An Industrial Society, 1890-1920

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An Industrial Society, 1890-1920

(Chapter 20)

Sources of Economic Growth

  • Innovations and Breakthroughs

  • Technology combined with new corporate structures and pioneering management techniques


  • Electrical industries

  • Thomas Edison

  • George Westinghouse

  • Nikola Tesla

  • Henry Ford

  • Model T (1909)

Corporate Growth

  • Demand for mass-production allowed for growth in sophisticated, organized corporations

  • Employment numbers in corporations grew

  • Chicago International Harvester

  • DuPont Corp.

  • Ford Motor Company

  • Nationwide transportation and communication created huge national market

Mass Production and Distribution

  • Mass production techniques resulted in

  • Increased speed in production

  • Lower unit costs

  • Replace skilled workers

  • James Buchanan Duke

  • Innovations in mass distribution

  • Advertising

  • Regional sales offices

Corporate Consolidation

  • Corporate expansion wanted to avoid market instability

  • “Pools,” “cartels,” “trusts”

  • American Tobacco Company

  • James B. Duke

  • U.S. Steel Corporation (1901)

  • Andrew Carnegie

  • J.P. Morgan

Revolution in Management

  • Senior managers take over long term planning from owners

  • Middle managers do day to day operations

  • Scientific management and university trained managers

  • Research departments

Scientific Management on the Factory Floor

  • Frederick Winslow Taylor

  • Scientific management

  • The Principles of Scientific Management (1911)

  • Henry Ford

  • Highland Park

  • Assembly line

  • Led to mental stupor and physical exhaustion

  • Ford’s solution

  • $5 day

  • Sociology department

“Robber Barons” No More

  • Upper class scared into moderating its image

  • Alexander Berkman’s attempted assassination of Henry Clay Frick

  • Controversy over Bradley Martin ball

  • Andrew Carnegie

  • “Gospel of wealth"

  • John D. Rockefeller

  • Rockefeller Foundation

Obsession with Physical and Racial Fitness

  • Theodore Roosevelt: “the strenuous life”

  • Fitness craze

  • Bicycle riding

  • Healthier eating

  • Sport competitions in American universities

  • Reflected dissatisfaction with regimentation of industrial society

  • Native-born, often wealthy, Americans and their quest for racial fitness

Social Darwinism

  • Charles Darwin: “survival of the fittest”

  • Social Darwinism: Darwin’s principles used to describe a struggle among races

  • 19th C. Social Sciences took shape:

  • Economics, psychology, sociology, political science and anthropology

  • Increasingly global economy heightens awareness of differences in civilizations


  • High rates of immigration between 1880-1920

  • In many northern cities more than half of the population were immigrants or 1st generation Americans

  • Few immigrants from Latin America before 1810

  • “Old immigrants”

  • Northwestern Europe (Britain, Scandinavia, Germany)

  • Racially fit, culturally sophisticated, politically mature

  • “new immigrants”

  • From Eastern and Southern Europe

  • Seen as racially inferior, culturally impoverished, incapable of assimilating American values and traditions

Causes of Immigration

  • Religious or political persecution

  • Main reason: economic hardship

  • European population expanded faster than lands there could support their people

  • Rural ways of life in Europe were threatened by industrialization and urbanization

  • European village artisans unable to compete with mass-produced goods

  • Commercial agriculture and competition from American grain exports force peasants off land

Patterns of Immigration

  • Need for a contact in America (family member, former neighbor)

  • Temporary residency was sought by many immigrants

  • Many Jews came as families, intending to stay in the U.S., rather than return to religious persecution

  • Immigration moved in tandem with U.S. business cycles

Chinese and Japanese Immigrants

  • Chinese and Japanese immigrants contributed greatly to 2 important western economic sectors: railroads and agriculture

  • Chinese Exclusion Act (1882)

  • Japanese immigration banned in 1907

  • 1790 Naturalization Act interpreted to preclude citizenship for East Asian immigrants

  • Motive for immigration similar to European

  • Angel Island San Francisco

Immigrant Labor

  • Immigrants did arduous work in most major industries

  • Triangle Shirtwaist Company (1911)

  • Problems for workers

  • Chronic fatigue and malnourishment

  • 60 work week average

  • Average yearly income $400-500

  • Immigrants most vulnerable during Depression

  • Robert Hunter

  • Poverty (1904)

Living Conditions

  • Many families lived in crowded, dilapidated 2 or 3 room apartments

  • Tenements

  • Lower East Side of NYC

  • Crowded

  • Lack of windows, ventilation

  • Poor sanitary conditions

  • High rates of deadly infectious diseases (Typhoid, Diptheria, Pneumonia)

  • By 1900 some cities make improvements

  • Housing inspections

  • Sewer systems

Building Ethnic Communities

  • Immigrants:

  • Resourceful

  • Self-helping

  • Mutual aid

A Network of Institutions

  • Many groups reestablished institutions of homeland

  • Clan Na Gael

  • Turnevereins

  • Foreign language newspapers

  • Fraternal Societies

The Emergence of an Ethnic Middle Class

  • Small retail businesses and peddlers

  • “Sweatshops"

  • Padroni

  • Amadeo P. Giannini

  • Bank of America

  • Japanese fruit and vegetable farms

  • Led way for future generations to Americanize and assimilate

Political Machines and Organized Crime

  • Corruption and organized crime

  • Bosses and Graft

  • “King Richard” Croker, N.Y.

  • James Michael Curley, Boston

  • Vice protection

  • Kickbacks

  • Vote fraud

  • Kennedy Family

  • Underworld of Urban Life

  • Mafia, Gangsters, and Tongs

African American Labor and Community

  • Many Blacks remained predominantly rural and Southern

  • Sharecroppers and tenant farmers

  • Some blacks migrated to industrial areas for better opportunities

  • Black were still treated worse than newest immigrants in labor force

  • Jim Crow laws

  • Blacks used as strikebreakers

  • Intensifying racial discrimination

Workers and Unions

  • Middle-class success still eluded most immigrants and black in pre-WWI era

  • A better life for many factory workers meant improving their working conditions

Samuel F. Gompers and the AFL

  • Legal environment hostile to unions

  • Government often crushed strikes

  • Strikes seen as violation of Sherman Anti-Trust Act

  • Injunctions often prohibited strikes

  • American Federation of Labor (AFL)

  • “bread and butter” issues

  • Many local prohibited Blacks from joining

  • Lochner v. New York (1905)

  • National Civic Federation

  • United Mine Workers (UMW)

  • International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU)

“Big Bill” Haywood and the IWW

  • Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)

  • Accepted immigrants

  • Big Bill Haywood

  • Anti-Capitalist

  • "Ludlow massacre" (1913)

The Joys of the City

  • “Nickelodeons”

  • Early movies

The New Sexuality and the New Woman

  • Vamps vs. Victorianism

  • “Separate spheres”

  • “New women”

  • Educated, middle class women

  • Young, single, working class women

  • Dance Halls

  • More premarital sex

The Rise of Feminism

  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman

  • Margaret Sanger and birth control

  • Emma Goldman and “free love”

  • Alice Paul and militant women’s suffrage

  • Greenwich Village

  • Crystal Eastman and Heterodoxy

  • Max Eastman and The Masses

  • Cultural Conservatism

  • Vice Commissions

  • Mann Act

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