A. Explain the impact of the railroads on other industries, such as steel, and on the organization of big business.
The growth of American railroads helped expand the industries that supplied the railroad companies’ need for steel rails laid on wood ties, iron locomotives burning huge quantities of coal, wooden freight cars, and passenger cars with fabric-covered seats and glass windows. The railroads were the biggest customers for the steel industry because thousands of miles of steel track were laid. In turn, the railroads had a great impact on the steel industry. To supply their biggest customers, steel producers developed cheap, efficient methods for the mass production of steel rails. These low-cost methods enabled more industries to afford the steel companies’ products.
The rapid rise of the steel and railroad industries between the end of the Civil War and the early 1900s spurred the growth of other big businesses, especially in the oil, financial, and manufacturing sectors of the economy. These big businesses acquired enormous financial wealth. They often used this wealth to dominate and control many aspects of American cultural and political life, and as a consequence of these practices, by the beginning of the 20th century big business became the target of government reform movements at the state and national levels.
B. Describe the impact of the railroads in the development of the West; include the transcontinental railroad, and the use of Chinese labor.
The federal government granted vast areas of western land to railroad owners so they would lay train track connecting the eastern and western states. To complete this heavy work, the owners relied mainly on Chinese labor. These Asian immigrants accepted lower pay than other laborers demanded. The work was dangerous. Many Chinese died in the explosive blasts they ignited to clear the path across the railroad companies’ land. Many others died under rock slides and heavy snowfalls before the first transcontinental railroad was completed in 1869.
The railroad companies contributed to the development of the West by selling low-cost parcels of their western land for farming. Settlers traveled west on the trains to farm on the fertile soil. Western farmers used the trains to ship their grain east, and western cattle ranchers shipped their steers to eastern butchers. Both farmers and ranchers sold their goods to people they could not easily reach without railroads. The railroads earned money by transporting the settlers west and the goods east.
C. Identify John D. Rockefeller and the Standard Oil Company and the rise of trusts and monopolies
Oil companies grew swiftly in this period, most notably the Standard Oil Company, founded byJohn D. Rockefeller. Standard Oil was the most famous big business of the era. Rockefeller also gained control of most other oil companies and created what is called a trust. By means of a trust, Rockefeller came to own more than 90% of America’s oil industry. Standard Oil thus became a monopoly––a single company that controlled virtually all the U.S. oil production and distribution.
D. Describe the inventions of Thomas Edison; include the electric light bulb, motion pictures, and the phonograph, and their impact on American life
The effects of technological advances made after Reconstruction forever changed how people lived. The most famous inventor of the period is Thomas Edison. He invented the electric lightbulb, the phonograph, motion pictures, a system for distributing electrical power, and many other technologies powered by electricity. Edison also established the concept of industrial research, and he founded a research laboratory staffed by engineers and technicians in New Jersey.
Edison’s technological achievements were used by other inventors, as evidenced by the development of long-distance electricity transmission, which enabled Edison’s electric light to illuminate buildings, streets, and neighborhoods across the United States. Electricity soon replaced steam as the source of power for factories. It replaced horses as the means to power streetcars. Of greatest impact, perhaps, was electricity’s replacing humans as the source of power for household appliances. Edison’s inventions eliminated much manual labor that had been associated with everyday household activities and improved Americans’ quality of life.
A. Describe Ellis Island, the change in immigrants’ origins to southern and eastern Europe and the impact of this change on urban America.
In the decades after the Civil War, more and more Europeans immigrated to America. They differed from earlier immigrant groups, who mostly came from northern and western Europe, were typically Protestant, spoke English, and arrived with the
government’s welcome. In contrast, many of the new immigrants came from eastern and southern Europe, often were Jewish or Catholic, and usually spoke no English. The U.S. government welcomed the wealthy among these new immigrants but forced poorer people to pass health and welfare tests at government reception centers such as the Ellis
Island Immigrant Station located in New York Harbor. Whether Asian or European, these new immigrants tended to settle in areas populated by people from the same countries who spoke the same languages and worshipped in the
Because poverty and political instability were common in their home countries, the new immigrants were likely to be poor. They could not afford to buy farmland, so they worked as unskilled laborers and lived mostly in cities. There they created communities to imitate the cultures of their home countries, and these communities had foreignlanguage newspapers, ethnic stores and restaurants, and houses of worship. The new immigrants did not blend into American society the way earlier immigrants had.
C. Describe the growth of the western population and its impact on Native Americans with reference to Sitting Bull and Wounded Knee.
As eastern regions of the United States became more industrialized after the Civil War, people seeking rural livelihoods moved farther and farther west. In turn, Native Americans had to compete with these newcomers for land. For example, the Sioux signed a treaty with the U.S. government promising “no white person or persons shall be permitted to settle upon or occupy” Sioux territory in the Dakotas but, when gold was discovered there, the government tried to buy the land from the Sioux, who refused to sell it. The Sioux leader, Sitting Bull, then fought U.S. Army troops, led his people to a brief exile in Canada, and finally agreed to settle on a reservation.
About 10 years later, Sitting Bull’s people became associated with a Sioux religious movement. The Native Americans believed their ceremonies would cleanse the world of evil, including the white man, and restore the Sioux’s lost greatness. Government officials ordered Sitting Bull’s arrest. He died in a brief gun battle.
After Sitting Bull died, several hundred of his people fled to an area of South Dakota called Wounded Knee. U.S. soldiers went there to confiscate weapons from the Sioux. A gun was fired––nobody knows by whom––and U.S soldiers then opened machine-gun fire, killing more than 300 Sioux. This ended the Native Americans’ long conflict against Americans settling Native American lands.
B. Identify the American Federation of Labor and Samuel Gompers.
American Federation of Labor and Samuel Gompers
Unskilled laborers were subject to low wages, long workdays, no vacations, and unsafe workplaces. Because individual workers had little power to change the way an employer ran a business, workers banded together in labor unions to demand better pay and working conditions. Then the labor unions banded together for even more power to change the
ways employers ran their businesses. The American Federation of Labor, or AFL, was led by Samuel Gompers. He was president of the AFL from 1886 to 1894 and from 1895 to his death in 1924. His goal was to use strikes (work stoppages) to convince employers to give workers shorter workdays, better working conditions, higher wages, and greater control over how they carried out their workplace responsibilities.
D. Describe the 1894 Pullman strike as an example of industrial unrest.
During poor economic times in the 1870s and 1890s, violence erupted when employers sought to fire some workers and to lower the wages of those still employed. In 1894, when the Pullman railcar factory near Chicago fired almost half its workforce and cut wages by 25% to 50%, its workers went on strike. Other railway workers refused to switch Pullman cars on or off trains. Rail traffic west of Chicago came to a halt. The Pullman company responded by hiring new workers, but these workers were attacked by strikers when they attempted to go to work. Leaders of the railroad industry convinced the government to declare the situation illegal. President Grover Cleveland sent the U.S. Army to restore peace. Both big business and the U.S. government feared labor unions were a menace to America’s capitalist economy.
A. Explain Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle and federal oversight of the meatpacking industry.
Many reforms came about after journalists investigated and exposed political corruption, child labor, slum conditions, and other social issues. These journalists were called muckrakers, and famous among them were Upton Sinclair and Ida Tarbell. In his novel The Jungle, Sinclair told the story of European immigrants working in Chicago’s meatpacking industry. The book exposed the poor labor practices and unsanitary conditions that produced contaminated food. Congress was pressured to pass laws to regulate the meatpacking industry and to require meat packers to produce food that was
safe to consume.
B. Identify Jane Addams and Hull House and describe the role of women in reform movements.
Women Progressives, in particular, sponsored laws to end child labor and to require government inspections of workplaces. Jane Addams brought a British idea, the settlement house, to the United States, when she established Hull House in Chicago. Hull House was a social service agency that provided trained workers to help recent immigrants and working-class citizens learn about home economics, basic medical care, the English language, legal rights, and other topics important to low-income urban residents.
C. Describe the rise of Jim Crow, Plessy v. Ferguson, and the emergence of the NAACP.
African American Rights
Race relations in the South worsened. African Americans were denied basic rights. They suffered worse racial discrimination and segregation than what they had encountered in the years after the Civil War. Southern and border
states passed segregation laws that required separate public and private facilities for African Americans. These were calledJim Crow laws (after a character in an old minstrel song) and resulted in inferior education, health care, and transportation systems for African Americans. In 1896, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of Jim Crow lawsin Plessy v. Ferguson. Under the “separate but equal” doctrine, the Court ruled racial segregation was legal in public accommodations such as railroad cars.
African Americans disagreed about how to best oppose Jim Crow laws. One group, which sought full social and economic equality for African Americans, eventually formed the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to seek full civil rights for African Americans. Better known today as the NAACP, this group still keeps its original name in honor of the people who founded it to help overturn Plessy v. Ferguson.
D. Explain Ida Tarbell’s role as a muckraker.
In a series of magazine articles, Tarbell exposed political corruption in New York, Chicago, and other cities, and criticized Standard Oil Company’s unfair business practices. Her findings angered the public and contributed to the government’s
decision to break up the Standard Oil Trust.
E. Describe the significance of progressive reforms such as the initiative, recall, and referendum; direct election of senators; reform of labor laws; and efforts to improve living conditions for the poor in cities.
The Progressives supported new ideas and policies they believed would improve people’s lives. They supported increased government regulation of business and industry, efforts to protect consumers and workers, and policies to conserve natural resources. Their efforts to improve living conditions for the poor in cities led to more and better libraries, schools, hospitals, and parks. The Progressives also opposed political bosses and had scorn for citizens’ lack of control over them. Progressive election reforms helped to increase ordinary citizens’ direct control of government in these ways:
• Supporters of any new law could collect voters’ signatures on an initiative to force a public vote on the issue. This prevented government officials from ignoring the desires of citizens.
• When enough citizens supported an initiative, the government had to present the issue to the public as a referendum on which the public could vote. This also prevented government officials from ignoring the desires of citizens.
• Citizens could remove public officials from office before their terms expired by organizing a recall election. This allowed citizens to control who serves in government.
Another Progressive reform was the direct election of senators. Under the U.S. Constitution, each state’s legislature elected that state’s U.S. senators. The Progressives favored the adoption of an amendment to the Constitution that gave voters the right to elect their U.S. senators. They succeeded in their efforts with the adoption of the Seventeenth Amendment in 1913.
F. Describe the conservation movement and the development of national parks and forests; include the role of Theodore Roosevelt.
President Theodore Roosevelt also began a Progressive conservation movement, which conserved millions of acres of wilderness lands, particularly in western states. His efforts led to the establishment of a national park system that included Yosemite in California and Yellowstone in Wyoming.
A. Explain the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and anti-Asian immigration sentiment on the west coast.
Asian American Rights
In earlier decades, Asians had immigrated to California and other areas of the American West. Then, in the 1880s, Asian Americans faced anti-immigrant sentiment. When Chinese immigrants accepted low wages for jobs whites had held, employers lowered the pay for all workers. This angered the white workers. They encouraged Congress to pass the Chinese Exclusion Act, which it did in 1882, thereby banning all future Chinese immigration.
Japanese Americans also faced racial prejudice. It was against California law for them to buy land or become U.S. citizens, and the federal government worked with the government of Japan to limit Japanese immigration.
B. Describe the Spanish-American War, the war in the Philippines, and the debate over American expansionism.
In the last decades of the 19th century, some Americans were eager to spread democracy into Latin America and other world regions. Other Americans argued that American expansion was not the best way to spread America’s democratic traditions. In 1898, the United States went to war with Spain after the Spanish refused to grant independence to rebels fighting a revolutionary war in Cuba, a Spanish colony. Supporters of American expansion were eager to gain U.S. territory in Latin America, leading to a “war fever” that also encouraged the U.S. government to seek a military solution to the Cuban war for independence. The war lasted less than four months. The Spanish were driven out of Cuba, which became an independent country, and out of Puerto Rico, which became an American territory.
The first battles of the Spanish-American War took place in the Philippines, another Spanish colony in which Spain refused to grant independence to rebels fighting a revolutionary war. The U.S. Navy quickly defeated the Spanish navy, and Americans debated whether the United States should expand its territory to include the Philippines or respect Filipino independence. When the U.S. military was ordered to keep the Philippines as an American territory, the Philippine-American War broke out in 1899. The war lasted about three years. In the end, the Philippines was a U.S. territory until
C. Explain U.S. involvement in Latin America, as reflected by the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine and the creation of the Panama Canal.
U.S. Actions in Latin America
The Caribbean region and Latin America remained unstable. Many of the area’s countries owed large amounts of money to European countries because they had borrowed it to build modern energy plants and transportation systems. President Theodore Roosevelt feared European countries would take advantage of this instability to gain power and influence in the region. He announced to the world that the United States had the right to intervene in Latin American countries in economic crisis, whether or not a European power planned to intervene. This policy is called the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine. In contrast, President James Monroe’s original doctrine had been to get involved in the affairs of the Americas
only when needed to end the intervention of a European power.
America now controlled territory in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Seeking a faster sea route from the Atlantic to the Pacific than the voyage around the tip of South America, the U.S. government built a shipping canal across the narrow Central American country of Panama. The Panama Canal was the biggest engineering project of the era. When the Panama Canal opened in 1914, a voyage from San Francisco to New York was cut from
14,000 miles to 6,000 miles.