AP U.S. History is not for everyone. It is a challenging course that is meant to replicate a freshman college course and can enable students to earn college credit. It is a survey of American History from the age of exploration and discovery to the present. Solid reading and writing skills along with a willingness to devote considerable time to homework and study are necessary to succeed.
Course Objectives – Students will
- Master a broad body of historical knowledge
- Demonstrate an understanding of historical chronology
- Use historical data to support an argument or position
- Differentiate between historiographical schools of thought
- Interpret and apply data from original documents, including cartoons, graphs, letters, etc.
- Effectively use analytical skills of evaluation, cause and effect, compare and contrast
- Work effectively with others to produce products and to solve problems
- Prepare for and successfully pass the AP U. S. History Exam
Use the links below to learn the various aspects of industrialization. Below the link, there are questions related to what you just read or viewed. Your final answers should be typed and I will collect them in class when we are done. We will go over the questions at the end of the webquest.
Statue of Liberty-Dedicated on October 28, 1886
- Why is this webquest starting with a picture of the Statue of Liberty? Speculate two or three reasons why this webquest would start with a picture of "Lady Liberty."
1. Transcontinental Railroads
The building of the transcontinental road expanded (literally) after the Civil War. Watch these two clips on the building of the railroad and answer the questions.
A) Before the building of the transcontinental railroad, there were three ways to get across the country. Name them.
B) Why was the period between 1850 and 1900, the "golden age of railroads?"
C)Name the two engineers who shared the same dream to connect the East and West Coasts of the country.
D)How did federal government help the building process?
2. Captains of Industry or Robber Barrons: Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller Sr., John D. Rockefeller Jr., J.P. Morgan Chase
The following is a short biography on Andrew Carnegie
Please read the following biography on Andrew Carnegie from PBS.
A) In what ways is Carnegie a true "rags to riches" story?
B) Why did Carnegie choose the steel industry?
C) How did the Bessemer process change the steel industry and Carnegie's business for the better?
D) Before selling his business to J.P. Morgan, how much was Carnegie's personal fortune?
E) How much did he donate to charity?
In 1889, Carnegie wrote The Gospel of Wealth. Because there was no income tax during this time, people like Carnegie emassed a fortune of personal wealth. What do you do with all of this money? In this essay, Carnegie answers this question. Below are some selections from the essay.
The problem of our age is the administration of wealth, so that the ties of brotherhood may still bind together the rich and poor in harmonious relationship. The conditions of human life have not only been changed, but revolutionized, within the past few hundred years. In former days there was little difference between the dwelling, dress, food, and environment of the chief and those of his retainers. . . . The contrast between the palace of the millionaire and the cottage of the laborer with us today measures the change which has come with civilization.
This change, however, is not to be deplored, but welcomed as highly beneficial. It is well, nay, essential for the progress of the race, that the houses of some should be homes for all that is highest and best in literature and the arts, and for all the refinements of civilization, rather than that none should be so. Much better this great irregularity than universal squalor. Without wealth there can be no Maecenas [Note: a rich Roman patron of the arts]. The "good old times" were not good old times . Neither master nor servant was as well situated then as to day. A relapse to old conditions would be disastrous to both-not the least so to him who serves-and would sweep away civilization with it....
Carnegie argued there were three ways to give away money. One, was to give it to your eldest son similar to the idea of promogeniture in a dynasty. Carnegie was not in favor of this. Second, die and have your family decide how to distribute the money. Carnegie didn't like this way because he wrote that you couldn't be certain the money would get into the right hands. Thus, he argued for number three which you will read below.
There remains, then, only one mode of using great fortunes: but in this way we have the true antidote for the temporary unequal distribution of wealth, the reconciliation of the rich and the poor-a reign of harmony-another ideal, differing, indeed from that of the Communist in requiring only the further evolution of existing conditions, not the total overthrow of our civilization. It is founded upon the present most intense individualism, and the race is prepared to put it in practice by degrees whenever it pleases. Under its sway we shall have an ideal state, in which the surplus wealth of the few will become, in the best sense, the property of the many, because administered for the common good, and this wealth, passing through the hands of the few, can be made a much more potent force for the elevation of our race than if it had been distributed in small sums to the people themselves. Even the poorest can be made to see this, and to agree that great sums gathered by some of their fellowcitizens and spent for public purposes, from which the masses reap the principal benefit, are more valuable to them than if scattered among them through the course of many years in trifling amounts.
. . .
This, then, is held to be the duty of the man of Wealth: First, to set an example of modest, unostentatious living, shunning display or extravagance; to provide moderately for the legitimate wants of those dependent upon him; and after doing so to consider all surplus revenues which come to him simply as trust funds, which he is called upon to administer, and strictly bound as a matter of duty to administer in the manner which, in his judgment, is best calculated to produce the most beneficial result for the community-the man of wealth thus becoming the sole agent and trustee for his poorer brethren, bringing to their service his superior wisdom, experience, and ability to administer-doing for them better than they would or could do for themselves.
Carnegie's ideas are similar to idea of Social Darwinism or the idea that a stronger society has the duty to help the weaker one. In case, wealthier individuals must help the poor.
The Homestead Strike
As Karl Marx and Frederick Engels wrote in The Communist Manifesto, "Those that create the wealth do not allows share in it." The workers in the steel mills worked long hours at low pay. As the 1880s progressed into the 1890s, the rise of worker unions and strikes became more common. One famous (or infamous) was the Homestead Strike. The following is a summary of the strike.
A) How did the strike begin?
B) How was the strike ended?
C) How did the strike change people's view of Carnegie?
4. The following is a biography on John D. Rockefeller Sr.
A) In 1863, Rockefeller entered this business?
B) Why did he create Standard Oil?
C) Define the term Vertical Integration?
D) Why did Rockefeller run Standard Oil in this fashion?
E) How did Rockefeller eliminate competition? Why?
F) By 1879, Standard Oil controlled how much of the oil supply in the U.S.? In the world?
G) Explain the difference between a pool and a trust.
H) Define the work philanthropy.
I) Name some examples of both Carnegie and Rockefeller's philantropy.
5. Like Carnegie, Rockefeller had his critics. Perhaps his most famous was Ida Tarbell, who between 1902 and 1904 published "The History of Standard Oil" which was both critical and complementary of the way Rockefeller and Standard Oil make their money. Read the last thre selections.
A) How does Tarbell explain Rockefeller's genius?
B) How did Rockefeller react to public opinion?
C) What does Tarbell write about Rockefeller's character.
6. Robber Barron or Captain of Industry
See how Carnegie, Rockefeller, and other giants of industry are portrayed in the following political cartoons.
7. Labor Unions
Watch the first 7:10 of this video on the Knights of Labor. Then answer the questions below the link.
A) When were the Knights of Labor founded?
B) Who was Terrence Powderly?
C) How many hour work day did the KOL fight for?
D) Why did Powerderly disagree with strikes?
E) True or False: Only skilled laborers were allowed membership in the KOL.
F) What was unique and historic about the membership of the KOL?
G) Explain the events of the Haymarket Square Rally on May 4, 1886.
H)How did these events cause a severe loss in membership for the KOL?
8. Below is a short reading on the American Federation of Labor (AFL).
A) Who started the AFL?
B) How did the AFL differ from KOL in terms of membership?
C) Did the AFL support the use of strikes?
D) When did unskilled workers finally become members of the AFL?
9. Boss Tweed
So what role did governments, local, state, and federal have during this time? At the federal level, the philosophy was one of laissez-faire or "hands off." The country's economic was booming and the federal government did not want to interfere. After the assasination of President Lincoln in 1865, one could argue the next dominant president is William McKinley in 1896 following by Teddy Roosevelt. One exception to laissez-faire was the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1887 and a few Supreme Court cases involving railroads. I will go over those with you in class.
Mark Twain famously called this period in American history the "Gilded Age." Gilded mean covered or plated with gold. For Twain, while America was booming economically, when you peeled away the gold, success came at a price.
An important contributor to the economic success of the country was labor done by immigrants. We will focus more on immigration in class. As you will see from the videos below, immigrants created the wealth but didn't neccessarily share in it.
Perhaps the best example of governments taking a hands off approach occurred in New York City in the 1860s and 1870s under William "Boss" Tweed. The leaders or heads of political parties or organizations, a party boss, created what became known as a political machine. The following two clips explain how Boss Tweed ran his political machine in New York City. The first one is from the movie Gangs of New York.
A) What was Boss Tweed's official title?
B) Why was the support of immigrants important to Tweed?
C) How did Boss Tweed help New York?
D) How did he hinder New York?
E) Approximately, how much money did he embezzle over his lifetime?
F) Why did the government look the other way?
10. Jacob Riis-How the Other Half Lives
While people like Rockefeller had Kykuit, many immigrants lived in small, cramped apartments known as tenements. The reaction to the Guilded Age will be the Progressive Era. People like Riis were known as muckrackers or journalists who exposed the harsh realities for many people during this time. Below are photos from How the Other Half Lives.
- Write a reaction (a few sentences) to the pictures you viewed.