The Gilded Age within the United States represents an era that was marked by extensive economic growth as well as massive social engagements. The labor force conditions within the country were very attractive when compared to the rest of Europe and this served to attract a large number of immigrants. Furthermore, coupled with the explosive industrial growth, the Gilded Age turned out to be a prosperous as well as a treacherous era particularly for the jobless immigrants. At a social level, the Gilded Age was responsible for questioning some of the long-standing social ideals that had been in place for centuries. The following sections address the economic and social trends that acted to shape the United States into what it is today .
The Gilded Age Served as an era that was characterized by rapid growth of the economy, though significant social conflict was also prevalent. Railroads were regarded as the major industry, as well as mining, factory and labor unions became increasingly important. The wages for American skilled workers were significantly higher while compared to those in Europe. The high-speed growth of economy created tremendous opportunities, which made the US attract a large number of immigrants. A large number of people cross the seas from Europe and Asia in search of political and religious freedoms as well as employment opportunities.
Technology transformed the United States during the Gilded Age by the changing of American labor force, benefits of new inventions, developments in communication and transportation, and through great hardship and wealth. Technology transformed the United States during the Gilded Age by the changing of American labor force. During this period, America changed into a more industrial society. Many Go-Getters sought the land of the United States very prosperous, and ventured in hopes of opportunity. The immigrants would soon shape the development of American labor in the latter part of the 19th century.
Yet, the imperfections in the gilding betray the dramatic change of the period. Forces of corporatization, unionization, immigration, urbanization, populism, post-reconstruction racism and machine politics were among the drastic changes in American lifestyle churning beneath the brittle “gilded” surface. Corporatization Among the many changes during the Gilded Age, large corporations became powerful forces in American society. New technologies in communication and transportation allowed for a national marketplace and fueled industries including the railroad and telegraph grids. The wealth of this expanding industry became increasingly concentrated in the hands of a relative few.
Reasons Behind the Economic Boom of 1920's There was an economic boom in the 1920s for 5 main reasons. Firstly the growing strength of American Industry meant that the USA was a leading producer of many raw materials. This was partly due to the second main cause of the boom, which was World War 1. This had helped the American Industry to grow, as during World War 1 new markets had opened up to America. Also, after World War 1, America took over as a leading producer as many European industries had suffered greatly because of the war.
Huge industries such as the textile, steel, and coal industry came out and had a profound effect on the industrial revolution but, they would not have been extremely successful if it was not for railroads. The railroads played a vital role in the development and success of other industries. The railroads triggered the biggest leap in transportation in history. Through technological and entrepreneurial innovations and the creation of steam-powered locomotives, the development of trains as public carriers of passengers and freight, brought forth the railroad. The railroad industry changed the nature of production because it became an important energy source that replaced human and animal power.
Without both industrial revolutions the United States would have not been able to industrialize or modernize. Even though the Industrial Revolution began in Britain, the United States was able to become the more powerful country after both Industrial Revolutions. Before the Civil War, industrialization was slowly occurring with the invention of the steam engine and later the steam boat. It helped oversea shipping faster, making Britain successful. After the Civil War, the United States particularly New York, built many factories that increased the population and the number of workers.
(Bailey 514) This last quarter of the 19th century is often called the age of invention because of the technological advances made. This led to mass production, which caused the economy to grow at a tremendous rate ( ,112). The Exposition came at the peak of the Gilded Age, and the extravagance of the Panama Pacific International Exposition of 1915 showed the tremendous effects of the Gilded Age in the lives of the American people. The beginning of the Exposition exhibited the normality of extravagance of the time period. San Francisco hosted the Exposition in 1915-1916 in honor of the completion of the Panama Canal (Rydell 230), and large amounts of money were spent on preparations for the Exposition.
In conclusion, the Gilded Age was a time of corruption and prosperity on both a political and economic scale. The everlasting lust for money and power is what drove the US to become the superpower it is today. Although the US faced many political and social issues during this time it is apparent that they as a nation triumphantly overcame the obstacle of being a small dependent country. With dexterity and perseverance the States became the most powerful industrial force in the world within a few decades.
In history, it seems inarguably true that when a nation advanced in power and wealth, changes will soon followed. These changes affected the political, economic and social system of that nation, and often came as an advantage for wealthy individuals, while detrimental to others less fortunate. An example of this notion can be seen in American History. After the Civil War and the Reconstruction Era, America quickly surpassed Great Britain in industrial production thus became the leading nation in industrialization. However, great things do not come without a cost; the rapid technological expansion in the US would initiate the crisis of the 1890s.