Big Business Dbq

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Ryan Burgett

Document A

Source: Historical Statistics of the United States.

Document Information

• Food prices declined significantly between 1870 and 1899. • Fuel and lighting prices declined significantly between 1870 and 1899. • Cost of living declined slightly between 1870 and 1899.

Document Inferences

• Improved agricultural innovations led to reduced food prices. • Mining and lighting innovations reduced prices for fuel and lighting. • Falling prices for agricultural goods led to discontent among farmers. • Mass production resulted in a decline in the cost of living. • Electric lighting allowed for 24-hour production, night shifts and possibly longer hours.

Potential Outside Information

Consolidation
Coxey’s Army
Economies of scale
Edison, Thomas (incandescent lightbulb)
Farmers’ Alliances (Northern, Southern, Colored)
“Farmers should raise less corn and more hell”
Lease, Mary Elizabeth
Sub-Treasury plan

Document B

Source: George E. McNeill, labor leader, The Labor Movement: The Problem of Today, 1887.

Document Information

• Railroad presidents are similar to kings.
• Railroad presidents can discharge workers without cause and withhold wages. • Railroad presidents can delay lawsuits.
• Railroad presidents control both the government and the people. • Railroad presidents controlled freight prices and monopolized food and fuel industries. • Railroad presidents corrupt communities and control the press.

Document Inferences

• The financial clout of railroads leaves employees helpless. • Railroad labor and farm unrest is likely.
• Railroads dictate government policy.
• The Senate is controlled by wealthy interests because senators are not popularly elected. • The legal system favors railroad interests.

Potential Outside Information

Blacklisting Munn v. Illinois
Credit Mobilier scandal National Labor Union
Fisk, Jim Patrons of Husbandry (Grange)
Government ownership of railroads Railway Strikes of 1877 Gould, Jay Sylvis, William
Granger laws United States v. E. C. Knight
Interstate Commerce Act Vanderbilt, Cornelius
Kelley, Oliver Hudson Wabash v. Illinois
Long-haul/short-haul differentials yellow dog contracts AP®

Document C

Source: David A. Wells, engineer and economist, Recent Economic Changes and Their Effect on the

Document Information

• Workers no longer work independently but as if they were part of a military organization. • Workers are taught to perform one simple task.
• Manufacturing has largely taken away workers’ pride in their work.

Document Inferences

• Mass production techniques led to specialization of labor. • Specialization of labor decreases workers’ pride in their craft. • Specialization of labor leaves workers largely unskilled. • Unskilled labor is relatively easy to replace.

Potential Outside Information

Specialization of labor
Sweatshops
Unskilled/skilled labor

Document D

Source: Joseph Keppler, “The Bosses of the Senate,” Puck, January 23, 1889.

Document Information

• Shows trusts as oversized.
• Shows public entrance to the Senate closed.
• Shows monopolists lined up at monopolists’ entrance.
• Shows some senators looking back toward the trusts.
• Shows sign saying “This is a Senate of the monopolists by the monopolists and for the monopolists.”

Document Inferences

• The Senate (government) is controlled by big business.
• People have no control over the Senate because senators are not directly elected. • Monopolists (trusts) are wealthy and powerful.
• Trusts control a great many industries.

Potential Outside Information

Billion Dollar Congress
Bland-Allison Act
Civil Service (Pendleton) Act
Crime of ’73
Dingley Tariff
Direct election of senators (Populist platform, not Seventeenth Amendment) Gold Standard Act/Currency Act of 1900
Interstate Commerce Commission
McKinley Tariff...
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