In United States history, the Gilded Age was the period following the American Civil War, roughly from the end of Reconstruction in 1877 to the turn of the twentieth century, though some date the end of the era to the passage of the 16th Amendment in 1913. The term was coined by writers Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner in The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today, satirizing what they believed to be an era of serious social problems hidden by a thin layer of gold.
The Gilded Age was a time of enormous growth that attracted millions from Europe. Railroads were the major industry, but the factory system, mining, and labor unions also gained in importance. The growth was interrupted by major nationwide depressions known as the Panic of 1873 and the Panic of 1893. Most of the growth and prosperity came in only the former Union states of North and West. The South, of the defeated Confederate States of America, remained economically devastated; its economy became increasingly tied to cotton and tobacco production, which suffered low prices. African Americans in the south experienced the worst setbacks, as they were stripped of political power and voting rights. The political landscape was notable in that despite rampant corruption, turnout was high and elections between the evenly matched parties were close. The dominant issues were rights for Black Americans, tariff policy and monetary policy. Reformers worked for civil service reform, prohibition and women's suffrage, while philanthropists built colleges and hospitals, and the many religious denominations exerted a major sway in everyday life.
Industrial and technological advances 
The Gilded Age was a period of widespread economic growth as the United States jumped to the lead in industrialization ahead of Britain. The nation was rapidly expanding its economy into new areas, especially heavy industry like factories, railroads, and coal mining. In 1869, the First Transcontinental Railroad opened up the far-west mining and ranching regions. Travel from New York to San Francisco now took six days instead of six months . Railroad track mileage tripled between 1860 and 1880, and then doubled again by 1920. The new track linked formerly isolated areas with larger markets and allowed for the rise of commercial farming, ranching and mining, creating a truly national marketplace. American steel production rose to surpass the combined total of Britain, Germany, and France. London and Paris poured investment money into the railroads through the American financial market centered in Wall Street. By 1900, the process of economic concentration had extended into most branches of industry—a few large corporations, called "trusts", dominated in steel, oil, sugar, meat and farm machinery. Through vertical integration these trusts were able to control each aspect of the production of a specific good, ensuring that the profits made on the finished product were maximized, and by controlling access to the raw materials, prevented opponents from entering the marketplace. This practice would lead to a sole producer of a certain manufactured good and meant no competition in the marketplace to lower prices.
Increased mechanization of industry is a major mark of the Gilded Age's search for cheaper ways to create more product. Frederick Winslow Taylor observed that worker efficiency in steel could be improved through the use of machines to make fewer motions in less time. His redesign increased the speed of factory machines and the productivity of factories while undercutting the need for skilled labor. This mechanization made some factories an assemblage of unskilled laborers performing simple and repetitive tasks under the direction of skilled foremen and engineers. Machine shops grew rapidly, and they comprised highly skilled workers and engineers. Both the number of unskilled and skilled workers increased, as their wage rates grew. Engineering colleges were established to feed the enormous demand for expertise. Railroads invented modern management, with clear chains of command, statistical reporting, and complex bureaucratic systems. They systematized the roles of middle managers and set up explicit career tracks. They hired young men ages 18–21 and promoted them internally until a man reached the status of locomotive engineer, conductor or station agent at age 40 or so. Career tracks were invented for skilled blue-collar jobs and for white-collar managers, starting in railroads and expanding into finance, manufacturing and trade. Together with rapid growth of small business, a new middle class was rapidly growing, especially in northern cities.
The United States became a world leader in applied technology. From 1860 to 1890, 500,000 patents were issued for new inventions—over ten times the number issued in the previous seventy years. George Westinghouse invented air brakes for trains (making them both safer and faster). Theodore Vail established the American Telephone & Telegraph Company and built a great communications network. Nikola Tesla invented a remarkable number of electrical devices, as well as the integrated power plant capable of lighting multiple buildings simultaneously; Thomas Edison, in addition to inventing hundreds of electrical devices, co-founded General Electric corporation. Oil became an important resource, beginning with the Pennsylvania oil fields. The U.S. dominated the industry into the 1950s. Kerosene replaced whale oil and candles for lighting. John D. Rockefeller founded Standard Oil Company to consolidate the oil industry—which mostly produced kerosene before the automobile created a demand for gasoline in the 20th century.
Economic growth 
During the 1870s and 1880s, the U.S. economy rose at the fastest rate in its history, with real wages, wealth, GDP, and capital formation all increasing rapidly. For example, between 1865 and 1898, the output of wheat increased by 256%, corn by 222%, coal by 800% and miles of railway track by 567%. Thick national networks for transportation and communication were created. The corporation became the dominant form of business organization, and a scientific management revolution transformed business operations. By the beginning of the 20th century, per capita income and industrial production in the United States led the world, with per capita incomes double that of Germany or France, and 50% higher than Britain. The businessmen of the Second Industrial Revolution created industrial towns and cities in the Northeast with new factories, and hired an ethnically diverse industrial working class, many of them new immigrants from Europe.
Wealthy industrialists and financiers such as John D. Rockefeller, Andrew W. Mellon, Andrew Carnegie, Henry Flagler, Henry H. Rogers, J. P. Morgan, Leland Stanford, Charles Crocker, Cornelius Vanderbilt of the Vanderbilt family, and the prominent Astor family would sometimes be labeled "robber barons" by their enemies. Many of these captains of industry, in addition to building up the American economy, participated in immense acts of philanthropy. Andrew Carnegie said philanthropy was their duty--it was the "Gospel of Wealth"). He gave away over 90% of his wealth. Private money endowed thousands of colleges, hospitals, museums, academies, schools, opera houses, public libraries, and charities. John D. Rockefeller, for example, donated over $500 million to various charities, slightly over half his entire net worth.
This emerging industrial economy quickly expanded to meet the new market demands. From 1869 to 1879, the US economy grew at a rate of 6.8% for NNP (GDP minus capital depreciation) and 4.5% for NNP per capita. The economy repeated this period of growth in the 1880s, in which the wealth of the nation grew at an annual rate of 3.8%, while the GDP was also doubled. Real wages also increased greatly during the 1880s. Economist Milton Friedman states that for the 1880s, "The highest decadal rate [of growth of real reproducible, tangible wealth per head from 1805 to 1950] for periods of about ten years was apparently reached in the eighties with approximately 3.8 percent."
Labor unions 
Craft-oriented labor unions, such as carpenters, printers, shoemakers and cigar makers, grew steadily in the industrial cities after 1870. These unions used frequent short strikes as a method to attain control over the labor market, and fight off competing unions. The railroads had their own quite separate unions. An especially violent strike came during the economic depression of the 1870s, as the Great Railroad Strike of 1877, lasted 45 days and resulted in damages to railroad property. The strike collapsed when President Rutherford B. Hayes used federal troops to quell the organized violence. Starting in the mid-1880s a new group, the Knights of Labor, grew rapidly. Too rapidly, for it spun out of control and failed to handle the Great Southwest Railroad Strike of 1886. The Knights avoided violence, but their reputation collapsed in the wake of the Haymarket Square Riot in Chicago in 1886, when anarchists bombed the policemen dispersing a meeting. At its peak, the Knights claimed 700,000 members. By 1890, membership had plummeted to fewer than 100,000, then faded away.
The most dramatic major strike was the 1894 Pullman Strike, a coordinated effort to shut down the national railroad system. The strike was led by the upstart American Railway Union led by Eugene V. Debs. The union defied federal court orders and President Cleveland used the U.S. Army to get the trains moving again. The ARU vanished and the traditional railroad brotherhoods survived, but avoided strikes. The new American Federation of Labor, headed by Samuel Gompers, found the solution. It was a coalition of unions, each based on strong local chapters; the AFL coordinated their work in cities and prevented jurisdictional battles. Gompers repudiated socialism and abandoned the violent nature of the earlier unions. The AFL worked to control the local labor market, thereby empowering its locals to obtain higher wages and more control over hiring. As a result, the AFL unions spread to most cities, reaching a peak membership in 1919.
Gilded Age politics, called the Third Party System, was characterized by intense competition between the two parties, with minor parties coming and going, especially on issues of concern to prohibitionists, labor unions and farmers. The Democrats and Republicans fought over control of offices, which were the rewards for party activists, as well as major economic issues. Turnout was very high and often exceeded 80% or even 90% in some states as the parties drilled their loyal members much as an army drills its soldiers. Competition was intense and elections were very close. In the southern states, lingering resentment over the Civil War was still present and meant that much of the south would vote Democrat. After the end of Reconstruction in 1877, competition in the south took place mainly inside the Democratic Party. Nationwide, turnout fell sharply after 1900.
The major metropolitan centers underwent rapid population growth and as a result, had many lucrative contracts and jobs to award. To take advantage of the new economic opportunity, both parties built so-called "political machines" to manage elections, reward supporters and pay off potential opponents. Financed by the "spoils system," the winning party distributed most local, state and national government jobs, and many government contracts, to its loyal supporters. Large cities became dominated by political machines in which constituents supported a candidate in exchange for anticipated patronage. These votes would be repaid with favors back from the government once that candidate was elected; and very often candidates were selected based on their willingness to play along with the spoils system. Perhaps the largest example of a political machine from this time period is Tammany Hall in New York City, led by Boss Tweed.
Major scandal reached into Congress with the Crédit Mobilier of America scandal, and disgraced the White House during the Grant Administration. This corruption divided the Republican party into two different factions: the Stalwarts led by Roscoe Conkling and the Half-Breeds led by James G. Blaine. There was a sense that government-enabled political machines intervened in the economy and the resulting favoritism, bribery, inefficiency, waste, and corruption were having negative consequences. Accordingly there were widespread calls for reform, such as Civil Service Reform led by the Bourbon Democrats and Republican Mugwumps. In 1884, their support elected Democrat Grover Cleveland to the White House, and in doing so gave the Democrats their first national victory since 1856.
The Bourbon Democrats supported a free market policy, with low tariffs, low taxes, less spending and, in general, a Laissez-Faire (hands-off) government. They argued that tariffs made most goods more expensive for the consumer and subsidized the trusts (monopolies). They also denounced imperialism and overseas expansion. By contrast, Republicans insisted that national prosperity depended on industry that paid high wages, and warned that lowering the tariff would be a disaster because low-wage European factories would flood American markets.
Presidential elections between the two major parties were so closely contested that a slight nudge could tip the election in the advantage of either party, and Congress was marked by political stalemate. With support from Union veterans, businessmen, professionals, craftsmen and larger farmers, the GOP (the Republicans) consistently carried the North in presidential elections. The Democrats, often led by Irish Catholics, had a base among Catholics, poorer farmers, and traditional party members.
Overall, Republican and Democratic political platforms remained remarkably constant during the years before 1900. Republicans generally favored inflationary, protectionist policies, while Democrats favored hard-money, free trade and other Laissez-Faire policies.
Ethnocultural politics: pietistic Republicans versus liturgical Democrats 
|Voting Behavior by Religion, Northern USA Late 19th century|
|% Dem||% GOP|
|Confessional German Lutherans||65||35|
|French Canadian Catholics||50||50|
|Less Confessional German Lutherans||45||55|
|Natives: Northern Stock|
|Free Will Baptists||20||80|
|Natives: Southern Stock (living in North)|
From 1860 to the early 20th century, the Republicans took advantage of the association of the Democrats with "Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion". Rum stood for the liquor interests and the tavernkeepers, in contrast to the GOP, which had a strong dry element. "Romanism" meant Roman Catholics, especially Irish Americans, who ran the Democratic Party in most cities, and whom the reformers denounced for political corruption and their separate parochial school system. "Rebellion" stood for the Democrats of the Confederacy, who tried to break the Union in 1861, as well as their northern allies, called "Copperheads."
Demographic trends boosted the Democratic totals, as the German and Irish Catholic immigrants were Democrats and outnumbered the English and Scandinavian Republicans. The new immigrants who arrived after 1890 seldom voted at this time. During the 1880s and 1890s, the Republicans struggled against the Democrats' efforts, winning several close elections and losing two to Grover Cleveland (in 1884 and 1892).
Religious lines were sharply drawn. In the North, about 50% of the voters were pietistic Protestants (especially Methodists, Scandinavian Lutherans, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Disciples of Christ) who believed the government should be used to reduce social sins, such as drinking. They strongly supported the GOP, as the table shows. In sharp contrast, liturgical groups, especially the Catholics, Episcopalians, and German Lutherans, voted for the Democrats. They saw the Democratic party as their best protection from the moralism of the pietists, and especially the threat of prohibition. Both parties cut across the class structure, with the Democrats more bottom-heavy and the GOP better represented among businessmen and professionals in the North.
Cultural issues, especially prohibition and foreign language schools, were hard-fought political issues because of the deep religious divisions in the electorate. For example in Wisconsin the Republicans tried to close down German-language Catholic and Lutheran parochial schools, and were defeated in 1890 when the Bennett Law was put to the test.
Prohibition debates and referendums heated up politics in most states over a period of decades, as national prohibition was finally passed in 1919 (and repealed in 1933), serving as a major issue between the wet Democrats and the dry GOP.
Prior to the Gilded Age, the time commonly referred to as the old immigration saw the first real boom of new arrivals to the United States. During the Gilded Age, approximately 10 million immigrants came to the United States in what is known as the new immigration. Some of them were prosperous farmers looking for fresh lands, and many of them were impoverished peasants looking for the American Dream in mills, mines and factories. Few immigrants went to the poverty-stricken South, though. To accommodate the heavy influx, the federal government in 1892 opened a reception center at Ellis Island near the Statue of Liberty.
These immigrants consisted two groups: The last waves of the "Old Immigration" from Germany, Britain, Ireland and Scandinavia, and the "New Immigration". Some moved back and forth across the Atlantic, but most were permanent settlers. They moved into well-established communities, both urban and rural. The German American communities spoke German, but the younger generation was bilingual.
The "New Immigration" were much poorer peasants and rural folk from southern and eastern Europe, including many Italians, Poles and Jews. Some groups, especially the Italians and Greeks, saw themselves as temporary migrants who planned to return to their home villages with a nest egg of cash earned in long hours of unskilled labor. Others, especially the Jews, had been driven out of Eastern Europe and had no intention of returning. (The option of Israel did not yet exist.)
Historians analyze the causes of immigration in terms of push factors (pushing people out of the homeland) and pull factors (pulling them to America), The push factors included economic dislocation, shortages of land, and antisemitism. Pull factors were the economic opportunity of good inexpensive farmland or jobs in factories, mills and mines.
The first generation typically lived in ethnic enclaves with a common language, food, religion, and connections through the old village. The sheer numbers caused overcrowding in tenements in the larger cities. In the small mill towns, however, management usually built company housing with cheap rents.
Chinese immigrants 
Asian immigrants—mostly Chinese at this time—were brought in by construction companies for temporary work. The European Americans strongly disliked them for their alien life-styles and threat of low wages. The construction of the Central Pacific Railroad from California to Utah was handled largely by Chinese laborers. In the 1870 census, there were 63,000 Chinese men (with a few women) in the entire country; this number grew to 106,000 in the 1880. Labor unions, led by Samuel Gompers strongly opposed the presence of Chinese labor. Immigrants from China were not allowed to become citizens until 1950; however, as a result of the Supreme Court decision in United States v. Wong Kim Ark, their children born in the U.S. were full citizens.
Congress banned further Chinese immigration through the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882; the act prohibited Chinese laborers from entering the United States, but some students and businessmen were allowed in on a temporary basis. The Chinese population declined to only 37,000 in 1940. Although many returned to China (a greater proportion than most other immigrant groups), most of them stayed in the United States. Chinese people were unwelcome in many areas, so they resettled in the "Chinatown" districts of large cities. The exclusion policy lasted until the 1940s.
Urban life 
Society itself underwent significant changes in the period following the Civil War, most notably the rapid urbanization of the North. As a result of increasing demand for unskilled and skilled workers, most European immigrants went to mill towns and, especially, industrial cities. New York, Philadelphia and especially Chicago saw rapid growth. Louis Sullivan became a noted architect using steel frames to construct skyscrapers for the first time while pioneering the idea of "form follows function". Chicago became the center of the skyscraper craze, starting with the ten-story Home Insurance Building in 1884–1885 by William Le Baron Jenney.
Expansion required a better transportation system than horse-drawn street cars. Electric trolleys and street railways were the rage in the 1880s, followed by elevated railways and subways in the largest cities. Most factory workers, however, lived in nearby tenements and walked to work. As immigration increased in cities, poverty rose as well. The poorest crowded into low-cost housing such as the Five Points and Hell’s Kitchen neighborhoods in Manhattan. These areas were quickly overridden with notorious criminal gangs such as the Five Points Gang and the Bowery Boys.
Agriculture's Share of the Labor Force by Region, 1890
The South remained heavily rural and was much poorer than the North or West. There were only a few scattered cities; small courthouse towns serviced the farm population. Local politics revolve around the politicians and lawyers based at the courthouse. Mill towns, narrowly focused on textile production or cigarette manufacture, began opening in the Piedmont region especially in the Carolinas. Racial segregation and outward signs of inequality were everywhere, and rarely were challenged. Blacks who violated the color line were liable to expulsion or lynching. Cotton became even more important than before as poor whites needed the cash that cotton would bring. But cotton prices were much lower than before the war, so everyone was poor. White southerners showed a reluctance to move north, or to move to cities, so the number of small farms proliferated, and they became smaller and smaller as the population grew. Many of the white farmers, and most of the blacks, were tenant farmers who owned their work animals and tools, and rented their land. Others were day laborers or very poor sharecroppers, who worked under the supervision of the landowner. There was little cash in circulation, since most farmers operated on credit accounts from local merchants, and paid off their debts at cotton harvest time in the fall. Although there were small country churches everywhere, there were only a few dilapidated elementary schools. Apart from private academies, there were very few high schools until the 1920s. Conditions were marginally better in newer areas, especially in Texas and central Florida, with the deepest poverty in South Carolina, Mississippi, and Arkansas.
The vast majority of American blacks lived in the South, and as the promises of emancipation and reconstruction faded, they entered the nadir of race relations. Every Southern state and city passed Jim Crow laws that were in operation between 1876 and 1965. They mandated de jure (legal) segregation in all public facilities, such as stores and street cars, with a supposedly "separate but equal" status for blacks. In reality, this led to treatment and accommodations that were dramatically inferior to those provided for white Americans, systematizing a number of economic, educational and social disadvantages. Schools for blacks were far fewer and poorly supported by taxpayers, although Northern philanthropies and churches kept open dozens of academies and small colleges.
In the face of years of mounting violence and intimidation directed at blacks during Reconstruction, the federal government was unable to guarantee constitutional protections to freedmen and women. In the Compromise of 1877 President Hayes withdrew Union troops from the South; "Redeemers" (white Democrats) acted quickly to reverse the groundbreaking advances of Reconstruction. Black political power was eliminated in the 1880s and in the 1890s new laws effectively blocked over 90% of the blacks from voting (with some exceptions in Tennessee; blacks did vote in the border states).
Women's rights 
During the Gilded Age, many new social movements took hold in the United States. Many women abolitionists who were disappointed that the Fifteenth Amendment did not extend voting rights to them, remained active in politics, this time focusing on issues important to them. Reviving the temperance movement from the Second Great Awakening, many women joined the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) in an attempt to bring morality back to America. Other women took up the issue of women’s suffrage which had lain dormant since the Seneca Falls Convention. With leaders like Susan B. Anthony, the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) was formed in order to secure the right of women to vote. The development and fast acceptance of the sewing machine during this period made housewives more productive and opened up new careers for women running their own small millinery and dressmaking shops.
Social thought 
Science also played an important part in social thought as the work of Charles Darwin became popular. Following Darwin’s idea of natural selection, English philosopher Herbert Spencer proposed the idea of social Darwinism. This new concept justified the stratification of the wealthy and poor and coined the term “survival of the fittest”. Joining Spencer was Yale University professor William Graham Sumner whose book What Social Classes Owe to Each Other (1884) argued that assistance to the poor actually weakens their ability to survive in society. Sumner argued for a laissez-faire and free-market economy. Few people agreed with the social Darwinists, because they ridiculed religion and denounced philanthropy. Henry George proposed a “single tax” in his book Progress and Poverty. The tax would be leveled on the rich and poor alike, with the excess money collected used to equalize wealth and level out society. Norwegian American economist Thorstein Veblen argued in The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899) that the “conspicuous consumption and conspicuous leisure" of the wealthy had become the basis of social status in America. In Looking Backward: 2000-1887 (1887), reformer Edward Bellamy envisioned a future America set in the year 2000 in which a socialist paradise has been established. The works of authors such as George and Bellamy became popular, and soon clubs were created across America to discuss their ideas, although these organizations rarely made any real social change.
The Third Great Awakening which began before the Civil War returned and made a significant change in religious attitudes toward social progress. Followers of the new Awakening promoted the idea of the Social Gospel which gave rise to organizations such as the YMCA, the American branch of the Salvation Army, and settlement houses such as Hull House, founded by Jane Addams in Chicago in 1889.
The Third Great Awakening was a period of religious activism in American history from the late 1850s to the 20th century. It affected pietistic Protestant denominations and had a strong sense of social activism. It gathered strength from the postmillennial theology that the Second Coming of Christ would come after mankind had reformed the entire earth. The Social Gospel Movement gained its force from the Awakening, as did the worldwide missionary movement. New groupings emerged, such as the Holiness movement and Nazarene movements, and Christian Science.
The Protestant mainline denominations (especially the Methodist, Episicopal, Presbyterian, and Congregational churches) grew rapidly in numbers, wealth and educational levels, throwing off their frontier beginnings and becoming centered in towns and cities. Leaders such as Josiah Strong advocated a muscular Christianity with systematic outreach to the unchurched in America and around the globe. Others built colleges and universities to train the next generation. Each denomination supported active missionary societies, and made the role of missionary one of high prestige. The great majority of pietistic mainline Protestants (in the North) supported the Republican Party, and urged it to endorse prohibition and social reforms. See Third Party System
The awakening in numerous cities in 1858 was interrupted by the American Civil War. In the South; on the other hand, the Civil War stimulated revivals and strengthened the Baptists, especially. After the war, Dwight L. Moody made revivalism the centerpiece of his activities in Chicago by founding the Moody Bible Institute. The hymns of Ira Sankey were especially influential.
Across the nation, drys crusaded in the name of religion for the prohibition of alcohol. The Woman's Christian Temperance Union mobilized Protestant women for social crusades against liquor, pornography and prostitution, and sparked the demand for women's suffrage.
The Gilded Age plutocracy came under harsh attack from the Social Gospel preachers and with reformers in the Progressive Era who became involved with issues of child labor, compulsory elementary education and the protection of women from exploitation in factories.
Colleges associated with churches rapidly expanded in number, size and quality of curriculum. The promotion of "muscular Christianity" became popular among young men on campus and in urban YMCA's, as well as such denominational youth groups such as the Epworth League for Methodists and the Walther League for Lutherans.
See also 
- American Frontier
- Belle Époque in France
- Gay Nineties
- History of the United States (1865–1918)
- Nadir of American race relations
- Presidency of Ulysses S. Grant
- Ventfort Hall (Gilded Age Museum)
- Shmoop Editorial Team. "The Gilded Age Summary & Analysis" Shmoop.com. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 22 Sep. 2012.
- Stephen E. Ambrose, Nothing Like It In The World; The Men Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad 1863–1869 (2000)
- Paul Kennedy, The rise and fall of the great powers: economic change and military conflict from 1500 to 2000 (1989) pp. 242–44
- Cynthia L. Clark (2011). The American Economy: A Historical Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 397.
- Daniel Hovey Calhoun, The American Civil Engineer: Origins and Conflicts (1960)
- Chandler, Alfred D., Jr. (1965). "The Railroads: Pioneers in Modern Corporate Management". Business History Review 39 (1): 16–40. JSTOR 3112463.
- Walter Licht, Working for the Railroad: The Organization of Work in the Nineteenth Century (1983)
- Richard R. John, Network Nation: Inventing American Telecommunications (2010)
- Harold F. Williamson, The American Petroleum Industry 1859–1899 The Age off Illumination (1959)
- Edward C. Kirkland, Industry Comes of Age: Business, Labor, and Public Policy, 1860–1897 (1961) pp 400–405.
- Paul Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers (1987) p 242.
- Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers (1987) p. 243.
- Burton W. Folsom, The Myth of the Robber Barons: A New Look at the Rise of Big Business in America (1991).
- Harris, Neil (1962). "The Gilded Age Revisited: Boston and the Museum Movement". American Quarterly 14 (4): 545–566. JSTOR 2710131.
- U.S. Bureau of the Census, Historical Statistics of the United States (1976) series F1-F5.
- Milton Friedman, Anna Jacobson Schwartz, A monetary history of the United States, 1867–1960 (1971) p. 93
- Melvyn Dubofsky and Foster Rhea Dulles, Labor in America: a history (2010 and earlier editions)
- Paul Michel Taillon, Good, Reliable, White Men: Railroad Brotherhoods, 1877–1917 (2009).
- Robert E. Weir, Beyond Labor's Veil: The Culture of the Knights of Labor (1996)
- Almont Lindsey, The Pullman Strike: The Story of a Unique Experiment and of a Great Labor Upheaval (1943)
- Harold C. Livesay, Samuel Gompers and Organized Labor in America (1993)
- James Q. Wilson; John J. Diiulio, Jr.; Meena Bose (1 January 2012). American Government: Institutions and Policies. Cengage Learning. p. 190.
- Faith Jaycox (2005). The Progressive Era. Infobase Publishing. p. 78.
- George C. Kohn (2001). The New Encyclopedia of American Scandal. Infobase Publishing. pp. 43, 84.
- David T. Beito and Linda Royster Beito, "Gold Democrats and the Decline of Classical Liberalism, 1896-1900," Independent Review 4 (Spring 2000), 555-75
- Nell Irvin Painter (1989). Standing at Armageddon: The United States, 1877-1919. W. W. Norton. p. 80.
- Paul Kleppner, The Third Electoral System 1853-1892 (1979) p 182
- Mark W. Summers, Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion: The Making of a President, 1884 (2000) ch 1
- Paul Kleppner, The Third Electoral System, 1853-1892: Parties, Voters, and Political Cultures (1979)
- Paul Finkelman (2001). Encyclopedia of the United States in the Nineteenth Century: Grand tour-presidency. Scribner's. p. 515.
- William Foote Whyte, "The Bennett Law Campaign in Wisconsin," Wisconsin Magazine Of History, 10: 4 (1926–1927).
- Richard J. Jensen (1971). The Winning of the Midwest: Social and Political Conflict, 1888-1896. U. of Chicago Press. pp. 89–110.
- Thomas J. Archdeacon, Becoming American: An Ethnic History (1984)
- Brian Greenberg; Linda S. Watts (2009). Social History of the United States. ABC-CLIO. pp. 127–28.
- John Higham (1955, 2002). Strangers in the Land: Patterns of American Nativism, 1860-1925. Rutgers U.P. p. 65.
- Susan F. Martin (2010). A Nation of Immigrants. Cambridge U.P. p. 106.
- Thomas Adams Upchurch (2009). Historical Dictionary of the Gilded Age. Scarecrow Press. p. 160.
- See Historical Census Statistics on the Foreign-born Population of the United States: 1850–1990 U.S. Bureau of the Census
- Franklin Odo (2002). The Columbia Documentary History of the Asian American Experience. Columbia U.P. p. 112.
- Yong Chen, Chinese San Francisco, 1850–1943: A Trans-Pacific Community (2000)
- Arthur Schlesinger, The Rise of the City, 1878–1898 (1933)
- Joseph J. Korom (2008). The American Skyscraper, 1850-1940: A Celebration of Height. Branden Books. pp. 93–94.
- Robert M. Fogelson (2003). Downtown: Its Rise and Fall, 1880-1950. Yale U.P.
- Tyler Anbinder (2001). Five Points: The 19th-century New York City Neighborhood that Invented Tap Dance, Stole Elections, and Became the World's Most Notorious Slum. Simon and Schuster.
- U.S. Census Bureau, [www.census.gov/geo/www/us_regdiv.pdf "Census Regions and Divisions of the United States"]
- David O. Whitten, "The Depression of 1893" (2010) online
- Edward L. Ayers (2007). The Promise of the New South: Life After Reconstruction - 15th Anniversary Edition. Oxford University Press,.
- Steven Hahn, A Nation under Our Feet: Black Political Struggles in the Rural South from Slavery to the Great Migration (2005) pp 425-6
- C. Vann Woodward, The Origins of the New South, 1877-1913 (1951) is the classic history; excerpt and text search.
- Rayford W. Logan, The Negro In American Life And Thought; The Nadir, 1877-1901 (1954)
- C. Vann Woodward, The Strange Career of Jim Crow (1955 and later editions excerpt and text search
- Michael Perman, Struggle for Mastery: Disfranchisement in the South, 1888–1908 (2001)
- Aileen Kraditor, The Ideas of the Woman Suffrage Movement: 1890–1920 (1965)
- Wendy Gamber (1997). The Female Economy: The Millinery and Dressmaking Trades, 1860-1930. University of Illinois Press.
- Sidney Fine (1964). Laissez faire and the general-welfare state: a study of conflict in American thought, 1865-1901. U. of Michigan Press.
- Charles Howard Hopkins. The Rise of the Social Gospel in American Protestantism, 1865–1915. (1940) online edition
- Robert William Fogel, The Fourth Great Awakening & the Future of Egalitarianism (2000)
- Paul Kleppner, The Third Electoral System, 1853-1892: Parties, Voters, and Political Cultures (2009)
- Jensen (171)
- Randall M. Miller, et al, eds. Religion and the American Civil War (1998
- James F. Findlay Dwight L. Moody: American Evangelist, 1837-1899 (2007
- Ruth Bordin, Women and Temperance: The Quest for Power and Liberty, 1873-1900 (1981)
- Marsden, George (1973). "The Gospel of Wealth, the Social Gospel, and the Salvation of Souls in Nineteenth-Century America". Fides et Historia 5 (1, 2): 10–21.
- Varg, Paul A. (1954). "Motives in Protestant Missions, 1890–1917". Church History 23 (1): 68–82. JSTOR 3161183.
- Shenk, Wilbert R., ed. (2004). North American Foreign Missions, 1810–1914: Theology, Theory, and Policy.
- Setran, David P. (2005). "Following the Broad-Shouldered Jesus: The College YMCA and the Culture of Muscular Christianity in American Campus Life, 1890–1914". American Educational History Journal 32 (1): 59–66.
Further reading 
- Archdeacon, Thomas J. Becoming American: An Ethnic History (1984) on immigration and ethnicity
- Argersinger; Peter H. Structure, Process, and Party: Essays in American Political History. (1992) online version
- Arnesen, Eric, ed. Encyclopedia of U.S. Labor and Working-Class History (3 vol. 2006), essays by scholars
- Buenker, John D. and Joseph Buenker, eds. Encyclopedia of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. (2005). 1256 pp. in three volumes. ISBN 0-7656-8051-3; 900 essays by 200 scholars
- Calhoun, Charles W. ed. The Gilded Age: Perspectives on the Origins of Modern America (2nd ed. 2007) 402pp; essays by scholars
- Cherny, Robert W. American Politics in the Gilded Age, 1868–1900 (1997) online edition
- Edwards, Rebecca. New Spirits: Americans in the Gilded Age, 1865–1905 (2005); 304pp excerpt and text search
- Faulkner, Harold U.; Politics, Reform, and Expansion, 1890–1900 (1959), scholarly survey, strong on economic and political history online edition
- Folsom, Burton W., and Forrest McDonald, The Myth of the Robber Barons: A New Look at the Rise of Big Business in America (1991), by leading conservative scholars
- Garraty, John A. The New Commonwealth, 1877–1890, 1968 scholarly survey, strong on economic and political history
- Jensen, Richard. "Democracy, Republicanism and Efficiency: The Values of American Politics, 1885–1930," in Byron Shafer and Anthony Badger, eds, Contesting Democracy: Substance and Structure in American Political History, 1775–2000 (U of Kansas Press, 2001) pp 149–180; online version
- Kirkland, Edward C. Industry Comes of Age, Business, Labor, and Public Policy 1860–1897 (1961), standard survey
- Kleppner; Paul. The Third Electoral System 1853–1892: Parties, Voters, and Political Cultures U of North Carolina Press, (1979) online version
- Morgan, H. Wayne. From Hayes to McKinley: National Party Politics, 1877–1896 (1969) online edition
- Morgan, H. Wayne ed. The Gilded Age: A Reappraisal Syracuse University Press 1970. interpretive essays
- Nevins, Allan. The Emergence of Modern America, 1865–1878 (1933) ISBN 0-403-01127-2, social history
- Schlesinger, Arthur M. The Rise of the City: 1877–1898 (1933), social history
- Schlup, Leonard C.; James G. Ryan (2003). Historical Dictionary of the Gilded Age. M.E. Sharpe.
- Shannon, Fred A. The Farmer's Last Frontier: 1860–1897 (1945) survey of economic history online edition
- Smythe, Ted Curtis; The Gilded Age Press, 1865–1900 (2003). online edition
- Stiles, T. J. (2010). The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt. Random House.; Pulitzer prize.
- Upchurch, Thomas Adams (2009). Historical Dictionary of the Gilded Age. Scarecrow Press. 276pp
- Wagner, David. Ordinary People: In and Out of Poverty in the Gilded Age (2008); traces people who were at one time in a poor house
- White, Richard. "Corporations, Corruption, and the Modern Lobby: A Gilded Age Story of the West and the South in Washington, D.C.", Southern Spaces, 16 April 2009.
- Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, scholarly quarterly
- More general information to the Gilded Age on the Library of Congress
- New Spirits: A Web Site on Americans in the Gilded Age, 1865–1905 by Rebecca Edwards, Vassar College
- WWW-VL: History: United States: The Gilded Age, 1876–1900 by Robert Spencer, University of Southern Maine. An extensive collection of materials.
- America's Wealth in the Gilded Age accessed March 29, 2006
- Illinois During the Gilded Age, 1866–1896, Illinois Historical Digitization Projects at Northern Illinois University Libraries accessed March 28, 2008
- Harper's Weekly 150 cartoons on elections 1860–1912; Reconstruction topics; Chinese exclusion; plus American Political Prints from the Library of Congress, 1766–1876
- "Graphic Witness" caricatures in history
- Gilded Age & Progressive Era Cartoons, industry, labor, politics, prohibition from Ohio State University
- Puck cartoons
- Keppler cartoons
- 1892 cartoons