Politically, Economic And Social Effects Of The Gilded Age

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Jessica HillisMr. GillardAP US History5 January 2007Essay 16: Gilded AgeThroughout history, certain periods of time have been given certain names based on thehappenings that occurred. Many have called the period of 1865 to 1901 the “Gilded Age”, be-cause it was “shiny and pretty” on the outside but it was “rough and ugly” underneath. The term“Gilded Age” was actually coined by Mark Twain who satired the Gilded Age with a GoldenAge. Politically, economically and socially the Gilded Age was truly a “Gilded Age”. Noteverything added to the “Gilded” effect of the time period. The “robber barons”, two major de-pressions and the labor unions (though not originally a bad thing) did add to the age.The Gilded Age saw the rise of Andrew Carnegie, John…show more content…
Businesses could not afford to slow downproduction during the Panic, so they continued to keep their prices high, but the people didn’thave access to the scarce money. Not only were businesses charging high prices, but also thePhiladelphia and Reading Railroad went bankrupt, causing less modes of transportation for work-ers and farmers. In total, over 15,000 companies went bankrupt during the Panic and the unem-ployment was the highest in history.Labor Unions were also created during the Gilded Age, which added to the idea of theGilded Age being truly “gilded”. The American Federation of Labor was one of the first laborunions created in the United States. The AF of L wanted “unionism” and opposed socialism. TheKnights of Labor, another labor union, was created in 1869 and enlisted in their ranks not only alllaborers but also everyone who could be truly classified as a producer.Labor unions, the two major depressions and the three “robber barons” were three of theforemost reasons the Gilded Age got its name. The “robber barons” invested in things that wouldultimately lead to a “Golden Industrial Age” but they didn’t achieve it totally legitimately, and thecreation of the labor unions sided with the workers, but at times, grew violent in their methods.They had good intentions but didn’t always carry out their plans correctly to keep things peace-ful. People were injured, killed, and bankrupted and with the Panics of 1873

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