Gilded Age Research Paper

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Pages: 4

The Gilded Age of the United States began in approximately 1878. So named by Mark Twain, it was an era were the rich were lavishly rich and the poor exceptionally poor-- like a gold-gilded object, golden only on the surface. Lasting from approximately 1890-1920, the Progressive Era was an answer to the Gilded Age and its problems: this essay touches on the working conditions and the inequalities of class and race, though that is by no means a complete list. Though it did not cure the world’s problems, the Progressive Era was certainly a push in the right direction after the Gilded Age.
The poor conditions of the working class are one of the primary features of the Gilded Age and one of the main targets of the Progressive Movement. Not only
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Not only were working-class families unable to support themselves, the robber barons they worked under lived in unparalleled luxury, seemingly unconcerned with the working class (Puck, Feb. 2 files). The creation of unions were important to helping level the playing field, but the biggest contribution to the fall of the robber barons was the creation of regulations on monopolies. Monopolies, themselves, were outlawed, and companies monopolizing a single business were split up-- a single man could no longer reap the benefits of an entire industry. Muckrakers , such as Ida Tarbell and Lincoln Steffens, were also important to exposing and dismantling white-collar crime, which contributed significantly to the fall of the robber barons. Additionally, there were a number of movements to help the working class. Among them was the Social Gospel movement, led by Walter Rauschenbusch, who believed that it was the duty of those who were able to help those in need. He also advocated for government intervention, arguing that traditional charities had failed (Rauschenbusch, Feb. 2 files). The Social Gospel movement was a prominent one of many that helped much of the working class evolve into the middle …show more content…
Piggybacking off of the momentum for the battle for worker’s rights, racism and equality became a prominent issue, and many movements occurred to make the United States “...a land where Liberty/Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,/But opportunity is real, and life is free,/Equality is in the air we breathe,” (Hughes, Feb. 21 files). Many groups paraded their agency and won rights in the Progressive era; African Americans, Native Americans, and women all won the right to vote, and Native Americans finally gained US citizenship. Agency took many forms. For some groups, it was marches; women’s suffrage protesters were known for their incessant marches, and chained themselves to walls so they couldn’t be removed. Unfortunately, racial tensions rose as workers moved into the middle class, and the “social geographies” of cities changed. The NAACP-- the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People-- was founded in 1909 in response to a 1908 riot in Springfield, Illinois; several other cultural groups followed, like the Society of American Indians in 1911, the first pan-Indian group. Cultural identity gained importance. Marcus Garvey, leader of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and the “Africa for the Africans” movement, wrote: “Day by day we are writing a new history, recording new deeds of valor performed by this race of ours.” (Garvey, Feb.