US History: The Gilded Age

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Calvin Fishman February 16, 2015 HIST 1025 2a. The period of US history known as the Gilded Age got this label because of the numerous internal issues troubling the country during this time of industrial growth. During this period, the United States changed from being focused on agriculture to a focus on industry and underwent many changes which made this industrial growth possible. A major contributor to the shift towards industry were the railroad companies who had substantial political and economic power. The massive amount of immigrants entering the country made the supply of workers plentiful. The government at this time favored big business and aided the so called “robber barons” through their lack of intervention. The 1896 presidential…show more content…
Many immigrants were coming to America at this time for hope of prosperity, and the population of the country increased rapidly. Most of the new immigrants were unskilled, poor, and unassimilated to the way of life they would face in the USA. The factories required many workers and employed the newest immigrants in the lowest positions. Long hours and low wages were forced upon the citizens who had no other options and were grateful for any job. Because of the problem of unemployment, the factories were able to draw from a nearly infinite pool of workers and had little incentive to treat their employees well. Their lack of skills and money made the numerous immigrant workers insignificant and easy to replace. Despite the hardships of individual workers, these policies helped the factories maximize profits and expand the economy. In a time when the need for workers was growing, many viable workers were available and this expedited the industrial…show more content…
Many immigrants came over with almost nothing. Some planned to make money doing unskilled labor and then return to their homeland when they had raised enough. Most people who had this plan were unsuccessful and never earned enough or died before they got a chance. This slowed integration as the eventual citizens planned to leave and made little effort to change their situation for the better. Unlike the old immigrants, the new ones had a poor education. Few were skilled or literate. This was used by the Americans to look down upon the foreigners and their lesser intellect. This lack of affluence forced immigrants to transport one family member at a time as this was all they could afford. Because of this, many new immigrants were alone when they came to the

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