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  • - [Instructor] In the year 2000

  • a wealthy Bostonian named Julian West

  • woke up from a very long nap.

  • He had fallen asleep in the year 1887.

  • The United States in the year 2000

  • was very different from the Gilded Age he knew.

  • It was a utopian society where there was no poverty

  • no labor strikes, no pollution.

  • His new friends in the future explained to him

  • how this society worked.

  • There was no private property and no money.

  • Everyone worked at the job they were most suited for

  • and received their fair share of the national wealth

  • on a credit card that they could use to buy necessities.

  • This is the plot of Edward Bellamy's

  • 1888 novel "Looking Backward."

  • It was a bestseller of its day but today we remember it

  • not only for its predictions about the future

  • but as an example of how thinkers of the time period

  • explored the burning question of the Gilded Age.

  • Was it possible to have a modern industrial society

  • without great inequalities of wealth?

  • In the late 19th century the rapid changes in American life

  • stemming from the rise of industrial capitalism

  • caused a great deal of concern.

  • The United States prided itself on being different

  • from the countries of Europe

  • where the inequality between the aristocracy

  • and the working class caused strife and revolution.

  • But industrialization had brought

  • both millionaires and impoverished millions

  • to the United States, packing them in to cities

  • where mansions sat side-by-side with filthy tenements.

  • Suddenly, the New World looked a lot more like the old world

  • and so people at the time wondered

  • was inequality an inevitable by-product

  • of advancing society?

  • Those who answered yes were called Social Darwinists

  • who thought that the survival of the fittest

  • would weed out the weak and improve society overall.

  • We'll talk more about Social Darwinism elsewhere

  • but in this video I wanna concentrate

  • on those who believe that it was possible to have a society

  • that was both modern and equitable.

  • During the Gilded Age there were a number of reformers

  • and reform movements that attempted to solve the problems

  • posed by urban and industrial life.

  • So let's talk about some of the ways that reformers

  • attempted to respond to the inequalities of the Gilded Age.

  • One was to suggest new economic systems

  • for the United States.

  • For example, you might have noticed

  • that in Edward Bellamy's utopian society

  • there was no private property

  • and the national wealth was equally shared.

  • In fact, what he was suggesting was socialism

  • a system in which the government, not private individuals

  • owns economic enterprises.

  • Bellamy carefully avoided saying the word socialism

  • which was associated with anarchists

  • and immigrant radicals

  • but he portrayed it as the ultimate remedy

  • to all problems in the country.

  • Bellamy's work influenced many reformers

  • including the labor activist and socialist leader

  • Eugene V. Debs who ran for president

  • on a socialist platform five times.

  • Another popular suggestion of the time

  • was the single tax which was proposed by Henry George

  • in his book "Progress and Poverty."

  • George's solution to wealth inequality

  • was to replace all other taxes with a single high tax

  • on the value of land.

  • He believed that the revenue from this tax

  • would be enough to pay

  • for all necessary government services.

  • One of George's many admirers was Jacob Riis.

  • He was a social reformer who published

  • a photo expose of tenement life in New York City

  • called "How the Other Half Lives."

  • Riis was one of the first muckrakers

  • whose chosen method of combating social problems

  • was to shine a light on them.

  • His images of dangerous living conditions in tenements

  • led to laws which regulated building safety.

  • Other muckrakers targeted the corruption in industry

  • like Ida Tarbell, who wrote a history

  • of the Standard Oil Company

  • that exposed its unscrupulous practices.

  • Some focused on the unjust treatment of racial minorities.

  • In 1881, Helen Hunt Jackson published a book

  • called "A Century of Dishonor"

  • which discussed the mistreatment, violence

  • and broken treaties that indigenous Americans had faced

  • at the hands of the U.S. government and white settlers.

  • Journalist Ida B. Wells campaigned

  • against the lynching of black men in the South.

  • In addition to campaigning

  • against economic and social inequality

  • many Gilded Age reformers attempted to remedy the problems

  • befalling cities and their residents.

  • The most famous of these was the settlement house movement.

  • Settlement houses were community centers

  • based in immigrant neighborhoods

  • where newcomers could learn English, get job skills

  • attain childcare and find a range of services

  • that helped them adapt to life in urban America.

  • Jane Addams founded Hull House in Chicago in 1889

  • and many other reformers

  • founded settlement houses in other cities.

  • Similarly some churches of the time period

  • began to emphasize that confronting

  • contemporary social problems and helping the poor

  • were the embodiment of the teachings of Christianity.

  • This Social Gospel movement as it was known

  • led to the establishment of missions in urban areas

  • and churches opened libraries

  • gymnasiums and classrooms for public use.

  • Some reformers focused their energies

  • on the physical setting of cities

  • believing that the squalor of dirty streets and tenements

  • depressed people and encouraged moral decay.

  • The City Beautiful movement

  • works to incorporate parks

  • inspiring architecture and good design

  • into American cities.

  • Frederick Law Olmsted designed Central Park in New York City

  • to be a respite from the urban jungle

  • and City Beautiful architects like Daniel Burnham

  • created monumental spaces and buildings in Washington D.C.

  • These spaces were supposed to inspire harmony

  • order and civic virtue in society.

  • One aspect of Gilded Age reform you may have noticed by now

  • is that a large number of reformers were women.

  • Jane Addams, Ida B. Wells and Ida Tarbell

  • all placed prominent roles in the movement.

  • After the Civil War a growing number of middle class women

  • went to college and these active and educated women

  • began looking for work and meaning outside of the home.

  • Many white, middle- and upper-class women

  • joined clubs dedicated to social reforms

  • and they argued that women's traditional role

  • of keeping their homes clean

  • and the people within them upstanding and moral

  • also extended to their communities

  • which they called municipal housekeeping.

  • The Women's Christian Temperance Union, for example

  • became the Gilded Age's largest female organization

  • with more than 150,000 members.

  • Led by Frances Willard, the WCTU grew from its roots

  • in opposing the sale and consumption of alcohol

  • to advocate for policy solutions to social problems

  • ranging from prison reform to domestic violence.

  • The WCTU also campaigned for women's suffrage.

  • In 1890 the two major women's suffrage organizations

  • which had been at odds with each other

  • since the passage of the 15th Amendment reunited to form

  • the National American Woman Suffrage Association.

  • Their efforts would lead

  • to the growth of woman suffrage at the state level

  • and later, with the help of the National Woman's Party

  • the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

- [Instructor] In the year 2000

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Reform in the Gilded Age | AP US History | Khan Academy

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/03/27
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