Progressive Reform to Improve American Society
The Gilded Age was a time of reform in the United States. It was known as the Gilded Age because on the outside everything looked perfect but the perfectness was only skin deep. The public was often uninformed and uneducated during this time and began to realize it. Muckrakers called for change on a variety of topics that much of the general public had no idea about. At this time, trusts, monopolies, and political bosses ruled the big stage and politicians that wanted to help had no real voice. The Gilded Age is often thought of as the most corrupt time in American History. Hazardous conditions plagued workers across the country. In the meatpacking industry tuberculosis was so rancid that if a man so much as scrape their finger they would get sores so infected that they would soon pass away. The hands of men were laced with cuts and their nails were reduced to stubs from years of pulling hides. In the textile industry doors were locked so that workers could not escape for breaks. This caused the majority of the deaths in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. Employers locked the doors to the factory so none of the workers could escape causing hundreds to perish in the flames. Headlines like these angered the public and many called for reform. When three employees at the Hull-House club died from factory work the Hull House company did absolutely nothing about it. Thousands of women worked in sweatshops and were often assisted by small children. Children were given the most lethal jobs in the mines and were paid much less than adults. At the time children were paid off the books so it was hard for any union to represent them, some companies that were known to employ children could deny it because there was no evidence. Muckrakers such as Lincoln Steffens and Upton Sinclair further publicized the harsh working conditions found in factories across the country. President Taft set out to reform these...
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