwin's "On the Origin of Species" many people moved away from relying on religious scriptures like "Genesis" to answer all questions and began looking towards science and logic to do so.
Class Divisions increased but the lines between them were not as rigid. "Equality of Opportunity" was a very common ideal that allowed any low class citizen the same opportunities to climb the social ladder and become a wealthy business owner as any higher class citizen (For Example, Andrew Carnegie)
Many of these corrupt politicians or businessmen believed what they were doing was for the greater good of the country and they were just furthering it's growth and development. They believed they were building "a great industrial empire" ad thought of themselves as "titans...of industrial creativity on an epic scale." For the most part, they didn't see themselves as corrupt or selfish, but as helping the nation in the long run. (Hofstadter,"The Spoilsmen: An Age of Cynicism," The American Political Tradition.)
The Only One Barred Out
"Child Labor in Factories During the Industrial Revolution." Child Labor in Factories During the Industrial Revolution. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2014.
Hofstadter, Richard. The American Political Tradition and the Men Who Made It. New York: Vintage, 1960. Print.
Kennedy, David M., Lizabeth Cohen, and Thomas Andrew Bailey. The American Pageant: A History of the American People. Boston, MA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2010. Print.
Trueman, Chris. "Factories in the Industrial Revolution." Factories in the Industrial Revolution. HistoryLearningSite.co.uk, 2000. Web. 15 Jan. 2014.
Zinn, Howard. A People's History of the United States: 1492-present. New York: Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2005. Print.
Lorenzen, Michael. Deconstructing the Carnegie Libraries. Deconstructing the Carnegie Libraries. Illinois State Library,1999. 22 Jan. 2014
Many used the belief of Social Darwinism, an (improper) application of Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection as stated in his book "On the Origin of Species"-----doc
The industrial revolution led to increased job opportunities and many children were forced to fill these jobs. Because of this, many lacked the time or means for education. Just as other negative effects of the industrial revolution were being overturned by reforms, increasing education became a goal of many philanthropists and organizations.