Gilded age DBQ

Topics: Government, Gilded Age, Knights of Labor Pages: 3 (1132 words) Published: February 24, 2014
As the Gilded age began, a period spanning approximately of the 1870s to the turn of the twentieth century, (a name given by Mark Twain, meaning wealth and "layer of gold"), big businesses started to grow and had affects on America. Big businesses had a huge impact on the economy, politics, and on Americans.

The effect of big businesses on the economy was that the economy was said to have grown 400% during this time period, this seems like a huge rise but then again this would not have been that hard seeing as there was little to no government regulations. For example in document B the railroad businesses are portrayed to be kings and even controlled the government and the people as well. However, exploding the economy wasn't the only thing big business did for America, they transformed how the economy was run, America became a huge manufacturing country. Document C shows that this manufacturing was so huge because of mass production, however, mass production wasn't all good, even though document A showed that mass production lowered the cost of living. Mass production led to a specialization of labor, which led to a rather unskilled workforce and an unskilled workforce is easy to replace so job security was not very high. This was unfair to the workers who were treated as property rather than employees, an argument in Document G, workers who were injured or even executed on the job went un-noticed by these big businesses because they were considered "Wage Workers". These mass production techniques were demoralizing and in a way inhumane on the worker and because of this Labor Unions formed, notably one of the bigger ones was the Knights of Labor. Uriah Stephens originally started the Knights, but Terence Powderly soon took over, and their biggest victory was at the Union Pacific Railroad strike in 1884, this made workers treated better. Big businesses also often became monopolies and there was no one person better at this than John D. Rockefeller....
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