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The Rise of American Industry, 1850-1900
Guide: Business of America

These resources explain the positive and negative aspects of the rise of American industry in the 19th century. Use these resources to support your students' evaluation of 19th-century business leaders and their practices. Use the Export to My Lists button above to turn this into a research list for your students.

Time Period Key Understandings

  • Opportunities have been extended to certain groups of Americans while denied to other groups.
  • Social and economic changes due to technological advancement can have positive and negative effects.
  • Wealth can be used to influence people and politics in positive and negative ways.
  • Immigrants' decisions to leave their homeland are based on push and pull factors.
  • Organizations and people can advocate for and obtain social change.

Key Questions

  • What two terms were used to describe businessmen in the late 1800s? Explain the difference between their meaning and how the terms should be used.
  • What are monopolies and trusts? Evaluate the pros and cons of these practices. How were they beneficial to business owners? How were they harmful to consumers?
  • How did the business ideology of laissez-faire and Social Darwinism influence the way in which business was conducted in the 19th century?


  1. Overview: Business of America
  2. Visuals: Business of America (Visual)
  3. Outlines: Outline
  4. Transcripts: Transcript
  5. Lesson: Introduction
  6. Lesson: 1-Captains of Industry
  7. Lesson: 2-Robber Barons
  8. Lesson: 3-Laissez-Faire Capitalism and Government
  9. Lesson: 4-The Players
  10. Lesson: 5-The Ideology of Business
  11. Lesson: Closing
  12. Investigate Activities: Robber Barons and America
  13. Photos & Illustrations: Carnegie, Andrew
  14. Photos & Illustrations: Morgan, J. P.
  15. Photos & Illustrations: Rockefeller, John D.
  16. Reference Articles: Antitrust Laws
  17. Reference Articles: Gilded Age
  18. Reference Articles: Robber Barons
  19. Reference Articles: Standard Oil Company
  20. Reference Articles: Labor Movement
  21. Political Cartoons, Posters & Document Images: Political cartoon: caricature of J. P. Morgan (1901)
  22. Political Cartoons, Posters & Document Images: Political cartoon: John D. Rockefeller and Standard Oil (1900)
  23. Political, Government & Court Documents: Standard Oil v. United States (1911)
  24. Political, Government & Court Documents: Carnegie, Andrew: "Wealth" (1889)
  25. Political, Government & Court Documents: Sherman Antitrust Act (1890)
  26. Political, Government & Court Documents: Tarbell, Ida: The History of the Standard Oil Company (1904)
  27. Speeches: Kearney, Denis: "Appeal from California" (1878)

MLA Citation

"Business of America." History Hub, ABC-CLIO, 2019, historyhub.abc-clio.com/Support/Content/2153113?cid=256. Accessed 15 Oct. 2019.

Entry ID: 2153113

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