Flags of the United States: Twentieth U.S Flag, July 4, 1877
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Flags of the United States: Twentieth U.S Flag, July 4, 1877


By Jon R. Warren

The thirty-eight star flag honoring the admission of Colorado was raised on July 4, 1877. It flew for thirteen of the most exciting years in American history. The pattern shown on the ingot resembles the first United states flag, but the canton is bordered with stars which represent a century of national growth. Under this flag the Brooklyn Bridge, the largest suspension bridge in the world at that time, was completed. The illustration shows the celebration on dedication day in 1883.

During this period the West was settled and the East became industrial Fortunes were made and lost. Immigration reached new heights. In the post-war years, the Texas cattle industry developed. Because this industry was dependent on the railroads, Texan war veterans and Mexican vaqueros massive herds of longhorns up to 1,200 miles to railroad terminal cow towns such as Abilene and Dodge City, Kansas, and oglalla, Nebraska, where the beef was sold to eastern buyers. Most of the cattle at this time grazed on open range, which stretched from southern texas to the Canadian border. With the homesteading movement of the 1880s, this open range was made available to farmers, and the Oklahoma Land rush in 1889 further reduced the grazing land. However, although the cattle industry continued to grow, there still remained enough land for both farms and ranches.

In 1860 only about one third of United States production was in manufacturing. But by 1890 america was established as an industrial country. Much of this growth in manufacturing was due to the expansion of the iron and steel industries.

Cut-throat competition was the rule in the early days of industry. Gigantic trusts, affiliated companies guided by a central group of policymakers, were formed. Railroad corporations formed notorious trusts which at that time controlled much transportation in the United States. These corporation were chartered by individual states, and the Federal government was unable to regulate them. The first interstate commerce Act was passed in 1887, but the courts voided its punitive provisions. The sherman anti-Trust Act 1890 also proved ineffective as a control measure.

The industrial boom was  based on cheap, plentiful labor, provided mostly by immigrants. Most laborers joined unions to improve their bargaining position with management. Unions were not new in the United states, but those formed in the late 1800s were especially aggressive. In 1886 laborers of many trades banded together in Chicago to strike for an eight-hour day. The strike fell apart after the Haymarket square riot of May 4, after which four anarchists were hanged . The knights of Labor, an early trade union, was eventually replaced by Samuel Gomper's American Federation of Labor, founded in 1886 and organized along craft lines.

On November 2, 1889, North Dakota and South Dakota were admitted as states, Montana became a state six days later, followed by Washington on November 11. Finally, Just before the new flag could be raised on July 3, 1890, Idaho was admitted as the forty-third state.


This article has been read 4470 times. Last read on 2/28/2021 10:50:20 AM

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