The "Gilded Age"

Topics: Native Americans in the United States, Democracy, Mark Twain Pages: 2 (680 words) Published: March 13, 2013
“Gilded Age” Essay
During the 1800s, America was nicknamed the “Gilded Age” by Mark Twain, which means it appeared promising but oftentimes did not meet the expectations. This is a very accurate term for America during this time due to the experience of immigrants, the absence of democracy, and the West. Many immigrants traveled to America as a result of rumors of vast opportunities that were so highly talked about throughout the nation during this time. Their opinions of America were quickly changed because of treatment they went through every day. The people who had lived in America all their lives experience cultural shock, the overwhelming of newly introduced cultures, and began to form ideas of nativism. This means they were narrow-minded towards anyone, especially the immigrants, who was not originally from their country. Even the government intervened when the Chinese began to “overpopulate” the West and resulted in the Chinese Exclusion Act which limited the immigration of the Chinese. Also, when immigrants would arrive at Ellis Island in New York, they would eagerly set out to find jobs and new homes for their families. They then realized the jobs were absurd and impractical because of the long work hour, low wages, sanitation, and dangerous workplace. At that point, they were forced to accept them because they were too poor to do anything else. Also, the living conditions given along with their jobs were very shabby and crammed. These factors contributed to the immigrant’s experience as they were sadly mistaken of the land of “opportunities”.

The absence of democracy was also a huge predicament during the “Gilded Age” because they were promised a true democracy and the government failed to do so. The huge companies controlled by robber barons overruled the rest of the population by creating blacklists and scabs to prevent the low-class workers from being noticed by the government. The African-Americans are another example of how their freedom and...
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