Late 19th Century American Society Characterized By The Gilded Age And The Progressive Era

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Late 19th century America was characterized by the “Gilded Age” and the “Progressive Era.” During this time, American society was changing rapidly; both social trends like urbanization the Progressive movement, as well as technological innovations like the massive expansion of the railroad system were occurring. This change brought both improvements and setbacks to people’s quality of life. One of the most important social trends of 19th century America was urbanization. In 1860, merely 1 in 6 people lived in cities. By 1900, that number grew to 1 in 3. By 1920, more people lived in the city than in the country. The impetus for this demographic shift is multifaceted, but the main driver was technological innovation which displaced small farmers and forced them to search for work in the city. One of the negative consequences of urbanization was increased pollution. Along with this came decreased sanitation. The spread of disease was rampant and difficult to contain. Outbreaks of smallpox, malaria, typhoid, tuberculosis, cholera, and yellow fever ensued. Crime increased …show more content…

The movement was characterized by social activism accompanied by political reform. Preachers oftentimes became political, such as Washington Gladden. Protestant ministers began advocating for a Laissez-faire economic system. The objectives of these preachers and their followers was to eliminate the many issues caused by industrialization, urbanization, increased immigration, and political corruption to name a few. Thus, it stemmed out of discontent with the status quo. There were many accomplishments of the Progressive Era. Foremost among these were public health and welfare laws, legislation to prevent the formation of monopolies, environmental protection laws, and women’s suffrage. The people started to feel like they had real power; this sentiment led to the rise of populism, and national farmer’s organizations were

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