THE HISTORY OF AMERICA IN THE 1880S - The Decade that Change America

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What was life like in America in the 1880s? Certainly nothing like today, yet many of the things we so cherish now had their roots during this significant and often time neglected decade in history.

Just like a time machine, we transport you back to discover the people and events that shaped this exciting decade: the Brooklyn Bridge ...Washington Monument ...Statue of Liberty ...Gunfight at the O.K. Corral ...Oklahoma Land Rush ...Johnstown Flood ...Thomas Edison ...Mark Twain ...Baby Doe ...Sitting Bull ...Sarah Bernhardt ...John Philip Sousa ...Buffalo Bill ...Gilbert and Sullivan ...Wyatt Earp...Jesse James and Billy the Kid ....Alexander Graham Bell ....John D. Rockefeller ....Andrew Carnegie ....Samuel Gompers ....Susan B. Anthony ....Lillian Russell ....and many more!

You will learn about fashion, politics, sports heroes, famous inventors, Wall Street financiers, railroad expansion, buffalo extinction, Indian resettlement, Civil Rights, union organization, urbanization, the music of the times, and much, much more!

Through the use of live re-enactments, rare historical photographs and drawings, and award-winning photography you will be amazed, amused, entertained and educated about many little known facts and some life changing events that have become part of the foundation of our society today.

As a special bonus feature, we also present an archival documentary film about the life of Alexander Graham Bell, his work with the deaf and the invention of the telephone!

Length: 60 Minutes including bonus track UPC 894190001936 ISBN 978-1-9636134-11-3

A fast and fascinating survey of the 1880s in America. Recommended. - Landers Film Reviews


Subject Area: US History, Geography, Culture * Age Level: 4th Grade through Adult

Brief Summary: The 1880’s has been a neglected decade in the study of American history. Lying between Reconstruction and The Gay Nineties, it has been largely ignored by historians. There were no big wars and no serious financial depressions; yet during this 10-year period, there were many significant beginnings and endings. There was a unique financial problem in the federal government and there were a host of personalities who are still famous today.

Between 1880 and 1890, four states joined the Union and the population increased 13 million to a total of 63 million. It was the height of the Victorian Age (named after Queen Victoria of England). It was a time of sentimental songs and “gingerbread” architecture… a time when small boys were dressed in Little Lord Fauntleroy outfits, women wore corsets and bustles, and boxer and baseball players didn’t wear gloves. Doctors ran the local drugstore, teachers received a 25 cent a week raise after teaching 5 years, and there was no personal income tax. Railroads were moving into their glory years, steamboats were on the decline, and city transportation consisted mostly of trolley cars and bicycles.

In the 1880’s the great cattle drives from Texas were dying out, buffalo were being killed to the point of extinction, and the remaining Indian nations were once again “resettled” into smaller reservations. The Civil Rights Act of 1875 which guaranteed Negroes equal accommodations in public facilities was declared unconstitutional.

Immigrants from Europe were flooding into the country, unions were organizing to fight low wages and unsafe working conditions, and people were moving from farms to cities, building the urban base that was to become 20th Century America.

Statistics and Information: • In 1880 there were 38 states and 50 million people. In 1890 there were 42 states and 63 million people. New states were: Montana, North and South Dakota, and Washington. • Standard Oil Co. controls 90% of the nation’s oil business. • By 1890 four railroads have been built to the west coast (coast to coast in 7 days). • Women can vote in some states but not in national elections. • Instead of glass plates, the Kodak camera uses roll type film. Camera and film are sent to Rochester, NY for processing. • The following magazines begin publishing in the 1880’s: National Geographic, Popular Science, Cosmopolitan, McCalls, Ladies Home Journal, and Good Housekeeping.

• Most schools consist of 1 or 2 rooms. In rural areas classes are held for about 5 months each year, 6 days a week, 10 hours a day. Colleges are not co-ed. There are no medical schools. Doctors learn from on the job training. • Postage is reduced from 3 cents to 2 cents. • Most popular novel is Ben Hur.

Names: Thomas Edison Baby Doe Gilbert & Sullivan Mark Twain Sitting Bull Geronimo Sarah Bernhardt John Phillip Sousa Buffalo Bill Jesse James Susan B. Anthony John D. Rockefeller Clara Barton Billy the Kid Samuel Gompers Alexander Graham Bell Edwin Booth Wyatt Earp John L. Sullivan William Jennings Bryan George Eastman Lillian Russell Andrew Carnegie Elizabeth Cady Stanton Frances Folsom Lily Langtry

Vocabulary: Spoils System Civic Service System National Grange Suffrage Texas Longhorns Oklahoma Land Rush (Sooners) Matchless Mine Bustle/Corset Chautauqua Victorian Age Patent Medicines Haymarket Squares

Time Line:

1880: Salvation Army established in America James Garfield elected President Electric Street Lamps introduced in Wabash, IN.

1881: Gunfight at O.K. Corral American Red Cross founded President Garfield assassinated Chester A. Arthur becomes President Sitting Bull surrenders Billy the Kid is killed

1882: Jesse James killed Knights of Columbus established Congress passes an immigration act that establishes a 50 cent head tax on each Immigrant

1883: Brooklyn Bridge completed US is divided into 4 time zones Horace Tabor marries Baby Doe New building for the Metropolitan Opera

1884: Grover Cleveland elected President Baseball pitchers are allowed to throw overhand Mark Twain completes “Huckleberry Finn”

1885: Washington Monument completed Low-wheeled bicycle introduced Electric trolley car introduced 1886: Statue of Liberty dedicated Haymarket Square Riot Richard Sears publishes his first mail order catalog Geronimo is captured A.F. of L founded

1887: Surplus in Treasury reaches $100 million Interstate Commerce Act passed Foxburg Gold Course chartered

1888: Benjamin Harrison elected President Catcher’s mitt is introduced Casey at the Bat is written George Eastman introduces “Kodak” camera

1889: Johnstown Flood John L. Sullivan wins last bare knuckle championship Oklahoma Land Rush Edison puts motion pictures on film

1890: The frontier is “officially” closed

Discussion Questions:

1. What country did the Statue of Liberty come from? What was its purpose? What problems are associated with the statue today? 2. What gains did minorities and specific movements make? 3. What were the immediate and long term implications of large-scale immigration? 4. Compare everyday life in the 1880’s with today. a. Compare amateur-professional sports b. Compare education c. Compare entertainment 5. Make a list of inventions and discoveries 6. What do you believe are the most significant events that occurred during this decade?