Unit 9: The gilded Age

To cover with or as if with a thin gold
To give an often deceptively attractive or
approved appearance to.
Term originally coined
By Mark Twain.
3 ingredients that turned the nation into
the world’s leading economy:
Ingredient #1:
Abundant and Available resources:
a) Coal fields of the Appalachians (PA,
b) Iron ore in The Great Lakes region
c) Petroleum (PA, TX, WY, OK, etc.)
Ingredient #2:
Huge labor pool (Two Sources):
A) Immigration:
a. 1840-90, most from northern
Europe (GB, Germany, Scand.)
b. 1890-1920, most from southern
eastern Europe (Italy, Poland,
Russia). Called “New
Please note: Asians were not a part of
these two huge waves of immigration.
Chinese Exclusion Act (1882): Congress
made it illegal for Chinese to enter US.
Gentlemen’s Agreement (1907): Japan
agrees not to issue passports to their
citizens and US agrees to accept
immigrants already here.
Migration from the deep south (poor
southern whites and former slaves
left the rural south and went to large
cities in the north).
Many found
work as
laborers in
mines, factories,
and mills.
Strong Business Leadership:
 Most talented young men went into
business, not politics or professional
careers (doctor, lawyer, etc.).
 Many built large corporations that
controlled entire industries.
 Some became very wealthy at the same
time the avg. worker struggled to
John D. Rockefeller: Standard Oil
Rockefeller's Standard Oil Video - The Men Who Built America - History.com
Andrew Carnegie: Steel
Andrew Carnegie clip
J.P. Morgan: Finance
The Rise of J. P. Morgan Video - The Men Who Built America - History.com
Cornelius Vanderbilt: Railroads
and Shipping
The Rise of Cornelius Vanderbilt Video - The Men Who Built America - History.com
John Jacob Astor & James B. Duke:
Philip Armour & Gustavus Swift:
Charles Pillsbury: Milling
 Social
Belief that, as in the animal kingdom, in
the world of business, only the strong
The rich justified their wealth by arguing
that it was the “natural order” of life…
Any effort by gov’t to regulate business
was argued to go against nature
 Vertical
and Horizontal
Horizontal: Buying out all your competitors
2. Vertical: Control of an industry from top to
bottom (raw materials to finished product).
ex. Carnegie: owned mining companies (iron
and coal)  owned rail lines and freight ships
 owned steel mills (finished products).
The effects of Industrialization:
Workers became machine operators, skilled
at one aspect of production, not craftsmen
who knew every step (job satisfaction lost).
Factories took away personal freedom
$ gap grew between workers and employers
Economic conditions forced more children to work
Unions established in many industries
for example:
- International Cigar Makers Union
- American Railway Union
- United Mine Workers
Labor’s Main Goals:
1. Higher wages
2. Better/safer working conditions
3. Fewer hours
Labor’s main tactics to achieve
1. Negotiation & bargaining
2. Work slowdown
3. Strikes
4. Violence
Management’s Main Weapons to
Break the Unions:
“Yellow Dog” contracts
“Scab” labor
Strikebreakers (armed thugs)
There had been a # of local
strikes before 1870, but in
1877 there was the first
nationwide strike…
The Great Strike of 1877:
-wages for workers on
Baltimore & Ohio RR were
cut 2nd time in 2 months 
workers go on strike.
1. Work stoppage stalled nation’s RRs as
strike spread to other lines.
2. President Rutherford B. Hayes ordered
federal troops in to run the RR. (US
Constitution gives fed gov’t the right to
regulate interstate commerce).
-The strike was broken soon thereafter.
The Haymarket Riot (1886):
1. Get a book…use the index at the back
2. Read first, then make a few notes on what
happened that day
3. Most important: what were the
outcomes/results of the riot?
Homestead Steel Strike
(1892): Homestead, PA.
take notes on this as you
did for the events at
Homestead Strike Video - The Men Who
Built America - History.com
Gov’t sided with big business from 1870-1890
(“laissez faire” capitalism).
Teddy Roosevelt earned national reputation
as a “trust buster”... Break up monopolies
Sherman Anti-Trust Act (1890): made
monopolies illegal.