Freedom In The Gilded & Progressive Age

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Definitions of Freedom The Gilded Era and the Progressive Era were important times of social and economic growth in American history. During the Gilded Era, there were rapid industrialization, innovation of technology and science, the rise of big business, and the construction of the transcontinental railroads. Afterward, the first year of the 20th century to about 1914 is marked as the Progressive Era. This was a time to combat monopolies and corruption, more government interference and protecting the rights of the poor, women, and consumers. One of the big issues in these two eras was conflicting definitions of “freedom.” Although people had freedom to make money in the Gilded Era, only a small minority of robber barons could do so. In the Progressive Era, White immigrants and women had more rights and freedom to help improve their own working and living conditions. This ultimately made America better, more democratic, forward and progressive. The ideas of Social Darwinism, the Gospel of Wealth, and Horatio Alger success formula made the Gilded Era. Government played a minor role and cities did not offer public relief. Thinkers believed poor people should work hard to improve their own personal economy and not get government or anyone’s help. This would make America stronger. Freedom was defined as no government interference in the business of business. The economy would be ruled by natural laws of “survival of the fittest” and “supply and demand.” These ideas favored captains of industries like Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller. They had their own monopolies and used dictatorial/tyrannical ways to exploit the workers. In the Progressive Era, the idea of industrial freedom and democracy came in. Workers were thought to not only deserve better wages and working conditions, they also should make some economic decisions and have rights to
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