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Cornelius Vanderbilt

financier who accumulated great wealth from railroad and shipping businesses, he concentrated railroads and popularized the use of steel in railroads

Jay Gould

financier who gained control of the Erie Canal and who caused a financial panic in 1869 when he attempted to corner the gold market (1836-1892)

air brake

helped train cars stop at the same time, making them more safe. created by George Westinghouse

sleeping car

a passenger car that has berths for sleeping, created by George Pullman

Bessemer process

an industrial process for making steel using a Bessemer converter to blast air through molten iron and thus burning the excess carbon and impurities, the first successful method of making steel in quantity at low cost


Minnesota Iron range

Edwin Drake

1859-drilled first oil well in the US, in PA


Developed in the 1880s, a practice by which railroads would give money back to its favored customers, rather than charging them lower prices, so that it could appear to be charging a flat rate for everyone.

long haul/short haul inequity

big businesses wanted to transport over long distances --> competition for cheaper transport, so railroad companies made long haul trips cheaper and short haul trips more expensive, because there was no competition

Alexander Graham Bell

the inventor of the telephone


JP Morgan's process of lending money to struggling railroad companies (due to the high competition) and then slowly taking them over. His reputation as a banker and financier also helped bring interest from investors to the businesses he took over


a consortium of independent organizations formed to limit competition by controlling the production and distribution of a product or service

General Electric

in fear of technological competition, they created one of the first corporate laboratories in 1900, increasing corporate research and development labs, but causing a decline in government support in research. This attracted more skillful researchers and decentralized the sources of research funding.

Progress and Poverty

Written by Henry George, critical of entrepreneurs, after studying poverty in America, determined that rich didn't pay fair share of taxes and proposed "Single Tax" on incremental value of land

Wealth Against Commonwealth

1894- Henry Demarest Lloyd wrote this book advocating free trade

Gospel of Wealth

This philosophy spouted by Carnegie that described the responsibility of the rich to be philanthropists. This softened the harshness of Social Darwinism as well as promoted the idea of philanthropy.

Looking Backward

book written by reformer Edward Bellamy; described experience of a young Bostonian who slept in 1887 and woke up in 2000 to find the social order changed, large trusts that had grown and combined to create one big one that would distribute the wealth among everyone and eliminate class divisions-called it nationalism

National Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry

This organization better known as the Grange, was organized in 1867 by Oliver H. Kelley; its objective was to enhance the lives of isolated farmers through social, educational, and fraternal activities; the Grangers gradually raised their goals from individual self-improvement to the farmer's collective plight

Munn v. Illinois

1876; Munn, a partner in a Chicago warehouse firm, found guilty by an Illinois court of violating the state for fixing maximum charges for storage of grain. The Munn case allowed states to regulate certain businesses within their borders (intrastate), including railroads, and is commonly regarded as a milestone in the growth of federal government regulation.

Wabash Case

This 1886 case overturned the earlier Munn vs. Illinois case. favorable to state regulation of those phases of interstate commerce upon which Congress itself had not acted. The court declared invalid an Illinois law prohibiting long- and short-haul clauses in transportation contracts as an infringement on the exclusive powers of Congress granted by the commerce clause of the Constitution. The result of the case was denial of state power to regulate interstate rates for railroads, and the decision led to creation of the Interstate Commerce Commission

Interstate Commerce Act

1887- established the ICC (Interstate Commerce Commission) - monitors the business operation of carriers transporting goods and people between states - created to regulate railroad prices


a policy based on the idea that government should play as small a role as possible in the economy

Sherman Anti-trust Act

law that made it illegal to create monopolies or trusts that restrained free trade, First federal action against monopolies, it was signed into law by Harrison and was extensively used by Theodore Roosevelt for trust-busting. However, it was initially misused against labor unions

United States v. E.C. Knight

1895, Any action against manufacturing monopolies would have to be taken by the state. Sherman Anti-Trust Act did not prevent these.

Knights of Labor

1869- first effort to create National union. Open to everyone but lawyers and bankers, they were for protests but not strikes. Vague program, no clear goals, weak leadership and organization. Failed mostly because people thought they had a part in the Haymarket Square Bombing, which ruined their reputation

Terence Powderly

led the Knights of Labor, a skilled and unskilled union, wanted equal pay for equal work, an 8 hr work day and to end child labor.

Haymarket Square

In Chicago, home to about 80,000 Knights and a few hundred anarchists that advocated a violent overthrow of the American government, tensions had been building, and on May 4, 1886, Chicago police were advancing on a meeting that had been called to protest brutalities by authorities when a dynamite bomb was thrown, killing or injuring several dozen people. This was called the Haymarket Square Bombing.

American Federation of Labor

1886- (AFL) run by Samuel Gompers, a federation of North American labor unions that merged with the Congress of Industrial Organizations in 1955. They had bread and butter unionism: they wanted better wages and conditions and would strike

Samuel Gompers

English- born president of the American Federation of Labor from 1886 to 1924

bread and butter

a type of basic unionism, meant better wages and better conditions

Railroad strike of 1877

strike on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad quickly spread across 11 states and shut down 2/3rds of the country's rail track; railroad workers were joined by an estimated 500,000 workers from other industries in an escalating strike that was quickly becoming national in scale; Hayes used federal troops to end the labor violence, but it was ultimately successful

Homestead Strike

1892- steelworker strike protesting repeated wage cuts, near Pittsburgh against the Carnegie Steel Company. It was excessively violent and detrimental to the public view of labor unions

Pullman Strike

Led by Eugene Debs. This was a nonviolent strike that brought about a shut down of western railroads. It took place against the Pullman Palace Car Company in Chicago in 1894, because of a wage cut of Pullman workers who lived in a Pullman town, where prices increased. It was ended by the president due to the interference with the mail system, and brought a bad image of unions.

Eugene Debs

union leader, one of the founders of the International Labor Union and the Industrial Workers of the World, he led the Pullman strike and was a five-time Socialist Party of America Presidential Candidate.

survival of the fittest

process by which individuals that are better suited to their environment survive and reproduce most successfully; also called natural selection

Social Darwinism

The application of ideas about evolution and "survival of the fittest" to human societies - particularly as a justification for their imperialist expansion and racism.

William Graham Sumner

He was an advocate of laissaz-faire and Social Darwinism, claiming that the rich were a result of natural selection and benefits to society. He, like many others promoted the belief of Social Darwinism which justified the rich being rich, and poor being poor.


restrictions; limitations imposed on a person or institution's freedom. Particularity, , court ruling demanding strikers to stop actions that could hurt business

Reasons for flourishing American manufacturing

1) new resources (oil, iron ore, exc.) 2) young, bright and energetic people 3) growth in population --> increase in the size of the market 4) protective tariffs shielded the market from foreign competition 5) European immigrants as workers 6) technological advancements

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