The Gilded Age and Progressive Era (1877-1929)
The industrialization of the United States proceeded at a frantic pace in the late 19th century. The subsequent chasm between rich and poor eventually spawned an army of Progressive reformers.
Currency policy (gold vs. silver) was a contentious issue in the late 19th century. It made Colorado's economy in the 1880s and broke it in the 1890s.
- Charles W. Calhoun (ed.) - The Gilded Age: Perspectives on the Origins of Modern America
- David O. Stowell - Streets, Railroads, and the Great Strike of 1877 (Historical Studies of Urban America)
- Lawrence Goodwyn - The Populist Moment: A Short History of the Agrarian Revolt in America (Galaxy Books)
- Frederick Lewis Allen - Only Yesterday: An Informal History of the 1920s
- 1877-1890 - A number of tribes in the Plains are defeated in their struggles against American encroachment. Wounded Knee is the final battle.
- 1877 - The Great Railroad Strike spreads across half of the country before it ultimately fails.
- c.1880 - Another great wave of immigration from Europe begins. Irish, Italians, Polish, Czechs, Slavs, and European Jews all diversify the nation's heritage.
- 1889 - For the first time, the U.S. produces more steel than Great Britain. America's status as an industrial power is secured.
- 1890 - The Union Stockyards in Chicago slaughter 9 million animals in a year. Chicago becomes known as the "hog-butcher of the world".
- 1893 - The Panic of 1893 triggers a deep economic depression, particularly affecting agricultural areas. Populist Party expands its strength.
- 1896 - Plessy v. Ferguson decision symbolizes the increasing hold of Jim Crow in the South.
- 1903 - The Wright Brothers successfully fly their first airplane in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
- 1908 - Henry Ford produces the first Model T and creates an assembly line that will revolutionize American industry.
- 1913 - The 16th Amendment establishes a federal income tax -- one of the biggest victories for the Progressive Movement.
- 1913 - The Federal Reserve is established, bringing central banking back to the United States.
- 1919 - The 18th Amendment establishes Prohibition -- another Progressive victory.
- 1920 - After a suffragist campaign of decades, the 19th Amendment grants the vote to women.
- 1929 - A steep crash in the stock market precipitates the Great Depression.