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Based on SparkNotes Study Cards. Improved for Reznick's students.

Transcontinental railroad

construction project completed in 1869 when the Union Pacific and Central Pacific RRs joined at Promontory Point, Utah; this innovation facilitated western settlement, shortening to a week the coast-to-coast journey that had once taken 6-8 months by wagon

Boss Tweed

the leader of the Tammany Hall political machine in NYC who maintained his power through illegal means; in 1871, political cartoonist Thomas Nast helped to expose his corruption; future NY governor/pres. candidate Samuel Tilden also helped break up this man's ring

American Federation of Labor (AFL)

(1) moderate labor organization founded in 1886 by Samuel Gompers to organize unions of skilled craftsmen; (2) this organization advocated strikes for higher wages but avoided political issues; (3) it differed from the KOL by allowing only skilled workers and by maintaining a loose structure that allowed individual unions to remain autonomous; (4) In 1955, this organization merged with the Congress of Industrial Organizations, allowing unskilled laborers to join

Chinese Exclusion Act

1882 federal law (amid a wave of anti-immigrant sentiment among laborers) that banned Asian immigration for ten years (and that was renewed many times)

Gospel of Success

a belief system that provided justification for the growing gap between rich and poor during the Gilded Age; this belief (made popular by writers like Horatio Alger) centered on the claim that anyone could become wealthy with enough hard work and determination

Homestead strike

(1) 1892 Pittsburgh steel workers' strike against the Carnegie Steel Company that led to a riot in which ten workers were killed when Pinkertons brough 300 "scabs" from NY to break the strike; (2) soldiers were eventually called in to suppress the violence, an action that highlighted the labor strife in this era & the government's lack of sympathy for workers

Haymarket riot

(1) 1886 labor rally in Chicago (during a strike at the McCormick Reaper Works) that became violent after an anarchist threw a bomb, killing seven policemen; (2) the violence prompte a public backlash against the KOL, even though that organization's leaders weren't involved in the violence

Jane Addams

(1) reformer & pacifist/anti-imperialist best known for her 1889 founding of Hull House, an early settlement house that provided educational and other assistance to poor immigrants; an opponent of the first red scare anti-radical paranoia; (2) first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize (for her efforts to support the 1928 Kellog-Briand Pact)

Knights of Labor

(1) moderate labor organization founded in 1869 by Terence Powderly, one of the first such organizations in the US; (2) this all-inclusive organization grew quickly but fell into decline after one of its leaders was executed for killing a policeman in the Haymarket Riot

Machine politics

the means by which political parties during the Industrial Revolution controlled candidates and voters in many cities through networks of loyalty and corruption; in this system, party bosses exploited their ability to give away jobs and benefits (patronage) in exchange for votes.

McKinley Tariff

a Republican Congressman (& future president) wrote and engineered the passage of this 1890 tariff that bears his name; the act raised protective tariffs by nearly 50 percent—the highest ever tariff at that point

Mark Twain

leading satirist and literary figure during the era of industrialization; author of The Gilded Age (1873), The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884), among other books


Republicans who left the party (because of politcal corruption) during the 1884 election and helped elect Democrat Grover Cleveland (opposing James Blaine)

J.P. Morgan

Wall Street financier and business leader was involved in many of the most profitable business ventures during the era of industrialization; he bought Carnegie Steel in 1901 & established the world's first billion-dollar corporation, US Steel

Pendleton Act

1883 law that established a civil service exam for many public posts and created hiring systems based on merit rather than on patronage; the act aimed to eliminate corrupt hiring practices

Panic of 1893

economic crisis that began when the RR industry faltered during the early 1890s, sparking the collapse of many related industries; confidence in the US dollar plunged and the depression lasted about four years

John D. Rockefeller

"robber baron" who was chairman of the Standard Oil Trust, which grew to control nearly all of the United States' oil production and distribution

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