Immigration has always been a part of the United States, and that was especially remains true during the Gilded Age due to both opportunity or problems in other countries. The amount of immigrants coming into the country was tremendous during the early 20th century, and many of them experienced some serious problems during their journey. and Uupon reaching the U.S . Getting in was only the first issue, Language barriers and threats of disease sometimes kept people on Ellis and Angel island for years at a time. (Were people kept on Angel Island purely for health reasons?)
Once immigrants did get in though, their dreams were crushed as they were welcomed into a world of poverty and poor conditions in big cities. “Tenements were notoriously small in size, most contained no more than two rooms. One of the rooms was used as a kitchen, and the other as a bedroom. Many families worked out of their apartments as well – sewing clothes or rolling cigars”. (Where is this quote from? You need to cite this) A large percentage of the population lived this way as there was a very big gap between the rich and poor with virtually no middle class. As a result the streets were piled with trash, crowded, and purely disgusting.
Compared to today, however, the cities of America have mostly changed for the better being cleaner and with more dispersed amounts of wealth. The garbage, disease, and waste problems have almost been completely eradicated in the modern world, but there are still over population issues and poverty in our cities today as there was in the gilded age. The U.S has managed to clean up it’s cities exponentially in recent decades, all due to inventions and lessons learned in the Gilded Age. (Sanitation has definitely improved, but what about the experiences of immigrants in America today?)
One major culprit for the amounts of death and disease during the Gilded Age was it’s (It’s=it is, its= possessive of it) meat packing industries. The corrupt meat packing industry of the time suppliedying many of the country’sies’ cities and towns not only produced diseased and rotten meat, but they also hired workers for incredibly low wages without any employee protection laws. ‘It is an elemental odor, raw and crude; it is rich, almost rancid, sensual and strong.”(The Jungle Chpt. 2). The Jungle written in 1906 clearly describes how terrible it really was to work in the meatpacking industry. It talks about worker mistreatment, animal mistreatment, and the sheer disgust of the jobs these people had.
When compared with today’s meet industry, little has changed in terms of worker mistreatment and animal abuse. Though standards of meat have gone up, diseased meat is not uncommon in today’s supermarkets. The lack of humane methods or high quality products is of course due to the fact that the modern meat industry is only after cheap and fast ways of obtaining more money. This is true for both the gilded age and modern day meat industries, and the people on top of these industries are causing tremendous problems for U.S. citizens, farmers, and their workers.
Much like today’s reporters who expose the unjust and corrupt, Muckrakers of the gilded age did their best to bring the truth to the American people and bring about change to our laws, businesses, and customs. Some of these problems included the rancid streets of New York City, the disease spreading food industries, and the factories mistreating their workers. “We Muckraked, not because we hated our world, but because we loved it. We were not hopeless, we were not cynical, we were not bitter,” (Ray Stannard Baker).
These people reported these incidents in order to benefit their society, and make it a better world. Muckrakers have been vastly important throughout the country’s history and in modern day, but it is done very differently now. There is some suspicion of “Fake News” by some, and there has also been bias news stations reporting things that are swayed to one side or the other. Many would say that our reporters and our news has in some ways become corrupt. The way we receive information, and how we view certain things can all be altered by reporters and it is important that they stay on the people’s side as they always have.
America has changed exponentially in the past century, but we can still reflect a lot of our modern problems on those of the past during the gilded age and even before. Dirty streets, corrupt big businesses, and abused workers are all a part of our modern lives; and we of course know of these things due to reporters. All though the situation has improved, the country can do much better. We will have to rely on Muckrakers to do the job, and use our past failures as lessons to change the future of our country for the better.