Period 6: 1865-1898 (AP US History)

Period 6: 1865-1898

The transformation of the United States from an agricultural to an increasingly industrialized and urbanized society brought about significant economic, political, diplomatic, social, environmental, and cultural changes. Topics may include:

 

  • The Settlement of the West 
  • The "New South"
  • The Rise of Industrial Capitalism
  • Immigration and Migration
  • Reform Movements
  • Debates about the Role of Government

 

Image Source: A detail from Across the Continent: “Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way,” a lithograph by Frances Flora Bond Palmer, published in New York by Currier & Ives, 1868. (National Gallery of Art)

Illustration called "Across the Continent" showing railroad passing through frontier village with forest, plains, river, and mountainous terrain all visible. The train has the text "Through Line New York San Francisco" written on it.
  • 10-17% Exam Weighting

Key Concepts

6.1: Technological advances, large-scale production methods, and the opening of new markets encouraged the rise of industrial capitalism in the United States.

6.2: The migrations that accompanied industrialization transformed both urban and rural areas of the United States and caused dramatic social and cultural change.

6.3: The Gilded Age produced new cultural and intellectual movements, public reform efforts, and political debates over economic and social policies.

The Settlement of the West

Financing the Transcontinental Railroad

by Maury Klein

Understand the funding and building of the railroads.

  • Essay

Native Networks and the Ghost Dance

by Justin Gage

Watch a discussion about a spiritual dance performed to combat US expansion into the West.

  • Video

The Development of the West

by Ned Blackhawk

Gain an understanding of how the idea of the West played a role in the US emerging as a global power.

  • Essay

Indian Wars: The Battle of Washita

1868

Report by General Custer describing conditions during the Indian Wars

  • Primary Source

American Indians and the Transcontinental Railroad

by Elliott West

Learn about the impact of the railroads on Indigenous peoples in the West.

  • Essay

Official photograph from the “Golden Spike” Ceremony

1869

The completion of the first transcontinental railroad lines at Promontory Summit, Utah.

  • Primary Source

Horace Greeley: “Go West”

1871

Editor of the New York Tribune encourages young men to pursue westward expansion.

  • Primary Source

William T. Sherman on the western railroads

1878

Letter recognizing the railroad’s value to the military

  • Primary Source

The "New South"

Citizenship in the Reconstruction South

by Susanna Lee

Read about the active role freed men and women played in the struggle to define the contours of a biracial democracy. 

  • Essay

The Effects of the Civil War on the South

by Edward L. Ayers

Watch a discussion contextualizing the economic and social impacts of the war.

  • Video

Campaigning for the African American vote in Georgia

1894

Broadside aimed at winning the Black vote in Georgia

  • Primary Source

Reconstruction and the South

1866

Charles Sumner's claim that President Johnson was jeopardizing the North's victory.

  • Primary Source

Sharecropper contract

1867

1867 contract agreeing to the terms for sharecropping

  • Primary Source

The War Ruined Me

1867

Letter describing the economic struggles of an Alabama farmer and preacher

  • Primary Source

Frederick Douglass on Disenfranchisement

1888

Letter by Frederick Douglass protesting the disenfranchisement of Black southern voters following Reconstruction

  • Primary Source

Reform Movements

The Grange Movement

1875

Lithograph promoting the needs of farmers

  • Primary Source

Labor Day: From Protest to Picnics

by Joshua B. Freeman

Learn about the development of the labor movement and labor unions in the age of industrialization.

  • Essay

Anti-corporate cartoons

ca. 1900

Cartoons expressing hostility toward corporate capitalism

  • Primary Source

The struggle for married women’s rights, circa 1880s

ca. 1880s

John Brown's daughter on the "struggle for a married woman’s rights"

  • Primary Source

Assassinating President Garfield

1882

Assassin Charles Julius Guiteau pleads innocence through poetry

  • Primary Source

The Persistence of Ida B. Wells

by Kristina DuRocher

Read about Wells’s long struggle for racial justice and suffrage as well as the resistance she faced along the way.

  • Essay

The Haymarket Affair

1886

Publication claiming that the accused in the Haymarket Affair were victims of anti-labor advocates

  • Primary Source

William Jennings Bryan on the Declaration

1895

William Jennings Bryan draws on the ideals of Andrew Jackson and Thomas Jefferson

  • Primary Source

Rethinking Huck

by Steven Mintz

Gain an understanding the evolving critiques of Twain's Huckleberry Finn over time.

  • Essay

Debates about the Role of Government

William Cullen Bryant opposes the protective tariff

1876

An argument against tarriffs

  • Primary Source

Populism and Agrarian Discontent

by Michael Kazin

Examine the Populist response to industrialization and the development of the People's Party.

  • Essay

People’s Party campaign poster

1892

Image promoting Populist goals of "Equal Rights to All; Special Privileges to None"

  • Primary Source

The United States and the Caribbean

by Jason Colby

Read about the role of private enterprise and US influence in the Caribbean.

  • Essay

Immigration and Migration

The History of US Immigration Law

by Jane Hong

Read about regional and national restrictions on immigration.

  • Essay

Immigration and Migration

by Hasia Diner

Learn about push and pull factors and their relationship to the Industrial Revolution.

  • Essay

Workingmen's Party Pamphlet

1880

Anti-Chinese and anti-immigration rhetoric from California

  • Primary Source

Expelling the Poor: Antebellum Origins

by Hidetaka Hirota

Learn about the discrimination against poor immigrants from Ireland and China.

  • Essay

The Rise of Industrial Capitalism

The Gilded Age

by T. Jackson Lears

Learn about key moments and ideas that gave rise to the industrial era.

  • Essay

Building Carnegie Hall

1889

Letter by Andrew Carnegie seeking assistance in the building of the Music Hall in New York City

  • Primary Source

Entrepreneurs and Bankers

by Robert W. Cherny

Examine the rise of big business and captains of industry.

  • Essay

The Rise of Industrial America

by Richard White

Gain a comprehensive understanding of the causes and consequences of the Industrial Revolution.

  • Essay

American History Timeline: 1865-1898

Image Citations

Listed in order of appearance in the sections above

The Settlement of the West

The Settlement of the West

  • Swain & Lewis, The World's Railroad Scene. Chicago, 1882. Chromolithograph. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. 
  • Remington, Frederic. "The Ghost Dance by the Ogallala Sioux at Pine Ridge Agency. Dakota." Harper's Weekly, December 6, 1890. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. 
  • Moran, Thomas. The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. 1893-1901. Oil on canvas. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of George D. Pratt, 1928.7.1.
  • Custer, George Armstrong. Report to Lt. Schuyler Crosby, Dept. of the Missouri, on the Battle of Washita, December 22, 1868. Manuscript. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, GLC04606.
  • Currier & Ives, James Merritt Ives, and F. F. Palmer. Across the Continent, "Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way." New York, 1868. Lithograph. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
  • Russell, Andrew J. Joining of the Rails at Promontory Point [Russell #227], May 10, 1869. Photograph. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, GLC04481.01.
  • Greeley, Horace. Letter to R. L. Sanderson, November 15, 1871. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, GLC00608.
  • Sherman, William T. Letter to David Douty Colton, September 26, 1878. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, GLC05095.

The "New South"

The "New South"

  • Nast, Thomas. “Andrew Johnson’s Reconstruction and How It Works.” Harper's Weekly, September 1, 1866. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, GLC01733.08.
  • Beard, James Carter. The Fifteenth Amendment. Celebrated May 19th, 1870. New York: Thomas Kelly , 1870. The Richard Gilder Personal Collection, The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, GLC10030.
  • Democratic Party (Ga.). Colored Voters Read. 1894. Broadside. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, GLC09000.
  • Sumner, Charles. "[One man power versus Congress] Address." ca. October 2, 1866. Manuscript. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, GLC00496.088.01.
  • Bailey, Isham G. Contract between Isham G. Bailey and freedmen Cooper Hughs and Charles Roberts. Mississippi, January 1, 1867. Manuscript. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, GLC04522.11.
  • Ramsey, Alexander. Letter to J. J. Wardlaw, January 3, 1867. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, GLC09311.
  • Douglass, Frederick. Letter to Robert Adams, December 4, 1888. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, GLC04997.

Reform Movements

Reform Movements

  • J. Hale Powers & Co. Fraternity & Fine Art Publishers. Gift for the Grangers. Cincinnati: Strobridge & Co., 1873. Chromolithograph. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
  • Hine, Lewis Wickes. Group of Oyster Shuckers in Barataria Canning Co. Biloxi, Mississippi, 1911. Photograph. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. 
  • Gillam, Bernhard. "The Protectors of Our Industries." Puck, February 7, 1883. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
  • Adams, Anne Brown. Letter to Alexander M. Ross, January 16, 1886. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, GLC03007.13.
  • Guiteau, Charles. "My Case." June 6, 1882. Manuscript. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, GLC06319.
  • "Ida B. Wells." In I. Garland Penn, The Afro-American Press and Its Editors. Springfield, MA: Willey & Co., 1891. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
  • Lum, Dyer D. A Concise History of the Great Trial of the Chicago Anarchists in 1886. Chicago: Socialistic Publishing Society, [1886]. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, GLC05640.
  • Bryan, William Jennings. Letter to I. J. Dunn, January 4, 1895. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, GLC07189.
  • Bradley, A. F. Samuel Langhorne Clemens [Mark Twain]. 1907. Photograph. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Debates about the Role of Government

Debates about the Role of Government

  • Bryant, William Cullen. Letter to Hamilton A. Hill, February 11, 1876. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, GLC02595.
  • People's Party Paper (Atlanta, GA), April 28, 1892. Chronicling America. Library of Congress.
  • People’s Party. Candidates for President and Vice President. Chicago: Chicago Sentinel Publishing Company, 1892. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
  • Detroit Publishing Co. United Fruit Company banana conveyors, New Orleans, La. ca. 1910. Photograph. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. 

Immigration and Migration

Immigration and Migration

  • Hamilton, Grant E. "Where the Blame Lies." Judge, April 4, 1891. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
  • Johnston, Frances Benjamin. Wooden Box Industry: Women in Work Room of Box Factory. ca. 1910. Photograph. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. 
  • Workingmen's Party of California. Chinatown Declared a Nuisance! San Francisco, 1880. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, GLC06232.03.
  • Nast, Thomas. "Which Color Is to Be Tabooed Next?" Harper's Weekly, March 25, 1882. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. 

The Rise of Industrial Capitalism

The Rise of Industrial Capitalism

  • Tou, Edmond. John D. Rockefeller. 1912. Photograph. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, GLC05148.
  • Carnegie, Andrew. Letter to Heram Hitchcock, January 31, 1889. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, GLC02896.
  • Unknown photographer. Henry Ford. ca. 1925. Photograph. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, GLC02684.
  • Lee, Russell. Textile Mills. New Braunfels, Texas.1940. Photograph. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.