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Robber Barons and Rebels Essay

1. What was the technology that transformed the work-place from 1865-1900? What economic and social effects did the new technology have on American society?

2.Why did it “take money to make money” during the period of rapid economic expansion after the Civil War? What are the implications of this for the potential for social mobility?

3.How did J.P. Morgan justify his methods of doing business?

4. What role did philanthropy play in maintaining the status quo? How does this inform your understanding of the heated debate of the last fifteen years about whether the U.S. government should give grants to artists and scientists?

5. How did the educational system function as a tool to reproduce the system? In your experience, are today’s educational structure, methods, and content any different from they were in the late nineteenth century?

6. What was Henry George’s solution to the unequal distribution of wealth? What was Edward Bellamy’s? What evidence indicates that these ideas were popular at the time?

7. What was the major tactical disagreement between the AFL (American Federation of Labor) and the Knights in 1886?

8. How did business respond when the 1886 strike for the eight-hour day successfully “paralyzed most of the industries in Chicago”?

9. Were the executions of Spies, Parsons, Fischer, and Engel a tactic on the part of business and government to damage the effectiveness of the labor movement? If it was, did it work?

10. What successes did the labor movement score in the 1880s and 1890s?

11. What was Frick’s strategy to break the steel-workers’ union at the Homestead steel plant? Did the plan work? What is the evidence to support your answer?

12. What was the effect of the mass demonstrations that immediately followed the economic collapse beginning in 1893?

13. Why were black workers reluctant to support the Pullman strike?

14. Why did the strike at the Pullman plant in Chicago become a nationwide strike?

15. On what pretext did the federal government side with the railroad owners?

16. Why did the number of tenant families increase steadily throughout the post- Civil War period (post-1865)? What actions did the farmers take to oppose this trend?

17. How did the Democratic party use race to defeat the Populists in the South?

18. Why would creating an alternative culture be a priority for both the Alliance and Populist movements? (How did Alliance and Populist teachings differ from the official teachings in the public school system?)


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