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HIST212: Introduction to United States History - Reconstruction to the Present

Unit 2: American Industrialization   The Civil War devastated the southern economy, but it encouraged the rapid growth and expansion of new industries such as steel and textile manufacturing in the North. In the decades immediately following this war, growing numbers of immigrants from Central and Eastern Europe provided much of the manpower for these new factories. Meanwhile, native-born Americans tended to find well-paid jobs as supervisors and managers. This economic disparity resulted in workplace violence and led to unionization efforts in many industries. In this unit, you will explore the ways in which industrialization changed the character of many American cities and had a profound impact on economic, political, and social life during this “Gilded Age” (c. 1876-1900). 

Unit 2 Time Advisory
Completing this unit should take you approximately 16.5 hours.

☐    Subunit 2.1: 3 hours

☐    Subunit 2.2: 5 hours

☐    Subunit 2.3: 3 hours

☐    Subunit 2.4: 4.5 hours

☐    Unit 2 Assessment: 1 hour

Unit2 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  • identify the origins of industrialization in the United States and assess its impact on native-born Americans and immigrants in the post-Civil War era; and
  • analyze and interpret primary source documents from the nineteenth century using historical research methods.

  • Reading: America.gov: Outline of US History: “Chapter 8: Growth and Transformation” Link: America.gov: Outline of US History: ** “Chapter 8: Growth and Transformation” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Read the first five sections of the chapter, and stop when you reach the section titled “The Divided South.”
     
    This chapter from America.gov’s Outline of US History focuses on the major economic and technological transformations that reshaped American industry during the final quarter of the nineteenth century.

    Reading this chapter should take approximately 15 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: This resource is in the public domain. 

  • Reading: Sage American History: Henry J. Sage’s “Politics in the Gilded Age” Link: Sage American History: Henry J. Sage’s “Politics in the Gilded Age” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read the webpage from the beginning up until the subheading “Agricultural Discontent.” Note that this article offers a comprehensive overview of the major political and economic issues that shaped the late nineteenth century. How did the term “Gilded Age” originate? How does the moniker reflect this era in American history? Note that this reading covers the topics in sections 2.1.1 and 2.1.3.

    Reading this resource should take approximately 20 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.1 The Second Industrial Revolution   Note: This topic is also covered by the video at the beginning of Unit 1.

  • Lecture: YouTube: The Saylor Foundation’s “The Impact of the Second Industrial Revolution” Link: YouTube: The Saylor Foundation’s “The Impact of the Second Industrial Revolution (YouTube)

    Instructions: Watch this lecture, which focuses on the economic, political, and social impact of the second Industrial Revolution in the United States during the second half of the 19th century. It addresses the growth of “big business,” the expansion of transportation and communications networks, the development of consumer products, and the impact of industrialization on workers.

    Watching this lecture should take approximately 20 minutes.

    Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. It is Attributed to The Saylor Foundation.

2.1.1 Industrial Expansion   - Web Media: University of California: UC College Prep’s US History: “Lesson 47 – Consumer Culture” Link: University of California: UC College Prep’s US History“Lesson 47 - Consumer Culture” (Flash)
 
Instructions: Watch all three sections, and read the accompanying text for each.
 
This presentation focuses on America’s rapid industrial expansion following the Civil War. Many factors contributed to this second Industrial Revolution, including abundant natural resources, labor supplies, and financial capitol. Numerous entrepreneurs were responsible for creating large corporations in fields such as steel manufacturing, banking, and railroad transportation by uniting smaller companies to take advantage of economies of scale and greater managerial efficiencies. Some corporations amassed so much economic and political power during this era that the federal government was forced to step in and regulate their business practices in order to keep them from taking over entire industries.
 
Exploring this resource should take approximately 1 hour.

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Reading: Sage American History: Henry J. Sage’s “The Gilded Age in America: The Industrial Revolution in America” Link: Sage American History: Henry J. Sage’s “The Gilded Age in America: The Industrial Revolution in America” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Scroll down and read the last three subheadings titled “The Industrial Revolution in America,” “The ‘Robber Barons,” and “Monopolies, Trusts, Pools and Corporate Integration.” Note that these articles focus on the factors that led to the emergence and expansion of large corporations in the closing decades of the nineteenth century. During this era, America quickly evolved from a nation of small, localized businesses to a nation of powerful corporations whose operations spanned the entire country.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.1.2 Scientific Management and Industrial Efficiency   - Reading: Marxists Internet Archives: “Biography of Frederick W. Taylor”

Link: Marxists Internet Archives: [“Biography of Frederick W.
Taylor”](http://www.marxists.org/glossary/people/t/a.htm#taylor) (HTML)

 

Instructions: Read this entry on Frederick W. Taylor, the father of
the field known as Scientific Management. Taylor believed that
factory production was inefficient because workers were inefficient.
He developed techniques for simplifying industrial production by
conducting studies of workers’ actions and then implementing new
work practices to eliminate wasteful motions and actions. Why did
Taylor’s techniques prove to be very controversial in the workplace?

 

Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Reading: Marxists Internet Archive: Classics of Political Economy: Andy Blunden’s version of Frederick W. Taylor’s The Principles of Scientific Management: “Chapter One: Fundamentals of Scientific Management” Link: Marxists Internet Archive’s Classics of Political Economy: ** Andy Blunden’s versions of Frederick W. Taylor’s The Principles of Scientific Management: “Chapter One: Fundamentals of Scientific Management” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: In this first chapter of his groundbreaking study on efficiency and workplace management, engineer Frederick W. Taylor presents basic principles for eliminating “soldiering” on the job and motivating workers to perform their jobs more effectively through restructuring of the workplace and various means of performance-based monetary compensation. Taylor’s ideas revolutionized workplace management in American factories and initiated the Scientific Management movement throughout the world.
     
    Reading this resource should take approximately 50 minutes.

    Terms of Use: This resource is in the public domain. 

2.1.3 Machine Politics, Robber Barons, and Gilded Age Corruption   - Web Media: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: “Unit 6: New Frontiers, Chapter 15: Gilded Age, Lesson 46 – Gilded Age Scandal and Corruption” Presentation Link: University of California College Prep’s US History Course“Unit 6: New Frontiers, Chapter 15: Gilded Age, Lesson 46—Gilded Age Scandal and Corruption” Presentation (Flash)
 
Instructions: Click on “Start Lesson” to access this video. Then, watch both sections of the video presentation. Read the accompanying text for each section and click on the links titled “New York City Tenement Houses” and “Satire on Civil Service Reform.”
 
Note on the Media: This presentation discusses corruption during the Gilded Age. The first section addresses political corruption in New York City and focuses on the activities of the infamous Tweed Ring. The second section looks at corrupt business practices that became common during this era and also addresses the links between corruption in industry and the federal government.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.2 Immigration and Migration   - Lecture: YouTube: The Saylor Foundation’s “The Gilded Age in the East and the West” Link: YouTube: The Saylor Foundation’s “The Gilded Age in the East and the West (YouTube)

 Instructions: Watch this multimedia presentation, which focuses on
the major social, economic and political trends of the Gilded Age in
the United States. It addresses immigration, urbanization, and the
development of the American West in the years between 1870 and
1900.  

 Watching this lecture and pausing to take notes should take
approximately 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: This work is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/).

2.2.1 Causes of Immigration and Migration   - Web Media: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: “Unit 6: New Frontiers, Chapter 16: Urban Nation, Lesson 49 – Growth of Cities” Presentation Link: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: “Unit 6: New Frontiers, Chapter 16: Urban Nation, Lesson 49 - Growth of Cities” Presentation (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Note that this media covers the topics in sections 2.2.1-2.2.3. Click on “Start Lesson” to launch the video, and then watch all three sections of the video presentation. Also, read the accompanying text for each section.

 Reading the text and watching the video should take approximately 1
hour and 30 minutes.  
    
 Note on the Media: This presentation focuses on immigration in the
post-Civil War era. In the closing decades of the
nineteenth century, millions of non-Western European immigrants
began arriving in the United States. Some people immigrated in order
to escape conflict and discrimination in their homelands. Others
sought new work opportunities. The massive wave of immigration from
Eastern Europe and Asia changed the face of many American cities
during this period and led to political and social conflicts between
immigrants and native-born Americans. Eventually, in the late 1910s,
Congress acted to curb immigration by setting quotas on the numbers
of immigrants that would be accepted from other countries around the
globe.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

2.2.2 Impact of Immigration and Migration   - Reading: United States Library of Congress: American Memory, The Nineteenth Century in Print: Periodicals’ “The Immigration Question” Link: United States Library of Congress: American Memory, The Nineteenth Century in Print: Periodicals’ “The Immigration Question” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the section of this web page titled “The Immigration Question.” In this editorial in a technical journal from 1887, the author expresses his concerns about recent immigrants to the country. What do the views expressed tell us about attitudes among Americans to immigrants by the late nineteenth century?

 Reading this webpage should take approximately 10 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpages above.  
  • Reading: Sage American History: Henry J. Sage’s “The Gilded Age: The War Between Capital and Labor” Link: Sage American History: Henry J. Sage’s “The Gilded Age: The War Between Capital and Labor (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Scroll down and read the last two subsections of the article: “Immigration” and “Chinese Immigration.” Note that the above two articles address the social impact of immigration on the United States and discuss how native-born Americans reacted to increasing rates of Eastern European and Asian immigration in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

    Reading these two sections should take approximately 15 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

  • Reading: Wikipedia’s “History of Immigration to the United States” Link: Wikipedia’s “History of Immigration to the United States” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Click this link, scroll down, and analyze the chart, “Persons Obtaining Legal Resident Status Fiscal Years 1820 - 2010.” How do the number of immigrants settling in the United States between 1850 and 1920 compare with the decades before and after this period? These statistics are provided by the US Department of Homeland Security.

    Completing this exercise should take approximately 10 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.2.3 Immigrant Life in the United States   - Reading: Making of America: Louise C. Odencrantz’s Italian Women in Industry: A Study of Conditions in New York City: “Chapters 1-3” Link: Making of America: Louise C. Odencrantz’s Italian Women in Industry: A Study of Conditions in New York City: “Chapters 1-3” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read Chapter 1, “Introduction”, Chapter 2, “The Women and their Families”, and Chapter 3, “Occupations of Italian Women at Work.” 
 
Note on the Text: This 1919 book is based on the first-hand accounts of Italian women immigrants who arrived in New York City around the early 20th century. This book concerns the experiences and the living and working conditions in New York City for new immigrants. After reading excerpts from this book, consider the following questions: How would you describe the nature of the work for Italian immigrant workers? Were these women victimized and exploited, or were they scrappy women who took advantage of any opportunity to improve their lives? Do their stories put immigration in this era in a positive or negative light?
 
Reading these chapters should take approximately 2 hours.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Bartleby.com’s version of Jacob A. Riis’ How The Other Half Lives: “Chapter 3: The Mixed Crowd” and “Chapter 4: The Down Town Back-Alleys” Links: Bartleby.com’s version of Jacob A. Riis’ How The Other Half Lives: “Chapter 3: The Mixed Crowd” (PDF) and “Chapter 4: The Down Town Back-Alleys” (PDF)
     
    Also available in:
    Google Books
     
    Instructions: Read Chapter 3 and Chapter 4. 
     
    Note on the Text: In How the Other Half Lives, journalist Jacob A. Riis describes immigrant life in New York City at the end of the nineteenth century. In Chapters 3 and 4, Riis paints a vivid picture of urban decay and corruption and describes the squalor of immigrant living conditions in the tenements and back allies of lower Manhattan. 

    After reading Riis’s description of urban life in New York City in 1890, consider the following questions: What immigrant groups did Riis identify as inhabitants of the city? What were the particular hazards of living in the tenements, according to Riis? How does Riis’s description of urban life compare with Sadie’s account of her experiences in this same city at the turn of the twentieth century?

    Reading these chapters should take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: This resource is in the public domain.

2.3 Industrial Labor and Unionization   2.3.1 Worker Unrest   - Web Media: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: “Unit 6: New Frontiers, Chapter 15: Gilded Age, Lesson 48 – Rise of Unions” Presentation Link: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: “Unit 6: New Frontiers, Chapter 15: Gilded Age, Lesson 48 – Rise of Unions” Presentation (Flash)
 
Instructions: Click on “Start Lesson” to launch the video, and then watch all three sections of the video presentation. Read the accompanying text for each section. Note that this media covers topics in sections 2.3.1-2.3.3.
 
Note on the Media: This presentation focuses on the lives of industrial workers during the late nineteenth century and discusses efforts by workers to form unions. Many employers challenged employee unionization efforts and used coercive measures to break unions, or keep them from forming in their shops. Labor unions gradually achieved limited victories during the Gilded Age, such as federal 8-hour workday legislation, but also suffered serious defeats by powerful industrial employers.

 Reading the text and watching the video should take approximately 1
hour and 30 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above
  • Reading: Sage American History: Henry J. Sage’s “The Gilded Age: The War Between Capital and Labor” Link: Sage American History: Henry J. Sage’s “The Gilded Age: The War Between Capital and Labor (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read the article from the beginning up until the subunit titled “Immigration and Urbanization.” Note that this article focuses on the history of workers in the Western world, the lives of industrial workers (including women and children) in late nineteenth century America, and the major strikes and labor protests of the era. Workers took great risks when they challenged the power of industrialists by going on strike, and few strikes were successful during this era. Commonly, city, state, and national leaders used private militias, police, and military forces to intimidate and threaten striking workers. Company owners also used strikebreakers to run factories and mines in place of striking workers. Nevertheless, the handful of successful strikes during this era demonstrated that workers possessed the power to shape their own destiny in the workplace. This reading covers topics in subunits 2.3.1-2.3.3. 

    Reading the text and watching the video should take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.3.2 Unionization Efforts   - Reading: Marxist Internet Archive: “Biography of Samuel Gompers” and Making of America: George A. Stevens’ New York Typographical Union #6: Study of a Modern Trade Union and its Predecessor Link: Marxist Internet Archive: “Biography of Samuel Gompers (HTML) and Making of America: George A. Stevens’ New York Typographical Union #6: Study of a Modern Trade Union and its Predecessor (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read the entry on Gompers and chapter XXXVII, “Affiliation with the General Labor Movement” (pages 585-594) in Stevens’ book, which was published in 1913 under the direction of the Department of Labor of the State of New York. This chapter discusses the unionization efforts of workers in the printing industry with other trade unions in New York. Note that these readings discuss early unionization efforts in the United States during the mid-to-late nineteenth century and the role of Samuel Gompers, cofounder of the American Federation of Labor.

 Completing these readings should take approximately 35 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpages above.

2.4 The Changing Face of the American City   2.4.1 Urbanization   - Web Media: University of California College Prep’s US History Course: “Unit 6: New Frontiers, Chapter 15: Gilded Age, Lesson 50 – Life in the City” Presentation Link: University of California College Prep’s US History Course“Unit 6: New Frontiers, Chapter 15: Gilded Age, Lesson 50 - Life in the City” Presentation (Flash)
 
Instructions: Click on “Start Lesson” to launch the videos, and then watch all three sections of the video presentation. Also, you should read the accompanying text for each section. Note that this media covers material for subunits 2.4.1-2.4.3. 
 
Note on the Media: This presentation focuses on the growth and maturation of America’s cities in the late nineteenth century. Industrialization, immigration, and economic opportunities each played an important role in the rapid growth of cities. Architects began building up, as well as out, in order to accommodate business interests and the first skyscrapers appeared during this era. The city was also a place of pollution and disease. Urban slums were a dominant feature of all cities. Many middle and upper class residents fled urban cores for healthier and cleaner “streetcar suburbs.” Nevertheless, city life dominated American life and the country entered the twentieth century as an industrial, urbanized nation. 

 Reading the text and watching the video should take approximately 1
hour.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

2.4.2 Building Up and Out: Technology and the American City   - Reading: Making of America: James Blaine Walker’s Fifty Years of Rapid Transit, 1864 -1917: “Chapters X-XIII” Link: Making of America: James Blaine Walker’s Fifty Years of Rapid Transit, 1864 -1917: “Chapters X-XIII” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read Chapter X, “Era of Public Ownership Begins”, Chapter XI, “Rapid Transit Act and Commission of 1894”, Chapter XII, “Contract for Construction of First Subway Awarded”, and Chapter XIII, “First Subway Completed and Placed in Operation” (pages 123 -191). In these chapters of the book, published in 1918, the author discusses the efforts to construct the subway system in New York City around the beginning of the 20th century. His account also presents an insight into the cozy relationship between important businessmen and city leaders in this era. To expedite your reading, feel free to glance over the long lists of members of boards and commissions. 

 Completing these readings should take approximately 2 hours and 30
minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Reading: Making of America: John Charles Van Dyke’s The New New York; A Commentary on the Place and the People: “Sky-Scrapers” and “The Tenement Dwellers” Link: Making of America: John Charles Van Dyke’s The New New York; A Commentary on the Place and the People: “Sky-Scrapers” (PDF) and “The Tenement Dwellers” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Read Chapter VI, “Sky-Scrapers” (pages 95-111) and Chapter XV, “The Tenement Dwellers” (pages 255-269). In this book published in 1909, pay attention to the role that new technologies, such as steel beams and elevators, played in the construction of this new style of building. Also in discussing the poverty of New York City tenements, the author discusses ideas current in his time for addressing this problem and offers his own solutions, which reflect the anti-immigrant views of some Americans at this time.

    Reading these chapters should take approximately 45 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.4.3 Life at Work and Play in the Cities   - Reading: The Library of Congress’s America at Work/America at Leisure, 1894-1915: “America at Work” and “America at Leisure” Links: The Library of Congress’s America at Work/America at Leisure, 1894-1915: “America at Work” (PDF) and “America at Leisure” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read both articles. Select some of the vintage movie files by clicking on the links within each article and view them.
 
Note on the Text: This website, maintained by the Library of Congress, discusses some of the different employment options and recreational activities that Americans had at the turn of the twentieth century. It also provides an archive of vintage film clips depicting Americans at work doing various jobs.

 Reading these articles should take approximately 20 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: The materials above are available in the public
domain. 

Unit 2 Assessment   - Assessment: The Saylor Foundation’s “American Industrialization” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “American Industrialization” (PDF)

 Instructions: Complete this written assessment. When you are
finished, check your work against this [“Guide to
Responding”](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/HIST212-Guide-to-Responding-Unit-2.FINAL_.pdf) (PDF).  

 Completing this assessment should take approximately 1 hour.