The Gilded Age

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The Gilded Age 1870-1900
I. Social Darwinism
Individualism and Social Darwinism shaped Americans’ attitudes toward industrial society. (The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today – Mark Twain and Charles Warner, why historians call it that) A. The Idea of Individualism

a. Individualism – no matter how humble your origins, you can rise in society as far as your talents and commitment and talents will take you. (one of the strongest beliefs of the era) 1. Horatio Alger

B. Social Darwinism
“Survival of the Fittest” Enforced idealism, loosely derived from Darwin’s theories Human society evolves through competition and natural selection a. Herbert Spencer
a. Applied Darwin’s theory of evolution to society
i. Human society evolves through competition and natural selection ii. Society progressed and became better only because the fittest people survived b. Paralleled laissez-faire

iii. Opposed government programs interfering with business c. Rockefeller – “Survival of the fittest is merely working out of the law of nature and the law of God” b. Darwinism and the Church

d. Christians were upset, rejected evolution
e. Henry ward beecher, Christian evolutionist
c. Carnegie’s Gospel of Wealth
Gentler version of Social Darwinism
f. Wealthy americans should engage in philanthropy and use their fortunes to create conditions to HELP PEOPLE HELP THEMSELVES iv. (schools and hospitals is better than giving money to the poor) II. A Changing Culture

Artists and writers began portraying life in America more realistically, and cities offered new forms of entertainment. C. Realism – movement in art and literature, began in 1800s Artists and writers tried to portray the world realistically, b. Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet, Thomas Eakins

c. Writers engaged in realism too, Mark Twain ( Samuel Clemens writing genius huck finn) D. Popular Culture (late 1800s)
d. The Saloon – social gathering ( political centers) 2. Outnumbered grocery stores and meat markets
e. Amusement Parks and Sports
3. Coney island! Watching sports
f. Vaudeville and Ragtime
4. Kind of like a circus, came from French theatre, acrobats, animals and dancers. 5. Ragtime music echoed pace of city life, King of Ragtime Scott Joplin III. Politics in Washington

The two major parties were closely competitive in the late 1800’s; tariff rates and big business regulation were hotly debated political issues. President James A. Garfield elected in 1880, supporers tried to claim “spoils of office” Garfield ended up dying (was shot by guy wanted job but no spoils system E. Civil Service Reform

g. Patronage – the power to reward supporters by giving them government jobs. 6. Americans believed patronage was wrong 1870’s reformers wanted to end it. h. Rutherford B. Hayes elected

7. Tries to end patronage by firing people
i. Republican parties split
8. Stalwarts – supported patronage
9. Halfbreeds – opposed it
j. Pendleton Act – not all jobs filled through patronage F. The Election of 1884 – Cleveland (D) vs Blaine (R) 10. Blaine rumored to accept bribes, some republicans supported Cleveland instead – Mugwumps 11. Cleveland – an honest democrat

k. The Interstate Commerce Commission
12. Small business was concerned by power of big business a. Railroads
13. Government didn’t hop on because ppl thought they shouldn’t be involved in property rights 14. Passed law regulating railroad rates
b. Federal government regulated interstate commerce 15. Cleveland signed interstate commerce act
c. Created interstate commerce...
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