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Study Guide Unit 8 The Gilded Age Across

The American West
The American West possesses extremely varied geography, with each region
having its own benefits and drawbacks. In the center of the country, there
exists a large plains region. Although currently referred to as the Great
Plains, it was called The Great American Desert during the 1800s. This
region was very good for farming (at least until the 100W parallel, where it
became less fertile). Also, this region was effective for cattle ranching.
Further west, the Rocky Mountains serve as the backbone of the Continental
USA, erecting a substantial barrier for anyone attempting to cross the
continent. However, this area was very good mining. West of that is what
was known as the Great Basin, a largely arid area in between the Rockies
and the Pacific Coast, there are very few industries that thrived in this area.
However, in California, just off of the Pacific Coast, there was a very fertile
valley, that largely grew more specialized crops, and had very divers

Native Americans
After the Civil War, there was a large desire to connect both coasts of the
nations with both transportation and services. This new focus on Western
expansion created the image of the Native Americans as in the way of
progress. Additionally, the livelihood of many plains tribes, Buffalo, was seen
as a nuisance, and was perceived to be less productive than a cow. In
addition, they ate crops, and got in the way of railroads. To combat this,
many measures were taken to eliminate the massive Buffalo population that
existed at the time, angering the Native Americans.
Sand Creek Massacre (1864)
In one of the first major conflicts between Americans and Natives, a group of
Natives were about to surrender to American troops in Eastern Colorado,
when they were massacred as they tried to turn themselves in. This kicked
off the first of many major cycles of violence, where a harsh action by one
group would provoke retaliation by the other, which would continue until one
group had been eliminated.
The Sioux Tribe

The treatment of the Sioux Tribe, who lives on the Great Plains, demonstrates
the repeated cyclical nature of violence with the Natives by Americans very
well. In 1868, they were granted swaths of land in the Badlands of South
Dakota at the Treaty of Fort Laramie. This land was considered of poor
quality, and not some that would ever be wanted. However, when gold was
supposedly found of Sioux land in 1874, President Ulysses S. Grant sends
General Custer to negotiate with this group. After being harassed by Custer,
making unreasonable demands to give up land that they were granted only
years prior, The Sioux retreat, walking away to Little Big Horn. When Custer,
obnoxiously persistent, followed in their wake, he arrives to Little Big Horn to
get ambushed. The famous Custers Last Stand, is the attack in Little Big
Horn where not a single on of Custers men present that day survives.
The Nez Perce Tribe
This Tribe, led by Chief Joseph, represents the opposite end of the spectrum,
desiring acquiescence and assimilation with the Americans. Despite being
originally from the Pacific Northwest, they are sent to land in Kansas, then
Oklahoma, and finally back to their ancestral home in the early 1900s. This
mass migration shows just how inconsiderate many Americans were in their
treatment of the Natives.
Wovoka Ghost Dance
Another manner in which the encroachment of the White men was dealt with
was through a call for Native American unity, led by Wovoka. Wovoka unified
these groups through a ghosts dance, where many people would gather in
a circle and dance, praying that the spirits of their ancestors would be
summoned to expel the White Man and return the buffalo. However, even an
action as seemingly pacifistic as this can end poorly, with the American Army
killing a famous Chief, Sitting Bull, at the battle of Wounded Knee, where
these troops were trying to break up a Ghost Dance by force.
Efforts to Civilize These Groups
The cause of civilizing these people was one that was eagerly adopted by
many, especially ex-abolitionists looking for a new cause. As horrendous as
this practice sounds with a modern perspective, this was seen as a good
thing at the time, with some people even founding schools with the intention
of taking Native children from their families and educating them under the
motto of Kill the Indian, save the man. This movement was actively
associated with churches, which, alongside advocates such as Helen Hunt
Jackson, felt they were doing a great amount of good through their actions.
Dawes Act (1887)
The Dawes Act was another well-intentioned effort by the government to
help the Natives adjust to life in a modern setting. Under this Act, most
reservations were to be broken up, and the land given to the Natives that
lived there. This would supposedly teach them the value of land ownership.

Additionally, to ensure that this land wasnt squandered, a clause was put in
ensuring that this land couldnt be sold for 75 years.
Results of These Efforts
After all of the dust had settled, the majority of the reservations were gone,
and many of the Native Americans had been cleared out. In their place
arrived a wave of white men looking to make a profit, be it through ranching,
farming, mining, or logging, as well as numbers of freed slaves, Mexicans,
and, in California especially, Chinese immigrants.

Industry in The West

The Gold Rush- The Mining industry in the American West was truly
jumpstarted by the 1849 California Gold Rush, which saw legions of men
flock to California in search of gold. These men, operation alone, perpetuated
the view of the West as the home of the rugged individual, operating for
oneself through solitary gold panning.
The Reality - However, many of the most successful people during this
period were not the miners themselves, but in fact those who arrived to
supply the miners, such as Levi Strauss, who invented riveted jeans to
provide the miners with rugged work pants. Additionally, as time progressed,
this view of the rugged individual was largely dismantled, as the
diminishing return of panning for gold resulting in the building of mines.
The Establishment of Mining Corporations - Many workers saw themselves
working for these larger corporations in the mines, who established
boomtowns all over the American West during this time. Boomtowns were
towns that grew extremely rapidly as resources were found in its limits, but
quickly fell into ruin once the mine has been depleted. As workers continued
to toil in hazardous conditions for little or no pay, they began to unionize,
sparking the foundations of the American labor movement in the process.
The Cattle Industry
The Process In the Cattle Industry that evolved in the West during the mid1800s consisted of originally raising a herd of cattle in Texas, and driving
them through the plains of the Midwest until a town with a railroad is
reached. At this point, the cattle would be loaded onto train cars and brought
to a major city (often Chicago), where they would be slaughtered and
processed into meat products. This is a very effective strategy initially, as
there is a high demand for beef, and most of the buffalo are gone, leaving
lots of room to graze ones herd.

Cowboys Despite not making amazing pay, Cowboys made a fair living.
However, the true allure of this occupation was the fact that they worked in
the outdoors, with no limitations. However, this isnt to say that this job
wasnt dangerous, with getting lost, trampled by cattle, shot boy outlaws,
and confusing your cows with those of another cowboy just a few of the
problems these men dealt with. To combat the last issue, of confusing your
cow with another, the practice of branding was born, where cows would have
an insignia burnt into their skin, marking them as the property of a specific
cowboy. However, this occupation quickly dies out, as the western movement
of farmers restricted the land the cattle could graze, as farmers began to
protect their land with barbed wire.
Cattle Industry Post-Cowboys Eventually, the entire industry moves north,
with cattle being raised and herded on the same stretch of land for their
entire lives. This largely took hold in the Dakotas and Montana, creating a
much less mobile industry. However, eventually Blizzards and the existence
of more cattle than grass led to many deaths of cattle, which brought beef
prices up substantially, reducing its demand. However, the legend of the
west persisted through movies, books, and other forms of entertainment.

Many of those who came to the West to farm were families, or freed slaves,
as opposed to the single white men who made up the majority of cowboys.
Under the Homestead Act, 120 Acres of land was promised to any group who
lived there and farmed it for five years. While this seems an extremely
appealing prospect, it required a good amount of money to start up, which
effectively prohibited many people from attempting this undertaking.
However many did, including immigrants (largely those from Scandinavia).
Also, this was one of the industries where women played a very active role it
its development, helping out on family farms very actively.
The crops that were grown varied from region to region, but some of the
major products were wheat and corn in the Midwest (IN, IL, IA, NE, KS, WI,
MN), specialty crops in California, and the establishment of the dairy industry
in the Northeast, due to the need for quick consumption after production.
These people settled all over the country, but largely occupied lands with a
close proximity to a railroad, so that their crops could be transported easily.

This boost in farming was largely aided by massive advancements in

agricultural technology, such as the invention of the telegraph, which let
farmers know the price of their good before they were sent to market.
Another innovation that helped a lot was the modern tractor by John Deere,
which eliminated the need for cattle to drive plows. Lastly, the McCormick
Reaper helped harvest crops at an unprecedented rate. All of these
inventions served to make farming both more efficient and effective.

The South
The New South
After Reconstruction, there was lost of optimism about the future success of
the south, which was known as the New South. This optimism was cause
by the addition to many new innovations to the South. One of these was the
total permeation of railroads throughout this region, making transportation
much easier. Another, after the discovery of Iron in Alabama, was the
establishment of Iron and Steel Factories in the region. Additionally, some
Northern businessmen saw an opportunity to use cheap labor, and founded
textile factories in the south. All of this new production led to much
optimism. However, the south at this time was often referred to as an
internal colony to the North, as they were largely dependent on the North
for financial support and seemed to produce many of the raw materials that
powered Americas economic growth during this time.
Overview - Despite the introduction of industry, Agriculture was the primary
facet of the Southern economy, with cotton still being the chief crop of the
region. However, due to the establishment of cotton production in both Egypt
and India, there eventually becomes worldwide cotton excess, and the
subsequent drop in price causes many credit issues, hurting the Southern
economy once again.
Farmers Organize - To combat this, many farmers organize, forming groups
such as the Southern Farmers Alliance, and the Colored Farmers Alliance,
who work to form cooperatives, regulate prices, and lobby for government
assistance in their plight. One notable distinction between these two group,
however, is that the Colored Farmers Alliance works significantly to attain
higher wages for cotton pickers. Yet, while neither of these groups are
successful, they will eventually merge in the 1890s, alongside some similar
Midwestern groups, to form the Populist party, a political party that stats
exclusively for farmers.
Race Relations

In the 1880s, there was a general feeling of optimism amongst the south,
and this newfound freedom manifested in the lack of extremely overt
changes in racism against blacks. In fact, in many ways, the situation for
them got much better. However, as the 1890s dawn, the economy took a
turn for the worse, and with this game the return of excessive racism. In this
case, the happened a lot in the form of lynching, and continued the ideal of
the lost cause of the South following the Civil War that the south would
one day rise again.
In 1896, the landmark case Plessy v. Ferguson was decided in the Supreme
Court, which ruled that segregating publicly used services was legal, and
established the precedent of separate but equal in regards to the
treatment of blacks and whites. This was continued in the following years
with the implementation in many states of Jim Crow Laws, or laws that
perpetuated this racism and segregation. One of the most prominent
examples of these laws were those that effectively prohibited blacks from
voting. These laws, known as disenfranchisement laws, did not explicitly
segregate by race due to its unconstitutionality, but instead found other
ways around the 14th Amendment, such as mandating a tax to vote, or a
literacy test, which effectively locked black voters out of the voting booths.

Big Business
How do they get big?
Horizontal Combination Horizontal combination is the act of acquiring other
businesses of around the same size and operating on the same level of the
supply chain as you, in an effort to regulate prices.
Vertical Integration Vertical integration was the act of purchasing
companies at other levels of the supply chain, so that lower prices can be
given to each other, driving final prices down. Both this and Horizontal
combination are closely related, with one often leading to the other.
Corporations The foundation of corporations during the gilded age was a
landmark step, which made the company a separate legal entity from the
person who owned it, limiting the amount of personal risk to an owner should
the business fail. Becoming a corporation also enabled the creation of public
stock, in which small fractions of the companys ownership were sold to the
general populace. This money would then be put back into the company, and
should the company do well, the owners of this stock could often sell it for
higher prices than they bought it for.

Trusts Trusts existed when a small group of people bought the majority of
the stock in a company, and were not looking to sell it again. These people
would be called trustees, and, should this same group of trustees own
more than one company, they could enact business deals that would favor
their own companies, despite these organizations being entirely separate
from a legal perspective.
Technological Advancements Technological advancements aid in the growth
of big business during the Second Industrial Revolution by creating
innovations that help industry run smoothly. Electricity, one of these
inventions, enabled factories to operate at all hours of the day. Coal and
Steam power eliminated the need for factories to be located near a river, and
the assembly line helped run the manufacturing process more seamlessly.
Investment and The Global Economy Much of the money that came to
these businesses as they grew came from banks, often in Europe, which
significantly aided growth during this time. This is one of the first examples
of a truly global economy, where companies on the United States were
competing with those in Egypt, India, Europe, and just about anywhere else
in the world.
How does government react to the growth of Big Business?
The government did not like the massive growth of large-scale business, and
attempted to regulate it through a series of acts. The first, the Interstate
Commerce Act, passed in 1887, said that Congress could regulate trade
between states. This deeply affected the Railroad Industry more than any
other, and made business for them much harder. The second of these acts,
the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, passed in 1890, disposes of trusts, which were
seen as threat. Ironically, this law was first used to disperse of Labor Unions,
which were just beginning to evolve.
How does labor react to the growth of Big Business?
The growth of these larger businesses angered many workers, who quickly
saw that their opportunity for employment outside of these large companies
was dwindling. This gave them few choices on the hours they worked, the
wages they were paid, and even the conditions they worked in. This however
inspired a feeling of worker solidarity in many places, where workers would
regulate the pace at which they worked in order to not make other workers
look bad and potentially put them out of a job. This is very similar to the
labor movement of miners in the west from earlier in the chapter. Eventually,
these workers organized themselves further into Unions.

What are they?

Unions are an organized group of workers, who work together to make

progress in their working environment. Alongside the obvious benefits, there
are some Cons of Unions, however, such as the possibility of increased prices
for consumers due to unreasonable demands, requirements that arent
pertinent anymore, and strange incentive around whether or not to work to
ones utmost ability.
Famous Unions
The Knights of Labor The first labor to truly take hold, this group was
founded by Terrence Powderly, and was very inclusive. Anyone could be
represented by the Union, regardless of race, religion, level of work, or
gender (with the exception of lawyers, professional gamblers, and alcohol
dealers, who were seen as not pure). However, these men fell out of favor,
partly because of the fact that their goals were too broad, and partly
because of the incident at Haymarket Square in Chicago, where, the day
after a riot between those striking and workers who had broken the strike, a
bomb went off during the gather of a group of anarchists. Seven were
killed, and while there was no direct connection to this union proven, they
fell out of favor due to their position as the most prominent union in the eyes
of the people.
The American Federation of Labor Founded by a Cigar Manufacturer,
Samuel Gompers, this union considered themselves to be the
representatives of the Aristocracy of Labor, that is to say the skilled
laborers. Unlike other unions, this groups was not very eager to stage a
strike, and instead spent their time doing collective bargaining with those in
charge of the workers, arguing for (among other things) shorter workdays,
higher wages, and better conditions.
Famous Strikes
The Great Uprising (1877) This strike was done by railroad workers in
protest of better working conditions. This brought the country to a standstill,
as so many people deeply relied on the railroad industry. To combat this,
then-President Rutherford B. Hayes sent Federal Troops to stop this rebellion,
which was backed by Congress due to the integral nature of railroads at the
time. This sent a precedent that using force to stop strikes was permissible,
which would continue.
Homestead Strike (1892) This strike, done by steel workers, was another
very large-scale strike during this time. However, the owner of U.S. Steel,
Andrew Carnegie, hired what would now be known as rent-a-cops to stop
this strike before it got too serious
Pullman Strike (1894) Brought on by a large economic downturn in 1893,
this strike was taken by railroad workers, once again. The use of Federal

Troops to disperse this strike prompted one worker, however, to sue. Eugene
Debs, this worker, was ruled against in court, and eventually sent to jail,
where he would actually run for President and receive over 1 Million votes, all
the while being in prison.

Weak Presidents
This time period was marked by a series of presidents, who did not
accomplish enough at the time to be significantly notable, such as James
Garfield, Chester A. Arthur, Grover Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison, and Grover
Cleveland once more.
Spoils System - At this time, politics was a very corrupt business, with the
spoils system, or the system of supporting a candidate, in return for
appointment to federal job upon his election being very popular. However,
this turned bad for James Garfield, as he did not reward one of his supporters
with a job upon his election, and was shot in retaliation a year into his
Response - His Vice President, Chester A. Arthur, saw that this problem was
endemic in society, and pushed through the Pendleton Service Act in 1893,
which mandated that a test be required for any federal position, and that
position be give to the most qualified candidate solely.
Political Machines The last notable method of corruption, very popular at a
state or local level, was the use of political machines, where candidates
would supply citizens with housing, money, or jobs in exchange for votes.
This system, practiced primarily by Democrats, was very popular in New York
City, and worked well there, but was frowned upon extremely by the Federal