Gilded Age: Examining Big Business and Labor

This world of about 1877 to 1890s is different than before. It is so bad that a large part of the American people push for major changes after 1900.

1.      How does big business get to be big business?
Tip: If you want to cheat in the United States, how do you do it safely any time? And in this period?

2.      The concepts: Railroads, incorporation, trusts, horizontal (Rockefeller) and vertical (Carnegie) integration, industrial capitalism and finance capitalism

3.      What are the new technologies for business and for urban life and what are a few examples of what they do to and for people?

o   Study Tool: Chronological Events of the 1877-1887 Era - Look at the column US Economic Development.
Purpose: Notice the technologies are primarily about new industries.

o   Study Tool: Chronological Events of the 1887-1893 Era - Look at the list of inventions beneath the table.
Purpose: Notice the technologies are primarily about urban life.

4.      What happens to laboring people—and who are they and what are the differences in what they have to sell?
Snapshot of America in the 1870s-1890s (PDF) – This provides a searchable resource.


5.       What are laborers’ attempts to organize, what’s the difference in the Knights of Labor and the American Federation of labor, and what is the response to labor by varied levels of government and business?
What do these words mean: Pinkertons, state militia, federal troops?

o   Without answers for self-testing: Comparison of Labor Events from 1874 through 1893 – and to the End of the 1890s

o   With answers for observing patterns: Comparison with Answers
Purpose: Notice where is the labor unrest and in what industries. Notice how strikes are stopped—is that what you expected to be the method?

What are these key labor events:

·         Haymarket – 1886 Chicago

·         Homestead – 1892 Pennsylvania

·         Pullman – 1894 Pullman, Illinois

What’s anarchism? Socialism?

If Needed, Going Back in Time:  1867_1877_Andrew Johnson_to_Hayes Color Coded to Show Trends