Essay On The Gilded Age

Submitted By JTM5JZ
Words: 690
Pages: 3

In United States history, the time period from 1865 to 1900 is known as the Gilded Age, better known as the Industrial Revolution. Several industries such as oil, steel, and railroads rose during this time. Not only were new industries responsible for the development and growth of the American economy, but several dominant political figures of the day also had a close relationship with the industrial titans. One of the governing industrial titans was Andrew Carnegie and one of the biggest political figures was Richard Falley Cleveland. These two men aided the economic and political development of the United States into what we now know it as. In 1873, Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner coined the name “The Gilded Age” in their book The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today. They believed that this new era would bring about social problems disguised by a “gold gilding.” At first, it actually brought about much economic growth, especially in the North and West. Hofstadter says, “There is no other period in the nation’s history when politics seems so completely dwarfed by economic changes, none in which the life of the country rests so completely in the hands of the industrial entrepreneur.” (213) Not only was there an increased labor force, but wages in the US also grew 60% and continued to rise. However, it also brought about great poverty as well. Millions of poor European immigrants came to the US during this time since wages in Europe were lower than those in the US. During this time, railroads were the major industry. However, the factory system, mining, and labor unions also thrived and prospered. Not only this, but it also brought about “men of heroic audacity and magnificent exploitative talents…They directed the proliferation of the country’s wealth, they seized its opportunities, they managed its corruption, and from them the era took its tone and color.” (213) One of the men that assisted this economic growth was industrial titan Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie was the man behind the growth of the steel industry. He was the son of a poor, Scottish weaver and immigrated to the US in 1848. He started as a telegrapher and by the 1860’s, Carnegie had investments in railroads, railroad sleeping cars, bridges, and oil derricks. He then become a bond salesman and built Carnegie Steel Company and created the US Steel Corporation. In 1864, Carnegie invested $40,000 in Story Farm on Oil Creek in Venango County, Pennsylvania. In one year, the farm made over $1,000,000 in cash dividends. However, Carnegie said, “Amassing wealth is one of the worst species of idolatry.” He also said, “Few millionaires are clear of sin of having made beggars.” (218-219) According to Hofstadter, “From the business of industry the business of politics