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Immigration During The Gilded Age Essay

1496 words - 6 pages


“Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”, three common goals immigrants came to America seeking with hopes of the promise to prosper and gain success. However, during the Gilded Age it seemed as though these were attainable only for the select few, while others left the land they knew to spend their lives toiling away in pursuit of the American dream, many never understanding how unattainable it really was. While the Gilded Age was a time of an industrial boom and a growing economy, those working by the sweat of their brow to make the success of this time possible, were not actually ever grasping this wealth, but rather putting right back into the pockets of the wealthy. The Gilded ...view middle of the document...

Parents were left little choice in sending their young children to work in factories because of the little money that two parents could bring into the house. Children working odd jobs compromised their schooling, because while conditions were dangerous and they only earned a small amount of money, at least it was money. However, children soon realized it didn’t matter how hard they worked, they still made the same amount of money and they weren’t progressing. Because of the short pay even children began to take shortcuts to make money and turned to crime. As the children grew up in this dingy environment, it didn’t take to long before they started to use money, whether earned or stolen, to drink and gamble away. Once entered into this cycle as young children, it was hard to break the patterns and to gain independence away from the factories because of being raised in an environment thirsty for money, even when little comes in after long, hard days.
The boom of industrialization brought about the increase in machines, which decreased the need for a workingman where an unpaid machine could now do the work. Those who were not replaced by machines were lucky to have kept their jobs, therefore doing almost anything to keep them from losing their job. This included voting for the candidate that the working classes employer was in favor of. This corruption was allowed to occur because even the police were in on the scheme and would even facilitate. By being swayed to vote for a candidate that someone else believed was right for the position was as if they were not even voting at all. Some of those who voted in order to keep their job may not have even realized how similar this was to the slaves were unable to vote, even though they were the ones manually doing labor that was increasing the economy that they had no say in. Those who voted didn’t fight because while it wasn’t much, it was a job they were not willing to get up. By not being able to vote for whom they saw fit, gave up their rights to liberty, again trapping them of a cycle, a cycle where the government officials only take care of the already well off middle classes and upper class, while they leave the working immigrant class in poverty and taking away the right to voice their own opinions. This same government that the working class immigrants were “supporting”, was the same government that wasn’t interfering to protect the workers from the corruption that caused them so many problems such as low paying wages and unsafe working conditions.
To better oneself and progress beyond the factory during the Gilded Age, would have required education, which was available during this time though public education which was offered to children in America. Education and schooling was very important and if in the right situation could help one excel in the pursuit of the American Dream, however this was not an opportunity attainable for all children. Cities with jobs for the immigrants were only so...

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