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202-The Gilded Age and Unrest

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Kevin Grimm

on 9 September 2018

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Transcript of 202-The Gilded Age and Unrest

The Gilded Age and Unrest
The Gilded Age
- natural resources, large labor supply, expanding markets, capital available for investment after Civil War
- government helps - high tariffs to protect manufacturing/gives land to railroads
- final transition from individual farmers/plantation owners/small artisan workshops to mature industrial economy
- 1913 - U.S. accounts for 1/3 of industrial output in the world
- Great Lakes - iron, steel, machinery, chemicals, packaged foods - Chicago the epicenter of agriculture/cattle products

- low crop prices from 1870s-1890s - due to intl. competition
- many farmers dependent on creditors
- high railroad freight rates blocks goods from market

Farmers' Alliance (Populist Party): 1870s-1890s
- fed. gov. to provide warehouses for storage until sale
- fed. gov. to issue low-interest loans to farmers
- reduce dependence on bankers/merchants
greatest political insurgency of the era
- also supported striking industrial workers
- a thousand local newspapers, thousands of speakers
- other goals
direct election of U.S. senators
graduated income tax
rights to unionize
public ownership of railroads
and women's suffrage

1892 - Populist candidate wins a million votes and carries four western states - 3 Populist governors and 15 members of Congress

1896 Election:
- Populists join Democrats and support William Jennings Bryan
- "Cross of Gold" speech at Democratic nominating convention
- 1900 Frank Baum's book,
The Wonderful

Wizard of Oz
Emerald City = Washington, D.C.
Wizard of Oz = Republican victor William McKinley
Yellow-brick road = gold
Wicked witches of east and west = industrialists and mine owners
In book, Dorothy's shoes are silver

Other impacts of 1896:
- ushers in era of Republican dominance (except for 1912-1920) until 1932
- last election with 80-90% participation rates
- Populist Party defeated and dissolves

The Populists in Politics
1873 book by Mark Twain/Charles Dudley,
Gilded Age:
- layer of gold, but nothing of value underneath
- "Get rich, dishonestly if we can, honestly if we must."

"Politics of Dead Center" - 1876-1900:
- series of one term presidents
- few policy differences
- small federal government
Labor Strife
The "Labor Question":
- something had gone wrong with nation's social development
- why so much economic inequality? why so much social, labor, and class strife?
- wage labor used to be a step on way to economic self-sufficiency
- America now experiencing what plagued Europe - "social classes"
- 1890 - 2/3 work for wages - not on own farm/business
- perhaps federal and state governments can alleviate some of the problems that stemmed from such rapid economic transformation

Labor Strife:
- 35,000 deaths annually in factory/mine accidents - highest rate in industrial world
- 1877 Great Railroad Strike (20 dead, army used)
- 1880s Knights of Labor have 800,000 members
- 1886 - Haymarket Square Incident
- 1892 - Homestead strike/Carnegie plant - 8,000 militia needed
- 1894 Pullman Strike - also cripples national railroad traffic - 34 killed
American Cities
- 1910 - 21 cities with over 100,000
- NYC at 4.7 million, Manhattan with 2 million
- Lower East Side (500,000) more densely populated at this time than Bombay or Calcutta

Depictions - move from Romantic to realist styles:
- painters George Bellows, John Sloan
- photographer Alfred Stieglitz
- images of electric lights, crowded bars, theaters, skyscrapers
- youthful, modern

- photographer Lewis Hines - 2 million child workers
- Upton Sinclair's 1905
The Jungle
- effect of industrialization on the individual
- Theodore Dreiser's 1900
Sister Carrie
- young woman goes to Chicago full of hope, becomes prostitute and dreams crushed
Alfred Stieglitz
George Bellows, "Cliff Dwellers" 1913
Full transcript