The Gilded Age Myth

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The era following Reconstruction did not deserve the title of the “Gilded Age” due to its lack of promise and equal opportunity. Many myths existed regarding the practices of society during this time, plenty of which discriminated against the impoverished. A common myth believed to be true by those who did not originate in the United States was that America was paved in gold waiting with open arms. However, upon their [immigrants] arrival, they discovered this was truly a myth. In fact, and old Italian saying stated, "I came to America because I heard the streets were paved with gold. When I got here, found out three things: First, the streets weren 't paved with gold; second, they weren 't paved at all: and third, I was expected to pave…show more content…
Another myth surmised by many during the “Gilded Age” was that America embraced an egalitarian society. Yet, what newcomers witnessed was most certainly the opposite. Those who were not American citizens and/or born into wealth did not experience a comfortable lifestyle. For example, Thomas O’Donnell, a textile worker, experienced the agonizing truth of the ever present inequality and the predisposition to poverty in American society. As he stated in a testimony before a U.S. Senate Committee, “I went to work when I was young... I earn $1.50 a day... our children, of course, are often very sickly... had to go without a meal...” He understood the hole himself and all other indigent persons were in and why they were in it. He recognized that the United States government and industrial powers were responsible for his never ending cycle of penury, and in his concluding statement he claimed that “They are doing everything of that kind to crush down the poor people - the poor operatives there.” Which henceforth manifested the maltreatment of the destitute individuals and the lack of justice. The poor were not the only individuals who were mistreated in American society, which was also entirely and unfortunately unexpected by incoming settlers. In conclusion, the United States, especially during the late 19th century, did not prove itself to be gilded, but only to be a hub of deception and
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