The Gilded Age

Marisa Mortari

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Time Period

  • The Gilded age took place during the late 1800s to the turn of the 20th century
  • There was a second industrial revolution
  • A time when people wanted to come to the United States in order to seek new, better opportunities

Forces in Action

John D Rockefeller
  • Founder of Standard Oil Company
  • Used horizontal integration as main expansion method
  • Forced many rivals to sell out
  • By 1880, his company controlled about 90% of US petroleum refining capacity
  • Donated generously to charities ($550 million during his lifetime)

Andrew Carnegie

  • Utilized business strategies to become a leader in the steel industry
  • Early investment inspired his entrepreneurial interest and allowed him to invest in the steel industry
  • Used Bessemer Process for faster production of steel
  • Used vertical integration to control costs
  • Sold his company to JP Morgan

Cornelius Vanderbilt

  • Invested in railroads
  • Gained control over New York Central Railroad in 1869
  • Extended railroad system by buying smaller lines and adding on
  • When he died he owned about 4,500 miles of track
  • Fortune estimated at $100 million

JP Morgan

  • Bought Carnegie's Steel Company
  • Wall Street banker

Role of Industrialization/Technology

  • Railroads increased trade and transportation
  • Bessemer process allowed steel to be produced faster and cheaper
  • Entrepreneurs created successful businesses and new inventions
  • New technologies: coal mining, Bessemer process, telephone, air brakes, oil wells, farming, light bulb, electricity, typewriter, railroads, kerosene
  • New technology was usually only bought by upper middle class and wealthy, others could not afford


Political Bosses& Political Machines
  • Political bosses managed political machines
  • Political machines dominated politics/governments


  • Often criticized for taking jobs
  • Jobs were often life threatening

Life Changes

  • People were building up now (skyscrapers)
  • Middle class was mostly successful and become more averagely wealthy
  • Inventions improved life in many ways for the wealthy and middle class but also the poor indirectly! Everybody was benefiting from inventions!!!