The Gilded Age

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From 1870 to 1900 era was called the Gilded Age, a time of immense growth in the United States in transportation, especially in railroads, American workers were paid higher wages than their peers in Europe. In this thirty year span the United States saw twelve million immigrants pass through her golden doors, 70% of these immigrants were English, Irish, and German. Crop failures (potato famine in Ireland), job shortages, and religious freedom were the motivations behind many immigrating to America. Newly arrived immigrants faced a harsh reality in America, employers took advantage of them, the men were often paid less than other native born men and the women were paid even less. Immigrants suffered verbal and physical abuse from employers and other employees because they were different. While researching my Italian heritage I learned that Italians, especially southern Italians were not treated well because they were hired as strikebreakers or scabs by mining and railroading companies. They were called derogatory names such as "dagoes or guineas". Newspapers of the time said the southern Italians were "intellectually inferior and having criminal tendencies" (Laura Teddy Turner, Demand Media n.d.) In 1882 the Chinese Exclusion Act was passed, and Alien Contract Labor Laws of 1885 and 1887 prohibited certain laborers from immigrating to the United States. " Immigration Act of 1882 levied a head tax of fifty cents on each
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