Industrialization In The Gilded Age

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Following the first transcontinental railroad in 1869, the United States had an era of economic development in which the country rapidly transformed into an industrial nation by 1900. This era is referred to as the Gilded Age and during this time America had a significant increase in immigration, urbanization and most significantly industrialization and segregation. With this shift to industrialization, the country was in desperate need for vast numbers of workers to build and maintain these new industrial businesses, such as the newly formed transcontinental railroad, who could be paid a very low wage. Professional historians, James Henretta and David Brody, explain that women, immigrants and mainly children were used in these factories since they were willing to work and could be paid less (Henretta, Brody 505,506). As this economic boom progressed and the country had created an effective business model, the devastating conditions grew worse. The lack of a minimum wage, anti-child labor laws, and the enforcement of the ‘separate but equal’ doctrine, caused progressive beliefs to emerge in the late 1800’s. Progressives were those who had the attributes of willing to intervene, optimism, use of evangelical ethos, use of scientific method and acceptance of industrialization but not its effects. As explained by Richard McCormick, an American author and historian, “Improving the environment meant, above all, intervening in peoples economic and social affairs to channel natural
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