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Gilded Age


Bessemer Process A cheap and efficient process for making steel, developed around 1850
Transcontinental Railroad A railroad line linking the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the United States, completed in 1869
Interstate Commerce Act (1877) A law that established the federal government’s right to supervise railroad activities and created a five-member Interstate Commerce Commission to do so
Social Darwinism An economic and social philosophy—supposedly based on the biologist Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection—that a system of unrestrained competition will ensure the survival of the fittest
Sherman Antitrust Act (1890) A law that was intended to prevent the creation of monopolies by making it illegal to establish trusts that interfered with free trade
American Federation of Labor, 1886 (AFL, Samuel Gompers) An alliance of trade and craft unions; used strikes as a major tactic
Ellis Island The chief immigration station in the United States from 1892 to 1924; located in New York Harbor
Chinese Exclusion Act (1882) A law that prohibited all Chinese except students, teachers, merchants, tourists and government officials from entering the United States
Urbanization The growth of cities Americanization Movement Education program designed to help immigrants assimilate to American culture
Political Machine An organized group that controls a political party in a city and offers services to voters and businesses in exchange for political and financial support
Patronage An officeholder’s power to appoint people—usually those who have helped him or her get elected to positions in government
Gilded Age The period from the 1870s - 1890s where industry and work was dominant
Laissez-Faire The belief that the government should stay out of business regulation
Monopoly A market in which there are many buyers but only one seller