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Gilded Age: From Frontier to Factory Timeline
1845 The term, "Manifest Destiny," appears for the first time in the expansionist magazine the Democratic Review, in an article by the editor, John OíSullivan.
1845 Texas joins the Union as the twenty-eight state.
1846 Congress approves a declaration of war with Mexico.
1848 The Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo ends war with Mexico.  The U.S. gains land including  present day Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California.
1862 The Homestead Act passed. Allows citizens to acquire up to 160 acres by settling on public land for five years and paying $1.25 an acre. 
1865 The frontier city of Chicago opens its Union stockyards. With the building of railroads,  particularly with the laying of transcontinental tracks, Chicago, centered as it was on the  prairie, comes into its own. Gustavus Swiftís invention of the refrigerated train car helps to  make Chicago the foremost meat processing and meat packing capital of the U.S. 
1869 The first Transcontinental Railroad is completed. The Central Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads meet in Promontory, Utah.
1869 Riots against the Chinese take place in San Francisco. 
1870 The Standard Oil Company of Ohio is incorporated in Cleveland. It is the beginning of Rockefellerís great oil ventures. 
1871 William "Boss" Tweed is exposed in a series of articles published in the New York Times.  Tweed will be brought up on trial and held responsible for taking up to $200,000,000 in  fraudulent contracts, kickbacks, and other corrupt practices which have brought New York City to the verge of bankruptcy in six short years. Boss Tweed dies in jail in 1878.
1871 Race riots erupt in Los Angeles against the Chinese. Fifteen Chinese laborers are lynched in the ongoing violence which has begun to characterize opposition to Asian immigration. 
1872 The Credit Mobilier scandal erupts in the press. During the building of the transcontinental railway, which was done with considerable government money, directors of the Union Pacific Railroad formed a company and then awarded themselves the rich construction contracts. During the life of the company, named Credit Mobilier of America, millions of dollars were siphoned into the pockets of the directors and their friends. In order to forestall congressional investigations, one of the directors distributed shares to congressmen, Cabinet officers, and even to Vice President Schuyler Colfax.
1873 The Timber Culture Act authorizes grants of lands to homesteaders who will agree to plant trees on a quarter of his land. 
1873 The Panic of 1873, the result of overtrading, overproduction, and overspeculation, causes 5,000 businesses to fail. By 1879, 10,478 businesses will have closed. 
1873 Indian Wars with the Modoc Indians of Oregon. The Modoc leaders are captured and hanged; the rest are transferred to a reservation in the Dakotas.
1874 Joseph Glidden invents barbed wire. The roaming herds of wild buffalo could be kept off farm  land in the west; free range became private pasture land; cowboys became settled ranchers and farmers could feel more secure.
1874 Between the years of 1872 and 1874, the buffalo are hunted to near extinction. "Buffalo Bill"  Cody leads the hunt, but soon professional hide-hunters, big game hunters, and wild west tours,  pour in to take part in this astonishing slaughter. The Army winks at the butchery, hoping that  these hunts will keep Indians on their reservations and clear the way for American  development of the west. 
1875 Tariff Act of 1875 raises tariffs 10 percent.
1875 The Whiskey Ring Scandal is exposed. Through blackmail and threats, Republican leaders large and small have been snared into cooperation with the leaders, and shakedowns of millions from distillers and government taxes have occurred. 
1876 National League baseball plays its first official game. Jim OíRourke gets the first hit, and Boston beats Philadelphia, six to five.
1876 The Centennial Exposition opened by President Grant in Philadelphia in May. The focus of the fair is Machinery Hall,  13 acre building that displays Americaís inventions of recent decades, including the telephone, the telegraph, the mimeograph, and the 2500 horsepower Corliss engine later bought by George Pullman for his sleeper-car factory. In the six months the fair is open, just under 10,000,000 people wander awestruck through its grounds.
1876 General Armstrong Custer is defeated by Chief Crazy Horse, Chief Gall, and Chief Two Moons at the Battle of Little Bighorn, known as "Custerís Last Stand." The nation is so revolted by the defeat that it tacitly concurred in the extinction of the Sioux nation. Army efforts are savage and successful, and the Sioux are squeezed into reservations by 1877.
1876 The disputed election of 1876. According to the Compromise of 1877, Hayes will be declared the winner. 
1877 The Compromise of 1877. Results in end to military intervention in the South and the fall of the last radical governments; restores "home rule" in the South.
1877 The Desert Land Act is enacted by Congress to encourage the development of arid lands by farmers who have found land unprofitable in the Great Plains and Southwest. The act offers any person paying  25 cents an acre an entire section, or 640 acres,  if he irrigates some part of his land claim within the next three years. If in that time he can prove irrigation of the land, he needs to pay only one more dollar per acre and the land is his. 
1877 The Great railroad strike of 1877 begins as workers walk out on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. Railroad unions demand better working conditions, and protest recent 10 percent cuts in pay. Strikes spread to other railroads and soon, all large cities from the Atlantic to the Pacific are pulled into the struggle. The strike lasts over two weeks, and is finally settled by Federal Troops sent in by President Hayes.
1878 The Timber and Stone act is passed, permitting the cutting of timber on public land to increase the acreage of farm land. 
1878 Thomas Edison establishes Edison Electric Light Co; it soon eats up its rivals and becomes General Electric.
1878 Terence Powderly takes over as the leader of the Knights of Labor.
1879 Feeling against "cheap Chinese labor" is running so high in California that when the state is adopting a new constitution, a clause is inserted and accepted which forbids employment of any Chinese laborers. 
1880 The population if the United States has reached 50,100,000, of which 6,600,000 are foreign born. 
1880 George Eastman patents a roll of film for cameras. By 1885 a box camera with the film sealed inside was on the market. By 1891 Eastman had perfected the daylight loading camera, and the first pocket Kodak was in use by 1895.
1880 Andrew Carnegie has a monopoly of the steel industry.
1881 James Garfield is inaugurated president and Chester A. Arthur becomes vice president. 
1881 James Garfield is assassinated by Charles Guiteau. Chester A. Arthur becomes president.
1881 Under the leadership of Samuel Gompers, the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions of the United States, the forerunner of the American Federation of Labor, is formed. 
1882 John D. Rockefeller organizes the Standard Oil Trust to circumvent the laws of individual  states which set limits to the running of his organization The brainchild of lawyer Samuel T. Dodd, the trust is immediately successful and becomes the example upon which other large corporations will model their organizations
1882 Chinese Exclusion Act passed, which excludes Chinese immigration to the United States.
1882 Thomas Edisonís Pearl Street steam powered central station begins to supply electricity and New York begins to sparkle with an incandescent glow. 
1882 The first parade is held in New York City to honor the observance of Labor Day. In 1894 Congress will declare The first Monday in September National Labor day and a legal holiday. It is a sign that the labor movement and the status of labor are becoming central to the nationís concerns. 
1882 For the first time, Congress acts to restrict immigration on a selective basis. Standards are not very stringent, but the bill will bar paupers, convicts, and the insane. 
1883 Begun in 1869, he Brooklyn Bridge is completed, and opened with great fanfare by Chester A. Arthur and Governor Grover Cleveland. New Yorkers are convinced that it is the eighth wonder of the world.
1884 Grover Cleveland is elected President, and Thomas Hendricks is vice president.
1884 The worldís first true "skyscraper" is completed.  A ten-story building called the Home Life Insurance building, designed by William Le Baron Jenne,  is constructed in Chicago. The invention of the steel skeleton upon which floors and walls are hung, is one of the biggest steps ever made in architecture. 
1886 Riots against the Chinese in Seattle, Washington. At least 400 aliens are forcibly ejected from their homes. Federal Troops are required to restore order. 
1886 Haymarket Square Riot. About 1,300-1,400 people gather in Chicagoís Haymarket Square to protest police brutality against striking workers that had been exercised the day before. 180 police arrive to disperse the throng. From somewhere a bomb is thrown into the midst of the police. Terror grips the country as strikers are associated with violent anarchists who are bent 
 on the destruction of all governments. 
1886 In one of its most important rulings ever, the Supreme Court in Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad rules that a corporation is a person under the Fourteenth Amendment and therefore cannot be deprived of profits or other rights.
1886 The American Federation of Labor is organized by Samuel Gompers.
1887 The Dawes Severalty Act is passed by Congress. It provides for 160 acres to be given individually to each Indian family. 
1888 Congress establishes a Department of Labor.
1888 Benjamin Harrison is elected president of the United States, and Levi Morton becomes vice president. 
1889 North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Washington are all admitted to statehood. 
1889 Responding to public pressure, land in Oklahoma formally ceded to the Indians is opened to white settlers by government decree. 
1890 Sherman Anti-trust Act is passed. It makes illegal "every contract, combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce among the several states, or with foreign nations."
1890 Wyoming enters the Union as the first state to have womenís suffrage. 
1890 McKinley Tariff Act passed by Congress, raising tariffs to their highest point ever.
1890 Jacob Riis publishes How the Other Half Lives.
1891 Thomas Edison receives a patent for his motion picture camera.
1891 Thomas Edison is granted a patent for the first meaningful radio device. 
1892 Ellis Island opens. More than half a million immigrants are arriving yearly and Castle Garden has become too small for such a multitude. Ellis Island will process over 20 million people before it closes in 1954.
1892 The Homestead Steel Strike erupts at Carnegieís Steel mill in Pennsylvania. The manager,  Henry Clay Frick, will not recognize the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workersí  right to bargain collectively. The strike lasts five months. Frick gets the governor to send in 7,000 militiamen.
1892 Close to 2 million acres of the Crow Indian reservation in Montana are opened to white settlers. 
1893 President Cleveland is inaugurated for a second term.
1893 Frederick Jackson Turner delivers his address, "The Significance of the Frontier in American History" at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago.
1893 The Panic of 1893. Four years of deep depression begin with the crash of the New York Stock Market.
1893 Eugene V. Debs founds the militant American Railway Union.
1894 Jacob Sechler Coxey leads 400 people, known as "Coxeyís Army," from Ohio to Washington,  D.C. The marchers protest unemployment. Underlying their protests is their sense that the government refuses to legislate in favor of working people. Coxey is arrested for trespassing, and the "army" melts away. 
1894 The Pullman Strike erupts. Workers at the Pullman Palace Car company protest the fact that the management has reduced its payroll and substantially reduced wages without reducing rents in its model workersí homes, nor prices in its company stores. 
1894 Eugene V. Debs calls a sympathy strike of all railway workers. The Railway Managersí Association refuses to negotiate and hires 3,600 deputy marshals to break the strike. 
1894 The U.S. Government issues an injunction against the striking railway workers on the grounds of "interference with interstate commerce and postal service." The injunction orders Debs to call off the strike. That the Pullman cars do not carry mail is disregarded by Cleveland. Federal Troops are sent to enforce the injunction, and several months later, Debs is sent to prison for his part in the railway strike. 
1895 U.S. v. E.C. Knight Co. The Supreme Court finds that the Sherman Anti-Trust Act is applicable only to monopolies involved in interstate trade. Ruling that a sugar combine is beyond the law, the Court draws a fine line between manufacturing and commerce. This ruling temporarily renders the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, which had been designed to regulate all forms of trusts, useless. 
1895 In Re Debs. The Supreme Court turns the Sherman Act against labor by declaring a federal injunction issued against railway strikers for hindering interstate commerce. 
1896 The first public showing of a moving picture is presented at Koster and Bialís Music Hall in New York City.
1896 Plessy v. Ferguson  case upholds the "separate but equal" doctrine.
1896 McKinley wins the presidential election, and Garret Hobart is vice president. 
1896 The Dingley Tariff passes Congress, raising tariffs higher than they have ever been raised before. 
1900 McKinley wins a second term as president. Theodore Roosevelt is vice president.
1901 The United States Steel Company, formed by J. P. Morgan,  is incorporated, creating the first billion dollar corporation in America. 
1901 President McKinley is shot by Anarchist Leon Czolgosz as he attends a reception in Buffalo. He dies a week later of his wounds, and Theodore Roosevelt is president. 
1901 Theodore Dreiserís Sister Carrie is published.
1903 Orville and Wilbur Wright make the first four successful flights of an air machine in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. 
1904 Theodore Roosevelt is elected president, and Charles W. Fairbanks becomes vice president.
1905 Lochner v. New York. The Supreme Court finds unconstitutional a state law which limits maximum working hours for bakers. The Court holds that such a law interferes with the right to free contract and is an improper use of police powers. 
1905 The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) is organized in Chicago, led by William "Big Bill" Haywood.
1906 The San Francisco Board of Education orders that all children of Oriental extraction shall attend a purely Oriental school. The President persuades the Mayor of San Francisco to rescind the order with the understanding that the White House will attempt to discourage Japanese immigration to the United States. 
1907 The "Gentlemanís Agreement" restricts Japanese immigration to the United States. 
1907 Oklahoma is admitted to the Union.
1908 Henry Ford introduces his famous Model T. 
1908 William Howard Taft is elected president, and James S. Sherman is vice president.
1908 The "Ashcan school" is founded. Led by Robert Henri and centered in Greenwich Village, this group of artists focuses its painting on the boisterous life of the cities rather than on landscape and figure. 
1911 Arizona is admitted as a state.
1911 The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire in New York City kills 146 people.
1912 Woodrow Wilson is elected president, and Thomas R. Marshall is vice president. 
1913 Henry Ford adopts the conveyor belt system used in the meat-packing industry. By putting the idea to work for the manufacture of cars, within ten years he brings down the price of the Model T from $850 to $290.
1916 Carl Sandburg publishes his Chicago Poems.

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