During the latter half of the nineteenth century, the American Industrial Revolution sprung up. The steel industry began America’s climb to a global leader in industry. More people were drawn to the booming economy rather than to politics. The American industrial revolution was in full gear, and most men had a hunger for wealth rather than for Congress or presidency. During this time, the railroad became a massive industry, not just for transportation, but also for production building of the railroads.
Imagine working sixteen hours a day in an unsanitary, dangerous, place for a big business gaining two dollars. This is what laboring-class Americans had to go through during the Gilded age. Politically, the first largest American labor union was formed during the Gilded age and many other organizations formed as well as violent strikes. Socially, different ethnics joined together to share their thoughts and realize the evils of big business and of the federal government. Mentally, most we 're losing their personal life while some were financially stable and glad.
The charge about the old days of the American economy—the nineteenth century, the “Gilded Age,” the era of the “robber barons”—was that it was always beset by a cycle of boom and bust. Whatever nice runs of expansion and opportunity that did come, they always seemed to be coupled with a pretty cataclysmic depression right around the corner. Boom and bust, boom and bust—this was the necessary pattern of the American economy in its primitive state. In the US, in the modern era, all this was smoothed out.
Modern day America is an economic superpower. However, one and a half centuries ago, this was not the case. In the late 1800’s there was a large boom in terms of population and industrialization in the United States. From this stemmed many new technological innovations, innovations which could be applied to the creation of alluring products for the masses. This led to the rise of a prominent American consumer culture, which was a driving force in the great economic growth of the Gilded Age.
As industry exponentially grew after the Civil War, the need for labor and materials to power newly-created manufacturing giants caused new social classes to form: the rich corporation owners and the poor laborers. Unfathomably rich Robber Barons, or plutocratic American Capitalists, dominated the economy and industry and profited from the slave-like work of millions of poor laborers during this time period. Moreover, the poor working class and the rich further divided by distribution of wealth. Therefore, exploitation of capitalism widened the gap between the rich and poor classes of America, and both newly-formed classes developed reasons for the change.
In 1900, New York became the second largest city in the world. This was the result of monopolies capitalizing in America. Industries were booming; however, the common people were suffering greatly. The men behind these monopolies, incorrectly known by many as captains of industry, are more accurately known as robber barons. While this remains true, the business men of the Gilded Age were captains of industry to an extent.
The Gilded Age became significantly popular in America during the 19th century. The term “Gilded Age” was coined by the American author Mark Twain based on the presence of corruption and exploitation during the time period (Sayre 1049). The Gilded era was marked by the growth of industrialization, urbanization and a high immigration influx of nonnative Americans (Sayre 1048-1049). Furthermore, the Gilded Age proved to be significant in westward expansion as many individuals migrated to the West in order to fulfill their aspiration of obtaining land and to avoid any form of impediments instituted by other individuals living in those areas (Sayre 1048). In addition, New York City served to be an agora for the growth of industrialization and urbanization
The 19th century market revolution “transformed a subsistence economy of scattered farms and tiny workshops into a national network of industry and commerce.” Technological advances like the cotton gin and the McCormick reaper, invented in 1793 and 1831, respectively, “made ambitious capitalists out of humble plowmen”; meanwhile, a transportation revolution between 1815 and 1860 gave rise to a “truly continental economy” as trains, steamships, and the Pony Express joined the entire nation in an “intimate commercial union,” cutting transport costs by an average of 90 percent. But while prosperity increased overall, the market revolution also “widened the gulf between the rich and the poor.” While so-called ‘captains of industry’ made millions, unskilled urban workers were brutally exploited by their ruthlessly competitive capitalist overlords, suffering from long hours, low wages, and inadequate nourishment. Furthermore, work became a drudgery rather than a meaningful endeavor.
Most immigrants who came to the U.S had high expectations that they would find wealth but once they arrived they realized their expectations weren’t what they expected. Although, they were disappointed in not finding wealth the conditions in which the U.S was in by the late 1800s were still a lot better than the places they all had left behind to come. The majority of the immigration population anticipation was to find profitable jobs and opportunities. When the large numbers of immigration were migrating to the U.S, it was during the “Gilded Age”, which was the prime time for the country’s expansion of industrialization. This rapid expansion of new industries led to the need of workers which motivated people from other countries to come to
The rise of the working man saw the share of national income going to the top 1% decrease from 24% to around 10% as they failed to recover fully from the great depression and became swamped by an increasing number of government taxes (McQuaig & Brooks, 2010, p.54). Consequently, the rise of wages and workers’ rights, coinciding with heavier taxation to the rich, led to greater equity in income
During 1870-1890 the gilded era of growth, evolution, and corruption problems proclaimed, became the economic development “jump from farm to factory” (Foner). These promotions lead to transforming the city into a central element in America. “At the other end of the economic spectrum, the era witnessed an unprecedented accumulation of wealth. Class divisions became more and more visible. ”(Foner)
The Gilded Age consisted of a time of tremendous change in social and economic growth for the United States of America. Americans witnessed a rapid growth in industrialization, urbanization, transcontinental railroad construction, science and technology, and large business corporations. Being that it was the rise of corporate America, many problems arose as well. Thus leading to the Progressive Age, which was an attempt to solve the issues the Gilded Age left behind.
The Gilded Age was the period from the end of the Civil War to the beginning of the twentieth century. This was an era noted for the widening social and economic gap between the powerful and the powerless. Political life during the Gilded Age was shaped by three main factors: the balance of power between Democrats and Republicans, the high level of public participation in everyday politics, and the often corrupt alliance between business and political leaders at all levels of government. The growing conflicts between city and country, industry and agriculture was the most important political issue. Financially distressed farmers felt ignored by the political process.
The Progressive Era, from 1890- 1920 was an influential time in American history. There was political reform in an effort to bring about social justice, but it was also a time when big businesses thrived. However, in the past their prominence and power went unchecked, now liberal radicals started fighting for justice, making the government control the corporations before they destroyed the country. With big businesses growing at a quick pace, they needed more management, known as middle management, to control it. Alfred Chandler, a business professor, specifically a economist, analyzes this in chapter eight, “Mass Production” from his book, The Visible Hand: The Managerial Revolution in American Business.
American society went through a rapid transformation from 1870s to 1900 and is referred to as the Gilded Age. Social realities were represented through arts and literature and portrayed a society of the working-class struggles contrasted with rising middle class and the wealthy industrialists. A Rally in Chicago on May 4, 1886 in Haymarket Square ended in tragedy when a bomb went off killing police officers and some participants. Public sympathy turned against Labor leading to the arrest and conviction of the rally organizers.