1890s New York City
In the years after the Civil War, America's cities boomed as people left the rural areas of Europe and the United States to seek jobs and other attractions offered by American cities. The rapid growth of cities caused many problems in housing, transportation, and health. Technological attacks on these problems barely kept pace, and city governments often resorted to boss rule to cope. The booming cities were places of intellectual ferment and cultural change. Urban dwellers found many ways to enjoy increased leisure time. Many Americans wanted to prove to skeptical Europeans that the nation had cultural as well as economic accomplishments to admire. American culture became more uniform through free public education, mass-market journalism, and standardized sports. Higher education, especially new state universities, reached out to a wider market. More and more women attended college in coeducational and single-sex institutions.
Brinkley, Alan (2007). American history: A survey. New York, New York: McGraw Hill.
Politics and the State: 1876-1900
1866 National Labor Union founded.
1867 National Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry founded.
1868 Fourteenth Amendment explicitly restricts suffrage to males.
1869 Knights of Labor founded.
1873 Congress passes the Coinage Act, terminating the minting of silver dollars.
1874 Greenback Party organized.
1875 Congress passes the Resumption Act. Supreme Court rules in Minor v. Happersett that right to vote is not inherent in citizenship.
1877 The Great Railroad Strike of 1877. Southern Farmers Alliance organized.
Supreme Court decides Munn v. Illinois.
1881 President James Garfield assassinated. Chester Arthur sworn in.
1883 Congress passes the Pendleton Act, creating a Civil Service Commission.
1885 First appearance in print of the word "unemployment."
1886 American Federation of Labor founded. May Day strike for the eight-hour workday. Haymarket Square bombing.
1887 Congress passes the Interstate Commerce Act.
1890s Southern states pass laws aimed at disfranchising blacks.
1890 National American Woman's Suffrage Association founded. Congress passes the Sherman Silver Purchase Act. Congress passes the Sherman Anti-Trust Act.
1892 Formation of the People?s Party. Grover Cleveland elected president.
1893 Congress repeals all laws authorizing federal supervision of southern elections. Panic of 1893 triggers severe depression. Sherman Silver Purchase Act repealed
1894 Pullman Strike.
1895 Supreme Court issues three decisions U.S. v. E.C. Knight, In Re Debs, and Pollack v. Farmers Loan and Trust Co. restricting state regulatory laws.
1896 William McKinley defeats William Jennings Bryan to win presidency.
1900 Congress passes Gold Standard Act.
Demographic Changes: The late nineteenth century witnessed an incredible growth in urban areas, fueled primarily by waves of immigrants from Europe and other parts of the world. Many of these so-called "new" immigrants came from southern and eastern Europe, gradually replacing the earlier patterns of immigration from northern Europe, known as the "old" immigration. In addition, a significant internal migration occurred following the Civil War, driven largely by men and women from rural areas and African Americans from the South who moved to cities in search of new economic opportunities.
Economic Transformations: The development of railroads and other forms of transportation and communication helped to facilitate the growth of a national market in the post1865 period. As more and more Americans came to reside in urban areas, the growing prosperity produced by the Second Industrial Revolution, particularly among the middle class, helped to create a mass consumer society. Large retail chains and mail order houses took advantage of economies of scale to drive out smaller competitors, making their goods available to people in all parts of the country.
Culture: Mechanization and greater efficiency of production changed how Americans used their time. The development of new American conceptions of leisure helped to produce greater emphasis on recreation and entertainment, especially in the areas of spectator sports, music and theater, and later, the movies. These new forms of recreation tended to have an intensely public character, although they often remained divided along racial, ethnic, class, and gender lines. In the intellectual realm, the growing popularity of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution produced an intellectual revolution in the United States, fueling the growth of the social sciences, but also creating a long running split between its followers and its opponents, a split that continues today.
Politics and Citizenship: Municipal governments, reflecting the period's individualist ethos, were unable to meet the growing needs of their largely immigrant populations. Urban political machines, which were frequently corrupt and dishonest but nonetheless provided needed services to their constituents, filled the vacuum. Middle-class Americans became concerned about this system, which they dubbed "boss rule," and gradually sought to replace these machines with more honest, efficient government, leading to the eventual emergence of the Progressive movement at the end of the nineteenth century.
American Identity: The growth of the city in many ways transformed Americans' conception of their nation's character. Urbanization challenged the longstanding Jeffersonian ideal of a nation of small, independent farmers. The Hamiltonian vision of an industrial republic triumphed in the Civil War and continued into the postwar period. While the growth of cities brought numerous benefits, it also forced the United States to come to terms with many of the social problems that had plagued Europe and other parts of the world, undermining the long-running belief in American exceptionalism.
George, J. & Brown, J. (2007). AP achiever: Advanced placement american history exam preparation guide. McGraw Hill.