Dbq On The Gilded Age

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The Gilded Age is often recalled as one of the most significant periods in American history and for great reason. This era brought about rapid industrialization, introduced new technology and inventions, and the rise of corporations. As with most things, the Gilded Age also had its fair share of vices such as corruption in business and the blatant exploitation of laborers. As the frustration with these things began to build, politicians often distanced themselves from serious issues or flat our refused to properly address them. When politicians did attempt to address this issues, the measures taken were either insufficient or rescinded before anything could truly be effected. A major issue amongst social reformers of this time was the overall …show more content…

Politicians who avoided taking strong positions on whether they were pro or anti-trust were seen as cowards who would rather cater to big business than ensure the welfare of citizens. However, politicians were also reluctant to take action because they were being influenced by these corporations. A political illustration that arose at this time titled “The Bosses of the Senate”, demonstrates the ease at which monopolists were able to influence political decisions - or lack thereof (Document 3). The illustration depicts several industries-copper, steel, oil, iron, and coal- as bags of money hovering over senators at their desks. During this era, monopolists were able to buy state legislatures, which directly appointed senators to congress, and controlled which senators were in office through bribery, intimidation, and threats. Thereby, the world of politics became polluted with mass corruption and senators who cared too little for the interests of their constituents. This prompted many to push for the passing of Sherman’s Antitrust Act to limit the undue influence of big business on politics. The lack of comprehensive legislation to regulate trusts and monopolies, such corporations were …show more content…

Dr. Stow expresses that “as a class, they [the laborers] are dwarfed physically.” Stow clarifies his statement by explaining that these physical and psychological ailments have come as a result of the lack of fresh air and intense heat of the mills of which the laborers work in. The failure of politicians to pass legislation to improve the welfare of workers unfortunately led to several other instances of abuse similar to the kinds expressed in the report. Subsequently, laborers began to unionize in order to advocate for more humane working conditions. These unions supported things such as an 8-hour work day, child labor protections, and higher wages. Although their cause was noble, unions were often maligned for being aggressive or violent; thus, they were often disbanded before any real progress could be made. While many began to lose hope in their current politicians, a new party emerged in 1892 in order to take matter into their own hands. This party, was called the Populist Party (Document 7). The Populist Party platform denounced both of the two main parties at this time for

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