The Gilded And Progressive Eras

1245 Words5 Pages
Kailyn McComb
History 1151
Professor Rob Denning
Date Submitted

Reforming America

The gilded and progressive eras in America were times of expansion, urbanization, and what seemed like a golden pathway to an industrialized future. In the 1850s, railroads were being built all across America, and with that came the rise of the steel and oil industries, as well as dramatic population increases in the newly urbanized cities. Such a change in society created a gap between social classes causes incredible amounts of poverty for many, and incredible wealth for few. Three main struggles during this crucial time in America were political corruption, the rapid expansion of urban cities, and the unfair, and unsafe working conditions. Through these difficult times, many different types of reform were supported, but few were actually effective. One of the largest problems facing Americans during the gilded age and progressive era was political corruption. The late 1800s and early 1900s were filled with political machines such as George Plunkitt and James Gillespie Blaine. Plunkitt was known as the leader of Tammany Hall, an Irish-based organization that was heavy in politics during the 19th century. Politicians affiliated with Tammany Hall would provide jobs, money or other favors and in return would receive government favors. Although Plunkitt believed he was doing no wrong, many Americans saw this as taking the patronage system for granted. During an interview, Plunkitt said, “ I
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