American Dream During The Gilded Age

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Even though the optimal American Dream doesn’t promise that all citizens will achieve personal success, it offers equality and fortunes for them to pursue dreams through hard work. However, during the Industrial Age, American Dream didn’t apply to lower-class proletariat. Most immigrants from southern and eastern Europe arrived in the United States to escape religious persecution and poverty in their home countries and also seek new opportunities because of advertisements of the American Dream. But, they did realize that fantasy differed from reality after their arrival. As unskilled foreigners who suffered poverty and lacked experience and English skills, immigrants lived in nasty tenements located in city ghettos, earned little wages that…show more content…
Between 1877-1900, both Republican and Democratic parties used tactics that purposely ignored major social issues in order to win elections. Also, many capitalists believed in the idea of limited government that included laissez-faire economics and Social Darwinism. These capitalists who were upper-class men agreed that “a man who is present as a consumer, yet who does not contribute either by land, labor, or capital to the work of society, is a burden” (Sumner). These heartless people also believed in Social Darwinism and The Gospel of Wealth. Based on their understanding, “it were better for mankind that the millions of the rich were thrown into the sea than so spent as to encourage the slothful, the drunken, the worthy” (Carnegie). Instead of feeling sympathy, upper-class men considered lower-class people to be harmful for the society. Because of the popular political opinions and the lack of federal government efficiency, even though Congress enacted an ambitious reform program during the 1860s and 1870s, it had no effect on issues caused by urbanization and industrialization (380, Amsco). Also, many people’s rights were harmed because of the inactiveness of…show more content…
After the publication of Sinclair 's The Jungle,the Congress enacted The Pure Food and Drug Act and The Meat Inspection to reinforce consumer protection under the pressure of the public outcry (438, Amsco). However, women and African American’s civil rights were still not fully expressed. Maternalist politics emerged during 1890s, which encouraged many middle-class and wealthy women to fight for social welfare improvement and equal rights. Even though many women focused on improving public health, providing financial help for poor widowed mothers, helping nurturing poor kids to become responsible adults, and even living in settlement houses located in poor neighborhoods to practice with the poors through daily life, racism still existed among women simultaneously when they were fighting for equal rights. Many African American women were excluded from women clubs, so they founded their own one called NACW (National Association of Colored Women). At the same time, reality was cruel. Women’s voting rights didn’t become constitutional until 1920, the end of the Progressive Era. No matter how much the government and individuals tried to reform during the Progressive Era, the changes were still conservative, and they weren’t significant enough to influence the society and solve pre-existed social issues. During the Industrial Age, the extent that a

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