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tv   Lectures in History Rise of American Industry in the Gilded Age  CSPAN  November 19, 2022 8:00pm-9:00pm EST

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good morning. how's everyone? good, good, good. all right. so last time we were talking about the post-civil war south. 1865 to 1900 and the post-civil war west, that same time frame. today's topic is called the gilded age. roughly again, post-civil war up to 1900. but this lecture is really about america becoming an industrial power industrialization is going to be the key to understanding what's going on in the post-civil war north. okay, i'll explain the title gilded age in a few minutes because it has roots here in our own state of missouri. but to talk about america becoming an industrial power, there are certain sets of conditions that we need for that process to occur. for example, if you're going to become an industrial power, you need to have an abundance of
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mineral resources. coal. iron ore. copper, tin, zinc. all kinds of things such as that. and what's fortunate for the united states is that we are blessed with all of those materials in our own country. we've got huge pockets of coal in western pennsylvania. eastern kentucky. we have ore around lake michigan. we have led in copper and zinc out in the southwest arizona, new mexico. you know, there are some nations in the world that have to purchase these from other countries in order to become an industrial power. the united states, we have those already here. we just have to locate them and get them out of the soil. and we are blessed in that regard. having an abundance of mineral resources is the second thing that you need to become an industrial power is an abundance of workers. and after the civil war is over,
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we have that as well. we have hundreds of thousands of union soldiers who are returning from their job of the last four years to defeat the confederacy. and now they're ready to look for a new vocation. we're going to have many southerners who are going to leave their homeland. that has been absolutely destroyed by the civil war, heading north to look for a job. we're going to have millions of immigrants flooding into the united states once the civil war is over. looking for a. so we have plenty of people that are going to be the labor force for our industrialization and talking about that idea. two very good things happen when there is an abundance of workers in a workplace. if you are the business owner or the captain of industry and you say have ten jobs that are available, and if you have an abundance of workers, you get the pick of the litter, you get the pick, the ten best out of
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the 100 or so that are applying. you just don't have to hire whoever shows up. you can see who's most qualified for the job hand plus you pay them the very least amount of money. you say, here's what the job pays. $0.05 an hour, $0.10 an hour. they say, well, that's not enough. well, then i've got 90 other people standing outside ready to take the job for that price. take it or leave it. so when there is an abundance of labor, two very good things happen. if you are one of the business owners, you get the very best workers. you pay them the very least amount of money right? if you're going to become an industrial power, you need lots of money. and we have that once civil war is over. there's a couple of harsh truths about war. the first is that people die. and the second is people make money off of people dying during
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the civil war. if you ran a munitions plant, a factory, and you made rifles, pistols, ammunition, cannon, artillery, you could name your price. and the united states government would pay it because they want to defeat the confederacy. and you made a lot of money off of the civil war. well, that war is over. but now you are flush with cash and looking for the next great investment. part of the industrial ization process is do you have an abundance of natural materials that are needed? do you have enough workers? do you have enough money? the united states has all of these things. after 1865, the next element is, do you have a government that will be a friend to business and industry, a favorable government, one that will help foster economic growth, business
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expansion and in the post-civil war era, we have that. i want to fall back a little bit in time and introduce you to a fellow by the name of adam smith. he's an englishman who was living back during the american revolution. in 1776. he published a book called wealth of nations and. in that book, he talked about the relationship between business and the government. and in this book, smith said that there is a natural order to economics. there's a natural order to things and governments disrupt that natural cycle. governments like to investigate. governments like to regulate. and he says every time government gets involved in business, it's almost always a negative. it disrupts the natural cycle of economics. and in that work, he used a french phrase laissez faire.
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does anyone happen to know what that means? translate that for me. for the government to stay out of war. not out of war, but just stay out of business. i mean, basically, laissez faire means let it be. leave it alone. don't involve yourself. in other words, don't pass legislation on that will lead to inspections, regulations and any sort of restrictions you just let business take care. business. in other words, just hold your hands up. don't get involved. that would be the best type of government for economic growth. we have that in the post-civil war era. the government is not going to pass a lot of regulations. they're not going to send out investigators into factories all over the country. but if government can't help itself, you know, sometimes politicians just can't help themselves.
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if they help themselves. there are two ways that a government can still be a friend to business. if you're not going to leave your hands off of it, there are two ways to help one is by passing a high protective tariff. we've talked about that this semester. it's a tax on imported goods to jack the price up to artificially inflate it so that when it hits the american marketplace, it is much more expensive than the american made product. right. we've seen tariffs of 25% and higher. well, the proper role government to business according to smith, was just don't get involved. but if you just can't help yourself, then pass legislation that helps business and industry. by jacking up the price of goods from england, france, or whatever country so that they are so expensive that america will buy american made. the other way that a government could help foster economic is
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through tax cuts. tax cuts for business and industry. tax cuts for the rich and the well-to-do. the owners, business and industry with the idea being that if you cut taxes for the one percenters, you cut taxes for business profits, then you have more revenue that that business owner would take that additional revenue and put it back into business expansion. and then that means that he could add another shift of workers or he could expand his plant or something like that. so the general attitude, when you have a government that is a friend to business and industry, a, it just sort of keeps its hands laissez faire, leave it alone, let it be. but if want to help business, you do it one of two ways. you jack up the price of foreign competition and eliminating them from the marketplace, essentially, or you pass cuts
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for the rich, the well-to-do, the owners of business and industry that they will then take that additional revenue, reinvest it, leading to business expansion. today we might call that trickle down economics. you cut taxes at the very top and then the benefits trickle down, down through the system. so that someone sort of at the bottom end of the socioeconomic ladder could possibly get a job, which he or she otherwise might not have, unless business was allowed to expand and grow. now, as a historian, i'm here to tell you that sometimes that theory works. sometimes when there are tax cuts, business and industry, they do, in fact, reinvest that money and expand. and i'm also here to tell you that sometimes they take the money and run. they don't reinvest it. and therefore, there are no benefits at all. okay. but the united states has an abundance of mineral resources. we have an abundance of workers. we have an abundance of money.
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and from 1865 to roughly the turn of the century. we have a government that is going to keep its hands off, virtually no investigations or regulations, but they will pass tax cuts and they will pass a high protective tariff in 1890 that basically eliminates all foreign competition. all we need then to become an industrial power are individuals who will take advantage of everything that's on this slide. now, ladies, on unfortunately, the leaders of this industrial boom are almost exclusively men. your day is coming. next class period. the progressive era. but today i'm talking about individuals who are going to take advantage of every single one of these characteristic. andrew carnegie, a scottish
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immigrant to the united states, worked in railroads. he worked in the telegraph. he worked his way up to, basically control one particular industry steel, carnegie steel. carnegie is a great example of a captain of industry. he's going to make hundreds of millions of dollars in profits because. his headquarters is in pittsburgh, which is why they are the pittsburgh steelers. in case you want to know, hey, it is going to become the central hub of our industrial steel activity. he's again a very powerful individ ual. but the thing that i like about carnegie is that he had sort of an epiphany before he died. he realized he called it the
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gospel of wealth. he said a man who dies rich, dies disgraced. you can't take it with you. so when he sold his business and made hundreds of millions of dollars in profit, he started giving his money away. he buys thousands of organs and donates them to churches all across the country. he donates books to libraries, builds parks, recreational areas and cities. and of course, most notably, we have carnegie hall in new york city. we have carnegie endowment for the arts, carnegie endowment for the humanities, things that are still a part of our fabric, even to this day. john rockefeller, a southern baptist, who's going to dominate the oil industry in america. standard oil was his company. there is no more standard oil in
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america today. it was broken up years ago. but there's variations sort of the children are standard oil on virtually every street corner in america. if you ever buy gas from a conoco phillips, bp, exxon mobil, chevron, all of these companies today can trace their roots back to standard oil. he dominated that business. rockefeller center, rockefeller plaza, top of the rock. the name resonates to this day. this is j.p. morgan. he is in banking and finance. how would you like to go and ask him for a loan? look at that face. anyway, his office is directly across the street from the new york stock exchange. he is so integrated in our finance, our business bank.
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jp morgan chase today. the name is still around. good luck getting that loan. cornelius vanderbilt vanderbeek, yale university. he was in transportation, shipping, railroads. the commodore, as he was known. the point is, each of these men become captains of industry. they are at the top of their profession and if you noticed, one thing is they're not competing against each other as such. each of them carved out their own little niche in society in the american economy. it's steel. it's oil. it's finance. banking. transportation. you see these men realized early on that competition is not a good thing.
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competition is a bad word. competition drives prices down. and if prices go down, profits go down. and that's not a good thing. so what they are after is to control their particular industry. they need to find a way to have total control over one particular aspect of the american economy. and they're going to get some help in this search for or adjust vacation for control. it comes from this fellow. love that beard. love those sideburns. herbert spencer is an englishman. who is synonymous with what's known as social darwinism. now, i know you've heard of charles darwin, an englishman, naturalist sailed on the hms beagle down to the galapagos islands, discovered that the finches down in the galapagos islands were a little different from the finches in london. and then he theorizes that they
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have adapted to change in order to survive. and of course, that becomes the 1859 book origin of species. you've heard of this? okay, herbert spencer takes that idea and applies it to. society in general that in society only the strongest church survive. so this is the perfect ideological justification for a carnegie, a vanderbilt or, you know, in business and industry. only the strong businesses should survive. if you have a an operation that is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, then spencer theorize you don't even deserve to be in business. a weak business is a drag on business. so you don't even deserve to be in business. you can be purchased by a competitor. you can do all things above board or maybe.
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a little shady activity. you've got a competitor that you try to buy. he refuses. you offer him a counter. he still refuses. and then in the dark of night, maybe his factory goes up in flames. oh, you should have taken my offer, because now you are out of business, and i'm simply going to move in and take over. only the strongest survive. and that means that there are no real. if the government isn't going to get involved in regulating or investigating, then it's fairly free game. question does that mean doesn't like loans not necessarily that we're just talking about the large picture of ownership. not particularly a loan to get involved in business, but to actually be a competitor. that's the thing that these captains of industry absolutely are going to try to avoid competition.
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so you maybe you buy out a competitor or you burn them out. doesn't matter because you've got politicians in your back pocket. you've paid off judges to get to the top. you're not going to have any legislation to hamper you in any way. i'm not saying this is the wild west and there's no hole, no holds barred kind of an activity. but it is a philosophy these men would use to get to the very top. survival of the fittest. so in order to get to that mountaintop. they they are aiming for trying to achieve a monopoly control, control of one specific industry. and the way they're going to do it is generally described by directions, vertical or horizontal integration.
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now, i'm going to assume that you understand this is vertical and this is horizontal. all right. so i'm going to give you an example of both. how a monopoly can be achieved vertically and horizontally by using a little nifty chart here. this is a five step process. and this is obviously dealing with oil. and so we start out here with the raw material. okay. this is a great example of how john de rockefeller came to control the oil industry and his control his monopoly is horizontal. so we've got five steps. john de rockefeller did not own all of the oil wells in america. okay. he didn't own all of the pipelines or the railroads that are going to transport that crude oil. but what he did own was that third process.
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rockefeller owned over 90% of the oil refineries in america. so if you were taking crude oil out of the ground, you hit a gusher down in west texas. you're going to have to go to a standard oil refinery for it to be processed into usable, sellable product. he owns. over 90% of that horizontal to level the refineries in america, which means then you have to do business with him. and he would say, here's what the price is going to be. and you say, well, no, that's that's too high. good luck finding another refinery. oh, wait a minute. i own over 90% of them. you're going to have to business with me, which means i can set the price as high as i want because i have no competition. rockefeller doesn't own the oil. excuse me? the railroads that will take that finished product out to sale to the consumer.
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he owns that one horizontal level, the refineries, and he has an absolute monopoly right now. i'm going to use that same chart, but i want to talk about andrew carnegie and steel. so just transport yourself. make this steel instead of oil. because carnegie is a great example of vertical integration. carnegie is going to own land outside of up in michigan where there's a great the mesabi range and an iron ore will be found. he will own a railroad that will take that iron over from michigan down to his steel mills in pittsburgh. he owns the mills. then he owns those railroads that will take that finished product out to sale to the consumer. so carnegie owns every step of that process, from raw material to finished product. and that's still a monopoly. he has no competition.
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if you own the land, you own the transportation system. you own the factories. i mean, he's got complete control. both of those horizontal or vertical ends up being a monopoly, complete control. when people want it to go away, they will have to go to rockefeller because he owns 90% of it. will they ever go to the person who owns like a small portion of it? the question is, what happens if you just simply want to refuse to pay the price at rockefeller would, and you want to try to find a competitor. good luck with that. i mean, it it would occur occasionally, but here's the deal. how much time are you going to waste in searching for that competition? how much extra money will be expended looking for that? better. more price? chances are, take the money now at whatever price says. okay.
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all right. so we're talking about captains of industry. i mean, these people. carnegie rockefeller, vanderbilt, morgan. i would argue that they are more influential in american society. from 1865 to 1900 than our. i mean, they literally are gazillionaires and they are controlling american economic growth because of a monopoly. which brings back to missouri and our own mark twain, who's famous for huck finn and tom sawyer and all those kinds of tales. but in 1873, twain, a book called the gilded age a tale of today. and that's back to describing the title today's lecture. if something is gilded. what does that mean? does anyone know? it's covered in gold. so you take something that is not particularly pretty.
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that's not particularly. and you cover it up. you give it a false, a facade. maybe it's gold leaf that all of a sudden it looks brand new, shiny, expensive, it looks valuable. it looks great. not its old, rusty kind of self. mark twain, one of his less known works, is a perfect title for what i've been describing you so far today. american industrialization. he said, was gilded. it's a tale of today. he sort of pokes fun at american industrialization. it all looks great. rags to riches. anybody can become a millionaire. but what? he's also is that there's more to the story of industrialization just from the vantage point of being a carnegie or a rockefeller or a morgan. there's more to the story.
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and of course, you know me. i'm going to tell you the rest of the story. the gilded age absolutely dominated by these captains of industry. but. there's more to this story. i'm calling them the underside. these men to the very top of their professions at the expense of other groups. for example, to understand american industrialization, maybe we to take a look at what it was like to be a factory worker in carnegie steelworks. don't look at how much money he made or how much money he gave away. maybe to fully understand american industrialization, maybe we take a look at what life was like to be a steel worker. what is life like if you are an immigrant who's arriving in america for the lure of this job? that's out there.
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how is america's haidian culture going to treat you? will you be able to assimilate easily, quickly, or are there going to be issues? what is industrialization doing to our cities? because that's primarily where our business and industry is located. what is that effect having in the inner cities of new or chicago, for example. what is it doing to our environs? it. what are we putting in the air, in the water and into the soil as a byproduct of? industrial growth. what about life? the farm. is american industrialization helping or hurting the farm community? that is the backbone of american you know, american economy. that jeffersonian vision of america, small farms spreading across the country. so that's what i by the underside looks like.
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let's scrape away a little bit of that gilded of industrialization. and let's take a look at the other side or the underneath side of a gilded image of american industrial power. so that's what i want to transition to. sort of like the rest of the story. now i'm going to make just some broad strokes because there are going to be some variations in the numbers. but remember, statistics never but pliers used. so here you go. generally speaking, during the gilded age. you're working 10 hours a day, six days a week. that is a general number, guys chances are you're working more than 60 hours a week. you're probably 12, 14 hour days. ladies you're probably working 6 to 8 hours a day. and we even employed children who are going to be, you know, 2
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to 4 hours a day. so on average, around number would be 10 hours a day, six days a week as an average number. and you're being paid about $0.10 an hour. some might be paid a little more and some going to be paid a little less. so let's do some quick math. if you're working 60 hours a week and you're getting paid $0.10 an hour. so how much are you making each week. $6 a week. so how much is that a month. a little over $20.24 a month. now, i'm really going to test your mathematical skills. how much is that? a year. a little over $300. very good. all right, so think about that for a second. you're working 60 hours a week and your annual is roughly $300.
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what kind life can you have on $300 a year? which is why there are so many women in the workplace, so many children employed because the husband or the head of the household simply can't enough to feed his family. $300 a year. and then here's the startling number. at the end of the 19th century, on average, we've got 30,000 workers killed on the job. not. but each year. you are killed on the job. and over a half a million wounded. injured on the job because the government's attitude is we don't get. laissez faire. there are no regulations, no investigate actions. we don't have inspectors in to the factories looking at there
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adequate lighting. is there adequate ventilation? is there adequate supervision? are they getting breaks to rest. we don't inspect machines. and the tragic thing about this number is that if you were hurt, the job, you basically lost job. there is no such thing as workmen's compensation in the gilded age like we have today because the government didn't get and. so if you got hurt on the job you basically lost your job because. there are plenty of other people out there to take. alison, i do think that most were injured or killed because the wasn't absolutely or because of like, oh, yeah, the most of these deaths and injuries are due to this is an early age of machinery. they're going to break down. they're going i mean, it's a trial error. is this is this going to work or not? it might blow a gasket all of a
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sudden you've got bolts flying every different direction, gears, jam. so hire children to come in because small tight places where gears or located you know you use small hands to reach into that very tight place. i couldn't fit my hand into an area but a child. six seven year old kid could maybe fit his hand in there and maybe dislodge whatever had gotten clogged. this tragedy there is that that machine may not have even been turned off and they unclogged that gearbox. it starts right back up. and that young one, if they don't pull that hand out in time, they lose some fingers, they lose a hand. it's just it is the early age of mechanization. and these machines are largely unregulated. they're going to break down. they're going to have all kinds of issues. and that's where these injuries are occurring. plus you're just tired. you're working 60, 70, 80 hours
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a week and you get sleepy, dozing on the job and the next thing you know, your hand or your leg is called in the machine. and that's the problem. a photograph of textile. anjust look at how young they are and they are so small that they have to stand on the basket at the bottom of the machine just to reach the spindles at the top and what i love about this photograph is this lad right here, and you might be thinking, well, probably can't afford. a better shirt. and that may have been the case but probably more likely that torn sleeve right there is a byproduct of getting that sleeve when these machines start moving and. he probably is very lucky that his shirt sleeve was just torn rather than his arm being torn
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off. when you think of coal miners, do you think of kids? i mean, in western pennsylvania, a photograph of youngsters. i mean, these kids, these young boys ought to be in school. i mean, they're little leaguers, but they are working in coal mines this. so when you're thinking about industrialization, don't of it as just the you know, the husbands or the fathers, oftentimes owners of businesses will hire children again because small hands fit in small places and they don't have to pay them very much. and that helps your bottom line, your profit. what life like for immigrants arriving in america. and they are flooding into the united states now that the civil war is over. again, a statistic in a 40 year
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period as we go from the 19th into the 20th century. 20 million, nearly 20 million are going to arrive. they're coming from europe. they're coming from asia. millions are flooding in. they might be escaping famine, war, persecution. all of those things i call of push factors a socialist logical term. these are negative things. they are escaping some negative aspect. america seems like the land of opportunity because it is that gilded image where everybody can become a millionaire or rags to riches. we have religious, political freedom, but you can also make a lot of money in america like an andrew carnegie did. most arrived into the united states in one of two locations. if you're coming from europe,
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you're coming through new york city. and of course, the location would be what is today. ellis island, if you arrived after 1892, up until the early 1950s, all sailed into new york harbor, and then you would be offloaded ellis island, where you would be processed. if you came from the far east, japan, china and elsewhere, you came through san francisco. most folks have heard of ellis island angel island out in san francisco is a little less well known unless you're out on the west coast. but here's the thing. the boat arrives. you offload. you go into a multiplying of buildings to be processed. they will record in a ledger your name, your home country, your occupation, skill set.
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do you have? what family members are with you or might be coming later? they'll things like do you have a job? do you have a place to live? they will check your general health. they'll give you sort of a a fitness exam. and then if you pass all of these hurdles, then you will be ferried over to the south tip of manhattan island, and then are free to pursue your dream. it's what i call the final. now whose final? now, someone in this knows what i'm talking about when i say final. but you're almost embarrassed to say so last fable is. a mouse, right? fable. he lives in russia. and he wants to come to america because. do you remember that? how is he okay? yeah, it's a there are no cats
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in america and all the streets are paved with cheese. okay. it's a great example of the age. okay. i'm teaching history through children's videos. okay. final mouse, american tale, a russian mouse who wants to come to america because are no cats in america and all the streets are paid with cheese. and when fable arrives in america, guess what he discovers there are cats in america and the streets aren't paved with cheese. it is a perfect example of what's happening to and millions of immigrants arriving during the gilded age. here's a photograph of folks crossing from the ship onto ellis island to be processed and. i want you to take a really close look at.
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because i want you to tell me what you see and particularly what or who you don't see. where the men. exactly. this photograph shows women and children. so the question is where are the men now? it's not that they got all first the husband, the father, the head of the household would oftentimes leave the country. the and come to america. himself first, find a job, find a place to live. and then he writes back to the here's where i'm living, where i'm working. sell everything we have. take the next boat. i will meet you. you know. so is a photograph of women with probably their worldly possessions in those suitcases.
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they have arrived. they're going to be processed. and then they are going to be ferried across to meet the husband or the father. so this was not atypical. this was very common. but i want to ladies, i'm going to ask you a question or two. let's say that this you you've come from italy, you've come from russia, you come from poland or someplace. you've been processed you're headed across. you're so excited to see your husband again and then you come ashore and. he's not there waiting for you. what do you do. okay. what do you do. do you just sit down and wait? like you're lost in a forest. you're supposed to just sort of
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hunker down and wait for someone to come find you. so do you do that. if so, how long do you wait. an hour or two a day or two? or are you going to be bold, encouraged yes. and ask for some help. for example, let's say that you've got letter that your husband wrote to you and it's got an address on there where you're going to be living. ladies, are you going to be strong enough of character to walk up a complete stranger and ask for directions on where to find this address? because chances are you don't speak the language, you don't speak english. so you're basically going to have to take an envelope and point and try to communicate that way. are you going to be that bold. is that a yes or a no? i'm not quite sure.
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let's let me let me let me take example. let's say that you're from italy. and so you're you italian. and all of a sudden, a complete stranger walks up to and starts speaking italian. eureka! i mean, you can understand me. oh, i'm so glad that someone's speaks my language. he says. and this complete stranger says, how can i help you? i'm looking for my husband. he's supposed to be here to meet us. well, what's his name? and you reel off a name. oh, i know him. you do? yes. he about you all. all the time. do you know where he's living? yes. i've got his address. i know where that is. i'll. i'll be good. i'm glad you guys are finally here. i'll tell you what. if he's not here, i will be glad to take you to your new. he might be there waiting for you. what do you do, ladies lizzie, what do you do? are you going to go with him or not. you are. whoa! bad move. all right, so here's because.
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and i unfortunately, the kind is of strangers is not always so kind. this is sort of man's depravity of man because every day, boatloads of immigrants arriving. and there are going to individuals who are waiting to prey upon these folks. ladies probably you they're going to take you. let's go this way. it's just down this road. we're going to turn and all of a sudden you go into an alleyway and then he turns and pulls a pistol, pulls a knife. i want everything in that suitcase. i want any jewelry you have, whatever money you have. and that's what's going to happen. what's industrialization doing to our cities? well, we've got millions of immigrants flooding in to new york city. they need a place to live.
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so the solution was to build what were called tenements. these are multi-story apartment buildings, 3 to 5 stories tall. and i'm putting them into the category of being unsafe. that's a broad overstatement. and here's why. there is a demand for housing and there are no regulations. there are no building codes. so you're going to build them quickly and cheaply. and what i mean by that is you're thinking, well every apartment is going to have electricity and running water, not necessarily because that takes time to run water lines from one floor to another floor to another floor to another floor and into every apartment. that takes time and that costs money. so a tenement apartment might have running water under the first level, but if you're living up on the fifth level, you're going to have to walk
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down several flights of stairs just to get a pail of water to wash your face. in the morning, you don't have a toilet. the restroom is in a separate building or a different room. no, no. running water in many of these tenement apartments and the typical tenement apartment would be about eight by ten in terms of square footage, which is sort of like your dorm room, right. and how many people live in your dorm room? basically, two tenement apartment could have as many as eight or ten people living it in one time. i took this photograph from this book called how the other half lives by jacob riss. this photograph is of the interior of tenement apartment and in this book, the caption to this photograph is called $0.05 a spot. now what, jacob found was that
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immigrants were having to pay $0.05 a night just to get out of the rain or the cold or or the weather outside. they might not have a this actually has two men sleeping in that bed that night. $0.05. get you a wall to clean up against $0.05 a night. just to get in and out of the elements of the weather. there's no running water. there's no electricity, there's no bathroom, there's no kitchen. and the thing about tenement apartments is they're built side by side by side, by side by side. they're sort of elongated, like shotgun houses in a tenement apartment would have four or five apartments on every floor. and these things are -- armed with newly arrived immigrants. and so what that means then is the conditions inside are
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horrible. horrible conditions. disease is in. if there is fever in a tenement, it's going to spread to the entire fire block. and what i mean by a rise in crime, again, relative to, the example we talked about just a few minutes, unfortunately there are going to be individuals who will be willing because they can they are strong. they have formed into gangs to go out and to harass, to intimidate, to take from lessers. and it is a variation on social darwinism of the fittest. and if you can't defend yourself, you're going to end up losing everything that you to america. keepsakes, money, hopefully not your life that oftentimes occurred as well. we're talking about subsistence
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living. we're talking about horrible, horrible conditions. and ladies and again, i'm going to gently discuss this. but if you arrived in america with children in tow, but your husband is nowhere to be seen, he might have died, might have been killed, murdered. he might have just left. who knows? but you are left to fend for yourself and to provide for your children. oftentimes, the only available opportune pity for you is you are taking care of your children. during the day, the opportunity for employment would be in the evening. you put them to bed and then you go out and you stand on that street because there are plenty of men to take advantage of. women who are looking and selling the most valuable thing that they have. and that is, of course, themselves their bodies,
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pornography is rampant. prostitution is rampant on every street corner. now, you might be thinking, well, surely the gdness, there are some laws in these that would help. well, unfortunately, during the gilded age, we also see the rise of big city political machines, individuals or groups of individuals who are going to control the system control the city. they might be down there on the south of manhattan, ready, greeting you as a newly arrived immigrant. they're going to say, do you have a place to stay? you don't. let me show you to a tenement. and remember, vote for me. you don't have a job. i'm going to find you a job. all i ask in return is a vote for me. i mean, are selling influence. they will provide something that you desperately need. and in exchange they are for or basically requiring your political loyalty so that they
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can remain power. and a great example of a political machine. new york city is george washington plunket otherwise known as boss plunkett. and i ask you to read today a document that is showing how he is able to get ahead. boss plunkett, defending his honest graph oft. all right, so four times sake. can somebody just sort of summarize for me? i'm just going to skip to the to the meat of this document. can somebody sort of summarize what's going on in this auction that's about to occur? he tells the other people that would bet against him that don't bet against me. and i'll just you what you want. okay. so we've got 250,000 paving stones that the city of new york is putting up for sale for
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auction. and so boss plunkett goes to competitors and says, how many of these you need? and one guy said, well, i need 20,000. another guy said, 15,000. another said, i just need 10,000. and plunkett says, fine, i will give you what you want in exchange for you not bidding against me. so a deal is struck. so the auctioneer comes out says, okay, we've got 250,000 paving stones. what's my opening bid? and what does plunkett bid to 50? now, are we talking $250000 to $2 and 50 sense? is that $2.50 per paving stone? no, it's. $2.50 total for 250,000 paving stones. well, the auctioneer. well, this is a joke.
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what are the other bids? and they're just silent. so george washington. gets 250,000 paving stones. for $2.50. and then he gives one guy 20,000. the other 15, the other ten. and he keeps all the rest. for $2.50. i so i'm asking you. is that good business practice. is there anything illegal what he did. but is it morally and ethically right? he's cheating the system, right? it's his own. it's the city of new york. now, some of you might say, well, this is a great business practice. i get that. but maybe some of you're out there saying, yeah, but that's how these political machines operated. insider information. they run the city, and it's
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tough to get ahead. this is chicago showing immigrant populations. the city of chicag aually went into their neighborhoods to find out the ethnicity of their residents. now the colors are down here at the bottom and they're very stereotypical, unfortunate english speaking or white, irish, green. okay. so, , ere are other groups here germans, dutch, russians, poles, italians, swiss. you can't see this one. bohemian. i love that term bohemian. we don't know what to call them. we're just going to call them bohemians. here's the point. look at the variety of colors. it's not just one ethnic group. look at the multiplicity of colors living in this area of
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chicago. and the other thing is, there is some clustering. that's what it's known as. you ethnic groups living in close proximity to one another. clustering and that is a means of survival. you have arrived, america. you don't speak the language. so you move into a neighborhood where your native tongue is spoken. someone can understand you. it's where your customs and traditions will be observed. just like you were back in your homeland. if you ever wondered why we have places known as like little italy, chinatown. virtually every major american city has this kind of ethnic. and it starts here in the gilded age. all right. on the underside. what is industrialization doing
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to the environment? and i really don't like to use this phrase it i find it terribly offensive. but i don't know of a better way to say that. industrialization is going to shape the landscape again. what i'm talking about is there are no environment to laws to protect mother earth. you can go in with dynamite nitroglycerin, tnt, pressure, and you can blast away a hillside to get to the coal or the iron ore or whatever the product. and then once you have mine and that particular product, you just simply on to the next hillside. there is no legislation at all that says that you have to put the landscape back the way it was before you decided to destroy it. you've just taken advantage of that landscape and. then once you have finished, you've discard it and you've
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moved on. again, the general attitude is we don't get involved. laissez faire. so if you are an environment totally aware student, if you are green, if you will, this is one of the darkest periods in american history. the gilded age, in terms of legislation for the land, for water, for the air. it's virtually nonexistent and is no voice that can speak up for mother earth. the industrialists just take complete and full advantage of it and then toss it aside and move on. what about farms? all right, so you're thinking industrialization. okay, that surely is to help farmers. it's going to become less labor intensive. mechanization has come of age. we're going to have reapers and harvesters and tractors. and that surely will improve life. the farm.
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not so. here's part of the problem. the farmers in america were generally associated with a democratic party. the party of the common man that we talked about with the of jackson. the farm community were generally democrats. but the gilded age is dominated by the republican party. and the republican party initially was interested in trying to do something to help the freedmen. 13th. 14th, 15th amendment. and we talked about. but once they reached point, they turned their attention to business and industry. and again, either do nothing all or pass tax cuts and high protective tariffs. they're focused on business and industry. so there's no legislation whatsoever really to help the farm community and problem there also is that in this age,
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following the civil war, you have historically low for farm products, whether it's corn, whether it's cotton, there is actually more cotton grown in the south after the civil war, there was before the civil war. but prices at record low levels. and when you have very little revenue coming in because prices are so low and then you have to pay an exorbitant amount of money to ship your product to market. remember, railroads can become a monopoly and you can charge as much as you want because there's no competition. so when you've got high expenses and very price for your product. you're not going to be able to purchase that harvester or that reaper, that whatever to help make life on the farm less laborious, less task oriented.
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mark twain wrote a book called, the gilded age a tale of today, and he is really trying to call attention to what i'm calling the underside. again, part of the american story of industrialization is the rags riches, the carnegies, the rockefellers the morgans, the vanderbilts. but to truly understand american industrialization, you also need to understand what it was like to work in one of those factories, knowing full well that you could be killed or injured on job. what is it like to be an immigrant arriving without speaking the language? maybe being completely on your. what is industrialization doing to the cityscape? tenement apartments. crime. poverty. exploited. haitian at every street corner. what is it doing to the environment.
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what is it doing to? the farm community. at some point, someone or some groups will need to speak up for the underside to challenge the evils and the ills of industrialization to try to improve conditions in the factories, in the cities, on the farm. help the environment. and i'm here to tell you that is, in fact, what's going to happen. but, of course, that's our next lecture. there is more to this story, obviously, it's called the progressive era. when the government is going to pull back from being hands off to being very much hands on and trying to correct some the abuses of industrialization. but that's another story for another day. so i'm done. enjoy the rest of your day. i'll see you next


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