Archive for the ‘Chapter 24’ Category

The Peshtigo Fire of 1871

The very same night as the Great Chicago Fire, a huge forest fire erupted in Peshtigo, Wisconsin. Well over a thousand people died, but it is overshadowed in the history books by its more famous urban sister fire.

It was so awe-inspiring that this site called it “a tornado of fire.” Can you imagine that?

Click both links for the 411. Two thumbs up to Chris A for letting me know about this story!

The link for the Great Chicago Fire was published on January 14 on a Post entitled “Links for Industrialization and Urbanization” scroll down to find it and follow the links. Also includes links for Grace Hill settlement House here in St. Louis.

Mary Poppins kind of explains how banks work….

Background: Jane and Michael are two kids in an upper middle class family in late Victorian England. Their parents have placed them in the care of various nannies whom they have terrorized. Along comes Mary Poppins, who is magical and amazing while completely proper.

In this scene. Mary Poppins has … tricked… the kids’ father into taking them to work with him at the bank (their name is Banks too…). Michael has decided to bring along his tuppence (two cents) he has saved because he wants to buy  bird crumbs to feed the birds. Instead, his father and bosses try to convince Michael to put the money into the bank. There, they claim, this two cents will build all kinds of amazing things, added with everyone else’s money. Kind of like how Carnegie justified using his money for good– now that he had busted heads of striking workers, he was going to give them libraries!

Links for Industrialization and Urbanization

Bobbin boys and other child laborers:

Cartoon about child labor:

Child labor devours its victim

The Great Chicago Fire and its impact:

Jane Addams and Hull House:

Grace Hill Settlement House in St. Louis:

The Carnegie Corporation: Hold your pointer over the programs menu to see all the different aims of this 100 year old philanthropic foundation.

Link to Gospel of Wealth excerpt and notes to take….

These questions will be due on Wednesday/Thursday.

Go here (

You can also go here, and actually hear Carnegie read an excerpt himself:

1. Would Carnegie’s employees agree with the means he used to amass his wealth??

2. What did he list as the three things a millionaire could do with his or her fortune?

3. Why is the first option not a good idea? (Consider Paris Hilton…)

4. Why was Carnegie in favor of a high estate tax (which he called a “death tax”)?

5. What did Carnegie end up doing with his wealth?

6. Why can it be argued that Carnegie’s attitude is paternalistic?

Chapter 24 questions

Due on the first day back from break!

Chapter 24 questions

1. How, specifically, was railroad construction financed (including help from the federal government) in the late 19th century? What were the main railroad companies and the entrepreneurs who were associated with them?
2. What was the only railroad built without government aid? What are “hells on wheels?” How was the first transcontinental railroad completed, by whom (both entrepreneurs and workers) and where did the “wedding” take place?
3. What effects did the creation of a railroad network have on the American economy? How did it affect the telling of time? What technological improvements did the railroads encourage? What industries grew as a result of this network? Why was the Mesabi range important?
4. Explain pools, stock watering, and other dubious means used by railroad “barons” to make a profit. What were they attempting to do to competition? Why weren’t these practices regulated or otherwise halted? What was the first federal regulatory agency in history, and what was it supposed to do?
5. What impact did interchangeable parts and other new technologies have upon employment patterns, including women? What were “Gibson girls,” and what kinds of jobs did they do?
6. Which foreign countries were most involved in investment in American enterprises? How involved were these investors in the actual day-to-day management of American companies?
7. Make a chart comparing and explaining the main businesses and practices of Andrew Carnegie, John Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan, Cornelius Vanderbilt, Jay Gould, and James Duke. Make sure to include these terms: interlocking directorate, pool, horizontal integration, trust, holding company,
8. Create a chart of the great inventors and their innovations: Edison, Bell, Bessemer (and Kelly), McCormick
9. What is the difference between “capital goods” and “consumer goods?” Which was most emphasized during this time period?
10. How was US Steel created, by whom, and why was it notable? What other corporations begun during this time are still around today?
11. What did Standard Oil actually do? Where was it located? What products were made from petroleum at this point? What immoral/illegal methods did this company use to ruthlessly crush its competition? What invention would later make this company even more profitable (that most of you can’t imagine living without?)
12. What was “the Gospel of Wealth?” How did this attempt to justify vast accumulations of wealth?
13. What is “Social Darwinism” and “survival of the fittest” in terms of economics? What were the implications then for poor people? What thinkers actually influenced this more than Darwin?
14. How did the 14th Amendment end up being interpreted as helping corporations during this time (and even now)? Be specific.
15. What did the Sherman Anti-Trust Act attempt to do? Why didn’t it work better? What was one group that it was ironically used against that probably hadn’t been anticipated, and what was the reasoning/justification for this?
16. How did the South begin to industrialize during this time? What manufacturing began to develop there, and why? What did Henry Grady urge?
17. What obstacles stood in the way of Southern development? What was the “Pittsburgh plus” pricing system’s impact?
18. What were working conditions like in the factories? What demographic group was most affected by industrialization, and why? How did “punching a clock” change traditional patterns of life? What was the Contact Labor Law of 1885?
19. What methods did companies use to try to suppress unions? Why did much of the general public feel negatively toward unions (consider Haymarket Square and the term “labor trust”), and when did that finally begin to change? Who was John P. Altgeld?
20. Make a chart of the major unions, their leaders, their membership composition, dates, etc. Did any of these survive until today? Don’t forget “Mother…”

The historiography surrounding the Civil War

Excellent article from TIME magazine which explains how historians’ views on the Civil War have changed. Especially highlights early biased interpretations:,9171,2063869,00.html

Who were the Big Four?

Your book only names two on page 569. Go here for the rest:

The importance of the 14th Amendment

Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment read thus (emphasis mine):

“Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

This site ( a good outline of some of the things we talked about in class and that we will talk about. Notice that the first sentence is about overturning the Dred Scott decision (Ask yourself: what was the opinion of the court regarding citizenship of African-Americans in that case?).

What is important to remember is that the 14th Amendment, for the first time, made the protections of the Bill of Rights binding upon the STATES, not just the Federal government, as was the original intent of the framers of the Constitution, and especially those with anti-federalist opinions. The 14th Amendment tells STATES that they have to fulfill the obligations of the Federal Bill of Rights. This is known as the incorporation doctrine.

Make sure you understand what the two clauses– due process and equal protection– mean.

I strongly urge you to go to the link provided above and read the article thoroughly.

The Patrons of Husbandry, or the Grange

Ideas and Movements, The Patrons of Husbandry

Oliver Hudson Kelley was an employee of the Department of Agriculture in the 1860s. He made an official trip through the South and was astounded by the lack of sound agricultural practices he encountered. Joining with other interested individuals in 1867, Kelley formed the National Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry, a fraternal organization complete with its own secret rituals. Local affiliates were known as “granges” and the members as “grangers.” In its early years, the Grange was devoted to educational events and social gatherings.

Growth was slow in the early years, but the attraction of social events was considerable. Farm life in the 19th century was marked by a tedium and isolation that usually was relieved only by church functions and the weekly trips to town for supplies.

Following the Panic of 1873, the Grange spread rapidly throughout the farm belt, since farmers in all areas were plagued by low prices for their products, growing indebtedness and discriminatory treatment by the railroads. These concerns helped to transform the Grange into a political force.

National Grange

Grange influence was particularly strong in Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois, where political pressure yielded a series of “Granger laws” designed to give legislative assistance to the farmers. Those laws received an initial blessing from the Supreme Court in Munn v. Illinois (1876), but a later counteroffensive by the railroads brought the Wabash case (1886), which wiped out those gains.

During the 1870s, the Grangers advocated programs such as the following:

* Cooperative purchasing ventures as a means to obtain lower prices on farm equipment and supplies

* Pooling of savings as an alternative to dependence on corrupt banks, an early form of credit union

* Cooperative grain elevators to hold non-perishable crops until the optimal times to sell

* An abortive effort to manufacture farm equipment; this venture depleted the Granger organization’s funds and was instrumental in its decline.

A major shortcoming of the movement was the failure to address what was probably the root cause of many farm ills—overproduction. There were too many farmers and too much productive land; the advent of new, mechanized equipment only exacerbated the difficulties. A few perceptive individuals recognized that flooding the market with produce only depressed prices further. Mary Elizabeth Lease of Kansas, one of the nation’s first female attorneys, traveled to grange halls and urged the farmers to “raise less corn and more hell.” Such pleas went largely unheeded, since most farmers preferred to blame the politicians, judges and bankers for their plight.

The Grange as a political force peaked around 1875, then gradually declined. New organizations with more potent messages emerged, including the Greenback Party of the 1870s, the Farmers’ Alliances of the 1880s and the Populist Party of the 1890s.

The Grange had played an important role by demonstrating that farmers were capable of organizing and advocating a political agenda. After witnessing the eclipse of its advocacy efforts by other groups, the Grange reverted to its original educational and social events. These have sustained the organization to the present day.

Here is their website — the section that talks about their history! (Yes, they still exist!)

Multicultural History of the US: After the Civil War

How immigration exploded in the US from the Civil War onward. A good review of social history, a major strand in AP US history.