The Gilded Age: Today's Fairy Tale

Topics: Gilded Age

The Gilded Age was a period of economic development and visible outer wealth. Mark Twain wrote a book called The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today. The book is a satire on greediness and partisan corruption, and where the name for the era came from. Meaning there was a curtain around social issues.

The Gilded Age was a time of disguise for problems comparable to poverty, inequality, and social injustice. Industrialization and Urbanization were vast reasons for poverty. Everyone was looking to move to a more industrialized and urbanized area with of better employment opportunities.

Also, because urban areas grow so much in population so everyone was fighting for jobs. Inequality and social injustice go hand in hand. The Chinese were barred from coming to America per the Chinese Exclusion Act. Americans did not want immigrants to take away jobs they felt were “theirs.” In the 1880s, the farmers’ national alliance was formed for people of color because they weren’t allowed to be a part of the other Farmers’ alliance.

Americans treated the Native Americans poorly, proving they had no consideration for them, frequently. Occasionally, the US promised resources and money for going to reservations. A majority of the time they didn’t follow through. European immigrants struggled to join society, resulting in them keeping in areas with folks of their culture. Industrialization and had made farmers less capable of helping themselves, so the farmers joined in forming the populist party. The populist party was said to protect farmers, wage labors, people of color, poor whites, and to drive corruption out of politics.

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The farmers became irate when the railroads took over their land. Since the farmers were not as sufficient, one reason being, the farmers were in debt. The interest rates were through the roof, per the banks. The farmers had a difficult time making payments, subsequently, the farmers would lose their land. The farmers were budding “cash crops.” By selling their crops like corn and wheat, would hopefully help the farmers make ends meet.

The farmers did not have any professional business skills they thought the banks and railroads were to fault, for their losses. Farmers needed machinery for their craft of farming, but it was far too expensive. The industrial workers were paid so little for working twelve plus hour days. Corporate executives thought labor should be paid for at the lowest possible price. The workers went on strike.

In 1877, The Homestead Strike happened. Workers had to endure terrible circumstances. Attempting to join forces, and try to find a solution for their situation, they joined labor unions. Corporations announced a wage decrease, leading to extensive walkouts. The workers were livid. In protest , they burned trains, and teared up the tracks.

There was an incident in Pittsburgh, where federal troops had to intervene. 25 people died because workers burned several buildings, cars, and locomotives. Even though the strikes were violent, it happened to draw more attention for the workers.

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The Gilded Age: Today's Fairy Tale. (2021, Dec 27). Retrieved from

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