Ida B. Wells’ Commentary on Black men and Crime, 1895
A Red Record (1895)-2f4s8c2
Excerpt from Howard Zinn about the “Acres of Diamonds” speech
Acres of diamonds:zinn-2cipzl1
Andrew Carnegie’s “Gospel of Wealth” speechLecture Notes GildedAge:Progressives-w7wigh
America in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era
Gilded Age: We already know—about 1865-1900
Please define what you believe the Gilded Age was all about: Just word splats and group talk. Write them here.
Progressive Era—1900-1920 about.
What do you already know about this era? If you know some things, splat it on the board, if you’re a bit stuck—good, that’s why we are all here together.
Characteristics of the Progressive Era—(this probably won’t mean much to you now—but we will continue to go over it)—
• Desire to make life better for citizens
• Desire to narrow the wealth gap (Robber Barons)
• Desire to improve safety in the cities and on the jobs
• Desire to regulate the food and drug administration—(The Jungle)
• Desire to improve sanitization in the urban areas
• Desire to break up city machines
• A proposed desire to break up or manage the growing monopolistic wealth and trusts
• A desire to preserve some nature and maintain parks
• Desire to ‘Americanize and Christianize Catholic, Jewish or Orthodox newcomers to the Protestant Christian mold
• Desire to help children
• Desire to improve education – especially in order to get children ready to work
• Desire to make immigrants patriotic
• Many other ‘desires.’ However, even with the period called the Progressive Era, understand that what the people back then thought was progressive may class with our views today—Eugenics, racism, imperialism . . . Social Darwinism, expansion, American Indian removal—the Indian from the child—
(Hall’s—you may find better; that’s fine)
Progressivism: a period in US History in which some citizens and groups (Muckrakers, Urban Reformers, Socialists, Henry George, John Muir, Helen Keller, Labor Leaders, Jane Addams & other Urban Reformers Settlement House workers, Temperance groups, Nativist & other anti-immigrant leagues, Women’s activists, anti-war & anti-imperialist groups and individuals) and groups campaigned for active government involvement in order to help/address the problems that they perceived needed to be fixed.
¬ Prior to this period the local, state and federal governments were not viewed as agents of change. Laissez-faire—they existed to protect individual rights—and property—that’s all—(except when it came to labor unrest—but that’s next week)
¬ Please know the 4 Federal Administrations and the years that they were active that are considered, for better or worse, as Progressive administrations: I will give you the first one:
1. Teddy Roosevelt, Republican, 1901-1909—need to talk about this one!
2. Howard Taft, Republican, 1909-1913—also need to talk about him
3. Woodrow Wilson, Democrat 1913-1921—big subject of quarters 2 & 3
4. No Progressives for a while—why? You tell me!
5. Franklin D. Roosevelt—1933- he died. 3 ½ terms—Truman finished his last term. Why was he considered Progressive? If you get this, you get the meaning of Progressive—as it applies to US History.
¬ Please note, that we often think of the word Progressive as term meaning improvement—be careful with that interpretation.
¬ Good time to bring up the international concept of Positivism We will talk later.
Tensions: These tensions run through most of US History—probably World History too. I don’t know that well enough. Please as we learn, consider this theme and tension.
Reminder: The United States was established on the premise of individual rights and liberties (limited government, social contract—review this I bet, limited military, limited invasion of privacy . . . limited taxation. . .) but also on the idea of “to secure the welfare of individuals and their posterity.” So how the heck does a nation do that?
Individual Liberties and Rights v. The Common Good—What the heck does Ol’ Hall mean by this?
1. Take a few minutes with your buddies to digest this big (to me at my age—can’t imagine it at your age!) concept in US intellectual and political thought.
2. Splat some words, phrases, events, ideas that may help us digest this concept
3. Go back to founding docs if you need to.
4. Look for examples, especially in “The Jungle,” Freddie D. or any time of US History in which you see the conflict.
Characteristics of each/tensions examples
Individual Rights & Liberties
How does this example interact with the Common Good?
How does this example play interact with Individual Rights and Liberties?
My Example: Prohibition
Infringed on the individual’s right to drink, manufacture, transport and sell, (for profit) certain items.
It takes away freedoms of property rights and individual liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.
It increases taxes to pay for the infringement of rights in order to patrol individual citizens’ behavior.
Prohibition will help families save money; help mothers and children from being abused by alcoholic fathers, will help the common health of the citizens, will increase work production; will increase safety on the job, will decrease truancy on the jobs and in school, will help neighborhoods by ‘cleaning up’ saloons in which drinking, gambling and prostitution run rampant.
Gilded Age (1865–1900) and the Progressive Era (1900–1920), were one of the most important periods in American history. The Gilded Age, as the name suggests, was in many ways a golden time. This exciting period saw spectacular advances in industrial output and technological innovation that transformed the United States from a predominantly agricultural nation—ranking well behind England, Germany, and France in 1865— to the world’s most formidable industrial power by 1900. Accompanying this transformation was the emergence of industrial titans, such men as Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, and J. P. Morgan. Many Americans celebrated them as “self-made men” and “captains of industry” whose genius was guiding the United States to greatness. They also celebrated a series of astonishing achievements, from the completion of the transcontinental railroad (1869) and the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge (1883), to the laying of the Atlantic cable connecting London and New York by telegraph (1866), to the unveiling of the Statue of Liberty (1886). At these celebrations, American orators invoked the optimistic themes of progress, expansion, growth, and success. Our course will explore these and many more trends and events, including the efforts to win the West by subduing the last of the resisting tribes of Native Americans, the transformation of the United States from a nation committed to isolationism to one intent on becoming a force in foreign affairs, and the emergence of an American middle class.
In many ways, the Gilded Age marked the emergence of modern America. But this transformation in the last third of the 19th century was neither smooth nor peaceful. Thus, this course also addresses the less upbeat aspects of the Gilded Age. Indeed, the name Gilded Age carried a second meaning that is cold, hard, black steel. In keeping with this useful metaphor, our course will examine what many Americans in the Gilded Age saw when they peered beneath the shine of progress. We will explore the darker consequences of industrialization and laissez-faire government, especially the immense power accrued by big businesses and capitalists—people dubbed “robber barons” by their critics. Closely related to this trend was the emergence of a new class of super-rich Americans who went to great lengths to exhibit their wealth and mimic the behavior of European aristocrats—a development that some deemed outrageous and others found alluring. We will also take a close look at the struggles of American workers, the frequent episodes of labor- capital violence (the period 1880–1900 witnessed nearly 37,000 strikes), and workers’ efforts to build a labor movement. Because this era was also marked by mass immigration and rapid urbanization, we will take a close Americans responded to them.
By 1900, the fear and anxiety produced by these Gilded Age challenges led to growing popular support for economic, social, and political reforms. This Progressive Era marked a profound shift in American political culture the ideals of laissez-faire and small government that had dominated since the days of the Founding Fathers. Such values, argued Progressives, made sense in the small, agrarian republic of the early 1800s. But in the age of big business, such a policy threatened to destroy American democracy and republican institutions. What was needed, they claimed, was a strong and active government that operated in the name of the common good. We will examine how these notions led such reformers as Theodore Roosevelt to push for laws that restrained big business and protected American workers Ida Tarbell and Upton Sinclair. We will also explore parallel reform efforts to restore and strengthen American democracy by reducing corruption and increasing the voice of the average citizen in politics. Our course will likewise take a close look at the emergence of the conservation movement, a forerunner to the modern environmental movement. And we will take time to explore the impact of new technologies, including electricity, the automobile, and the phonograph, as well as new forms of music, literature, and art.
These two periods of American history are fascinating in their own right,