Unit 6 - Key Terms
Andrew Carnegie — Scottish-born industrialist who developed the U.S. steel industry; his is a rags-to-riches story, as he made a fortune in business and sold his holdings in 1901 for $447 million. He spent the rest of his life giving away $350 million to worthy cultural and educational causes.
Bloody Shirt — Republican campaign tactic that blamed the Democrats for the Civil War; it was used successfully in campaigns from 1868 to 1876 to keep Democrats out of public office, especially the presidency.
Credit Mobilier — a major scandal in Grant’s second term; a construction company, aided by members of Congress, bilked the government out of $20–40 million in building the transcontinental railroad. Members of Congress were bribed to cover up the overcharges.
Dawes General Allotment Act (1887) — abolished communal ownership on Indian reservations; each family head got 160 acres of reservation land; 80 acres for a single person; 40 acres for each dependent child. More than two-thirds of Indians’ remaining lands were lost due to this law.
Eugene v. Debs — Labor leader arrested during the Pullman Strike (1894); a convert to socialism, Debs ran for president five times between 1900 and 1920. In 1920, he campaigned from prison where he was being held for opposition to American involvement in World War I.
“Free silver” — political movement to inflate currency by government issuance of $16 of silver for every $1 of gold in circulation; it was supported by farmers, who sought to counter declining crop prices and increase the money supply. It became a symbol of liberating poor farmers from the grasp of wealthy easterners.
“Grandfather clause” — laws in southern states that exempted voters from taking literacy tests or paying poll taxes if their grandfathers had voted as of January 1, 1867; it effectively gave white southerners the vote and disenfranchised African Americans.
Granger Movement (National Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry) (1867) — a farmers’ organization and movement that started as a social/educational association; the Grange later organized politically to pass a series of laws to regulate railroads in various states.
Grover Cleveland — only Democrat elected to presidency from 1856 to 1912; he served two nonconsecutive terms; elected in 1884, losing in 1888, and winning again in 1892. His second term was marred by the Depression of 1893.
Haymarket Riot (1886) — violent incident at a workers’ rally held in Chicago’s Haymarket Square; political radicals and labor leaders called the rally to support a strike at the nearby McCormick Reaper works. When police tried to break it up, a bomb was thrown into their midst, killing 8 and wounding 67 others. The incident hurt the Knights of Labor and Governor John Altgeld, who pardoned some of the anarchist suspects.
James B. Weaver — former Civil War general who ran for president with the Greenback Party (1880) and the Populist Party (1892).
Jim Crow laws — series of laws passed in southern states in the 1880s and 1890s that segregated the races in many facets of life, including public conveyances, waiting areas, bathrooms, and theaters; it legalized segregation and was upheld as constitutional by Plessy v. Ferguson.
John D. Rockefeller — founder of Standard Oil Company; at one time his companies controlled 85–90 percent of refined oil in America. Standard Oil became the model for monopolizing an industry and creating a trust.
Knights of Labor — labor union founded in 1869 and built by Terence v. Powderly; the Knights called for one big union, replacement of the wage system with producers’ cooperatives, and discouraged use of strikes. By 1886, they claimed membership of 700,000. Membership declined after the union’s association with the Haymarket Riot of 1886.
Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) — Supreme Court case about Jim Crow railroad cars in Louisiana; the Court decided by 7 to 1 that legislation could not overcome racial attitudes, and that it was constitutional to have “separate but equal” facilities for blacks and whites.
Populist Party (1892) — a largely farmers’ party aiming to inflate currency and to promote government action against railroads and trusts; it also called for a graduated income tax and immigration restrictions. Its platform was never enacted in the 1890s, but it became the basis of some Progressive reforms in the early twentieth century. It is also known as the Peoples Party.
Samuel Gompers — labor leader and president of American Federation of Labor, founded in 1886; Gompers believed that craft unionism would gain skilled workers better wages and working conditions. He emphasized support for capitalism and opposition to socialism.
Sherman Anti-Trust Act (1890) — first federal action against monopolies; the law gave government power to regulate combinations “in restraint of trade.” Until the early 1900s, however, this power was used more often against labor unions than against trusts.
Transcontinental railroad — linked the nation from coast to coast in 1869; the Union Pacific Railroad was built west from Omaha and the Central Pacific started east from Sacramento. The federal government supported construction with over $75 million in land grants, loans, and cash.
William Jennings Bryan — a spokesman for agrarian western values, 1896–1925, and three-time Democratic presidential candidate (1896, 1900, 1908); in 1896 his “Cross of Gold” speech and a free-silver platform gained support from Democrats and Populists, but he lost the election.
William McKinley — Republican president, 1897–1901, who represented the conservative Eastern establishment; he stood for expansion, high tariffs, and the gold standard. He led the nation during the Spanish-American War (1898) and was assassinated in 1901 by a radical political anarchist.