The Gilded Age: a New Era for America

Briefly define the Gilded Age, as well as the growth of industrialization and the prevailing attitude toward employee-employer relations during that era. Then, explore the problems caused by industrialization and discuss how workers responded to those challenges.

The Gilded Age filled with advancements and growth but also full of hardship. Industrialization led to new innovations and change on how society was going. Wealthy held almost all power. Employers ruled over their employees, and often controlled the employee way of their life. Some fought back against the inequalities, and others were scared to lose their job. Publications of cars, house lighting, radios, and other great inventions proved America’s growth in innovation. Yet American economy was overrun by greedy monopolies, and politics were blinded by business propositions rather than public need. The wage-dependent class grew and was engrossed in poverty, the middle class shrunk but maintained their comfort, Radical ideas bloomed as workers tried to reach an equal standing as their employers. All were affected by the new industrial society.

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The Gilded Age was a time where there was a lot of cheating, lying, scandals, poverty, and injured and poor people. Ties between the government and the upper class created unsafe and unfair lifestyle for the employees. Greed, corruption, and the growth of big businesses pushed this society very close to slavery. The way of life was either you had money or you were struggling and this was clear. The society was full of poverty for the employees, prosperity for the rich, and crowded and raggedy urban cities.  Business owners built company towns with houses and stores with prices regulated by the companies and the companies would charge high prices. Sometimes companies would charge prices that were more than what they were paying their employees. They would pay the them in money you could only use in town stores and would fire them if they got sick, injured, or just had to miss work. Employees complained about the harsh work conditions and nothing changed so they went to the government. Still nothing changed so, outraged, they started going on strikes as a message.to the unfair treatments they received.  Organizations like the Knights of Labor formed and began to organize strikes, sometimes destroying company property. After the accused killing where a bomb exploded and killed several police officers at Haymarket Square, the Knights of Labor were outlawed and groups like the American Federation of Labor became more popular. The Populist Party, and restructure the political and economic systems of the country fought to change legislations and regulate big businesses.

         The Gilded age also opened up the country to a better economy. Railroads were built all over the country so the market grew and consumers could buy more things. Capitalism let businesses expand. Americans could travel from city to city faster, creating more jobs. Big businesses sold goods at much wider scales, and the speed of communication rose exponentially. Money was directly connected to power so often Big Businesses controlled everything. social Darwi The idea was that the rich were rich because they were superior and because a person was not rich they were genetically inferior. Businesses were robbing the poor and only giving back tiny fractions of their profits, and to cover it up a little sometimes would give donations away, but not often to the employees.

The Gilded Age was a new era for America. Innovations and inventions were spread all over the country and the society advanced with technology. A small percent of the population had most of the money while everyone else depended on their wages to survive. Radical ideas surged as inequality grew. Political parties like the populist party began to focus more on the needs of the common class than of the big businesses.

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