The Gilded Age: A Time Of Transformation

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The Gilded Age, a time of transformation for American society. The history between the 1870’s and the 1900’s in the United States transitioned the country immensely, the time period even got named for its significance. Mark Twain gave this time frame it’s popular nickname, The Gilded Age, he meant that the period was glittering on the surface but corrupt underneath (Mintz and McNeil).

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The civil war ended, the economy grew, and with that came numerous changes to society. Even though on the outside looking in, America seemed to thrive, there were countless struggles occurring as well. The Gilded Age was an era of social change, industrialization advances, as well as political corruption that made a significant impact in American society.

 The beginning of the Gilded Age introduced life after the Civil War; African Americans were free, immigration increased, and the gap between rich and poor became more evident. In 1866 the Civil War officially ended (Ending the Bloodshed). With the end of the civil war, many African Americans first joined free society and this angered southerners and Americans who believed that whites were superior, so they began to enforce Jim Crow Laws. Jim Crow Laws were means of segregation, The most common types of laws forbade intermarriage and ordered business owners and public institutions to keep their black and white clientele separated (Jim Crow Laws). The various laws created a division of the races throughout America. Furthermore, division amongst Americans grew as immigration grew. Initially, most immigrants came from English speaking, predominantly white countries. Starting in the Gilded Age, immigrants began coming from southern and eastern Europe, they were people with different language and cultural backgrounds. Americans, nativists especially, were portraying them as immoral, ignorant, or unable to help themselves so immigrants often moved to cities with people of the same ethnicity (Davis). As immigration increased the population numbers in cities also increased and people living in rural areas also started moving to cities for jobs. Urban cities quickly became overcrowded and many lived in, unsanitary, crowded situations without basic services such as water and sewage. Although there were a number of wealthy individuals during the era, the gap between rich and poor widened, the working class suffered as They faced long hours, low pay, random wage cuts, periods of high unemployment, danger to life and limb on the job, lack of insurance, and lack of worker’s compensation (Davis). While more people had jobs, the conditions were dangerous and children were forced to work in risky situations.

 Furthermore, at the turn of the century, there were new technological advances that changed the way people lived. New technologies appeared including the phonograph, the telephone, and radio; the rise of mass-circulation newspapers and magazines; the growth of commercialized entertainment as well as the first cars,

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