The amount of wealth amassed by the top 1% of the population began to unnerve the American public and politicians alike. The rich got richer while the rest remained stagnant or became poorer. Labor strikes and riots were common during the time. Policies were put into place to prevent individuals from gaining this much power ever again. In todays’ modern Gilded Age loopholes have been exploited and the rich are becoming just as powerful as they have ever been.
The period between 1865 to 1900, also known as the Gilded Age, was an era of rapid industrialization, immigration, and capitalization in America. After the civil war, previously used factories remained and flourished as manufacturing started to replace farming; which was possible due to vast immigration from Southern and Eastern part of Europe. With an available cheap labor source, businesses rose to great heights, and competition thrived. While companies thrived, working laborers and citizens suffered. Because industrial statesman expanded wealth and created opportunities, but also exploited workers, disrupted competition, and manipulated factors of production, it is justified to characterize the industrial leaders of the Gilded age as both
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).
There is a difference between being selfish and being greedy. The definition of greed is “Intense desire for something, especially wealth or power”, whereas the definition of selfish is “Lacking consideration for others”. During the Gilded Age, America was characterized as the Land of the Free, which attracted immigrants from all over the world to come live the American Dream. Was it greedy or selfish for these immigrants to come to America and improve their way of living? During the Gilded Age, greed is what motivated industrial innovation and for people to improve their ways of living.
Andrew Carnegie was the father of industrialized steel in the 19th century and owned the affluent Carnegie Steel Company. He quickly expanded steel’s production, became one of the wealthiest men in the world, and thereafter became a striving philanthropist. The pinnacle of Andrew Carnegie’s life was in the midst of the Gilded Age, an era of economic growth that included an underlying societal corruption. During this time, penniless laborers became upset with the unfair way that wealthy industrialists treated them and began to strike against these colossal companies. In 1889, at the peak of his accumulation of wealth, Andrew Carnegie wrote a famous essay titled “Wealth” that described the gap between the rich and the poor.
Between 1865 and 1900, immigration, government action, and technology impacted the social, cultural, and economic realms of the American Industrial worker. Immigration increased greatly to America because the industry was booming, and news of this new, industrial America was spreading throughout Europe. The government took actions to help the average industrial worker, such as the Chinese Exclusion Act, the Interstate Commerce Act, and the Hatch Act. Technology affected the industrial worker through inventions, reinvented landscapes, and convenience. Immigration largely affect the American industrial workers in many ways.
This topic really helps me understand how capitalism works. Capitalist want profit and they want insane amounts of profits yet they want to pay a ridiculous salary to their employers. And who are the best people to employ? People of color because of their limited choices. This fact really frustrates me because it is still happening now and because that is part of my racial identity.
Progressive Era Gilded Age was the golden period of industry and it also generated a lot of problems. For instance, industrialization had brought prosperity but at a cost to some members of society; the government expanded public services to care for the growing populations. However, political corruption always made that inadequate. Many people maintained that private charity could not do enough to improve the lives of the industrial poor. Then, a political debate produces many plans for bringing about progressive.
This is a threat that America still faces today. Montag wonders about the cause of the war that takes place in the book, saying, “Is it because we’re so rich and the rest of the world’s poor and we just don’t care if they are? … Is it true, the world works hard and we play? Is that why we’re hated so much?”(70). The United States is a very rich and prosperous country, making us a target for countries around the world.
The 19th century was the era of the Gilded Age, where the economy was booming, bringing great changes that affected the lives of workers and entrepreneurs. During this period, there was a large influx of immigrants that were coming to America to look for job opportunities. The migration of immigrants proved useful as a source for cheap labor, allowing an even higher rise in the U.S. economy. While American industrialization may have benefited the upper class of the American society, the effects were opposite to the workers of the lower classes. This problem was especially worse for immigrant workers as their belief in the so-called American dream has been worn down due to the misery they had to endure.
In America, many workers in the “Progressive Era” were experiencing more challenges than opportunities and were labor leaders came in with corresponding rights and wages. The wealthy elite having control of basically everything flourished during this time with their efficient modes of performance. Workers under the control of the wealthy elite were defeated with the lost of actual intelligence and unethical conditions. For labor leaders they persuade prosperous Americans by distrusting employers and to negotiate with them - the politicians - to pass their dominant values. With the workers ' frustration of their jobs, it only seems logical that labor unions would have been born.