Understanding the American Promise

1. What was America’s first “Big Business” and how did it come to dominate American life? In the decades following the Civil War, the United States built the greatest railroad network in the world; by 1900, the United States boasted over 193,000 miles of railroad track, more than all of Europe and Russia combined.

2. Who is Jay Gould?The career of speculator Jay Gould illustrates the development of the U.S. railroad industry; although he cared little for railroads or their operation, Gould became a master of corporate expansion through stock transactions and an architect of the vast railway systems that developed in the 1880s.

3. What new material improved and depended on railroading? Railroad building soon led to the development of the steel industry; the leader in the transition from iron to steel was Andrew Carnegie.

4. What system of business did Andrew Carnegie pioneer?Carnegie turned away from speculation, striking out on his own to build the biggest steel industry in the world. By 1900, Carnegie Steel had expanded to include several plants and stood as the best-known manufacturer in the nation.

5. Explain the oil refining business in the 1860s and 70s. The amount of capital needed to buy or build an oil refinery in the 1860s and 1870s remained relatively low, prompting rigorous competition among many small refineries.

6. How did Rockerfeller control the key elements of production and how was this different from the vertical approach? 7. Explain Edison and Bell’s new inventions: Alexander Graham Bell developed the telephone, and in 1880 his company, American Bell, pioneered long-distance telephone service and created American Telephone and Telegraph as a subsidiary. Inventor Thomas Alva Edison embodied the old-fashioned virtues of Yankee ingenuity and rugged individualism that Americans most admired; he pioneered the use of electricity as an energy source.

8. What name did Edison General Electric change to and why? By the 1890s, Edison General Electric became simply General Electric as the day of the inventor quietly yielded to the heyday of the corporation.

9. How did J.P. Morgan deal with business competition?

10. What was Carnegie’s opinion of Social Darwinism?Andrew Carnegie softened some of the harshest features of social Darwinism in an essay titled “The Gospel of Wealth,” in which he preached philanthropy and urged the rich to “live unostentatious lives” and “administer surplus wealth for the good of the people.”

11. Why did the economic theory of Laissez-faire gain political clout? 12. What are some of the factors in party loyalty?13. Explain lynching:By 1892, the prevalence of lynching led Ida B. Wells to launch an antilynching movement; Wells described lynching as a problem of race and gender and insisted that the myth of black attacks on white southern women masked the reality that mob violence had more to do with economics and the shifting social structure of the South than with rape.

14. Without the vote, how did women participate in politics? Women’s clubs proliferated between the 1860s and 1890s in response to the exclusionary policies of men’s organizations and devoted themselves to politics and reform; in 1890, state and local clubs joined together under the umbrella of the white-only General Federation of Women’s Clubs.

The temperance movement attracted the largest number of organized women in the late nineteenth century as the Woman’s Crusade turned to political action to end the sale of alcohol. The Woman’s Crusade dramatically broughtthe issue of temperance back into the national spotlight and led to the formation of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union in 1874.

15. How was the spoils system reformed after Garfield’s assassination? Reform came with the passage of the Pendleton Civil Service Act in 1883.

16. Explain the controversy over the tariff.angry voters swept Republicans out of Congress in the election of 1890, and in 1892, Harrison lost to Grover Cleveland, whose call for tariff revision had lost him the election in 1888. The debate over the tariff masked deep divisions in American society between workers and farmers on one side and bankers and corporate giants on the other

17. What is Wabash v. Illinois (1886)?18. How did President Cleveland increase the nation’s gold reserves during the economic depression of 1894? In an effort to prevent the United States from falling into bankruptcy, J. P. Morgan suggested a plan whereby a group of bankers would purchase gold abroad and supply it to the Treasury. ?????

Vocabulary:Andrew CarnegieAmerican businessman who rose from an immigrant childhood to head the largest steel business in the world. He pioneered the system of integration, which helped him amass a fortune. His philanthropy burnished his image with the public, although many of his hard-pressed workers found it incongruous with his hardnosed policies.

John D. RockefellerAmerican oil mogul who pioneered the corporate structure of the trust. By organizing his interests in a trust, and later a holding company, Rockefeller was able to coordinate competing companies and amass a staggering fortune.

Thomas Alva Edison

J.P. MorganPreeminent finance capitalist of the gilded age who increased his fortune by acquiring businesses and reorganizing industries, including railroads and steel industry. His management focus on stock price and short-term profit worked to the detriment of the businesses he controlled by discouraging technological and organizational innovation.

Social DarwinismSpoils SystemNew SouthIda B. WellsWoman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU)Civil Service ReformSherman Antitrust ActFree Silver