Top 10 Worst Things About the Gilded AgeThe Gilded Age: a period in history in which America faced rapid industrialization, a massive influx of immigrants, and a growth of capitalism that was almost impossible to beat. Unfortunately, it wasn't without its downfalls, and it is for good reason why we refer to it as the "Gilded" Age and not the "Golden" Age.
Cornelius Vanderbilt, J.P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie (the biggest offender of them all), these businessmen used dirty tactics, such as horizontal/vertical integration and trusts, in order to rise to the top and destroy other businesses. They had little care for their workers and only looked to release as many products as they could. Government interference? If only they took more action to prevent capitalism from becoming a disease.
Yeah, controlling almost all the United States's wealth and treating lower class like slaves and the government didn't even care.
Hence the name, "Gilded Age", referring to how the time period was only golden for the rich elite, while smaller businesses and workers suffered
People built boarding schools just to teach Native Americans how to be American. And it was BRUTAL. Some kids died because of how bad it was. This movement of turning Native American tribes into a similar culture of the whites was a disgusting thing to do. But it didn't stop there. Tribes were forced out of their lands and into camps, and despite their rebels, it just led to more bloodshed on their side.
Immigrants faced it the worst out of anyone. They dealt with an overflowing of jobs that were being taken up quickly, lower wages, the typical racism, among other things. They left their countries in hope of a better life, but what they got was arguably worse.
It's one thing for your job to be dangerous enough that you could be killed. It's another thing for your boss to have little consideration for this factor. Sadly that was the case, and it led to such disastrous occasions as the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, one of the most infamous fires in American history (although it was after the Gilded Age, it was of a similar factor).
Not being allowed to leave the workspace, being treated very poorly and fed to a minimum, having little consideration for working experience, and little to no pay, working in a factory/railroad was almost as torturous as being a slave before the Civil War. Thanks Carnegie. Your library was such a great idea.
Social Darwinism - the theory that individuals, groups, and peoples are subject to the same Darwinian laws of natural selection as plants and animals. Ths means that high class bosses could be subject to "eating" working class people alive with little consequence. This outdated philosophy is the scapegoat for imperialism and racism during this era and later actions by the US. Disgusting!
Were you 5 years or older in the Gilded Age? Guess what, you now belong in the factory! That's right, children were placed in factory jobs because of their size, so they could squeeze through smaller spaces that the bigger workers couldn't. It was a disgusting practice, and a testament to how far businessmen would go to get what they wanted.
The Great Railroad Strike, Haymarket Riot, Pullman Strike, and Homestead Strike were primary examples of labor strikes taken to the extreme. They fought for things as better working conditions, shorter work hours, and better pay. None of these strikes were successful, and led to disaster in trade and production, death, and worse conditions for those involved.
A sub segment to immigration discrimination, the Chinese Exclusion Act was the most infamous action against immigrants looking to better themselves. If you were Chinese and wanted a job in America, you'd be banned from entering unless an American said otherwise. It was a terrible process, and if Chinese immigrants weren't facing it badly enough, they'd face it worse in America due to this horrid law. Thank god it's repealed.
I'm pretty sure the government regretted making this law. This act was very discriminatory. To be honest, this was like Trump's immigration ban in the late 19th century, except that it was the Chinese who were banned from immigrating and it lasted a lot longer.
Abe Lincoln's actions during the Civil War and the passing of Amendments 13-15 were not enough for African Americans to be integrated into the nation. With the use of poll taxes and biased literacy tests, many blacks still couldn't vote. As for jobs, they could barely hold up a decent job around any white people, as the shadows of racism were still stuck with them, and they'd even be lynched for very minor things. It a took almost a century for this to be legitimately resolved.