Browse Exhibits (19 total)

Calvin Coolidge

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Calvin Coolidge was a conservative enigma in an era where progressive politics ran rampant. This has created a legendary view of the president, positively and negatively. This page serves as a quick biography of the 30th president, as well as a conclusion on his legacy.

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The Quest to Define the Public Good; Supreme Court Jurisprudence and the Right to Contract by Dominick Violetta

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 During the Gilded Age, we see the development of modern industrial capitalism. There was a society wide attempt to understand what that meant for conceptions of democratic good. Two general ideals emerged. One was the "Mugwump" which was an attempt to make Jeffersonian values deal with the challenges of modernity. The other was more modern "progressive" vision, which saw government as a collective response to collective problems. The Supreme Court in the Gilded Age is engaged in a dialogue on this exact problem, and the cases in this era should be viewed in this light.

This webstie will look at the long struggle to reach and consensus on what the best way to attain the public good was. Starting in the eighteen seventies, and going up until the infamous Lochner v. New York, we see the court issue several landmark rulings in the Gilded Age. Lochner, a famously derided ruling, will serve as the anchoring point. 

JP Morgan: Progressive Era Entrepreneurial Titan

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In this exhibit I set out to answer the question: was James Pierpont Morgan the most influential economic force of the progressive era?  I believe I answered that question with a resounding yes through highlighting his achievements in a chronological manner.  Despite wanting to retire in 1873, his father refusing to allow him to do that launched J.P. on a course of accumulating one of the largest individual estates in American history.  His father's death in 1890 gave him sole control of his firm that he would use to dominate the railroad, steel, banking and insurance industries in New York City as well as internationally.  His political power was also nearly unmatched by a non politician as it’s believed his actions and leadership steered the United States out of the Panic of 1893 as well as the Panic of 1907.  In my exhibit it is clearly demonstrated what a force we was and how he is unquestionably the powerful individual economically of the progressive era.

Second Industrial Revolution

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The Second Industrial Revolution otherwise known as the Technological Revolution was very much a vital component in the making of the modern United States today. This revolution began around 1970 and lasted up until about 1914. During this time, new and exciting innovations sparked an advancement both culturally as well as economically. Many important figures in our country's history began sparking new inventions that allowed for greater efficiency for people in their everyday lives. This revolution comprised of key innovations such as the automobile, telephone, steel, electricity, and standard oil. Moreover, there were many key inventors that attributed to the success of the Industrial Revolution. All of these new inventions culminated in the Second Industrial Revolution and the impact it had on the United States. 

Visualizing the Gilded Age

A quick note before the Exhibit begins Proper. None of this would have been possible without the dataset provided by the Cross-National Time-Series Data Archive. Every Graphic is generated using their datasheet. Consider this citation relevant for any present and future Graphics generated by the software1

Hello and welcome to my Exhibit. Today I will try and answer the age old question: does anyone actually think graphs are cool? Well anyone besides me. I think I have to find them cool or otherwise I would have picked a project that did not require me spending multiple nights staring at spreadsheets as my sanity slowly leaked out of my ears. Yes, I am confident research sucks for everyone at some point or another but regardless, I still shudder at the very thought of Excel.

Anyways, that is technically an introduction so let's dive into the finer points of this Exhibit. In short, the purpose of this Exhibit is three-fold:

  1. Vouch for the value of blending various fields of study.
  2. Provide a basic tool to help transfer important data from the gilded age (or any age) into a visual medium
  3. Prove Graphs are cool

There is also a fourth, self reflective point where I look at the shortcomings of this exhibit and how I believe they stem from the other three points but that one needs some context and shall remain secret for now. Let's ignore the foreshdaowing and get started with part 1.

By: Matthew Lane

1.Banks, A.S., & Wilson, K.A. (2017). Cross-National Time-Series Data Archive. Databanks International. Jerusalem, Israel. Retrieved from: https://lib.msu.edu/about/data/cnts/

John Pierpont Morgan: Robber Baron?

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Were J.P. Morgan's business actions a determinent to the U.S. economy. After reorganizing a number of key industries of the time to create a monopolies in those areas, did this have a tanigble adverse effect on the average American? On top of this, do he actions in regard with the Panics of 1893 and 1907 allow him to be regarded as not just another robber baron? 

The IWW, Anti-War Activism, and World War 1

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The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28th, 1914 set off a chain of events that would plunge the nations of Europe into four years of brutal war. This war would claim millions of lives, topple empires centuries old, and set the stage for the 20th century. Naturally, with the outbreak of war the nations of Europe called on their citizens to support the war effort and their home country. This presented the labor and socialist groups of Europe with a hard question: should they support a war of imperial competition, abandoning solidarity with the working classes of enemy nations, or should they oppose the war and face the repression of their own governments? Most of these groups chose to support their governments, a decision that led to the dissolution of the Second International, a congress of left-wing parties. Matilda Rabinowitz, a Ukrainian-American and IWW organizer, lamented that the First World War brought about “the destruction of the international socialist movement.”1

 

In America, however, the war remained a distant concept. The country had a long history of political and military isolation and, despite recent forays into Cuba and the Philippines, the American public remained highly opposed to involvement in any European war. Most Americans shared at least an ambivalence to US involvement, with some of the more outspoken anti-war voices coming from labor and socialist groups. However, as the war dragged on, support for American involvement gradually began to grow, and the American left soon faced the same dilemma their European counterparts had.

 

The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) were one of the largest radical groups in the United States at the time. A union committed to revolutionary class struggle, they voiced support for the anti-war movement but declined to devote resources to anti-war activism. Despite this, IWW members often advanced anti-war causes on their own time, and when war broke out, the IWW were the primary target of government repression. World War 1 proved the undoing of the IWW, as the union could not withstand governmental attacks the war had justified. This exhibit examines the IWW’s experience with WWI, and how members of the IWW, and much of the American left, were affected by the conflict.

 

1. Mathilda Rabinowitz. 2017. Immigrant Girl, Radical Woman: A Memoir from the Early Twentieth Century. Ed. by Robbin Henderson. ILR Press: Ithaca. 182

The Rise of Wealthy Women as Key Cultural Figures in Gilded Age New York City

Not long before iconic socialites like Alva Vanderbilt and (The) Mrs. Astor were commanding New York City high society, the city was struggling to establish an elite culture comparable to European metropolises such as London or Paris. However, during the 1870s, through marriage, pedigree, and New York’s wealthy families’ competition for status, the culture of the elite began to take solid shape. With the creation of hubs of wealth, like New York’s Fifth Avenue, and the attainability of glimpses into socialite culture, women of the Gilded Age shifted the culture of affluence to the level of a spectacle.¹

Footnotes:

¹ Homberger, Eric. Mrs. Astor's New York: Money and Social Power in a Gilded Age. Yale University Press, 2004

Electrifying America

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The Gilded Age mark a turning point in the United States. Durinrg this time the nation experience a period of rapid growth both  geographically and economically. Many technolgical advances emerged durirng industrial revoultion including the formation of corporations, new communication sytems, and transportation innovations forever chaning the world. Many historians believe the advent of the automobile is the greatest achievement of this period,however the automobile would not be possible if the development of electric generation. Many of us take for granted the invisible energy flowing through our homes, prior to the 20th century, majority of american did not have access to adequate power. Many scientist were fascinated with the phenomena of electricity but did not know much about it. Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla would revolutionize our knowledge and and the properties of electricity. Through this exhibit we will examine the significant technological leap help reshape the world as we know. We will observe the contributions both scientist made to the new industry in addition to the widespread usage of electricity in America.