Chronology of the Gilded Age
| 1869 | 1870 | 1871
| 1872 | 1873 | 1874
| 1875 | 1876 | 1877
1879 | 1880 | 1881
| 1882 | 1883 | 1884
| 1885 | 1886 | 1887
| 1888 | 1889
1890 | 1891 | 1892
| 1893 | 1894 | 1895
| 1896 | 1897 | 1898
Congress enacts an 8-hour workday for workers employed by the
14th Amendment to the US Constitution grants citizenship to
anyone born in the United States and guarantees due process and
equal protection of the laws. It serves as the basis for applying
the rights specified in the US Constitution to the states.
When Commanche Chief Toch-a-way informs Gen. Philip H. Sheridan
that he is a "good Indian," Sheridan reportedly replied:
"The only good Indian is a dead Indian."
A golden spike is driven into a railroad tie at Promontory Point,
Utah, completing the transcontinental
railroad. Built in just over three years by 20,000 workers,
it had 1,775 miles of track. The railroad's promoters received
23 million acres of land and $64 million in loans as an incentive.
John D. Rockefeller forms Standard Oil of Ohio.
Hiram R. Revels of Mississippi becomes the first African American
to serve in the US Senate. Joseph H. Rainey of South Carolina
becomes the first black Representative.
The 15th Amendment to the US Constitution guarantees the right
to vote regardless "of race, color, or previous condition
Barnum opens his three-ring circus, hailing it as the "Greatest
Show on Earth."
Victoria Woodhull petitions Congress demanding that women receive
the vote under the 14th Amendment.
Congress declares that Indian tribes will no longer be treated
as independent nations with whom the government must conduct negotiations.
Great Chicago Fire claims 250 lives and destroys 17,500 buildings.
Ward begins to sell goods to rural customers by mail.
Nov. 5: Susan
B. Anthony and other women's suffrage advocates are arrested
for attempting to vote in Rochester, N.Y.
The Comstock Act prohibits the mailing of obscene literature.
Panic of 1873 begins. 5,183 business fail.
The introduction of barbed
wire provides the first economical way to fence in cattle
on the Great Plains.
discovery of gold leads thousands of prospectors to trespass on
Indian lands the Black Hills in Dakota territory.
Women's Christian Temperance Union is founded.
4-years-old Charley Brewster Ross is abducted, the country's first
kidnapping for ransom. The child was never found.
The Reverend Henry Ward Beecher, the nation's best-known preacher,
is sued by newspaper editor Theodore Tilton for alienation of
his wife's affections. The trial resulted in a hung jury.
Congress passes the Civil Rights Act of 1875 to guarantee equal
use of public accommodations and places of public amusement. It
also forbids the exclusion of African Americans from jury duty.
29-year-old Alexander Graham Bell patents the telephone.
The nation celebrates its centennial by opening an International
Exhibition in Philadelphia.
25: George A. Custer and 265 officers and enlisted men are killed
by Sioux Indians led by Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse at the Little
Horn River in Montana.
Elmer Hires introduces root beer.
An electoral commission declares Rutherford Hayes the winner of
the disputed presidential election.
President Hayes begins to withdraw federal troops from the South,
marking the official end to Reconstruction.
Federal troops pursue and capture Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce
Indians of Oregon and force them to live on an Oklahoma reservation.
Great Railroad Strikes begins in Marinsburg, W. Va., after
the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad imposes a 10 percent wage cut.
Edison invents the phonograph.
engineer Karl Benz produces the first automobile powered by an
internal combustion engine.
10: The Senate defeats a woman's suffrage amendment 34-16.
Congress grants woman attorneys the right to argue cases before
the Supreme Court.
Edison invents the light bulb.
Hunt Jackson's Century of Dishonor recounts the government's
unjust treatment of Native Americans.
President James Garfield is shot by Charles Guiteau, a disgruntled
office-seeker. He died on Sept. 19.
Booker T. Washington opens Tuskegee Institute.
Sitting Bull and other Sioux Indians return to the United States
Pace v. Alabama, the Supreme Court rules that an Alabama law imposing
severe punishment on illegal interracial intercourse than for
illegal intercourse between parties of the same race did not violate
the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.
Samuel Dodd devises the trust, under which stockholders turn over
control of previously independent companies to a board of trustees.
Congress passes the Chinese
Exclusion Act, barring Chinese Chinese immigration for ten
Pulitzer purchases the New
York World from Jay
Gould. Circulation soars from 20,000 to 250,000 in four years.
Gompers testifies before a Congressional committee about his
organization, the American Federation of Labor.
Congress passes the Pendleton
Act, establishing a Civil Service Commission and filling government
positions by a merit system, including competitive examinations.
The Supreme Court rules that the Civil Rights Act of 1875 only
forbids state-imposed discrimination, not that by individuals
Railroads in the United States and Canada adopt a system of standard
Construction begins in Chicago on the first building with a steel
skeleton, William Jenney's ten-story Home Insurance Company, marking
the birth of the skyscraper.
Rev. Samuel D. Burchard of New York calls the Democrats the party
of "Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion." With help of Irish-American
voters, Democratic presidential nominee Grover
Cleveland carried New York by 1,149 votes and won the election.
Stanton Coit opens the first settlement house in New York to provide
social services to the poor.
Over 300,000 workers demonstrate in behalf of an eight-hour work
Haymarket Square bombing in Chicago kills seven police officers
and wounds sixty.
The Supreme Court holds that corporations are persons covered
by the 14th Amendment, and are entitled to due process.
President Grover Cleveland unveils the Statue
8: The American Federation of Labor was founded, with Samuel
Gompers as president. Membership was restricted to skilled
The Interstate Commerce Act requires railroads to charge reasonable
rates and forbids them from from offering rate reductions to preferred
8: The Dawes Severalty Act subdivides Indian reservations into
individual plots of land of 160 to 320 acres. "Surplus"
lands are sold to white settlers.
Bellamy publishes his utopian novel, Looking Backward,
which predicts a cooperative commonwealth.
Jersey permits holding companies to buy up the stock of other
President Benjamin Harrison opens a portion of Oklahoma to white
An abandoned reservoir breaks, flooding the city of Johnstown,
Pa., and killing 2,295 people.
US Bureau of the Census announces that the western frontier was
Congress passes the Sherman
Mississippi Plan. Mississippi restricts black suffrage by requiring
voters to demonstrate an ability to read and interpret the US
Indian police kill Sitting Bull in South Dakota.
Naismith, a physical education instructor at the YMCA Training
College in Springfield, Mass., invents basketball.
A New Orleans mobs breaks into a prison and kills eleven Sicilian
immigrants accused of murdering the city's police chief.
party is founded in Cincinnati, Ohio.
900,000 acres of land ceded to the Sauk, Fox, and Pottawatomi
Indians is opened to white settlement.
The boll weevil arrives in Texas.
Ellis Island opens to screen immigrants. Twenty million immigrants
passed through it before it was closed in 1954.
Henry Clay Frick, who managed Andrew Carnegie's steelworks at
Homestead, Pa., cuts wages, precipitating a strike that begins
June 26. In a pitched battle with Pinkerton guards, brought in
to protect the plant, ten strikers and three Pinkertons are killed.
Pennsylvania's governor then sent in the state militia to protect
strikebreakers. The strike ended Nov. 20.
The Populist party nominates James Baird Weaver, a former Union
general from Iowa, for president. A banner across the stage states:
"We Do Not Ask for Sympathy or Pity. We Ask for Justice."
The World's Columbian
Exhibition opens in Chicago to commemorate the 300th anniversary
of Columbus's discovery of the New World. The first features the
first Ferris Wheel.
Jackson Turner delivers his address on "The Significance
of the Frontier in American History," exploring the the frontier
experience's role in shaping American character.
Pro-American interests depose Queen
Liliuokalani of Hawaii.
Army. Jacob Coxey leads a march on Washington by the unemployed.
Strike. Workers at the Pullman sleeping car plant in Chicago
go on strike after the company cut wages without reducing rents
in company-owned housing. On June 26, the American Railway Union
begins to boycott trains carrying Pullman cars.
Federal troops enforce a court injunction forbidding the American
Railway Union from interfering with interstate commerce and
delivery of the mail.
20: The Supreme Court strikes down an income tax.
v. Ferguson. The US Supreme Court rules that segregation of
blacks and whites was permitted under the Constitution so long
as both races receive equal facilities.
"You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold."
William Jennings Bryan electrified the Democratic convention with
his "Cross of Gold"
speech and received the party's nomination, but was defeated
Nov. 3 by Republican William
de Lome letter, written by the Spanish minister to the United
States, characterizes Pres. McKinley as a weakling lacking integrity.
It is printed in William Randolph Hearst's New York Journal.
The battleship Maine blows up and sinks while anchored in Cuba's
25 to Aug. 12:
War. As a result of the conflict, the United States acquires
Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines.
George Dewey's flotilla defeats the Spanish fleet at Manila
Bay in the Philippines, suffering only eight wounded.
The Supreme Court rules that a child born of Chinese parents in
the United States is an American citizen and cannot be deported
under the Chinese Exclusion Act.
President McKinley signs a resolution annexing
Delegates from the US and 25 other nations meet at The Hague to
discuss disarmament, arbitration of international disputes, protection
of noncombatants, and limitations on methods of warfare.
D. Rockefeller comments on Industrial