During the gilded age America was going through rapid economic changes that resulted in lots of americans being mistreated at work. Rich men who ran large corporations filled with hard working americans using their wealth to persuade or buy votes or have laws made in their favor.
Politics through history has always been viewed as a wealthy mans game. Things Started to change during this era. the people’s party was created it was created by farmers and laborers to help fight back against corruption and give a voice to the masses. these people believed that the large corporations where a huge part of the issues america was facing. Large businesses and their wealthy owners would create political machines these where ran by political bosses these people controlled voting, business licenses, and jobs. They also had a strong hold on laws in the United stages these bosses often rewarded people for their votes or Helped immigrants get citizenship in exchange for their vote. Resulting in elections swaying in their favor.
Women during this time were referred to as “new women” as they began playing a major role in the united states. Going from just a house wife. they began stepping into these areas hoping to have their voices heard. Seeking the respect they deserved. however, they still weren’t able to vote until 20 years later. African Americans of this era had “The right to vote” but this didn’t mean they had a fair vote. 55% of African Americans during this time were considered illiterate. the poles were typically set up in such a manor that you had to read and understand who was who on the ballots. this was set this way to minimize the voice the african american community had.
labor workers in this era counted heavily on their factory jobs and the owners and management knew this. They knew that if they spoke out and lost their job they didn’t have any others skills to get any other jobs. owners built company towns designated for their works to stay and live it was just another way for the corporations to control their work force. This struck fear in people who ultimately just decided to stay quite and vote in the corporations favor.
The era brought great change for america. both economically and politically. this era marked the ending of abuse in factories and controlling workers. People began to make higher wages and have more leazure time. laws where set in place to help stop corrupt owners and politics. Finally the working class had money and a sense of power.
Keene, Jennifer D. Visions of America: A History of the United States. 3rd ed., vol. 2, Pearson, 2017.