And the first grading frenzy has ended…

This semester, I’m teaching four classes that had exams in the past couple of weeks.  As usual, the students continue to amaze me with their grasp of historical knowledge–or, occasionally, their revisionist interpretations of the past.  These selections are from HST 4401 (History of Pennsylvania) and HST 2202 (United States History Since 1877–both online and on campus sections). 

From HST 4401 (History of Pennsylvania)

The Pennsylvanian Quakers mostly feared the growing amount of Anglicans in the colony.  This is because they began to realize that the Quakers that still lived in England were not so willing to leave the old world and come to the new world.  The colony also included Protestants, which brought about the Protestant Reformation.  The Protestant reformation wanted to translate the bible into many languages, and the separation in the church between Catholics and Protestants to be over.

In 1753 the French and Indian war broke out.  This caused people of all religions to ban together and fight.

From HST 2202 (United States History Since 1877)


Rockefellers Company expanded so much it started to develop kerosene.

Cleveland pushed hard for foreign policy when he attacked Soma, to get rights to a naval station.

You fall asleep and you wake up and realize its 1900, time flew by way to fast. You look around and everything has changed, the nation is in a better place economically there is no more farmers being over productive.

Another important event would be the implementation of the Chinese Exclusion Act.  This act was put in place to suspend Chinese.  It was originally supposed to be a ten year plan however congress decided to add on another ten years making it go from 1882-1992.

Business in the late nineteenth century was just begging to find its place in America.

The rise of big business and industry had impacted the labor force by creating jobs with the introduction of mass assembly, mass marketing, and mass production.  The American Indians had thought they were going to keep the land they owned forever.  This changed once the value of the land was learned.  The federal government did not care about labor laws, or management, as long as they got what they wanted.  Then the civil war had came, and they needed to change their attitude towards slavery. 

The Spanish American war was the most crucial change in this time period in my opinion.  It gave Teddy Roosevelt the notoriety that he needed to eventually become the president of the United States.  It also let the U.S. purchase the Philippians and gave Puerto Rico, Guam and Cuba their independence.  Without this war, the U.S. might not have gotten control of the Phiippians which would prove as a vital navy yard for their trade markets.

Andrew Carnegie was an immigrant from Scotland who was a telegraph clerk for Thomas Scott.  He was also worked on the PA railroad as a right-hand man.

Rockefeller made his fortune in the oil industry.  He started to use rates, which are discounts given by the railroad company on shipments, and pools, which were agreements with the railroad administrators to divide the volume of freight in order to raise prices, in order to get ahead of his competitors.  He also convinced the railroad company to buy rebates and therefor was able to obtain rebates not only on his shipments but also on his rivals’ shipments as well.

In most cases the federal government sided with the employers as they told them not to employ anyone involved with unions or strikes because they would only cause them more problems down the road.

Steel mining was also important during this time seeing that it was the most efficient metal to use for the construction and expansion of railroads, seeing that it was stronger and lasted longer.

Men such as Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, and other magnets of their era rose up from the social Darwin world they lived in where “survival of the fittest” was the common belief.

James McParlan:

James McParlan corrupted the Mollies and the WBA, and ended the WBA strike through the Pinkerton Agency. 

James McParlan was a secret agent for the Irish.  H was part of the Molly Maguires.  He was hired by mine owners to report about the Pinkerton agency.  Because of this hey went on strike.  This was the start of getting control of workers unions and better working laws.

Pendleton Act:

The Pendelton Act passed in 1883 to help end political corruption forever changed the face of the federal government, before it was the biggest contributors that got the high ranking positions in government, many of which were in the U.S postal service. Now it was the most qualified instead and this made the government more honest and functional since the previous employees were incompetent.

Pendleton Act The Pendleton act came about due to politics being corrupt. This corruption of government jobs seemed to be based on politicians paying voters with incentives. It seemed you really didn’t have to have any qualifications as a public leader to be voted in to government jobs.

The Pendleton act than outlawed any political positions to give incentives for votes.

The Pendleton Act outlawed political corruption and contributions by office holders.  This made politics more genuine and for the people.  This caused people to have the right to vote on who they wanted in office.

The Pendleton Act is significant to this time period because it stopped the act of political contributions which meant that no candidate could pay to rig and win the election.  This allowed the candidates to stand on issues that were on hand and allowed the government to start resolving important issues within society.

Sherman Antitrust Act:

The Sherman Antitrust Act provided the people with destroying trusts which allowed the government to stay involved within business and try and regulate them a little without them getting too big and trying to take over.

Sherman Antitrust Act- Congress created the Sherman Antitrust Act on a Federal Level in 1890 because the American public was upset and disgusted with the high tariffs and trusts. This was brought on by big business… during the election the democrats promised a tariff reduction if their candidate won. The Republicans didn’t want lower tariffs so this just caused a dirty election. This Sherman Antitrust Act started out on a state level where states could control the tariffs but big businesses just moved to other states hat didn’t really enforce the law on the tariffs so therefore this is why congress had to step in. The Act kept big businesses from getting away from not having to pay tariffs.

Due to workers having poor working conditions and their wages being cut violent outbreaks of strikes took place. The government tried to step in with the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, which was to try to break the current strike that was occurring as well as any future strikes.

Sherman Anti-trust Act:  This was initially supposed to dissolve the trusts.  It was put in place because states had already begun enforcing their own anti-trust rules because tariffs and trusts were unfavorable.  The Sherman Anti-trust Act was put into place by congress to help the states because their actions were mostly unsuccessful.  In the end, it led to the Sherman Silver Purchase Act which made the United States government purchase 4.5 million ounces of silver every month at 16 to 1.  This was very important because it kept inflation down.

Sherman Antitrust Act – The Sherman Antitrust Act was vital in the development of the United States.  As a result of its passing, the United States was more opened up to foreign trade, which is one of the major bases of our economy;  this lead to our economy flourishing over time.

Sherman Antitrust Act – Enacted in 1890, by Congress it was to stop high tariffs and trusts on trade. This act was ineffective with most large companies; however it broke up labor strikes by the courts getting involved.

Battle of Homestead:

The Battle of Homestead was the strike that the factory workers at Carnegies Steel Factory had done.  This strike caused much tension between the workers and the employers.  The employers tried to send in the Pinkertons to break the strike up, but it backfired and caused a small war between the strikers and the Pinkertons, in which casualties from both sides occurred.  The Pinkertons retreated.  The strike ended with the Federal Government recognizing labor unions.

Omaha Platform:

Ohmaha Platform-a set of items conveyed into a platform of what the government (also the Knights of Labor) wanted to happen to essentially return power to the “small man” or the normal guy regarding working conditions, and the way farms run. (not sure that I understood this accurately?)

Pullman Strike:

The Pullman Strike of 1894 was important in that it allowed Eugene V. Debbs to make socialism more respectable than it was previously. The government’s action in favor of the management inspired Debbs to preach socialism with American values, making the party stronger.

The Pullman strike has important historical significance. Leading up to the Pullman Strike, wages were cut due to an economic depression and negotiation wasn’t an option.  There was a railroad boycott and this affected the railways. After the Pullman Strike, a man, Debs, was imprisoned and he came out socialist and made a socialist movement more affective.   He repaired the damage done by the Pullman Strike.

Cross of Gold Speech:

The Cross of Gold speech was William Bryan’s speech that won his nomination for the Democratic candidate for the election of 1896.  This was significant because this speech spoke for those in the south.  He spoke about silver, appealing to farmers, and comforting the people about inflammation.

Ida Tarbell:

Ida Tarbell was the daughter of Rockefeller (owner of Standard Oil Company).  She would document how the Standard Oil Company would operate and why they shouldn’t be a monopoly.  She was a Muckraker because she dug up dirt that she then published to the middle and working class.

Ida Tarbell- Ida Tarbell was the daughter of the “PA Oilman,” John Rockefeller and a well known muckraker. She used facts and figures in her articles.  She was known to bring down the big guy, who was her father.

Ida Tarbell:  She was a yellow journalist who wrote the book “History of Standard Oil Corporation.”  In this book she would go on to explain why Standard Oil was a bad and corrupt company.  The historical significance she had was rather small, because she was known as a pest just like other yellow journalists.

Ida Tarbell, a Muckraker, was a women journalist who wanted to expose the dangers of hard and unfair labor in the late nineteenth century.  Tarbell, a well known journalist during the Progressive Era, published History of Standard Oil Corporation.  Tarbell published many pieces that would expose the dangers of factory life.

Ida Tarbell was significant because she wrote about the standard Oil Company and how it was a big conspiracy.  She wrote to inform the public of how things needed to change and this was all a big hoax to get the union destroyed.



About Karen

History Professor. Baseball fan. Author of two books, one of which I force my students to buy and read. You want me on your Trivial Pursuit team.
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