The Gilded Age 1877-1900 . Technological Advances . Telephone Bicycle Typewriter Elevator Root Beer Linoleum “floor covering of the future” Steel (skyscrapers, bridges) . Industrialization and The Rise of Big Business .
The Gilded Age 1877-1900
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During the Gilded Age, huge corporations were formed that employed thousands and produced enormous amounts of goods
The founders of these companies amassed great wealth while their workers were poorly paid
Captains of Industry
Andrew Carnegie: bought out his suppliers and his competitors until he controlled the steel industry.
John D. Rockefeller: turned his company into a “trust” by buying stock in his competitors companies until he controlled them.
Sherman Anti-Trust Act
Passed in 1890 to make trusts illegal
Companies found many ways to get around this law
1906-, the government brought suit against Standard Oil and in 1911 the trust was finally ordered to dissolve
The Problems of the Industrial Workers
There was almost no federal government regulation of businesses at this time, therefore there was: nominimum wage,nomaximum number of hours per week,nohigher pay for overtime,noregulation of unhealthy or unsafe working conditions, andnohealth insurance or other employee benefits.
Industrialization created low-wage, low-skilled jobs that made employees easy to replace. This led to the growth of labor unions.
1866- Transatlantic telegraph cable
1876- telephone- by 1900- 1.5 million phones installed
Improvements in printing- wide circulation of newspapers- mass advertising
From small shops to large factories
Workers perform 1 task over and over again
10-15 hours per day
6-7 days per week
The Early Labor Union Movement
Labor Unions tried to improve wages and working conditions by collective bargaining and threatening strikes
Between 1877 and 1893 there were several huge strikes
Union popularity declined because the public associated labor unions with violence
The Problems of Farmers
Westward expansion led to overproduction of crops – farm prices drop
Railroad rates going up- more expensive to transport crops
Farmers became deeply in debt
Farmers began the Populist Movement
Asking for rr regulation and monetary reform to releive their indebtedness
Problems of Immigrants
The thousands of immigrants that came from Southern and Eastern Europe between 1890-1915 were often poor and illiterate
They accepted unskilled jobs in factories and had to move in to overly crowded cities
Ellis Island, N.Y., Angel Island, CA.
Problems of Immigrants (Con’t)
Triple Hardship: low wages, pooe housing conditions, and nativism (prejudice against immigrants)
Nativists encouraged the government to pass immigration restriction laws
Problems of Minorities
The right to vote promised by the Fifteenth Amendment was undermined by the use of poll taxes, literacy tests, and grandfather clauses
Asians: The Chinese Exclusion Act banned further immigration from China
Tightly knit ethnic communities begin to shape the big cities
Industrial cities grew rapidly ad poor workers lived in slums
Police and fire departments were understaffed
Clean water and sewer systems were inadequate
Tenement houses were were crowded and unsafe
Urban Problems (Con’t)
City governments were often corrupt “political macines” stayed in power by winning the votes of the immigrants, but often abused their power
Graft is when a public official uses his office to make himself rich through bribery or stealing public funds