Gilded Age Research Paper

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ober 8th, 2014 The Gilded Age was a time period during the early to mid-19th century that portrayed America as the home of unbridled opportunity and success; but in reality was a time of social, economic, and political controversies. A strong republican government supported by an unjust voting system existed, and the harmful effects of industrialization and urbanization were felt by the working class of America. The effects of the unregulated rise of capitalism in big businesses threatened the public. Progressive movements consisting of citizens who pressed for reform in order to better these conditions for the public good began to form. The Progressive movement was successful because it ignited a societal change that ultimately reformed the…show more content…
Prior to Progressivism, workers were faced with issues of child labor as well as harsh working conditions such as long hours, low pay, no workers compensation, and workplace safety hazards. In order to address the issue of child labor, Woodrow Wilson passed the Keating- Owen Act, which disallowed products made by children to be sold out of state. An example of unsafe working conditions at the time was the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, where women working in crowded and unsafe work areas were unable to escape a factory fire due to narrow stairways and blocked exits. This event was a wakeup call to the public, and soon fire escape and other safety laws were passed. Furthermore, the development of workers’ unions, such as the American Federation of Labor and the United Mine Workers, played a pivotal role in minimizing unjust working conditions. These unions used methods such as collective bargaining and strikes in order to obtain the changes that were needed. Strikes proved to be a very powerful tool of the unions, For example, the United Mine Workers strike of 1902 initiated a fuel famine, forcing Theodore Roosevelt to demand a negotiation between the workers and bosses. As a result of progressive federal…show more content…
Although women’s suffrage and direct democracy were achieved, there was not a full elimination of the racial boundaries that African Americans faced. African Americans encountered voting intimidation until the late 1900s. Furthermore, the monstrosities of urbanization and industrialization were not conquered completely. Some changes were limited to specific businesses, and as a result not all workers experienced the positive gains and better working conditions. For example, the American Federation of Labor excelled in making an impact, but was marginalized during campaigns of the National Association of Manufacturers and left wing unionism, and membership suffered for a long period of time. Furthermore, the federal intervention towards controlling working hours only supported workers for certain companies. For example the Adamson Act only limited the working hours for railroad workers. Overall, the efforts made to support the working class as a whole were inconsistent, but progressivism was a strong movement that resulted in lasting change. Finally, business regulation had a mostly effective impact, but also experienced limitations. The Sherman Anti-Trust Act backfired, for example, during the Danbury Hatters Case when the manager of the business called for a suit against the union, claiming

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