The hidden crisis of economics revealed as the rising of big business powers, they have immeasurable privilege on controlling the market because of the lack of interventions from the government and immature law system (Week1). Big business profoundly influenced many aspects in the government such as tax and trade departments, which helped these giant corporations take over the economy indirectly from the free market. Andrew Carnegie (November 25, 1835 – August 11, 1919）and his steel empire might be the biggest example of US big business. He had dominated the entire steel industry by late 19th century. “Eliminating middleman meant savings,” as Carnegie said, “Watch the costs and the profits will take care of themselves” (519). Behind the decrease of steel’s price, it was an extreme shock on small business holders who counted on the middle process when he eliminated the middleman. Besides that, “Carnegie did not just manufacture steel, he owned the iron mines and handled the marketing of finished steel” (520). Carnegie’s domination on the whole industry chain successfully suppressed other similar enterprises, which reduced the diversity and vitality of capitalism simultaneously. In financial industry, J. Pierpont Morgan was known as the leader of the financial sector of the late 19th century. As the great economic depression expanded, “Morgan would arrange a private loan and personally guarantee the solvency of the US treasury” (594). A single person could affect the pecuniary condition of a country, so to speak, which was not an optimistic situation for economics for a constant concern. The economic libertarianism promoted the concentration of the economic powers and the development of an oligopolistic economy. Carnegie, Morgan, Rockefeller and so on, owners of the giant corporations spent a large amount of money to make sure the government did not bother their control of wages and market prices. The big business seemed to be the saviors of the 70s and 90s crisis; however, they were actually the initiators of economic catastrophes and the following social issues.
The corruption of the government and the increasing class tension created the brittleness and main political problems of Gilded Age. The brazen corruption of the political system in Gilded Age rampantly permeated all aspects of the political realm, from election to inauguration. One of the most representative examples would be the New York Tammany Hall, the most powerful political machine of Democratic Party (Week2). Based on the spoils system, political machines like Tammany Hall controlled election by giving political and financial advantages to the party followers. And the winning party got the exclusive rights to allocate the local government jobs and contracts. The processes were always colluded with the regulation from big business, to ensure government’s protection on the vesting benefits of those very rich. That also intensified the class tension between the growing rich and working class. The workers’ anger broke out as two railroad strikes in 1877 and 1892 (Week3). The low wages and poor working conditions rapidly worsen the antagonism between the workers and industry owners, and the leaders of industry siphoned profits out from the downtrodden workers as much as possible. Fueled by an economic