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Changing American Society (Essay Sample)


Unit 4 Assignment: Changing American Society
The late 19th century was dominated by the "Gilded Age" and the "Progressive Era". In an
essay, discuss the changing American society. Include ideas on:
● The impact of the railroads.
● The consequences of urbanization.
● Causes and consequences of the Progressive movement.
Be sure to use specific historical examples to support your response.
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Unit 4 Assignment: Changing American Society
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Unit 4 Assignment: Changing American Society
Mark Twain is the man responsible for naming the 19th Century the Gilded Age. He called it so to imply that the era looked glittery on the outside, but it was rotten with corruption inside. The Gilded Age era, which took place in the 19th Century (the 1870s to about 1900s), was an era of tremendous economic growth in the United States of America (Nichols & Unger, 2017). This rapid economic growth was most evident in the Western and Northern parts of the United States. The Gilded Age Era was, however, also marred with corruption, unemployment, and poverty. This era had so much gross materialism, and overt political corruption was very pronounced, especially in the 1870s.
In the 19th Century, the railroads were very instrumental in the economic growth of the United States (Donaldson & Hornbeck, 2016). The railroads made it seamless to transport manufactured products across the country efficiently and cheaply. The railroads also made it easier to ship agricultural produce across all United States of America regions. Apart from the impact the railroads had on the transportation of goods, they also brought a rise to many other industries. Communities and towns began to grow rapidly as transportation became cheaper and faster. As a result, railroads created a way for more people of the West to settle. In the aspects of distance and time, railroads brought significant Industrial Revolution.
The 19th Century also saw a lot of urbanization in the United States of America. As the economy and population grew, urbanization expanded vastly. Urbanization came along with consequences. Due to the high population growth, diseases started spreading fast, and crime also rose, especially in the urban areas. Sanitation was a major issue in the urban areas in the 19th Century. Pollution also became a major issue as people crowded, and industries released their waste into water sources, the land, and the air. Congestion became another major issue that came with urbanization as most people started moving from rural areas to urban areas in search of job opportunities and better living standards.
The Progressive Era was a period where there were so many political reforms and social activism taking place. The Progressive Era spanned from the 1890s to the 1920s. Most of the groups involved in Progressive reforms were society women from the middle class and Christian ministers (Timberlake, 2013). The era looked to ensure that the US government was accountable and transparent, and they fought for workers' reforms, women's political rights, and many other reforms. Groups such as the Women Suffrage are well known for the many rights they fought for during the Progressive Era. Through the Progressive Era, many regulations were passed and still shape the economy and government today. The Pro

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