Underlined- Thesis or Topic Sentence
During the Late 1800’s and early 1900’s The United States of America was going through the gilded age, an age in which America became the leading industrial nation in the world. However the gilded age was not just not a time of prosperity for America, the gilded age affected the politics culture and living conditions in America therefore the gilded age affected America in a negative way. The gilded age had affected America in many ways, one way the gilded age affected America was the politics. The gilded age was a time of corruption in the government one example of corruption was Tammany Hall, headquarters of the Democratic Party in New York City. Owned by William Marcy Tweed, the Tammany Hall political machine of the late 1860s and early 1870s used bribery, and rigged elections to bill the city of over $200 million, The money went into constructing public buildings at hugely inflated expense thus lining the pockets of building contractors and suppliers of materials. But contractors and suppliers, and anyone else doing business in the city, had to give kickbacks to the bosses in order to stay in business. Many corrupt bosses, including Boss Tweed, amassed fortunes as a result of kickbacks and bribes. Another example is the credit Mobiler; a joint-stock company organized in 1863 was recognized in 1867 to build the union pacific railroad. However the same company was involved in a scandal in 1872 in which high government official that were accused of accepting bribes to allow the same company to get the job. Another example of corruption within the government was the whiskey ring. During the grant administration , a group of officials were importing whiskey into the country , they used their offices to avoid paying the tax of the whiskey. Hence cheating the government out of millions dollars. As a result of these political scandals/ corruption the people decided to create the populist’s party since the rest were to busy being bribed. However the populist party did not succeed they did bring up ideas such as a dual money system and worker regulations that were used during the progressive era Another way the gilded age affected America was in its living conditions.
The living conditions during the gilded age were terrible, trash piled up in the streets, drinking water was hazardous, sewage systems were ineffective, air quality was un-breathable, animal droppings were everywhere. Most people lived in Tenements in slums that were too over-populated and unsanitary. Jacob Riis In chapter 15 of his book “How the Other Half Lives” Jacob Riis mentions the terrible living conditions the children endured proved these conditions. He Talks about the tenements that the kids had to live in and how crowded and unsafe they were. In his book he says " I counted the other day the little ones, up to ten years or so, in a Bayard Street tenement that for a yard has a triangular space in the center with sides fourteen or fifteen feet long, just room enough for a row of ill-smelling closets at the base of the triangle and a hydrant at the apex... Bodies of drowned children turn up in the rivers right along sin summer whom no one seems to know anything about.” However not only were the homes unlivable but Industrial safety was a large issue: factory work was very dangerous, and it was difficult if not impossible to hold factory owners responsible for deaths and injuries. Around 1900 25-35,000 deaths and 1 million injuries per year occurred on industrial jobs. No federal regulation of safety and no enforcement of state or local safety regulations existed., courts were not sympathetic to worker claim. The burden of proof was on the injured party to prove he or she had not been negligent—and it is difficult to prove because poor English was a problem; many workers could not read safety regulations or instructions