The Gilded Age Essay

2058 Words9 Pages
America’s societal character continuously changed from the years 1865 to 1920. America drastically converted from an agrarian culture to an industrial culture immediately preceding the Civil War. Before this time, Americans did their manufacturing from their homes using hand tools and basic machines. There was a lack of efficient transportation, communication and forms of banking. There were also many gender and socio-economic tensions. All of these issues began to change, which is why it is often referred to as one of the major transitional periods in history. Its significance lies in the fact that America underwent a cultural revolution. Entrepreneurial businessmen took over, industrial machines replaced a large amount of manual labor, amendments such as the 13th, 14th and 15th were added to the constitution, etc. This transformation is called the Gilded Age because it is essentially the period of progression. This particular period had a tremendous impact on American traditional thought, principles, values as well as the nation’s economic, social and political systems. All of these factors contributed to the birth of American popular culture.
The progress of the Gilded Age also known as the Victorian Era was both positive and negative. America switched its focus to a laissez-faire government which essentially allowed businesses to operate with very little interference from the government. This form of free market allowed corporations to fully take advantage of their wealth. This freedom gave those industries an enormous amount of power. So much that they were considered more powerful than politicians. Despite the lack of regulation from the government, corporations were constantly granted loans, free land and anything else th...

... middle of paper ...

...ericans were able to industrialize the economy, create a national market, build modern cities and set a map for the future of government with a two party system. The late 19th century saw the formation of new communication including the phonograph, the telephone, the radio as well as the rise in mass-circulation newspapers and magazines, growth of commercialized entertainment, and new sports such as basketball, bicycling, and football. There were new transportation technologies like the automobile, electric trains and trolleys.
Throughout the Gilded Age, Americans attempted to solve the problems of racial tensions, as well as issues of gender, ethnicity, class, industrialism and change itself. The solutions and inventions they imposed may have seemed mediocre or inadequate but they were a start. Without these efforts, we would not have progressed as a society.

More about The Gilded Age Essay

Open Document