Gilded Age Dbq Analysis

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The Gilded Age was a time of industrial development, new immigrants and labor unions. Industrial developments led to monopolies, which helped men like Vanderbilt and Rockefeller prosper, but exploited the poor, often immigrant, workers who were willing to work for cheap money. Though the robber barons were a minority of the population, they still held a majority of the country’s wealth. This unequal distribution of wealth and poor working environments led to the formation and rise of labor unions, such as the Knights of Labor and the American Federation of Labor. Theses changes shaped the social, economic and political atmosphere during the Gilded Age and led to changes for future ages.
Society during the Gilded Age was greatly affected by
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Since these laborers were so greatly unpaid and overworked, most or all of the members of a family would have had to work in order to provide for themselves. Also, women before that time were seen only as a homemaker and caregiver for her children and not as able to work a “real job”. Although most working conditions were appalling and the pay was meager, women jumped at the opportunity to have a job. Due to this fact, the number of employed women was quickly outweighing that of the men (Doc A). At the time, it seemed like the only people who were lucrative during this time of economic hardship were large business owners such as Andrew Carnegie, J.P Morgan, and John Rockefeller. One of the largest culprits of taking advantage of his business for his own good was John D. Rockefeller. He created the Standard Oil Company and through horizontal integration dominated the oil industry. Rockefeller also took advantage of the laissez-faire government and had the entire government in the palm of his hand (Doc E). Rockefeller is only one example of how those robber barons would hold the lives of hard working citizens and immigrants in their hands without much concern. Many times those large businesses would wipe out all of the smaller ones therefore leaving helpless people without a job and subsequently without a source of income (Doc I). This uncertainty and unfairness of the …show more content…
Immigrant came to America in great numbers during that time, yet the government was truly not ready for this influx. The nation, as a whole, had too many people for what they could handle. Therefore, the government, which was previously hands-off, decided to become involved once again and issued a limitation on Chinese immigration. This ban on Chinese immigrants further supports the fact that the government was too corrupt to allow anyone else to live in America (Doc B). Yet unlike the virtually helpless Chinese immigrants, many of the mistreated laborers decided to ban together against their employers. These groups of unified laborers were better known as labor unions. The most well known unions during the time were the National Labor Union, Knights of Labor, and American Federation of Labor. The Knights of Labor were the most accepting because they included unskilled, skilled, men and women workers. They believed that the single most effective way to fight this maltreatment was to ban together and fight their oppressors (Doc G). Another important aspect of the government and politics during the Gilded Age were political machines. Political machines further corrupted the government by illegally bribing immigrants with food and money in exchange for their votes. The masterminds of these political schemes, such as Boss Tweed, had only in mind the good of