Gilded means to cover up or give an often deceptively attractive or improved appearance to. This was a period in our history following the Civil War from 1870-1895. This era in our history was a segment showing the worst of America at its best. During this time frame factories were pumping full steam mass producing a surplus of products allowing the economy to spike. The Railroad was commissioned to allow military conquest and dispossession of Native Americans as they settled inland. The New York stock exchange expanded its volume, following an overall financial increase.
With the growth of the railroad called for an increase in steel. The Oil fields also blew up, this due to a need for crude oil to run the machines in production. New Inventions were also introduced such as the telephone and electricity.
With all these financial and economic boosts how could the gilded age be a negative thing? Just as the definition defines gilded, the gilded age was a covered up bad unsettling realty. Covered in gold, money, and wealthy people was low wages for the common worker, long work days and horrible working conditions. These conditions were not seen by everyone. Foreigners sought out to America to live a better life and live the American dream but to only find that they would be taken advantage of along with all the other Americans that were already working in these conditions. It was believed that the roads were “paved with gold” as to assume that the land of opportunity was a place to get rich and anyone could do it. The truth is there were only a handful of business owners that were wealthy.
Poverty was at an all-time high in the lower classes. Many women did not follow the common maternal followings of women in past centuries. A lot were college educated and wanted to succeed in the business world. Women that didn’t have degrees took entry-level jobs in the cities such as secretaries, typists, and switchboard operators. Their role changed from maintaining a...
The American Promise, A history of the United States, Volume 5 from 1865, Roark, Johnson, Cohen, Stage, Hartmann, pg. . 568-590, 676-697
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