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Boss William Marcy Tweed
Flamboyant political boss and head of Tammany Hall, commonly known as “Boss Tweed, he controlled New York and believed in "Honest Graft." He was convicted and eventually imprisoned for stealing millions of dollars from the city. The total amount of money stolen was never known, but has been estimated from $25 million to $200 million. While he was known primarily for his vast corrupt empire, Tweed was also responsible for building hospitals and orphanages, while widening Broadway along the Upper West Side.
The second major wave of immigration to the U.S.; between 1865-1910, 25 million new immigrants arrived. Unlike earlier immigration, which had come primarily from Western and Northern Europe, the New Immigrants came mostly from Southern and Eastern Europe, fleeing persecution and poverty. Language barriers and cultural differences produced mistrust by Americans.
The act excluded new immigration of Chinese laborers from immigrating to the United States for 10 years and denied citizenship to Chinese in the U.S. Supported by American workers who worried about losing their jobs to Chinese immigrants who would work for less pay. It was the first immigration law passed in the United States targeted at a specific ethnic group.
A Scottish-American businessman, a major and widely respected philanthropist, and the founder of the Carnegie Steel Company which later became U.S. Steel. He is known for having built one of the most powerful and influential corporations in United States history, and, later in his life, giving away most of his riches to fund the establishment of many libraries, schools, and universities worldwide. Carnegie first invested in railroads, railroad sleeping cars, as well as bridges and oil derricks. But steel was where he found his fortune. His book, The Gospel of Wealth, argued that the wealthy had an obligation to give something back to society.
Charles Darwin presented the theory of evolution, which proposed that creation was an on-going process in which mutation and natural selection constantly gave rise to new species. This theory of natural selection and "survival of the fittest" was applied to human society -- the poor are poor because they are not as fit to survive. Used as an argument against social reforms to help the poor.
Congregationalist minister who preached the Social Gospel emphasizing charity and social responsibility. A prolific writer whose newspaper columns and many books made him a national leader of the Social Gospel movement.
Looking Backwards, 1888
Utopian novel which predicted the U.S. would become a socialist state in which the government would own and oversee the means of production and would unite all people under moral laws.
Progress and Poverty
Said that poverty was the inevitable side effect of progress. He advocated a “flat tax” in which every person pays the same amount, regardless of whether they are rich or poor.
Writer who introduced grim realism to the American novel. His major work, The Red Badge of Courage is a psychological study of a Civil War soldier. Crane had never been near a war when he wrote it, but later he was a reporter in the Spanish-American War.
His best-known work is Middle Board, an autobiographical story of the frustrations of agrarian life. One of the first authors to write accurately and sympathetically about Native Americans.
Master of satire. A regionalist writer who gave his stories "local color" through dialects and detailed descriptions. His works include The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, "The Amazing Jumping Frog of Calaverus County," and stories about the American West.
(1815-1902) A suffragette who, with Lucretia Mott, organized the first convention on women's rights, held in Seneca Falls, New York in 1848. Issued the “Declaration of Sentiments” which declared men and women to be equal and demanded the right to vote for women. Co-founded the National Women's Suffrage Association with Susan B. Anthony in 1869.
(1859-1947) A suffragette who was president of the National Women's Suffrage Association, and founder of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance. Instrumental in obtaining passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920.
Prohibited discrimination against blacks in public places, such as inns, amusement parks, and on public transportation. Declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
An educator who urged blacks to better themselves through education and economic advancement, rather than by trying to attain equal rights. In 1881 he founded the first formal school for blacks, the Tuskegee Institute. Washington encouraged blacks to seek a vocational education in order to rise above their second-class status in society.
A black orator and essayist. Helped found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). He disagreed with Booker T. Washington's theories, and took a militant position on race relations.
Plessy v. Ferguson, 1896
Plessy was a black man who had been instructed by the NAACP to refuse to ride in the train car reserved for blacks. The NAACP hoped to force a court decision on segregation. However, the Supreme Court ruled against Plessy and the NAACP, saying that segregated facilities for whites and blacks were legal as long as the facilities were of equal quality. Established the doctrine of “separate but equal” in regards to race relations.
National Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry. A group of agrarian organizations that worked to increase the political and economic power of farmers. They opposed corrupt business practices and monopolies, and supported relief for debtors. Although technically not a political party, local granges led to the creation of a number of political parties, which eventually joined with the growing labor movement to form the Populist party.
General George Armstrong Custer and a regiment of cavalry attacked more than 2,500 Sioux and Cheyenne Indians led by Chiefs Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse camped on the Little Bighorn River in southern Montana. Custer and his 266 men were cut off and surrounded, and in a half-hour battle every cavalryman, including Custer, was killed. This incident led to fearful reprisals as small groups of Indians were hunted down or driven into Canada.
Led the Nez Percés during the hostilities between the tribe and the U.S. Army in 1877. Fought a long, 1500 mile retreat in order to avoid being placed on a reservation. He and his tribe were finally cornered approximately forty miles from the Canadian border and forced to surrender. His speech "I Will Fight No More Forever" mourned the young Indian men killed in the fighting.
The last major armed conflict between the Lakota Sioux and the United States. On December 29, 1890, five hundred troops of the U.S. 7th Cavalry, surrounded an encampment of Lakota Sioux with orders to disarm the Indians and escort them back to the railroad for transport to Omaha, Nebraska. Shooting broke out near the end of the disarmament, and accounts differ regarding who fired first and why. By the time it was over, twenty-five troopers and one hundred and fifty-three Lakota Sioux lay dead, including sixty-two women and small children. Many of the dead on both sides may have been the victims of "friendly fire" as the shooting took place at point blank range in chaotic conditions.
A widow of an army captain, Jackson became angered at what she considered the unfair treatment of Native Americans at the hands of US government agents. She became an activist and muckraker who started investigating and publicizing the agents’ wrongdoing, circulating petitions, raising money, and writing letters to the New York Times on behalf of Indians. She also started writing a book condemning the government’s Indian policy and the history of broken treaties. Her book, A Century of Dishonor, called for change from the contemptible, selfish policy to treatment characterized by humanity and justice, was published in 1881. Jackson then sent a copy to every member of Congress, but, to her disappointment, the book had little impact. She later led protests against the 1890 Dawes Severalty Act.
Also called the General Allotment Act, it tried to dissolve Indian tribes by redistributing their land. Each Indian family head would be allotted 160 acres. American citizenship would be granted if the Indians remained on the land for 25 years and adopted “habits of civilized life.” Surplus reservation lands were available for sale to white settlers. Designed to forestall growing Indian poverty, it resulted in many Indians losing their lands to speculators. Most Indians were unfamiliar with farming and were assigned poor lands so they could not secure a living. Many did not wish to become “civilized” as reflected in the white culture, but sought to retain their own tribal cultures.
American historian who claimed in 1890 that the frontier no longer existed and said that humanity would continue to progress as long as there was new land to move into. The frontier provided a place for homeless and solved social problems. His “frontier thesis” or “safety valve thesis” was used to explain America’s unique non-European culture; it held that people who could not succeed in eastern society could move west for cheap land and a new start.
Authorized coinage of a limited number of silver dollars and "silver certificate" paper money. First of several government subsidies to silver producers in depression periods. Required government to buy between $2 and $4 million worth of silver. Created a partial dual coinage system referred to as "limping bimetallism." Repealed in 1900.
Directed the Treasury to buy even larger amounts of silver that the Bland-Allison Act and at inflated prices. The introduction of large quantities of overvalued silver into the economy led to a run on the federal gold reserves, leading to the Panic of 1893. Repealed in 1893.
A leader of the Populist party in Minnesota and instrumental in founding the national Populist party. He was responsible for writing most of the Omaha platform in 1892.
A speaker for the Populist party and the Farmer's Alliance. One of the founders of the national Populist party. Advocated “raise less corn and more hell.”
Officially named the People's party, but commonly known as the Populist party, it was founded in 1891 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Wrote a platform for the 1892 election (running for president-James Weaver, vice president-James Field) in which they called for free coinage of silver and paper money; national income tax; direct election of senators; regulation of railroads; and other government reforms to help farmers. The party was split between South and West.
Three-time candidate for president for the Democratic Party, nominated because of support from the Populist party. He never won, but was the most important Populist in American history. His famous “Cross of Gold” speech electrified the Democratic National Convention in 1896 when he asked that the people of the country not be “crucified on a cross of gold.” He was referring to the Republican’s proposal to eliminate silver coinage and adopt a strict gold standard.
This was signed by McKinley. It stated that all paper money would be backed only by gold. This meant that the government had to hold gold in reserve in case people decided they wanted to trade in their money. Eliminated silver coins, but allowed paper Silver Certificates issued under the Bland-Allison Act to continue to circulate.
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