Age of Anxiety
During the last quarter of the 19th century the United States was transitioning into a new country with the rise of a second industrial revolution and the downfall of the nation’s economy. There was an extreme growth within the industrial empire along with the expansion of the railroad empire which took over millions of acres of land. An economic struggle began where the rich became richer and the poor were living in bad conditions. The novel “Gospel of Wealth” is written, where it states that people with money should share their proceeds of gains with the less fortunate. Failure begins to strike in industries taking a toll on the United States economy and leading the country into its first economic depression. The economic and industrial failures during Gilded Age are the beginning to the downfall of the United States, which is why I feel this period of time should be called the Age of Anxiety.
The second industrial revolution began in the late 19th century when the United States government became involved. Steel had become a necessity to properly build bridges and buildings. A new way of producing steel was the Bessemer process, which was faster and cheaper than the use of iron. Buildings were now being built taller rather than wider, and roads were being developed for easier transportation. Although the production of more industries meant more jobs for the middle and lower class, it also meant more injuries. Factory workers were putting in long hours in unsuitable conditions. “The steam has been turned on full blast until the men were ready to drop for exhaustion. Several have been known to faint before being removed. Then they were placed in an ice-cold cell and as a result of this inhuman treatment several are now in so precarious a condition that we fear they will die.” (Voices of Freedom, Page 85) Between the years of 1880 ad 1900, 35,000 industrial workers were killed on the job and 500,000 were wounded. Children over the age of eight...
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