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Gilded Age Terms by Kevin :]

Brooklyn Bridge

One of the great tech achievements; designed by John Roebling.

Tammany Hall

Political machine in New York, headed by Boss Tweed.

William M. Tweed

The NY political boss using political machines; "boss" Tweed of Tammany Hall in NY

Thomas Nast

Newspaper cartoonist who produced satirical cartoons, he invented "Uncle Sam" and came up with the elephant and the donkey for the political parties. He nearly brought down Boss Tweed.

Chinese Exclusion Act

Banned Chinese immigration for ten years and barred them from becoming naturalized citizens.

Joseph Pulitzer

Launched yellow journalism through World.

William Randolph Hearst

Newspaper publisher who adopted a sensationalist style. His reporting was partly responsible for igniting the Spanish-American War.

Ashcan School

Also known as The Eight, a group of American Naturalist painters formed in 1907, most of whom had formerly been newspaper illustrators, they beleived in portraying scenes from everyday life in starkly realistic detail. Their 1908 display was the first art show in the U.S.

Louis Sullivan

Known as the father of the skyscraper because he designed the first steel-skeleton skyscraper. Mentor of Frank Lloyd Wright.

Frederick Law Olmstead

Designed Central Park in 1850s

Henry Bessemer

Bessemer invented a process for removing air pockets from iron, and thus allowed steel to be made. This made skyscrapers possible, advances in shipbuilding, construction, etc.

Thomas Edison

One of the most prolific inventors in U.S. history. He invented the phonograph, light bulb, electric battery, mimeograph and moving picture.

Andrew Carnegie

Business tycoons, they made their money in the steel industry. Philanthropists.

Henry Ford

1913 - Ford developed the mass-produced Model-T car, which sold at an affordable price. It pioneered the use of the assembly line. Also greatly increased his workers wages and instituted many modern concepts of regular work hours and job benefits. Sloan, an American industrialist, helped found project.

James J. Hill

Empire builder, he tried to monopolize the northern railroads.

Cornelius Vanderbilt

A railroad baron, he controlled the New York Central Railroad.

John D. Rockefeller

Joined his brother William in the formation of the Standard Oil Company in 1870 and became very wealthy.

J.P. Morgan

Financier who arranged the merger which created the U.S. Steel Corporation, the world's first billion dollar corporation. Everyone involved in the merger became rich. (Vertical consolidation).

Social Darwinism

Applied Darwin's theory of natural selection and "survival of the fittest" to human society -- the poor are poor because they are not as fit to survive. Used as an argument against social reforms to help the poor.

Vertical integration

One company buys out all the factors of production, from raw materials to finished product. Ex. Slaughterhouse

Horizontal integration

several smaller companies within the same industry are combined to form one. Ex. John D. Rockefeller

William Graham Sumner

Yale professor; protected Social Darwinism

Gospel of Wealth

Carnegie was an American millionaire and philanthropist who donated large sums of money for public works. His book argued that the wealthy have an obligation to give something back to society.

Russell Conwell

"Acres of Diamonds"; Baptist preacher whose famous speech said that hard work and thrift would lead to success.

"Acres of Diamond"

Notion that great wealth is available to all; work hard.

Horatio Alger

Wrote Ragged DICk, Tom the Bootlack, and Sink or Swim.

Ragged Dick

story about a poor bootblack and his rise to middle-class comfort and respectability through good moral behavior, clean living, and determination.

Lester Frank Ward

Sociologist who attacked social Darwinism in his book, Dynamic Sociology.

Henry George

Progress and Poverty; Said that poverty was the inevitable side-effect of progress.

Edward Bellamy

Looking Backwards; 1888 - Utopian novel which predicted the U.S. woudl become a socialist state in which the government would own and oversee the means of production and would unite all people under moral laws.

Gilded Age

A name for the late 1800s, coined by Mark Twain to describe the tremendous increase in wealth caused by the industrial age and the ostentatious lifestyles it allowed the very rich. The great industrial success of the U.S. and the fabulous lifestyles of the wealthy hid the many social problems of the time, including a high poverty rate, a high crime rate, and corruption in the government.

Molly McGuires

militant labor force who battled with coal operator; hysteria of Railroad Strike of 1877

National Labor union

Established 1866, and headed by William Sylvis and Richard Trevellick, it concentrated on producer cooperation to achieve goals.

Knights of Labor

An American labor union originally established as a secret fraternal order and noted as the first union of all workers. It was founded in 1869 in Philadelphia by Uriah Stephens and a number of fellow workers. Powderly was elected head of the Knights of Labor in 1883.

American Federation of Labor

Began in 1886 with about 140,000 members; by 1917 it had 2.5 million members. It is a federation of different unions. Labor union led by Samuel Gomper; only took skilled workers; no women or black; used "bread and butter"

Terrance Powderly

An American labor union originally established as a secret fraternal order and noted as the first union of all workers. It was founded in 1869 in Philadelphia by Uriah Stephens and a number of fellow workers. Powderly was elected head of the Knights of Labor in 1883.

Samuel Gompers

President of the AFL, he combined unions to increase their strength.

Bread and butter unionism

Asked for pragmatic reforms such as higher wages and shorter work days: ultimately successful.


A judicial order forcing a person or group to refrain from doing something.

Haymarket Riot

100,000 workers rioted in Chicago. After the police fired into the crowd, the workers met and rallied in Haymarket Square to protest police brutality. A bomb exploded, killing or injuring many of the police. The Chicago workers and the man who set the bomb were immigrants, so the incident promoted anti-immigrant feelings.

Homestead Strike

The workers at a steel plant in Pennsylvania went on strike, forcing the owner to close down. Armed guards were hired to protect the building. The strikers attacked for five months, then gave in to peace demands..

Pullman Strike

Started by enraged workers who were part of George Pullman's "model town", it began when Pullman fired three workers on a committee. Pullman refused to negotiate and troops were brought in to ensure that trains would continue to run. When orders for Pullman cars slacked off, Pullman cut wages, but did not cut rents or store prices.


The International Workers of the World (Wobblies) were a militant, radical union. They favored socialism and opposed free enterprise. They were disliked by big business and less radical unions.

Big Bill Haywood

a leader of the Western Federation of Miners; IWW members convicted of violating the Espionage Act of 1917

John P. Altgeld

Governor of Illinois during the Haymarket riots, he pardoned three convicted bombers in 1893, believing them victims of the "malicious ferocity" of the courts.

Eugene V. Debs

Leader of the American Railway Union, he voted to aid workers in the Pullman strike. He was jailed for six months for disobeying a court order after the strike was over.


Republicans fighting for civil service reform during Garfield's term; they supported Cleveland.


Favored tariff reform and social reform, major issues from the Democratic and Republican parties. They did not seem to be dedicated members of either party.


Republicans who changed their vote during the 1884 election from Blaine to Cleveland. Mugwump is the Algonquin Indian word for "chief" and was used in a N.Y. Sun editorial to criticize the arrogance of the renegade Republicans.

James G. Blaine

U.S. Senator from Maine and champion of the Half-Breeds.

Roscoe Conkling

A Stalwart leader and part of the political machine.

Rutherford B. Hayes

Rutherford B. Hayes - liberal Republican, Civil War general, he received only 165 electoral votes. Samuel J. Tilden - Democrat, received 264,000 more popular votes that Hayes, and 184 of the 185 electoral votes needed to win. 20 electoral votes were disputed, and an electoral commission decided that Hayes was the winner - fraud was suspected.

Chester A. Arthur

Appointed customs collector for the port of New York - corrupt and implemented a heavy spoils system. He was chosen as Garfield's running mate. Garfield won but was shot, so Arthur became the 21st president.

James A Garfield

the 20th President of the US; he died two months after being shot and six months after his inauguration.

Grover Cleveland

both the 22nd and 24th President of the US. As a leader of the Bourbon Democrats, he opposed imperialism, taxes, subsidies and inflationary policies, but as a reformer he also worked against corruption, patronage, and bossism.

Benjamin Harrison

Republican, ran against Cleveland, became the 23rd president.

McKinley Tariff

A highly protective tariff passed in 1880. So high it caused a popular backlash which cost the Republicans votes.

Wilson-Gorman tariff

tariff reduction proposed by Cleveland.

Interstate Commerce Act

A five member board that monitors the business operation of carriers transporting goods and people between states.

Bland-Allison Act

1878 - Authorized coinage of a limited number of silver dollars and "silver certificate" paper money. First of several government subsidies to silver producers in depression periods. Required government to buy between $2 and $4 million worth of silver. Created a partial dual coinage system referred to as "limping bimetallism." Repealed in 1900.

Sherman Silver Purchase Act

While not authorizing the free and unlimited coinage of silver that the Free Silver supporters wanted, it increased the amount of silver the government was required to purchase every month. It had been passed in response to the growing complaints of farmers and mining interests.

Pendleton Act

1883 - The first federal regulatory commission. Office holders would be assessed on a merit basis to be sure they were fit for duty. Brought about by the assassination of Garfield by an immigrant who was angry about being unable to get a government job. The assassination raised questions about how people should be chosen for civil service jobs.

Granger Laws

Laws made by Grangers to regulate the railroad price rate.

The Grange

The group of farmers who tried to allow farmers to buy machinery and sell crops as a group; try to lower the railroad price rate; endorsed political movement.

Crime of '73

Referred to the coinage law of 1873 which eliminated silver money from circulation. Name given by people who opposed paper money.

Sherman Antitrust Act

1890 - A federal law that committed the American government to opposing monopolies, it prohibits contracts, combinations and conspiracies in restraint of trade.

Farmers' Alliances

Replacement for "new" Granges; more successful

Populist party

Offically named the People's Party, but commonly known as the Populist Party, it was founded in 1891 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Wrote a platform for the 1892 election (running for president-James Weaver, vice president-James Field) in which they called for free coinage of silver and paper money; national income tax; direct election of senators; regulation of railroads; and other government reforms to help farmers. The part was split between South and West.

William Jennings Bryan

Member of the Populists, he supported "free silver" and gave "Cross of Gold" speech.

James B. Weaver

He was the Populist candidate for president in the election of 1892; received only 8.2% of the vote. He was from the West.

William McKinley

the 25th Republican President of the US leader; his McKinley Tariff of 1890;he upheld the gold standard, and promoted pluralism among ethnic groups. he fought the Spanish-American War and annexed the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Guam, as well as Hawaii, and set up a protectorate over Cuba.

Dingley Tariff

Passed in 1897, the highest protective tariff in U.S. history with an average duty of 57%. It replaced the Wilson - Gorman Tariff, and was replaced by the Payne - Aldrich Tariff in 1909. It was pushed through by big Northern industries and businesses.

Gold Standard Act 1900

This was signed by McKinley. It stated that all paper money would be backed only by gold. This meant that the government had to hold gold in reserve in case people decided they wanted to trade in their money. Eliminated silver coins, but allowed paper Silver Certificates issued under the Bland-Allison Act to continue to circulate.

Settlement house movement

Made community centers, providing schools, child care, and cultural activities.

Social Gospel

A movement in the late 1800s / early 1900s which emphasized charity and social responsibility as a means of salvation.

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