Spoilsmen: An Age of Cynicism Essay

Spoilsmen An Age Of Cynicism Term paper

While the free essays can give you inspiration for writing, they cannot be used 'as is' because they will not meet your assignment's requirements. If you are in a time crunch, then you need a custom written term paper on your subject (spoilsmen an age of cynicism)
Here you can hire an independent writer/researcher to custom write you an authentic essay to your specifications that will pass any plagiarism test (e.g. Turnitin). Waste no more time!

An Age of Illusion In its most simplistic form, The Gilded Age was a contradictory time for the United States—particularly the northern and western regions. It was a time of both immense prosperity for the few “spoilsmen,” as well as great depravity for the many, due to overpopulation, under-skilled immigrants and exploited workers, and vastly limited public resources, which resulted in the subsequent workers’ reform movement. Due to the fact that the railroad industry boomed with the help of land grants from the government—and the less accredited Chinese and Irish immigrants—many other industries were able to explode, such as oil, steel, and meat packing. With these successes, this era for the United States appeared as a time and place of dreams, where anything could be accomplished ;however, beneath the golden appearance was a nation burdened with many hardships, especially by the underprivileged masses who came to the country hoping to improve their life. In further examination, the morals of politicians were thrown out the window, due to goals different from serving the people. Men began to participate in politics not for the purpose of improving the lives of the populous, but simply for the personal monetary rewards, some of which provided by the bribery from the wealthy men of industry. Simply put by Henry Adams, “The moral law had expired—like the Constitution.” (Hofs. P222) These men of industry—Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, and Cornelius Vanderbilt, to name a few—held much of the credit to the term “Gilded Age,” which was coined by Mark Twain. Because of these men, foreigners viewed the United States of America as the land of opportunity, as these men did come from an unprivileged youth (Hofs. P215), creating a veil of gold, for which the era was named. This constructed a deceptive illusion for those who came wishing for success, as these industrialists wiped the playing field for their soul advantage. Despite various obstacles, these men of industry became extremely successful with the right amount of intelligence, perseverance, skill, and luck. Although everything appeared golden, this very thin coating was soon discovered to be nothing more than that. Beneath these very few success stories lie many times more stories of tragedy, loss, and discarded attempts at success. In 1859, twenty-one years before the marked start of The Gilded Age, Charles Darwin published his theory of evolution by natural selection (Hofs. P217), which is essentially “survival of the fittest.” This theory led to a large misuse of the phrase, especially by politicians and the famous men of industry. The “spoilsman” himself, John D. Rockefeller, who had once credited God for his successes, used Darwin’s theory when explaining why his business thrived. “…the growth of a large business is merely a survival of the fittest.” (Hofs. P218) This thought represents how these men did not care about who they hurt through their process of industrializing. They simply believed that they were successful because they were the best. Monopolizing also weaves into this philosophy, as the larger corporations of a particular industry would be able to buy out competition with no feeling of guilt because they were “the fittest.” The processes of industrialization and monopolization drove out many small businesses, as they couldn’t afford to compete with the wealthier opponents. As a result, many were left unemployed, and forced to find work elsewhere. However, the larger companies were able to employ a much larger amount of workers than the small “mom and pop shops.” This drove many to immigrate to the United States in search of work. With increasingly corrupt industry and political leaders, these workers were forced to work long hours in dangerous settings, making just enough income to scrape by. These high hopes resulting in serious hardships are well represented by Hofstadter when he includes a quote from E. L. Godkin: “I came here fifty years ago with high and fond ideals about America…They are now all shattered…” (Hofs. P214) “Industrialism brought down upon the working class that pall of oppression and misery which is found in every chronicle of the Industrial Revolution…” (Hofs. P229) Subsequent to their mistreatment came protests and strikes for reforms of workers’ rights. However, with the policy of laissez-faire, the government officials were stuck between a rock and a hard place. They had to choose between money coming from the industry leaders, and the appeasement of the masses of angry workers. These demonstrations also led to the creation of labor unions, as well as the Populist Party. Over time, more regulations began to be enforced, and as labor unions grew, more companies were being forced into abiding by these regulations, as workers were leaving those who did not. The chapter title “The Spoilsmen: An Age of Cynicism,” overtly states that only few men were in control at this point in history, particularly those of wealth or power—which are usually synonymous. These men of industry relished in the spoils of their exploits. While people often think of the “one percent” as a fairly modern notion, the seeds of this idea were planted during the Industrial Revolution, particularly by the “spoilsmen,” and their cronies. However, with taking a look at human history with a much greater scope, it can be seen that this concept of the rule of the “elite,” or one percent, has been present for millennia. The concept of a gilded society, present as a timeless theme in literature, has and always will be present, due to natural human tendency to focus on the positive aspects of a particular situation, rather than the bad. It was “gilded,” because the United States at this time appeared as a place of opportunity, while beneath that idea was a truth that very few would achieve great riches. This particular era represents a time of improvement in both industry and working conditions. One can argue that Industrial America was able to improve even more so with the increase of labor unions and condition reforms. Today, with something like technology, humans still choose to think about the positive aspects it brings rather than the negative ramifications. We as a species have always focused on the things we want to see or hear, rather than what we need to—again, a natural human tendency, relating to why this era was named “The Gilded Age.”

More College Papers

Is Free Will an Illusion? essay
Jimmy Meyer Is Free Will an Illusion? Does it really make a difference; should we be deeply concerned if free will is an illusion? Paul-Henri Thiry, Baron d\'Holbach (1723-89) was leading philosopher of the French Enlightenment. His position as an atheist may have been a f

The Religion of Jimeiricians essay
Jim Meyer Professor Everett World Religion 2012-11-03 The Religion of Jimeiricians Religion is the unconditional foundation of ethics to one that holds that ethics is founded on humanistic traditions acceptable by appeals to reason. Moral values are about the relationship betwe

The God of small things essay
“The commercialism and political colonization in The God of small things” The God of Small Things tells the story of one family in the town of Ayemenem in Kerala. The God of Small Things presents an often mixture of different times, images, stories and sensations from the past blend together wit