Similarities among historical periods

The Gilded Age was between the years 1866-1901. Though many find a variant in the years. However in America was the age of the Industrial revolution. America was expanding as a new nation in its economic spectrum of industry and trade. America was viewed as the continent of opportunities. A promise land to the capitalist as well as the poor immigrant. Urbanization was a more direct result of the Gilded Age. Burgeoning factories were centralized in cities that offered a central location for resources and workers to fuel their production. Immigrants and displaced rural workers flooded cities in the hopes of finding employment. Throughout the Gilded Age there were several positive, as well as negative, effects that can be attributed to urbanization. As the production of iron and steel was rising which gave birth to the development of the railroad system. To move goods from resource-rich West to the East. During this age of the railroad construction, finance, operation and consolidation created millionaire estates on a scale never seen before. The pace of immigration to America begun to accelerate after the civil war era. Immigrants from Southern, Eastern Europe and Ireland flocked to the United States. Chicago was their favorite destination. With the rise of industries gave way many jobs to the unskilled laborers. The Workingmen’s Party founded in the wake of the 1877 strikes, first found electoral success in Chicago. By 1878 the Workingmen’s party was popular among the German and Scandinavian immigrants. It changed its name to the Socialist Labor Party. In the Gilded Age, Americans witnessed dramatic changes to their society.

This process of “modernization” brought an exciting world of opportunity and pleasure to many.  However, many felt that the changes were too rapid and too dramatic, thus threatening the established social order. Women being discriminated as well. In the year 1884, Susan. B. Anthony testified before the congress supporting women’s suffrage (the right to vote). Though for more than 70 years women like Susan B. Anthony fought for women’s right to vote alongside men on Election Day. During the Gilded Age though there were many economic reforms, there was also a quite a lot atrocities as we know it today was also committed. “The Fourteenth Amendment, written to ensure that African Americans were given the full rights of citizenship, extended the right of birthright citizenship to all those born in the United States…” The transition to full-fledged citizen was troublesome for many people in America after the 1876 election and the end of Reconstruction, when federal troops pulled out of the South. Around 1890 “Jim Crow” laid the foundation for state approved discrimination. Movie theaters, schools and other public places began hanging “white only” signs in front and served all others from the back or “colored” section.

Though the discrimination started way back during the Gilded Age, it just gathered momentum during the 1890’s. The act prohibited African-Americans from voting and serving on juries. During this period the city of Chicago began to educate black children alongside whites, and African-Americans gained access to state-funded colleges as well. But blacks made up less than 2% of the population in the North, and many whites remained ambivalent or outright hostile to their struggle for full social equality. Thus African-Americans made slow progress in Illinois and across the North. Many white workers feared competition from African-Americans trying to improve their lot, and worked to restrict blacks to unskilled labor. Many labor unions, refused to let blacks join. Many African-Americans used to work as coal-miners in places like Illinois, since mine owners recruited southern blacks to come north in order to replace striking white workers. The popular stereotype of Gilded Age politics, that corruption, demagoguery, and meaningless issues were its primary characteristics. The Gilded Age was a period of immense change in the United States. All of the abuses and problems of the time generated many different reactions mostly directed at reform. Slowly, government regulations began to reign in the abuses of big business. At the same time, social reformers actively sought to correct the problems evident in American cities.

The USA was one of the victors in the First World War and it enjoyed a period of great prosperity in the 1920’s, though there was a darker side to American life even then. During the 1920’s and 1930’s, America was in isolation that is she kept herself to herself and took little part in international relations. In addition America, isolated herself in terms of trade. Tariffs (import duties) were put on foreign goods to protect American industry. European countries at that time could not afford to buy agricultural goods from the USA. This was one of the causes of the Depression. The immigration policy as just seen was really a form of racism there was a fear among Americans that Catholics and Jews would swamp them, if immigration were not checked. In certain parts of the USA they feared the Negroes. The Ku Klux Klan began in the South after the civil War. There was strict segregation. On buses and in cinemas Negroes had to sit in their own areas, which were not as comfortable. They were not even allowed to sit in the same restaurant or go to the same schools as whites. By 1925 there were 5 million members of the Ku Klux Klan and it was spreading to the northeastern cities, e.g. Chicago, Cleveland, New York etc. This was because Negroes were moving there to find jobs and a better standard of living than in the South. Though these actions constituted to the dark side of life in America. Most people were not concerned as they were too busy in the prosperity that they were enjoying. The greatest boom was in consumer goods, e.g. cars, refrigerators, radios, cookers, telephones etc. Ordinary people were encouraged through advertising to buy these goods and many could now afford what had been luxuries before the war. One reason was that they earned slightly higher wages because of the boom. The main reason was the cost of goods was cheaper. The promotion of buying goods made in America by America. This time was usually called as the ‘Roaring Twenties.’

The end of World War II (1950) brought thousands of young servicemen back to America to pick up their lives and start new families in new homes with new jobs. With energy never before experienced, American industry expanded to meet peacetime needs. Americans began buying goods not available during the war, which created corporate expansion and jobs.  Growth everywhere.  The baby boom was underway. The 1950’s were a decade of unprecedented economic and population growth for America. From 1948 to 1953 more babies were born. A young population was underway in the future of these children. Adding to the burgeoning population was a steady flow of immigrants, including war refugees from World War II and war brides from Korea. 17,000 Koreans immigrated to the country, many the wives and children of American soldiers. Many immigrants came from Europe, fleeing the Communist domination that had settled over Eastern Europe in the early days of the cold war. Allowed into the country under the 1948 Displaced Persons Act. The high birthrate lowered the average age: by 1958 one-third of the population was younger than fifteen years old. As the country got younger, Americans began to pay more attention to the tastes and concerns of its children and teenagers.

In contrast a Great Divide was formed during the 1980’s period of restructuring of the major religions in the USA. Liberal churches stressed the message of the social gospel, while conservatives emphasized obedience to a higher power and piety. The line between religion and politics continued to lose its definition as religious groups and organizations strived to use the pulpit to expound political ideologies. Though a nation in its newfound morality was deciding the lives of many of its people.

Bibliography

http://www.americaslibrary.gov/cgi-bin/page.cgi/jb/gilded

http://oswego.org/staff/tcaswell/wq/gildedage/segment.htm#business

http://kclibrary.nhmccd.edu/decade50.html

http://kclibrary.nhmccd.edu/decade50.html

http://www.bookrags.com/history/america-1980s-religion/

http://www.schoolshistory.org.uk/america/index.htm

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