What was the Gilded Age? | US History | Khan Academy | Summary and Q&A

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May 3, 2019
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What was the Gilded Age? | US History | Khan Academy

TL;DR

The Gilded Age was a period of rapid industrialization and wealth accumulation in post-Civil War America, marked by significant disparities and exploitation of workers.

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Questions & Answers

Q: What was the Gilded Age, and why did it happen?

The Gilded Age refers to the period of rapid industrialization in post-Civil War America, marked by the rise of industries like railroads, oil, and steel. It happened due to technological advancements and the concentration of wealth in the hands of tycoons like Rockefeller and Vanderbilt.

Q: Why was it called the Gilded Age?

It was called the Gilded Age because it symbolized the extravagant wealth enjoyed by the few while the majority faced stark disparities. The term "gilded" was inspired by a novel by Mark Twain, conveying the idea of a shiny exterior masking underlying problems.

Q: How did technology contribute to the disparities during the Gilded Age?

Technology played a significant role in the Gilded Age, enabling industries to increase productivity and accumulate vast wealth. Innovations in industries like railroads and steel allowed monopolistic practices, crowding out competitors and raising prices, leading to inequality.

Q: Were there any movements to address the issues of the Gilded Age?

Yes, two major responses emerged to address the issues of the Gilded Age. Government initiatives began to regulate industries and protect workers, while labor movements, including strikes and consumer boycotts, pushed for reforms and better working conditions.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The Gilded Age, from about 1870 to 1900, saw America become an industrial powerhouse with the rise of industries like railroads, oil, and steel.

  • The period was characterized by tremendous wealth accumulation by tycoons like Rockefeller and Vanderbilt, leading to vast disparities between the rich and poor.

  • Industrialization also brought exploitation of workers, with no labor laws to protect them, resulting in child labor and hazardous working conditions.

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