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Sources of Freedom Exercises

This chapter concentrates on the history of America’s industrial revolution and the settlement of the West in the late nineteenth century. The chapter opens with the dedication of the Statue of Liberty, a national symbol for the freedom for which America stands. However, the Gilded Age revealed that the nation had not yet decided what role the government should play in guaranteeing those freedoms.

The industrial revolution brought tremendous urban growth, created a national market, and made captains of industry very rich while exploiting the working class. Farming was transformed too, and the settlement of the West after the Civil War resulted in the displacement of American Indians. Fighting to keep their land and freedom, the Indians fought the American cavalry in a series of wars culminating at Wounded Knee. Chief Joseph unsuccessfully led his people toward Canada, hoping to escape being placed on a reservation. His story is told in Voices of Freedom.

Next, the chapter discusses the politics of Gilded Age, a period of political stalemate, inaction, and corrupt city machines. Freedom in the Gilded Age is explored, looking closely at Social Darwinism, the concept of "liberty of contract," and the courts’ participation in defining freedom during the industrial age. Responding to the hardships of industrialization were the Knights of Labor and various social critics such as Henry George, Edward Bellamy, and Walter Rauschenbusch. The chapter concludes with the Haymarket Affair and Henry George’s run for New York City mayor, indicating that labor was attempting to become a permanent political force by the end of the Gilded Age.

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