The Gilded Age encompassed the effects of increasing Industrialization and the rise of Big Business and Corporations, headed by the wealthy, ruthless magnates referred to as the Robber Barons. The eight Gilded Age Presidents, often referred to as the "Forgettable Presidents", were Andrew Johnson, Ulysses Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James Garfield, Chester Arthur, Grover Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison and William McKinley.
Gilded Age Dates: 1865 - 1900
Why was it called the Gilded Age?
What were the characteristics of the Gilded Age?
The standard of living had increased in the Gilded era for many people, life was not dictated and restricted by the daily need for tending the land, and their was some time for leisure. The facade continued with the bright lights of the city and new forms of entertainment such as amusement parks, spectator sports such as baseball, saloons, vaudeville, P.T. Barnum's circus like that of or Buffalo Bill's Wild West show. The Gilded Age was characterized by its shiny, glittering surface which masked the problems beneath.
Why was the Gilded Age a period of change?
The inventions and new technologies of the Second Industrial Revolution in Steel, Oil and Electricity
The economy boomed in new areas, especially heavy industry like factories, railroads, and coal mining.
The Rise of Big Business and Corporations involving vast monopolies and trusts
The emergence of the 'Robber Barons' the ruthless and wealthy industrialists who monopolized the railroads, the steel industry, the oil industry and the powerful financiers who controlled the banks
The support Free Enterprise and 'laissez-faire' capitalism combined with political conservatism justified by the theory of Social Darwinism
The process of Industrialization in the United States that changed the lives of Americans forever, bringing about complex social and economic changes
The mechanization of industry, mass production and factories that transformed America from a rural, agricultural society to a city based industrial society
The ever increasing need for cheap labor was fed a surge in Immigration
The rapid Urbanization in America that resulted in squalid housing conditions for the poor and the rise of the corrupt Political Machines
The economic and social changes, great disparities in wealth between the rich and the poor and appalling working conditions led to riots, strikes and the emergence of the Labor Unions
Realism in Art and Literature
Who were the Robber Barons of the Gilded Age?
Gilded Age for kids: The 'Gospel of Wealth
Who were the Presidents of the Gilded Age?
The Gilded Age for kids: Realism in Art and Literature
Gilded Age Timeline and Facts for kids
1865: Andrew Johnson (1865-1869) becomes President
1867: The Granger Movement was established to promote the social needs of farmers
1869: Ulysses Grant (1869-1873) & (1873-1877) becomes President
1869: The Union Pacific Transcontinental Railroad linked the Pacific Coast to the Atlantic
1869: The Knights of Labor was the first major American labor union to be established
1869: The Black Friday Scandal an attempt by two Wall Street speculators to corner the gold market
1870: John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Company is incorporated
1872: The Credit Mobilier Scandal involving corruption by the Union Pacific Railroad and Credit Mobilier construction co
1873: The Panic of 1873, a serious economic crisis that led to riots, strikes and civil unrest
1873: Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner publish The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today
1875: The Whiskey Ring Scandal, a conspiracy by distillers to avoid the excise taxes on liquor
1876 The Belknap Bribery Scandal in which the Secretary of War, William Belknap, received bribes
1876: National League baseball plays its first official game
1877: The Molly Maguires a secret society of Irish coal miners in Pennsylvania led the 'Long Strike of 1875' which resulted in 20 members being unjustly hanged for murder
1877: Rutherford B. Hayes (1877-1881) becomes President
1877: The Great Railroad Strike the first nationwide strike in the United States
1878: Thomas Edison establishes the Edison Electric Light Co
1880: The Rise in the power of Big Business and Corporations and the Robber Barons
1880: Andrew Carnegie gains a monopoly of the steel industry
1881: James Garfield (1881): becomes President but is assassinated by Charles Julius Guiteau who resented not receiving a government job under the Spoils System
Chester Arthur (1881-1885) becomes President
1882: The Star-Route Scandal involving bribery and corruption of Federal postal officials
1882: For the first time in US history Congress acts to restrict immigration on a selective basis
1883: Chester Arthur attempts to address the 'Spoils System' with the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act
1883: The Brooklyn Bridge is completed, the first steel-wire suspension bridge in the world
1884 The world's first true "skyscraper" is completed. A ten-story building called the Home Life Insurance in Chicago.
1885: First Grover Cleveland Presidency (1885-1889)
1886: The Haymarket Riot and the Haymarket Chicago bombing is perpetrated by anarchists
1886 The American Federation of Labor is organized by Samuel Gompers
1886: The Statue of Liberty is dedicated a symbol of America, the land of freedom and opportunity
1887: Congress passed the Interstate Commerce Act which created the Interstate Commerce Commission as a federal regulatory agency to address Shipping rates and Price discrimination
1889: Benjamin Harrison becomes President (1889-1893)
1889: The Dependent Pension Bill aka the Billion Dollar Congress cost the government over a billion dollars.
1890: Sherman Antitrust Act, 1890, first measure passed by the U.S. Congress to prohibit monopolies
1892: Ellis Island opens in Upper New York Bay as a federal immigration inspection station
1893: The Second Grover Cleveland Presidency (1893-1897)
1893: The Panic of 1893 led to a 4 year economic depression with 20% unemployment
1897: William McKinley becomes president (1897-1901)
1898: The Erdman Railway Labor Act is passed, a law to settle railway disputes and set up arbitration procedures
1898: The consolidation of the City of Greater New York
1900: The Galveston Hurricane. As a consequence of the tragedy Galveston introduced the commission system of government replacing the mayor and city council. a major step to combat the Political Machines
1901: President McKinley is assassinated and Theodore Roosevelt assumes the presidency. President. President Theodore Roosevelt was a leader in the Conservation Movement fighting to end the waste of natural resources
The presidency of Theodore Roosevelt heralds the Progressive Movement which led to political and social reforms in America detailed in the list of the Progressive Reforms made at city, state and federal level.
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