Big businesses, such as oil and railroad companies owned by John D. Rockefeller and J.P. Morgan, tended to dominate politics. Even businesses on smaller scales did very little to provide security for workers, which fueled the desire for reforms even more. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire of 1911 was a catastrophic event that proved a change was desperately needed, but when the owners were sentenced and merely fined, it only seemed to, once again, prove that the courts did not side with the victims. In response, more and more people, such as Rose Schneiderman, began to attempt to organize unions because of the lack of support from the government. Although the government did make attempts to stop monopolies and trusts, such as the Sherman Antitrust Act, the attempts were not strong enough to make any progress.
The greatest political problem in the Gilded Age was the simple fact that so much of the politics and presidents were all corrupt in some way there is no politics at all if it's all corrupt. The government wasn’t certain on what they were doing. Then when the social Darwinism came along and they weren’t helping anybody. The rich were also giving money to people to form law and other things more in their favor that would be making them more rich than they already are. The presidents that were in office were also corrupt, when Grant was president, he had a few scandals while in office Credit Mobilier Scandal, Whiskey Ring Scandal, and the Trading Post Scandal.
The owners forced them to live in isolated communities near workshops and forced them to buy goods with high interests. The cities were poorly constructed and crowded with people and residents. The work was also dangerous with not much supervising by the government.Workers, on the other hand, had little or even no bargaining power to leave the unsafe conditions. Nowadays, When Americans only pay attention when extreme work strike, levels of abuse are the norm hidden in the factories around the globe. Although the condition seems much improved, consumers don’t know the true fact- “Today, American citizens simply cannot know the working conditions of the factories that make the products they buy.
The Knights of Labor included black and female members unlike the American Federation of Labor. In order of unions to get their demands they would hold walkouts and strikes. These strikes had to be strategic because the employees wouldn’t get paid while the protested. If a boss like Henry Frick, who ran a very large steel mill, doesn’t want to meet his employees ' demands he can either hire temporary scabs to keep the factory productive, or he can hire the Pinkerton Detective Agency. The Pinkerton Detective Agency was a groups of well armed and well trained mercenaries or soldiers for hire.
Monopolies were intended to increase profits, and “dictate” the “two great classes:” the producer and the consumer (Doc 3). Many companies like Andrew Carnegie’s steel company and Rockefeller’s standard oil company benefitted from trusts. Rockefeller successfully created a monopoly by buying rival companies, and controlling transportation rates which allowed for the transport of goods at a cheaper rate, allowing Rockefeller to lower the price of oil; this affected small companies since it was impossible for them to compete with the price (Doc 5). While many companies invested in the railroad company and created contracts to receive exclusive benefits such as lower rates, the railroads didn’t benefit the public at all, because they were built by investors that only cared about receiving a “fair percentage” of the profit, and remarked that “the public be damned” (Doc 1). Many laborers working under these company suffered due to the reduction of “the price of every labor connected with trade” (Doc 3).
One of the biggest thing that Jackson had done as a president was in 1832. Jackson vetoed a bill that would renew the second bank charter early. Jackson stated “I will kill it!”. He said this because he didn’t like the bank at all and he believed that it made the rich richer and the poor poorer. He said in his veto message “It is easy to conceive that great evils to our country and its institutions might flow from such a concentration of power in the hands of a few men irresponsible to the people.” He is saying that the bank is being taken over by the rich and that the bank isn’t helping the common men at all.
Because he was an inexperienced politician, he didn’t know how to handle the crash. Although he wasn’t directly involved in the scandal, his reputation suffered. Even today, people remember him as a bad politician because of the Gold Market Scandal. Next, Grant’s secretary Orville E. Babcock used Grant’s power to help people evade taxes in the Whiskey Ring Scandal. After the Prohibition, alcohol manufacturers were heavily taxed.
Big name corporations, such as Walmart, have recently been under fire for the mistreatment of their employees. Companies have always been criticized for caring more about money and making a profit than the well being of their workers. They fire workers due to lack of productivity, not thinking twice about the situation that the employee is in. In Bartleby, The Scrivener: A Story Of Wall-Street by Herman Melville, the lawyer, who is the narrator of the story, shows pity and sympathy for one of his workers, Bartleby. Melville creates a story that shows that bosses can be nice and care for the well being of their workers.
The industrial revolution was a time of immense progress. It marked an era of technological advancements and a changing society, yet also a period smeared with unfair and unsafe working conditions. The history is filled with stories of people suffering, being injured, and even dying, all in the process of creating goods for the changing consumer culture. Thousands looked past the suffering, condoled themselves with the goods they purchased at economical prices all at the expense of the working class, a class that had no other choice than to work in the dark, dangerous factories to feed their family. While the consumer culture in this time could look past the anguish of those in the working class, progressives could not.
This was caused by the lack of regulations and laws which allowed businessmen to get away with paying their employees unethically low wages without benefits. This lack of regulations and laws also enabled business to cut corners, which lead to unsafe product, such as spoiled meat as seen in document 2, and child labor, which is seen in document 3, in order to save money. During the gilded era, corrupt politicians added to the problems and injustices. Document 4 shows this using a comic. In the comic it shows that the “bosses of the senate” were the politicians which were backed up by big business and corporations.