The Gilded Age is known as the period where Mark Twain explains it as being about wealthy people whom acquired their wealth through unethical acts and were said to be role models and ideal people. Wealth was all people noticed during this era. All of the unethical things they did to get their money often went unnoticed. The Gilded Age is more commonly known as the transformation period. It occurred from 1865 through the 1900s. Although America changed in many ways, there were two basic categories: Social changes and Economic changes. Social changes were the changes that were brought from industrialization that affect our culture, conversations with others, connections, and things of that nature. On the other end of the spectrum, you have economic changes, which were changes usually regarding politics, technology, and progressing through this global level. Throughout the Gilded Age period, industrialization was constantly changing America socially and economically.
Industrialization is known as transforming from an agricultural-based life to a manual based life. Industrialization is essentially the Gilded Age summed up into one word, but when we think of industrialization we usually only think of the inventions. We think of skyscrapers, advanced transportation, elevators, railroads, and monopolies taking place, but the inventions aren’t necessarily the only important parts of the period the effects are very important as well. For example, all of these things: Railroads, advanced transportation, and the other inventions all contributed to the immigration taking place. We neglect the little impacts of industrialization such as the economic and social effects behind this.
When it comes to economics, industrialization played a big role. Industrialization provided lots of benefits for America economically during the Gilded Age. One beneficial example is the increased need for factory workers; job opportunities grew rapidly. Industrialization increased productivity and wealth on a national level because with the availability of jobs with no requirements came lots of willing people, and the wealth came from all of these people. With all of the extra money, America had the opportunity to improve other aspects of life. For example, Andrew Carnegie used his money to establish libraries and donate to improve colleges. Another important figure was John D. Rockefeller, who soon became one of the richest men in the world because of his oil company. Economically he was thriving thanks to industrialization. As far as economics go, in America, you were either rich or poor. The rich were said to have a personal responsibility to do good with their wealth, but some wealthy citizens decided to just act as if they couldn’t bear to help someone beneath them.
However, industrialization did not always have beneficial effects economically. Although job opportunities increased dramatically, working conditions were not always that great. Workers were not always trained to be working with this big machinery, so it was always a risk to go to work. Workers were also granted minimal pay for working hours until reaching exhaustion. Workers had more negative aspects than positive; to benefit at all most had to go through inhumane acts. Since the economically changes plummeted the lower class, they were forced to accept any treatment and any pay to just be able to survive, much less benefit.
Population was not only an economic change from industrialization, but a social change as well. New social classes came into play from the increase in immigrants, which made America more diverse culturally. Another social change that took place regarding the social classes was the clarity between the two before it could have seemed unsure as to how superior the wealthy class was above the lower class, but now it is quite clear. The industrialization never had a bad impact on the wealthy because they could provide gifts for family members, eat with some to spare, and live comfortably. Industrialization led to fancy neighborhoods built for the upper class, and they began to live a lavish lifestyle. Population was a good thing for the world socially because it prevented America from being ignorant to other cultures, and it also helped prepare natives for what life is really like because realistically you are going to meet people and work with people of different ethnic groups, so it helped prepare our civilians.
Although the upper class was living on “cloud nine” with industrialization, that was not the case for all people. For instance, the lower class was crammed, overflowing, woke up every day to work long horrific hours, and still could barely provide enough food to feed a portion. They were forced to suffer as they watched the upper class enjoy full meals and no complaints. Many could find a way to deal with the undesirable lifestyle, but not how unsanitary it became. This overpopulating made coming home horrible and work desirable between the inadequate plumbing to the sickness spreading back and forth. Another socially based downside that industrialization brought to the Gilded Age was all of the rude campaigns and outbursts about how wrong immigration was. America could not even make these people who left everything behind to work under little to no benefits feel accepted and feel comfortable walking the streets without someone making a scene about their presence. All of the rude outbursts led to riots and strikes from natives trying to keep out immigrants and immigrants wanting to fight back and defend themselves.
Industrialization had both ups and downs when it came to the Gilded Age. Some effects changed America for the better, but some we might look back on and still regret today. Overall, industrialization was well worth the downsides it had because without it life, as we know it would be stuck in a period without machinery and everyone, would be set back in how they do things. Life without railroads, newer automobiles, and electricity alone would be unthinkable. Industrialization brought us all of the things that most think they “deserve” or are “entitled” to could have never even occurred.