The Importance of The Gilded Age and The Progressive Era To the Development of American Society

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The Gilded age and the Progressive Era are time periods that played an important role in the development of the American society. The Gilded Age is a period of American history between 1870 and 1900. This term was coined by Mark Twain in the late 1800s. By this, he meant that this period was glittering on the surface but corrupt underneath ("Learn About the Gilded Age"). The Gilded Age is well known for its political scandals and extravagant displays of wealth. At the same time, this was an era of major achievements in the industry and economy, which significantly changed life of American people. The Gilded Age was followed by the Progressive Era which lasted from the 1890s to the 1920s. Progressive Era is well known for its economical, …show more content…
Development of the steel industry was boosted by discovery of the Bessemer process. ("Second Industrial Revolution") Henry Bessemer and William Kelly drastically reduced the cost and time needed in producing steel from pig-iron. They found out that that blasting air through molten iron produced high quality steel. Steel was widely used in construction of buildings, because it provided good support for skyscrapers and tall towers. Cornelius Vanderbilt, an American entrepreneur who built his wealth in shipping and railroads, was one of the first people who used steel instead of iron to make rails. One of the hallmarks of the Gilded Age is an increased mechanization, or use of machinery to replace manual labor. People were looking for cheaper and more efficient ways to create better products. By utilizing machines one could increase efficiency of the workers and save time. Among industries that benefited most from the mechanization of the country were coal and train industry, because these two industries were those that most heavily relied on manual labor.
During the Gilded Age the United States became a leader in applied technology. From 1860 to 1890 over 500,000 patents were issued for new inventions – over ten times the number issued in the previous seventy years ("Learn About the Gilded Age"). Many of the most widely used inventions of today were built upon those

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