Gilded Age Research Paper

1966 Words8 Pages

Since life began on Earth, the world has substantially improved and grown to its current state—the remarkable age of industrialization. Day in and day out, the nation continues to develop as discoveries are being made. This culture not only influences America’s social values, but those of developing countries. Specifically, America is recognized for its quality of life, in disregard of what it took to achieve the freedom that the people deserve. After the Civil War and Reconstruction Era, early civilization in both the North and the South ultimately struggled with accepting change in order to prosper. In the late 19th century, America had to fight its way through the Post-Reconstruction Era known as the Gilded Age. The reference Mark Twain …show more content…

By using the term gilded as opposed to golden, Mark Twain suggested that our country was publicizing itself with success stories while hiding the socio-economic problems that had eventually manifested into corruption (Cayton, 1995). From an outsider’s perspective, the Gilded Age was considered to be a time of growth and prosperity. However, America started to recognize this problem when an increased number of unskilled laborers were hired to run factories. Specifically, children were often born into the labor force as the demand and necessity for labor grew. Companies wanted to hire children in sweatshops at low wages and long hours in order to get maximum profit. Lewis Hine, a photographer at the time had captured children’s working conditions in various industries through photographs. Whether they were in canneries, coalmines, meat packing factories, or in textile mills, children from all over worked in dangerous environments. Viewers of Hine’s photos could easily apprehend the injustices and abuses of child labor. Particularly in The Jungle, Jurgis learns about the workforce and how laborers sacrifice their fingers and nails by working with acid, lose limbs, catch diseases, and toil long hours in cold, cramped conditions. They worked “day after day, week after week” until “there was not an organ of [their] body that did its work without pain” (Sinclair, 1906, par. 4). Not only did palpable industries disregard the quality of the products they purvey during the early 20th century, but companies also seemed indifferent to the well being of their workforces as well as the workers

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