The Role Of Immigrants In The Gilded Age

910 Words 4 Pages
The Gilded Age, an era of mixed progression, occurred from the 1870s to the early 1900s. The United States had just come out of its Reconstruction period prior to the Gilded Age; a newly established United States was ready to be molded, or rather, “gilded.”Mark Twain, a famous author, named the era between the 1870s and early 1900s the Gilded Age. Twain gave this era such a name because this time period displayed American civilization to be cheap and flawed at its core. Although the economy was revolutionized, the abysmal conditions of workers, the social exclusion of immigrants, and the corrupt nature of politics proved Twain’s name for the time period to be appropriate. The horrendous conditions of workers displayed how “gilded” America …show more content…
Immigrants, like rural workers, were attracted to urbanized American cities in search of opportunity. They were also subjected to the same ill fate of factory workers citizens endured. However, not only did immigrants have to deal with poverty, but they also had to battle the adversity of making a living in an unwelcome country. Similar to how poor white farmers tolerated slaves so there would be someone lower than themselves, citizens antagonized immigrants so there would be someone to blame for their struggles. Influenced by xenophobic politicians, citizens were convinced that immigrants were stealing jobs, being the reason for overpopulation, and according to particularly conservative Democrats, the reason for diminishing Catholicism. Laws were passed to restrict immigrants, one such act was the Chinese Exclusion Act. Chinese immigrants already residing in America were treated with great hostility. This internal social conflict highlighted the blemishes in the Gilded Age. Immigrants approached the United States in hopes of achieving the ultimate promise of “the land of the free,”, the American dream, but unfortunately, they were abruptly …show more content…
Politicians were either weak or corrupt during the Gilded Age. For example, President Rutherford B. Hayes barely made it into office and throughout his term he had a miniscule amount of power. Regarding a corrupt politician, William M. Tweed-Boss Tweed, was the epitome of corruption. Tweed bribed, rigged elections, and ran political machines. In reference to factory workers’ poverty as aforementioned, part of the reason for their destitute lifestyle was because of Tweed and other “bosses.” Politicians promised to hear the concerns of the poor and even gave handouts, which compelled the poor to vote for those politicians. Once said politicians entered office, the assistance halted and reimbursement was demanded, thus the workers were left more vulnerable than ever. Although, acts such as the Sherman Antitrust and Purchase Act, which were designed to help the average worker escape poverty, they took far too long to listen to the people’s pleas. However, some achievement did owe itself to the government. Some money may have been used for a corrupt politician’s own gain, but the rest was invested into innovations. Monopolizing business owners and government officials supported innovation, as it would yield more profit, which would contribute to the United States’ illusion that success is an unlimited resource ready to be tapped by any wanderer. Skyscrapers pierced the sky for the first

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