Expressions from our Youngest

Expressions from our Youngest
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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Gilded Age (late1800-1900)

We covered some areas of importance during the Gilded Age in America with the homeschool class I'm teaching for middle schoolers.   I thought I would share them with moms who would like their own children to know about them too.  We need to know the truth about our history because there are some who try to teach falsehoods about it.  I believe it is good to share any information with others to stop this dangerous trend in our younger generation.  The following are some simple and important facts about the Gilded Age:

1)  Gilded Age and/or Industrial Revolution (late 1800's - early 1900's):  Major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on social, economic, and cultural conditions of the times.  Men moved from farms to crowded cities, no longer owning the means by which they could support themselves, becoming dependent on businessmen and factory owners.

2)  Capitalism:  The system by which a few men control most of the country's wealth.  This became the dominant economic system.  (thus far - not perfect but the most effective)

3)  April 14, 1865 - Assasination of Abraham Lincoln:  Both Lincoln and his predescessor, Johnson, wanted to restore the South through peaceful means.  After Lincoln's death, the Radical Republicans in Congress ignored Johnson and tried to punish the South, even with military force.

4)  1865:  Radical Republicans were lead by Thaddeus Stevens and Charles Sumner

5)  1866 - Black Codes:  Legislation passed by Southern states at the end of the Civil War to control the labor, migration, and other activities of newly freed slaves.

6)  1866:  Ku Klux Klan (KKK)

7)  May 4, 1886 - Chicago Haymarket Square bombing:  Violent Union rebellion

8)  1866 - Civil Rights Act and 14th Amendment:  The Civil Rights Act bestowed citizenship on the African American and granted the same civil rights to all persons born in the U.S. (except Native Americans).  The 14th Amendment defined national citizenship to include African Americans, denied national office to Confederate leaders, and declared that no state could "deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due protection of the laws."  The last quoted clause was probably the most important item to come from Reconstruction.  The vagueness of the wording lent itself to any interpretation which the Supreme Court would use the 14th Amendment to justify, among other things, the killing of unborn children. 

9)  1878 - Knights of Labor:  The birth of the labor movement.  General reform of working conditions and just wages.

10)  1880 Election:  Patronage vs. Civil Service:  1) Patronage - Appointing office holders because they are political friends, and 2) Civil Service - Men are presumably appointed for merit.

11)  1880 - Railroad reaches Santa Fe and brought end to frontier life (cowboys).  (Also effected Catholic missionaries work of De Smet and Lamy).

12)  1884 Election:  James G. Blaine (R) lost to Cleveland (D).  He lost the key state of New York because of anti-Catholicism.  Cleveland was the first Democratic president since the Civil War.  On a visit with Blaine, a protestant mimister referred to the Democrats as the party of "Rum, Romanism and Rebellion" (meaning drunkenness, Catholics, and the Civil War).  Because Blaine did not contradict the slur, the Irish Catholics in New York almost to a man voted for Cleveland, thereby throwing the states electoral votes to the Democrats.

13) 1886:  Catholic Church emerges strong after Civil War.

14)  December 8, 1886:  American Federation of Labor (AFL) - New labor movement led by Samuel Gompers

15)  1866 - Purchase of Alaska:  Purchased by Secretary of State Seward for $7,200,000.  Americans didn't like this until gold was found near Alaska.

16) May 15, 1869 - Transcontinental Railroad:  Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads meet in Utah.

17)  1877 - Jim Crow Laws:  Racial segragation

18)  1890 - Sherman Anti-Trust Act:  The only significant attempt by government to check the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a few.  Though its intentions were good, the wording of the act was vague, and those charged with its enforcement were lackadaisical.  Hence the existence of the law did not prevent the continued growth of monopolies (control of almost an entire industry by a few men).

19)  1892 - Populist Party (Cleveland):  Advocated an inflationary increase in the money supply and a curb on the power of banks and big business.

20)  1896 - Gold found near Alaska:  Everyone suddenly happy with purchase.

21)  February 9, 1898 - DeLome Letter:  Heart's Journal pulished this stolen letter from the Spanish ambassador, in which he called President McKinley "weak and bidder for the admiration of the crowd".  One of two reasons Spanish American War began.

22)  February 15, 1898 - U.S. Battleship Maine:  Sunk in Havana Harbor killing 260 Americans. Cry became "Remember the Maine".  Second incident starting Spanish American War.

23)  July 7, 1898:  Annexation of Hawaii

24)  April 21, 1898 - July 26, 1898:  Spanish American War lasted four months.  Easiest war America fought.  Theodore Roosevelt and his Rough Riders fought too.

25)  1900 - Platt Amendment:  Cuban concessions to U.S.  1) Cuba would never enter into any treaty with any foreign power impairing Cuban independence; 2) The U.S. was authorized to intervene to preserve Cuban independence and maintain law and order; 3) and Cuba agreed to sell or lease to the U.S. lands necessary for naval stations.

26)  1890 - 1920 - Progressive Movement:  Goal was to give people more participation in government.  Some items include (more on this later):
a) direct primary
b) initiative
c) referendum
d) recall
e) 17th Amendment
f) Increased state control over education
g) New philosophy of Pragmatism

27) 1901 - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.:  T. Roosevelt appointed to U.S. Supreme Court.  He held the position for 30 years. His philosophy is summarized by his statement that the law "corresponds at any given time with what is understood to be convenient.  That involves continual change, and there can be no eternal order."  But law can be fair only if it is rooted in the eternal principles of the law of God, as reflected in the Natural Law and Divine Positive Law (Revelation).

28)  1901 - WWI - Muckrakers:  Journalists who exposed scandals in government and business.

29)  November 18, 1903 - Acquisition of Panama Canal Zone by T. Roosevelt

30)  1907 - T. Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine:  The U.S. did not merely give itself the right to prevent European nations from interfering in the affairs of Latin America, but to intervene actively on its own:  "The adherence of the United States to the Monroe Doctrine may force the United States, however reluctantly, in flagrant cases of such wrongdoing or impotence, to the exercise of an international police power."

31) 1909 - 16th Amendment (Taft):  Permits federal income tax.

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