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1870-1896. The Economic, Social, and Political Environment. Major Themes. Economic: Big business v. workers Big business v. farmers Social: Urban growth Anti-immigrant feelings Political: Government favors big business while stating they are “hands off”

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1870 1896

1870-1896

The Economic, Social, and Political Environment

major themes
Major Themes
  • Economic:
    • Big business v. workers
    • Big business v. farmers
  • Social:
    • Urban growth
    • Anti-immigrant feelings
  • Political:
    • Government favors big business while stating they are “hands off”
    • Farmers organize and help to form populist party
at the close of the 19 th century how was life in urban areas changing
At the close of the 19th century how was life in urban areas changing?
  • People were moving in large numbers to the city to take advantage of the new jobs in industry
    • 1900: 3x’s larger than 1870
    • 1920: More people lived in urban areas than rural ones
  • Technology
    • Indoor plumbing, electricity, skyscrapers,
  • Immigration increased
    • However so did discrimination
    • 2nd wave of immigration – Southern and Eastern Europe
  • Poverty, corruption, pollution, crime, and congestion
what factors allowed for the rapid economic growth the us achieved at the turn of the century
What factors allowed for the rapid economic growth the US achieved at the turn of the century?
  • The Federal Government supported the growth of business interests
    • Protective tariffs
    • Land grants to railroad companies, loans to help them build railroads
    • Little to no tax on business
    • Loose immigration policy
      • More workers, lower pay
    • Monopolies are able to develop
      • Regulate production
      • Set price and wages
what were the arguments made by those who supported little government intervention in the economy
What were the arguments made by those who supported little government intervention in the economy?
  • Land of opportunity
    • Work hard
    • Self discipline
  • Business functions best when not regulated by the government
    • Wages, supply, and demand work together to regulate the market
  • Contradiction:
    • want gov’t intervention when it helps (loans, tariffs, land grants)
    • Don’t want intervention if it may hurt profits (minimum wage, safer conditions)
how did trade unions attempt to change this situation
How did trade unions attempt to change this situation?
  • Workers became disgusted by the long hours and low wages that they faced
    • Strikes
      • Unsuccessful, government intervened to suppress
slide7
How did local reform minded governments attempt to address the needs of workers? Why were they unsuccessful?
  • Many tried to
    • Improve health and safety in the workplace
    • Maximum hours
    • Minimum wage
    • Child labor laws

* Unsuccessful due to Supreme Court rulings ; court was pro-business at the time

slide8
What were the arguments for and against a high protective tariff? Which party supported a high tariff? Which did not?
  • For
    • Protecting American business (Republicans)
      • Wages would fall
  • Against
    • High retaliatory tariff (Democrats and Populists)
      • We wouldn’t be able to sell our products abroad
who supported an expanded money supply why who did not
Who supported an expanded money supply? Why? Who did not?
  • Supporters:
    • Too little money would hurt the expanding economy
    • Not enough gold, need to use other methods to back the dollar
      • People in debt or who want to take out a loan
        • Loan payments the same even though the value of the dollar is down, benefits me!
        • farmers, new business owners, home owners
  • Opponents:
    • Too much money would devalue the dollar and make foreign countries less likely invest in the US
      • Loan payments made to me are the same, but the value of the dollar is down so I am technically not making as much money as I previously did
      • Bankers, established businesses, creditors, and investors
what led to the growth of agriculture after the civil war
What led to the growth of agriculture after the Civil War?
  • Demand for foodstuffs increased
    • Population more than doubled between 1870 and 1900
  • Technological advancements
    • Increased productivity
      • Cotton gin improvements
      • Harvesters, combines, and reapers
      • Better plows
what problems did farmers face during the gilded age
What problems did farmers face during the Gilded Age?
  • Specialization
  • New equipment needed to keep up was expensive
  • Railroads, grain elevators, and suppliers charged VERY high prices
  • Overproduction brought the price of crops down
slide12
How did the Grange, Farmers’ Alliances, and Populists try to change the interaction between government and big business?
  • Grange: social connections, education
    • Fought for fair treatment by big business
  • Farmers’ alliance helped to shape platform of the Populists
  • Populists (strongly influenced Progressives of early 1900s)
    • Gov’t should own utilities to keep costs down
    • Free silver
    • Graduated income tax
    • 8 hour day and collective bargaining
    • Limit immigration
    • Direct election of Senators, secret ballot, 1 term presidency, initiative, referendum
why did the populist party and the democratic party fuse in the election of 1896
Why did the Populist Party and the Democratic Party fuse in the election of 1896?
  • Ideals and goals were aligned
  • Both parties voted for William Jennings Bryan
  • McKinley wins election
    • Cleveland (dem) was president when recession of 1893 hit
what caused the populist party to die out after this election
What caused the Populist Party to die out after this election?
  • Power of monopolies was growing
  • Racism of Southern Whites made it hard for them to get behind anti-discrimination platform populists wanted to push
  • Many of their goals were achieved during the Progressive Era under the leadership of both Democrats and Republicans