Why Was It Called The Gilded Age?

Why Was It Called The Gilded Age
Source: https://www.chronicle.com

There have been different ages since the time of men on earth. From the Stone Age to the present time that many people would call the Technology or Jet age. However, the Gilded Age is one age that was famous all through the United States as the Age between the time the Civil War broke out and World War I that affected the world.

The thing is, why was it called the Gilded Age?

Gilded Age is a time where there was plenty to spend and death all over. Then, why was it called the Gilded Age in the United States? In the 19th Century, Mark Twain called it the Gilded Age because, on the surface, it was bubbling with money and the beautiful things of life. He said what lay beneath all the glitter was the outrageous corruption that was going on. Many persons would not know the crimes that took place during that time, as all they could see was the way things were moving on smoothly, and money was all over the place.

There is more to this topic that you need to know. So, keep reading to get more details on this topic.

Life In The Gilded Age

During the Gilded Age, the people who lived in that country enjoyed what you would call growth, both numerically and economically. Still, one key factor about that Age was the high rate of corruption.

It made a lot of persons to be wealthy because of the way a particular set of corrupt persons were controlling the money. The country in that Age was fancy on the outside as other nations could see the way the United States was moving quickly into urban cities.

Still, the truth behind this luxurious life or glittering show is the corruption beneath it, which in turn affected the industrial workers and peasant farmers, as they were getting more miserable by the day. However, people watching from the international scene would never know that there is such a level of poverty in the state because of the glittering things they were seeing.

Now, we would look at some of the facts about life in the Gilded Age and how it turned the United States of America into a world power today.

The Railroad

The Gilded Age ushered in the railroad, which became a lucrative source of income and a boost to the economy at that time. The railroad connected the United States to different parts of the world. It made the country’s economy bigger because the transportation of goods in and out of the country was flowing smoothly and consistently.

Job Boost

With the introduction of the railroad came a lot of impacts when it came to job opportunities. Young people got jobs with the railway stations. Even if they were uneducated, they could work in different parts of the railway station, from being a laborer in the station to being a brakeman or even a conductor.

The jobs were not only for the uneducated but also for literate persons. Engineering became a core subject in the universities, which gave rise to engineers as they could work on the engines and other technical areas of the railway stations.

Politics

In the Gilded Age, politics played in a whole different way. They refer to the system as a Third Party System. The political power of this Age tossed between two major political parties, while the rest of the parties, which you can call the lesser parties, would come and go as they were not static.

Most of them would even merge with one of the big political parties. The two parties are the Republican and the Democrat parties. Yes, they are still ruling almost all of the political offices in the United States to date.

Competition between these parties was tight during the Gilded Age. One party would take wins over the other in parts of the country for the number of political members in that area or region. Let’s see how the system was corrupt in this Age when it comes to politics.

Corruption during election

The system was corrupt and not free and fair at all. The rich and influential business people knew that when the opposing party wins, the regulation of the business systems will not favor him or her, mainly because they know they were into illegal transactions and money laundering.

The political system was so corrupt that it got to a point where they made bribery legal, fixed in the constitution, and strictly followed. So, when a dishonest man bribes someone in the system, it did not become a crime; instead, it was a kind gesture towards the person.

The situation gave rise to many things that made the system terrible. Good swindlers made a lot of money and got away with it because the law gave them the right to do anything they pleased.

The political shop agrees Gilded Age had no value for fairness, so anyone who would not allow the growth of corruption would be out of the equation when they utilize the power of their wealth and influence that they have built up over time.

A few natives in this Age would vote for the Democrats. They always complained that they focused on immigrants rather than the natives of the land. So, the majority of votes come from the immigrant’s region. At the same time, the Republican Party got a good number of votes from the natives because they said they got good things whenever a Republican is on a legislative seat.

The Dark Side Of The Gilded Age

The Gilded Age is one age that is popular for bringing urbanization to the United States. Still, many did not know the dark stories were associated with the growth of the country and the measures they took before they could achieve a lot of things in such a short time.

In this section, we will take you through some dark stories about the Gilded Age as a result of greed and corruption.

Poor Working Conditions

The workers were at the whims and caprices of their lords. Thus, the workforce worked in circumstances that one can consider to be very dangerous to their health. The working condition exposed them to the instant loss of life of the worker during this Age. The places where this work usually takes place can be an open field. For instance, when workers build the railroad, their employers do not care if the weather is fair or horrible.

The workers had to work, or else they would lose their job because of the level of poverty among the low-class individuals. The other side to it is that the workers are in dire need of the work. The work was their only means of survival; as a result, if they do not work, they would starve to death. That way, they had no choice but to work under such conditions. Hence, you find out some of them losing their lives as a result of poor health care, cold, or dehydration.

Urbanization

With the rise of urban cities came to the resultant effect of lots of persons moving towards these cities for greener pastures. Thousands of persons lived in the cities because that is the only place you could get a good job and a good source of income to feed yourself and your family.

It made the cities overcrowded and overpopulated. With overpopulation means that diseases and congestion are not far from the equation. Sickness could spread quickly, and because the population is too much, the transmissions of these diseases become very easy and fast to transmit. A lot of persons died during this Age because of the sickness and disease spread from person to person.

Environmental problems

The Age was one that gave rise to the Industrial Age. With railways and industrial companies coming up here and there, the environment became very polluted and unhealthy for living. The rivers became bad for fishing because of the waste materials that come out of the big industrial companies. Also, the air was not good for breathing, as it resulted in various respiratory problems, and eventually, deaths.

Monopoly

It is one of the significant problems when it comes to the Gilded Age. The big companies would not allow the smaller ones to grow, as they would want to use all necessary means to kill every form of competition, and no law will kick against the act.

It made the rich grow richer because once they were the only company in the market, they could increase the price of their goods at will, and no one would complain. After all, there was no other way to get those goods than from them.

Conclusion

The Gilded Age, as the name implies, represents a time where the on the surface the society looked good, but underneath it was suffering and corruption delivered to the people. The underground corruption was making the rich grow more productive and the poor poorer; we can say it was a necessary step that the country had to take to become the world power today. Thus, the answer to the question, why was it called the Gilded Age is apparent.

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