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Timeline for Gilded Age
1868
(11/03)  Republican Ulysses S. Grant defeats Democrat Horatio Seymour and is elected president of the United States. Grant receives the majority of votes in the Electoral College, but his margin of victory in the popular vote is only 306,000 out of 5.7 million votes cast. The support of 500,000 recently enfranchised southern black voters accounts for Grant's victory. (Digital History ID 2255)
1870
(01/10)  Standard Oil is incorporated in Ohio by John D. Rockefeller. (Digital History ID 2256)
1872
(09/04)  The New York Sun reports that Vice-President Schuyler Colfax, and several members of Congress, including future President James Garfield, received what amounted to free stock in return for protecting the Crédit Mobilier, a railroad construction company, from investigation for financial irregularities. (Digital History ID 2257)
(11/05)  President Ulysses S. Grant is reelected to a second term as president of the United States, defeating Horace Greeley, the nominee of both the Democratic and Liberal Republican Parties. Grant receives 56% of the popular vote and 286 of 352 Electoral College votes. (Digital History ID 2258)
1873
  Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner publish The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today, a satire of contemporary greed and corruption, coining the label for the period that is now commonly applied to the second half of the nineteenth century. (Digital History ID 2259)
(09/20)  The collapse of Jay Cooke & Company, a Philadelphia investment bank who had invested several million dollars in railway bonds, triggers a nationwide financial panic. The collapse sets off a chain reaction of bank failures, and the New York stock market is temporarily closed for ten days. The panic leads to a broader economic depression in Europe and the United States which lasts until 1879. (Digital History ID 2260)
1875
(05/10)  A federal grand jury indicts 238 people - including President Ulysses S. Grant's personal secretary, General O.E. Babcock, and dozens of whiskey distillers and revenue officials - for conspiring to defraud the United States government of tax revenues. (Digital History ID 2261)
1876
(03/10)  Inventor Alexander Graham Bell successfully transmits intelligible sound electronically when his assistant hears him say, "Mr. Watson, come here. I want you." (Digital History ID 252)
(11/07)  Despite winning the popular vote by 250,000, Democratic presidential nominee Samuel J. Tilden fails to win the electoral vote when Republicans dispute the returns in Florida, Louisiana, Oregon, and South Carolina. An electoral commission awards the election to Rutherford Hayes by a single vote.
Learn more... (Digital History ID 249)
1877
(07/16)  Brakemen and firemen from the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad walk off the job at Camden Junction, Maryland, initiating a wildcat strike that will shut down thousands of miles of track throughout the northeastern United States. (Digital History ID 686)
1881
  Cyrus McCormick introduces a mechanical harvester and twine binder, one of several new technologies increasing agricultural productivity. (Digital History ID 631)
(07/02)  President James Garfield is shot by Charles Guiteau, a deranged federal office-seeker. Garfield will die on September 19th. Vice-President Chester A. Arthur will be sworn is as president one day later. (Digital History ID 244)
1883
(01/16)  Hoping to reduce corruption in the distribution of government jobs, the United States Congress passes the Pendleton Act, introducing an examination system for selecting federal civil servants. Only 10% of all federal appointees are made subject to this process of selection by examination.
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(11/18)  America's railroads implement the standardized time zones (Eastern, Central, Mountain, Pacific) devised by William F. Allen of the General Time Convention.
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(11/18)  America's railroads implement the standardized time zones (Eastern, Central, Mountain, Pacific) devised by William F. Allen of the General Time Convention. (Digital History ID 659)
1884
(11/04)  Democrat Grover Cleveland defeats Republican James Blaine and is elected president of the United States. Cleveland's popular vote margin of victory is 62,683 votes out more than 10 million cast. In the Electoral College, Cleveland receives 219 votes to Blaine's 182. (Digital History ID 2262)
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