What Was The Gilded Age?


The Gilded Age, known for its prosperity, industrialization, and rapid population growth, was an era in American history that lasted from the 1870s to the late 20th century. It was the time of great so-called "captains of industry" such as J.D. Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan and Andrew Carnegie, who built skyscrapers and railroads and amassed significant wealth. People around the world viewed America as a land of opportunity and progress, and as people moved to the states in greater numbers, immigration skyrocketed.

However, if you scratch the surface, you'll find that all that luxurious property was just a thin veneer covering serious inequality and labor conflicts (hence the "gilded" era instead of the "golden"). While the GDP Rapid industrialization benefited only a small number of elites responsible for it who used brutal and sometimes violent tactics to monopolize their industry, giving "captains of industry" another, less likable nickname. Outlaw Baron".

For example, Cornelius Vanderbilt was viewed quite negatively in his time because of his monopoly of Western Railroads, which allowed him to underpay and abuse employees who had few other options, while those customers. outrageous prices from those who had little other means of transport. While men like Vanderbilt dine on the finest of foods and lived in elaborately designed mansions, most of their workers struggled to feed themselves and often lived in poorly built and cheaply built mansions. Journalists and writers began to comment on the state of the class divide, notably Mark Twain coining the term "Gilded Age" in his satirical novel, The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today, and Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, in which dehumanizing A more detailed description was given. Unhygienic condition of meatpacking industry.

The wealthy elite tried to stifle political efforts to end their monopoly, calling investigative journalists "repugnant" and claiming that working class struggle was a product of social Darwinism, a blatant misinterpretation of Darwin's evolutionary theory. , which claimed that poverty arose out of inferiority and not any systemic power inequalities. Although there were some attempts on the part of the government to suppress the class war following the Haymarket Square riots in 1886, such as the passage of the Sherman Antitrust Act in 1890, which in principle outlawed monopolies, politicians Most were happy enough to look the other way. As long as the robber barons kept loosening their pockets.

It all ended, as did many things and beasts, with Theodore Roosevelt, who became president after the 1901 assassination of William McKinley. He ushered in the Progressive Era, which strengthened working class rights, paved the way for unionisation, and took a hard look at the shady business strategy and political corruption that had dominated the previous 30 years. Roosevelt promised a "class deal for all", averted a major coal strike in 1902, passed the Pure Food and Drug Act to protect Americans from disease and misbranding, and regulated railroads, among many other achievements. Did.

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