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The Gilded Age Essay

1487 words - 6 pages

In the latter chapters, Julian gains a love interest. He falls in love with Edith Leete, the daughter, who turns out to be Edith Bartlet's great-granddaughter. Edith Bartlet was his former fiancèe.
In the 19th century, anarchism was a growing movement that scared many people including Julian. Dr. Leete describes how it was in fact the wealthiest who funded them, so people would be afraid of reform. However, this was not enough because social change was not instigated by labor or political parties but by the vow by mankind to persevere and conquer the old order and usher in the new. Mr. Bellamy contrasts the anarchist and socialist movements in order posit the latter in a more favorable ...view middle of the document...

He loses all hope of being a 21st century man, but Edith, his one love, tries to convince him that he is already a friend of the family. They both profess their love for each other which consoles Mr. West, but that night he encounters an eery dream. It is about him waking up in back where he was at the beginning of the book. He reads of all the horrors and atrocities in the newspaper and that night goes to Ms. Bartlet's parent's house for dinner. By trying to convince the wealthy folks at the table of the awfulness of today's poor and how it could be so much better, he only distresses them, and he is kicked out. In this dream, he loses all hope for humanity, but then he wakes up and realizes that the 21st century is real and where he belongs. He can be an ambassador to the past and work as an educator, giving a unique perspective of the 19th century.
The Gilded Age was a time a of great prosperity but also great corruption. Many advances in technology and industry took place during the time period. The transcontinental railroad was built, the steel industry was expanded, and oil took off. These developments allowed for the US to experience an industrial revolution, but not all was well. Most of the wealth generated during this time concentrated itself into the hands a of a select few who were able to weasel their way to the top of their industry. One example is John D. Rockefeller, who with wealth adjusted for inflation, amassed a fortune of around $700 billion. The way the these men obtained their wealth was an issue for many during the late 1800's. By crushing small competitors, merging with others, and abusing workers, the American aristocracy was able to generate wealth beyond anyone's imagination. Abuse of workers was a serious source of contention during the time period. Most were paid extremely low wages and worked for long hours. This made hunger and poverty prevalent. Many workers, dissatisfied with their conditions, went on strike to show their discontent. Strikes were mentioned in Looking Backwards as they showed that some sort of change was needed in society because many, especially the poor, were upset. The development of monopolies in some industries was actually embraced by Bellamy because it displayed a logical step towards his social goal of one government monopoly. Competition, according to him, resulted in many inefficiencies which decreased the overall wealth of the nation. Financial crimes were a hallmark of the 19th century as discussed by Bellamy. One of these, the Crédit Mobilier scandal, revealed widespread corruption of the time period. It was about the Union Pacific Railroad double-dipping into federal funds by making a subsidiary. Eventually, some in Congress and in the Presidential circle were implicated. This scandal was one of many that wreaked havoc on the time period. Another issue in the time period discussed by the book was the vicious business cycles. The book exaggerates saying...

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