IntroThe Gilded Age played a huge role into the development of American society.The name “Gilded Age” was created by Mark Twain during the late nineteenth century.The reason that he named it this was because the age was “Glittering on the surface but was corrupt underneath.There were a lot of people who thought that the age was an age of lust, with Robber Barons,corporate buccaneers, and shady business practices, just to name a few.PoliticsThe politics during the Gilded age were extreme.
Between 1877 and 1897, The House of Representatives was constantly being changed hands between the Democratic and Republican Parties.The Stewart ans Half-breed factions had political infighting, which prevented the passage of significant legislation.The political parties nominated candidates for presidency during this era that were not that knowledgeable about strong opinions which was most likely a decision made to keep tension from rising after the civil war. Industrialization The North was turned into one of the most heavily industrialized regions in the world due to the Civil War and businessmen were receiving huge profits from the new economy.
There were a lot of goods that people wanted around this time so powerful tycoons formed big trusts. A huge steel empire was built by Industrialist, Andrew Carnegie who used vertical integration.This business practice increased profits for Carnegie.American Businessman John D.
Rockefeller used a business practice called horizontal integration for his Standard oil company.This put competitors out of business by selling one kind of product in many markets which successfully created a monopoly.These people were known as the captains of industry and did not care much for their consumers as long as they were earning a Profit.This is what made them robber barons. Populist PartyThe Depression that occurred in 1873 threatened many settlers in the Midwest as well as effectively dissolve the National Labor union. There were thousands of farmers that came together to form the populist party in 1891.This was due to the McKinley Tariff having high taxes and steep railroad fares.
The populists demanded government control of railroads,immigration restrictions,single term limits for presidents,shorter workdays,free silver, and a national income tax.Big Stick PolicyIn 1900 William McKinley won the election with his running mate Franklin Roosevelt being killed by an archaist while he was still in his second term. Despite this Roosevelt was still considered a bully by many Americans due to his Big Stick policy.
Another one of his policies, The Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine declared that only the U.S had the power to interfere with Latin American affairs.John Hay(who was Roosevelt’s secretary of state) drafted the Open Door Notes which basically asked the Japanese and European powers to respect the territorial status and fair trade in China.
Presedent Roosevelt then took over Panama in order to make sure that America will have the right to build Panama Canal.As Franklin Roosevelt’s presidency was ending he toured with the Great White Fleet around the world forceful symbolic display. President Roosevelt and ProgressivismPresident Roosevelt urbanized and industrialized America while he was in office.The Progressive movement even helped spark a new era of social reform.The Muckrakers(Journalists wrote wrote about political corruption and social hardships)influenced Roosevelt to outline the Square Deal(domestic reforms that were made to protect consumers,support the labor movement,conserve national resources, and tame huge businesses. While this was happening, Congress passed the Elkins and Hepburn Acts to get the railroads in order. They also passed the Pure Food and Drug and Meat Inspection Acts to regulate the inspection and sanitation of food.
Upton Sinclair’s book “The Jungle” had a huge impact on Congresses decision on the Acts and Roosevelt even supported strikers in the Anthracite Strike,used the Sherman Anti Trust Act(An act passed to made the American government committed to opposing monopolies. to prosecute trusts, and signed the 1902 Newlands Act.This made it possible for irrigation projects to be funded as well as land to be sold in the west.
William Taft’s PresidencyWilliam Howard Taft was the successor and companion of Franklin Roosevelt.He promised that he would carry out the rest of Roosevelt progressive policies if he were to be elected. When William Taft won the election in 1908, he continued the progressive policy by prosecuting more trusts than Roosevelt in a more conservative manner.This made Taft realize that he was becoming more of a traditional conservative.He signed the Payne-Aldritch Tariff in 1909 and fired Gilford Pinchot from the fostery divison.
These actions made American citizens(including Roosevelt himself) see Taft as a traitor.Roosevelt left the convention and entered the presidential race in 1919 as aProgressive Republican or Bull Moose Party canidate ,right after Taft got renominated by the republicans.Niagra Movement InfluenceHorace Mann MovementWoodrow Wilson’s First TermA democrat named Woodrow Wilson won the presidential election in 1916.
When he first got into office, Wilson started a new group of reforms.The New Freedom reform regulated big businesses,reduced tariffs, and supported the labor movement.The Underwood tariff was signed by Wilson in 1913.The tariff reformed the national banking system using the Federal reserve Act.One year later, Wilson passed the Clayton Anti-Trust act which replaced the Sherman Antitrust Act by providing further clarification on things like price fixing and unfair business practices.He also signed acts such as the Warehouse Act,Adamson Act La Follette Seaman’s Act, and the Workingman’s Compensation Act.