“The politics of the Gilded Age failed to deal with the critical social and economic issues of the times.” Assess the validity of this statement. Use both the documents and your knowledge of the United States from 1865 to 1900.
Whether or not the politics of the Gilded Age failed in dealing with social and economic issues has long been debated by historians. Peeling away streaks of gold plastered on the deficiencies of the time, the cause of such problems can be unveiled. In finding a blame for the corruption within the growing economy and its demands on a wavering society, all fingers point to the politics of the Gilded Age.
Heel to heel with the end of the Civil War, the Gilded Age was a baptism of sorts; it was freedom’s debut and moral consciousness’ rebirth. Slavery was well on its way to becoming a blemish of a freedom-loving country, and the practices of American citizens shifted like a street car on its rail. The development of a leisure culture encouraged entertainment and play time amongst rapidly growing cities. Industrialization boomed with the encouragement of job-seeking immigrants, European financial support, the government’s nod of approval, and entrepreneurs’ wallets. As idealistic as the circumstance appeared to be- and seemingly close to being realistic- the lines of unspoken social and economic justices blurred. Control and regulation of the businesses and its laborers led to a political tug o’ war. The urbanization of the Gilded Age provides a basis for the understanding of the country’s progress in a court of law and the events to follow the era.
The compelling need to compete for jobs, as well as control of the business itself, was a driving force that had the potential to make or break the success of the times. James Bryce’s The American Commonwealth highlights the “neglect” of the details of politics and the strain it placed
on people. With the end of the war came a sudden abundance of material production and development...
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