Gilded Age Essay example

2794 Words Jan 17th, 2011 12 Pages
AP U S History Document Based Question

The years after the American Civil War have been characterized by Mark Twain and others as “The Gilded Age.” Generally, historians have emphasized the decline of human values, the low state of public morality, greed, corruption and crass materialism. Do you feel this characterization presents an accurate overall picture of the years 1865-1890? If so, what caused this marked departure from the past in a nation with such strong religious and moral cultural traditions? Use the documents and your knowledge of U S History to answer the question.

Document A

“Our agricultural products have been abundant for the last few years. The crops of cotton, four-fifths of which have been raised by the
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Document E

President Chester Arthur issued these rules [1881]: "First: No person in civil service shall use his office, his official authority or influence, either to coerce the political action of any person or body to interfere with any election. Second: No person in the public service shall for that reason be under any obligation to contribute to any political fund or render any political service, and he will not be removed or otherwise prejudiced for refusing to do so."

Document F

“. . . . .Many of the calamitous efforts of the tremendous revolution which has passed over the southern States still remain. The immeasurable benefits which will surely follow, sooner or later, the hearty and generous acceptance of the legitimate results of that revolution have not yet been realized. . . . . The people of those States are still impoverished, and the inestimable blessing of wise, honest, and peaceful local self-government is not fully enjoyed. But it must not be forgotten that only a local government which recognizes and maintains inviolate the rights of all is a true self-government. . . . .With respect to the two distinct races whose peculiar relations to each other have brought upon us the deplorable complications and perplexities which exist in those States, it must be a government which guards the interests of both races carefully and equally. . . . .” Rutherford B. Hayes, Inaugural Address, March 5, 1877.

Document G

“Under this

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