1877-1900 (Members Only)

Digital History of America 1877 – 1900

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Experience our digital history of America 1877-1900 with WisdomMaps!

Perspective


The Gilded Age, which lasted from 1877 to 1900, was an era of robust economic growth, especially in the northern and western states. The term “Gilded Age” was used by writer Mark Twain to characterize this era of profound social problems masked by a thin gold veneer. The Gilded Age was an era of abject poverty and inequality especially for the millions of impoverished immigrants who poured into the United States. Their lives were lived in stark contrast to those of the robber baron industrialists and financiers who were emboldened by this culture of greed and corruption in their quest for profits.

Industrialization demanded an ever-increasing pool of cheap labor, and this need was met by the influx of millions of European immigrants. Railroads became the leading growth industry, and factories, the mining industry, and high finance all grew quickly. Immigration led to rapid growth out West, in farming, ranching, and mining. Labor unions grew in the expanding industrial cities, and strikes were increasingly contentious. Two financial upheavals, the Panic of 1873 and the Panic of 1893, brought economic and political turmoil. The South remained shattered after the Civil War, and its economy suffered from low prices for cotton and tobacco. Nearly all African Americans living in the South were denied the vote and existed in a continuing state of poverty, oppression, and terror.

The political landscape was notoriously corrupt, though voter participation was avid. The controversies were social (prohibition of alcohol, universal education, and race and ethnicity) and economic (tariff protection and the supply of gold and silver). Ward bosses took control of city politics, and powerful trusts controlled industries. Unions agitated for an eight-hour workday, better workplace conditions, and the abolition of child labor, while others demanded civil service reform, prohibition of the manufacture and sale of alcohol, and the vote for women. Local governments provided public elementary education, and public high schools began to be built. Many of the problems faced by the poor gave rise to reforms in the Progressive Era that followed.

That said, here’s our assortment… please enjoy! When you’re done perusing a map, just close it, and you’ll be back here.

Index

1877-1900 Index | Society: Reform: ReformersImmigrationMovements: Settlement MovementSocial Gospel Movement | New South: CitiesRural Areas | Culture: ArtLearningLiteraturePhilosophy: Gospel of Wealth | Science and Technology | Power: PresidentsElection of 1896Political Parties CongressLegislationIssues: Civil ServiceBusiness and IndustryCurrency | Local Politics: Issues | Rural Politics | Ward Bosses | Foreign Affairs | Economy: Agriculture: The FarmInnovationsGreat Plains: Settlement BoomChallenges | Economy: California | Industry | Natural Resources | Ranching | Trade | Rural Discontent | Farmers’ Alliances | Capitalism: Depression of 1893Social Darwinism TrustsMuck-RakersChurches | Labor: Artisans and Skilled WorkersFactory SystemWorkers: Unions: American Federation of Labor | Child Labor WomenImmigrants


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