Unit 6: 1865 - 1898

Unit 6 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.  
Unit 6 covers from the end of the Civil War to the Spanish American War of 1898. 

During this period, the United States experienced an economic boom known as the Second Industrial Revolution. Just like in the First Industrial Revolution, technological innovation and the availability of cheap labor meant that consumer goods could be produced very quickly. Railroads, electricity, and skyscrapers all came into fruition in the post war years.

While the rich got richer through their ownership of factories, the poor became poorer. The business leaders, often called “Robber Barons” concentrated their wealth at the expense of their workers. Workers soon began to organize into unions to demand higher wages and better working conditions.

Society in the United States was also getting more diverse. New immigrant groups from southern and eastern Europe started to immigrate to the states in large numbers. This represented a change from the primarily western European immigrants of the previous generation. Some of these immigrant groups developed distinct ethnic enclaves, such as Chinatown in San Francisco.

Americans also continued to push westward, this time using the Transcontinental Railroad to more quickly travel to the frontier. The railroad, and western expansion more generally, led to increased conflict with American Indians. The federal government frequently violated its treaties with American Indian populations. During this time period, the government also began forcibly relocating American Indians onto reservations.

This was a time of great social conflict. Mark Twain called this period of time “The Gilded Age” because it looked good, but was less beautiful when examined closely. People began to apply Charles Darwin’s ideas of “survival of the fittest” to humans in order to argue that the rich and the poor deserved their lots in life. This approach hid, or “gilded,” the reality that many social group, such as women and African-Americans, led very difficult lives. Reformers like Jane Addams argued that women and immigrants should be supported in their lives. Andrew Carnegie supported a similar view by advocating for the “Gospel of Wealth.”

Unit 6 Review Resources

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Ms. Dickie's Review Video

Ms. Dickie discusses this unit in a thematic way which will help best with the written response questions. 

Watch the Video Here 

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Heimler's History

If you would like to rewatch videos from this unit based on the key concepts, then view this playlist here: Unit 6 Playlist

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APUSH Review with Adam Norris

A review of this entire time period in a 10 minute video. These videos have notes on the screen which may be helpful when writing down key ideas. 

If you like these, here are some more from this time period focusing on specific topics: More Period 6 Videos 

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Khan Academy

This includes quick summaries of important topics in written and video form and short quizzes to test your understanding. Khan Academy is free to use and if you plan on using this often it might be helpful to create an account to keep track of your progress. View Unit 6 content here

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Gilder Lehrman

This video covers a challenging period of expansion, crisis, and rebuilding for America. These videos include a summary of key ideas as well as a description of some documents you might see on the exam. 

Period 6 Timeline: Includes documents and key events. 

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Crash Course

John Green has a series of videos for each unit that are not specifically APUSH related but cover important topics you will see on the exam. He talks very fast but if you like these videos there are several for each time period. View the topics from this unit below: 

The Industrial Economy
Westward Expansion
Immigrant Cities
Gilded Age
Progressive Era
Progressive Era Presidents

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Use the following to create your own flashcards: 

APUSH Review Flashcards PDF

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