Patriot's History: Reform 1876-96 (Chap 12)

Thomas Edison Recording of Onward Christian Soldiers (written 1871, performed 1900)
Working on the Railroad (written 1894, performed by Paul Tremaine, 1929)
Blue Danube Waltz (composed by Johann Strauss, 1867)

Late 19th century, tremendous growth in industry,
and most will benefit, despite persistent poverty.
Industrious Americans fare best, and Labor learns
that business plans - not violence - bring maximum returns.

The 1870s, and ending patronage was Hayes'
specific goal, and after Grant's disgraceful years, to raise
the standards. Garfield next, encountered an assassin's rage.
Then Arthur - first of the Republicans who would engage
in cutting taxes. Later Cleveland, business advocate,
last Democrat against big government, and passionate
for all things Constitutional. The newest buzzword was reform,
addressing public health and anti-trust amidst a storm
of conflict over inequality, as poverty
persisted while the greatest ever growth in industry
improved the lives of most. But in the cities excrement
was dumped in streets and rivers, causing to a great extent
the rise of typhoid, cholera, and death. The use of gas
and wood caused massive fires (as in Chicago). Lower-class
New York was plagued by prostitutes - a thousand every mile -
and record whiskey levels helped the populace defile
their city. Better water systems - public, private both -
and electricity ensured that economic growth
and better health would reach the masses. Now the city grew,
and scraped the sky with money centers and the ballyhoo
of men like Carnegie (pro-Labor, anti-Union): steel
would build the nation. Rockefeller, seeing oil's appeal,
would make it "cheap and good." And both were great philanthropists.
And J.P. Morgan, blamed unfairly for financial trysts,
was bailing out the government! Yes, inequality
was real, but Labor surely shared in the prosperity
as wages grew. And for industrious Americans
the stirring maxim "anything is possible" begins
to tell the story. Yet the Knights of Labor, violence,
Haymarket Square (Chicago) dramatized a nation tense
with radicals and socialists, until the AFL
of Gompers learned a business-structured union could compel
a boss to raise his wages. "Granger" unions on the farms
were torn by strife -- attempts at "raising hell" were false alarms
of progress for the worker. Then the Sherman Anti-Trust
fiasco: it ironically made business more robust
by instituting top-to-bottom corporate control.
And as the century was ending, this defines the role
of voters: business and the freedman went Republican,
while Dems had Labor and the Southern white American.

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