Chapter 5: The Gilded Age (or, Screw the Poor!)

As the nation got back on its feet following the bloody civil war, it also entered the Age of Invention and the age when a handful of rich jerks owned most of the country. The presidents got hairier - and even MORE forgettable. We LOVE the picture (above) of the Farman Flying Machine - look how excited these guys are to have gotten this thing off the ground! How could it have barely taken a century for flying to get so, so boring?


Charles Guiteau, the assassin of President Garfield, sings a song he wrote for the occasion entitled "I'm a-Goin' To the Lordy." It was awful. The full text is in the book. Your assignment: using only stuff from this chapter, complete this sentence: "'I'm a-goin' to the Lordy' sucks even more than______"
Some of our suggestions include "being a capitalist at one of Leon Czolgash's dinner parties," "sitting downwind of Taft on three bean casserole day," and "getting Woodrow Wilson's dental bill."Mail your answers to the staff - some MAY be posted here!*

Researchers on staff have not been able to figure out whether President Rutherford B Hayes was cross-eyed or just had a real talent for looking confused. People can explain to you how he managed to win the election when the other guy got 51% of the vote (and probably won the electoral college, too), but they can't do it without confusing you. Trust us. People in Hayes' day often called him "Rutherfraud Hayes."

Join the Rutherford Hayes: Not My President facebook group!

*If you send us your assignment, you're granting us the rights to post it here. We reserve the right NOT to post things, either due to quality, content, or sheer laziness on our part.


"It Takes More than that to Kill a Bull Moose!"
Full text of the speech Teddy Roosevelt gave shortly after being shot in the chest during the 1912 presidential campaign - he made the speech with his bloody shirt still on, while people offstage begged him to go see a doctor.

The Bull Moose Party's Platform - which was a generation ahead of its time in its calls for equality, fair labor practices, and social reform (though they were unable to put their money where their mouth was in terms of racial equality - members pressured Roosevelt to exclude blacks from the convention so they'd have at least a vague hope of winning in the South, where voters had never quite forgiven Roosevelt for inviting Booker T. Washington to the White House. They lost the South anyway, and Roosevelt ended up regretting not letting blacks in).

Jane Addams
seconded Roosevelt's nomination and became the first woman to speak at a major convention. She went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Library of Congress Stuff on the Gilded Age

Upton Sinclair's The Jungle.

If you ate any meat this week and DIDN'T get sick, you have this book to thank. When it came out, Chicago's stockyards were notoriously unsanitary - a popular rhyme went:

"Mary had a little lamb
when she saw it sicken
she sent it to Chicago and
now it's labelled 'chicken.'"

Reporters were always kicked out of the stockyards, or only shown the clean spaces, but Upton Sinclair found that if he just walked around with a lunch bucket, everyone assumed he worked there and let him go wherever he pleased.

An inventor shows off his latest doohickey. Don't look at this shot too closely, or you may get a mysterious urge to eat Dorsch's bread. And you'll drive yourself to madness trying to find any. Trust us. We lost six interns that way.

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