How does the developing class structure in America affect how Americans interact with one another?
Events of 1897
* William McKinley was president of the U.S.
* Thomas Edison patented the movie camera.
* Grant’s tomb is dedicated.
* The treaty annexing the Republic of Hawaii is signed.
* Klondike gold rush begins.
* The first electric taxi’s begin operating in London.
* The first underground rapid transit system In North America opens in Boston.
* The world’s first car dealer opens in London.
* J.L. Love patents the pencil sharpener.
* Brooklyn is incorporated into New York City.
This was a time that is best described using two terms of the times, The Gilded Age and The Progressive Era. Just thirty-two years after the Civil War ended, 1897 was a time where fortunes were made. Technological discoveries dominate the landscape developing many of the things that we use and take for granted today, while at the same time, the U.S. saw a significant rise in immigration due to the gold rush and its promises of opportunity and prosperity.
Despite the many advances in technology and its financial rewards, much of the opportunity that the U.S. had to offer was still relegated to a small segment of the population. The disparity between the haves and the have nots was ever increasing and was made more evident in the workplace which was mostly populated by blacks, immigrants and children. Workplace safety was not a priority so this was an era that also saw a rise in organized labor in an effort to implement safety regulations, provide better education for children and decrease the squalor that existed in many of the big cities’ urban areas.
While The Gilded Age and The Progressive Era are important to our nation’s position in the world, then and now, it was also a time where the economic divide that separated many of the American people begins to take root and develop.
Using your own personal knowledge of the time period, along with the information provided above, answer each of the questions below.
1. How does the developing class structure in America affect how Americans interact with one another?
2. How might people have reacted when they realized that making their fortune in America was not as easy as people made it seem?
3. Explain how America being the Land of Opportunity applies to some and not all who live in America in 1897.