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Chapter 11: Robber Barons and Rebels

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    1. Chapter 11: Robber Barons and Rebels By: Julie Shah Professor Buelna CHS 245ONLINE Section: 17419

    3. New and Advanced Methods Steam and electricity Iron and steel Telephone, typewriter, and adding machine which speeded up the work of business (Zinn 253). Oil was used to lubricate machines and because of this lighted up homes, factories and even streets. Machines increased crop production for farming.

    4. Continued.. Transportation of people and goods by railroad. Pneumatic drills can dig deeper for coal. Steam was replaced by electricity. The first national meat packing company was developed in 1885 (Zinn 254). Cigarette-rolling machine was invented and later four companies got together to make the American Tobacco Company.

    5. Labor In order to accomplish and use all these new methods, inventers, organizers, and administrators cleverly offered these jobs to immigrants from Europe and China. These labors however, were unhealthy, back-breaking and very dangerous. Farmers who did not have enough money to buy machines had moved to the cities. This caused cities such as Philadelphia, Chicago and New York to grow exponentially.

    6. From Poverty to Luxury..? I Think Not. It is true that some multimillionaires started out poor, however a majority did not. A study of the origins of 303 textile, railroad, and steel executives of the 1870s showed that 90 percent came from middle- or upper-class families (Zinn 254). Most of the fortune however, was done legally with the help of courts and the government.

    7. Railroad Fraud Union Pacific -started in Nebraska going west. -Given 12 million acres of free land and $27 million from bonds. -Shares were sold cheaply to Congressmen to prevent investigations. -hundreds of immigrants and war veteran workers died in the heat, cold and battles with Indians. The Central Pacific -started on the west coast going east. -spent a lot of money in Washington on bribes in order to get 9 million acres of land from their own construction company. Construction was done in four years by Irish and Chinese workers getting paid only a dollar or two a day.

    8. Continued.. Because of this huge fraud on the railroads it led to more control of railroad finances by bankers, who wanted more stabilityprofit by law rather than by theft. (Zinn 255).

    9. The Government

    10. The purpose of the government at the time was to make sure there were peaceful settlements between the rich and to control the lower class rebellions. The presidential election itself had avoided real issues; there was no clear understanding of which interests would gain and which would lose if certain policies were adopted (Zinn 258). It mostly criticized the party candidates personalities, and gossiped about them.

    11. In 1887, with a huge surplus in the treasury, Cleveland vetoed a bill appropriating $100,000 to give relief to Texas farmers to help them buy seed grain during a drought (Zinn 259). However, Grover Cleveland used that money to pay off some very wealthy bond-owners later. Benjamin Harrison succeeded Cleveland as President, whose gesture towards reform led him to prosecute strikers in the federal court. However, Cleveland was reelected again after Harrisons term. Turning back to his original methods.

    12. The Court The Supreme Court was doing its bit for the ruling elite (Zinn 260). In 1895, the Court interpreted the Sherman Act so as to make it harmless (Zinn 260). They also stated that the Sherman Act could be used against interstate strikes such as the rail strike in 1894, because they were restraint of trade.

    13. After the Fourteenth Amendment had became a law, The Supreme Court had started developing it as a protection for corporations rather than the protection for blacks. Supposedly, the Amendment had been passed to protect Negro rights, but of the Fourteenth Amendment cases brought before the Supreme Court between 1890 and 1910, nineteen dealt with the Negro, 288 dealt with corporations ( Zinn 261). The justices of the Court were men of a certain class and background.

    14. Immigration and Working Class The immigration of different ethnic groups contributed to the fragmentation of the working class (Zinn 265). The Irish began taking jobs with the new political machines who had wanted their votes. Among the newcomers, there was a lot of economic competition.

    15. The Chinese immigrants, for example were brought in by the railroads to do back breaking labor. They made up about 1/10th of California and become objects of violence. New immigrants had become laborers, housepainters, stonecutters, and ditch diggers (Zinn 266). There were some cases of rebellion, but nothing had changed the problems they faced.

    16. By the 1880s there were about 5 and a half million immigrants which created a labor surplus to keep wages down. The immigrants were more controllable, more helpless than native workers; they were culturally displaced, at odds with one another, therefore useful as strike breakers. Not only were the adults working, but their children did as well which caused families to act like strangers to one another.

    17. Women Women immigrants became servants, prostitutes, housewives, factory workers and sometimes rebels (Zinn 267). In 1884, the women textile workers and hat makers had went on strike and the next year men and women cloak makers went on strike as well. Women had joined the Knights of Labor, and were getting fired for it.

    18. The strike had lasted for 6 long months and the women were arrested, however the women had won some of their demands and got back their jobs. In 1883, congress took place in Pittsburgh and drew up a manifesto. This manifesto asked for equal rights for all without distinction to sex or race (Zinn 268). This had also quoted the communist manifesto.

    19. The Knights Of Labor In 1886, the Knights of Labor was organizing in the sugar fields during the peak of the Knights influence. Violence erupted in the town of Thibodaux, which had become a king of refugee village where hundreds of strikers, evicted from their plantation shacks, gathered, penniless and ragged, carrying their clothing and babies (Zinn 274). This was because two Negro brothers and leaders of The Knights were arrested and never heard from again. The National Guard was brought in by the governor, six hundred miners were imprisoned and the strike was brought to an end.

    20. During the Depression the Knights of Labor people came in again, merging with the old Knights and the American Railway Union. Eugene Debs wanted to include everyone, but blacks were kept out however, because Debs thought that black workers in no mood to cooperate with the strikers (Zinn 279). Debs was later arrested for contempt of court, violating the injunction that said he couldnt do or say anything to carry on a strike.

    21. Farmers Farming had become a lot more mechanized now and farmers had to pay for land and machines. Farmers had to borrow in the hopes that the price of their harvest would continue to stay high in order to pay back their bank loans. They also had to pay the railroad for transportation, the grain merchant, and the storage elevator. the individual farmer could not control the price of his grain, while the monopolist railroad and the monopolist banker could charge what they liked (Zinn 283). The farmers who couldnt pay had their homes and land taken away from them.

    22. Because of this, by 1880, 25 percent of all farms were rented by tenants, and the number kept rising (Zinn 284). The government also did not help out the farmers either because it played a part in helping out the bankers. The bankers who were getting the loans back were making more because the government kept the circulation of money steady even when the population was rising. This in turn would make the farmers owe more money every year until their farms were taken away.

    23. The Farmers Alliance The Farmers Alliance movement began in Texas. From the very beginning the Farmers Alliance showed sympathy with the growing labor movement (Zinn 285). The Alliance kept growing and by 1892 farmer lecturers had gone into forty-three states and reached 2 million farm families (Zinn 285). One of their victories was when the farmers were being over charged for jute bags, which was controlled by a trust, so they organized a boycott of jute and finally forced the jute manufacturers to start selling them for 5 cents a yard instead of 14.

    24. This Alliance was not gaining any real power, however they were spreading a new spirit and many new ideas. Some Alliance blacks made calls for unity (Zinn 290). Even some whites thought there should be racial unity. The Democratic party played on racism, in which white farmers who couldnt pay would be evicted and replaced by blacks, which intensified race hatred. There were a lot of failures in the attempt to unite blacks and whites, but on top of that there was the lure of electoral politics (Zinn 294).

    25. Patriotism During election times the need to be patriotic was the main slogan. The Blacks were being kept under control in the South and the Indians were driven out. It was the climax to four hundred years of violence that began with Columbus, establishing that this continent belonged to white men (Zinn 295). The government had made it clear that only the rich white man can be supreme in America, but had drowned all that with slogans for national unity, patriotism. The supreme act of patriotism was war (Zinn 295).

    26. Bibliography Zinn, Howard. "Robber Barons And Rebels." A People's History of the United States 1492-present. New York: Harper Perennial, 2005. 253-95. Print.