In the American economy, a balance of government roles has had many ups and downs. During the turn of the century, after the Civil War, the American government became very ambitious. Their ambition led to the Gilded Age and marked an “all time low” for government authority. The government was filled with corruption, which led to an absence of leadership over things, such as businesses having too much control, which led to the government letting only one group dominate the economy. The government failed to impose regulation on business and industries, leading people to believe they should have spent more time on protecting the consumers, rather than the businesses. Though some had perfect ideals of how the government should have controlled the economy and various other tasks, the overall factor was corruption ran in the government and was not truly addressed until the start of the Progressive Era. The role of the Federal Government in regulating the economy should have been focused on all individuals of America, rather than the major businesses, by attending to the lower-class wage problems, imposing more regulation on businesses, and fixing the political corruption.
The gap between the wealthy and poor class of America continued to widen at the turn of century and especially throughout the Gilded Age. Social Darwinism greatly impacted the minds of people, hurting the lower class even more. The separation between the upper and lower class was highlighted through the creation of tenements, lack of labor laws, poor workplace conditions, and unfair wages. The lower class recognized the inequality they had been receiving, which led to multiple strikes and groups forming to combat their unfair treatment. Workers from “Pullman Palace Car Company” rent was deducted from their wages. This resulted in workers experiencing starvation and terrible working and home conditions. In result of the way Pullman treated his workers, strikes were organized nationwide against Pullman (Document E). This was a prime example of the unfair wage balance that low class workers in America experienced. Though there is bias throughout the “Strikers Denounce Pullman,” because the workers were hurt by the way they were treated, it still speaks for many lower-class workers and the situations they were also experiencing. The labor unrest between 1870-1900 highlighted the unsettlement many workers felt. The Great Railroad Strikes proved to be some of largest strikes; although, smaller strikes were occurring all across America (Document H). To better regulate the economy, the government should have put more emphasis on fixing the lower-class wages. In correcting the wages of the working-class, the government could have also prevented the multiple strikes and boycotts.
During the Gilded Age, the government was very pro-business. This was shown by the booming industrialism and the economy being dominated by “those who owned the huge corporations” (Shi, 663). Due to the government being pro-business, large corporations were more likely to get away with certain things. In turn, this caused smaller businesses and farmers to struggle greatly.
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