Gilded Age — Transition from Farm to Factory, from Local to National Economy and Media — Transformed America

PBS American Experience: “Meet the elite of the lavishly wealthy Gilded Age — and the struggling workers who challenged them. Learn more about our documentary, THE GILDED AGE, including a transcript and where to watch the full film: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexpe…

The series focuses on the titans of industrialization who used new technology and mass production to secure enormous personal wealth — among them, Andrew Carnegie in steel; John D. Rockefeller in the oil-refining business; and Cornelius Vanderbilt in railroads. They didn’t invent anything. They were just managers, but they had vision.

“In the closing decades of the nineteenth century, during what has become known as the Gilded Age, the population of the United States doubled in the span of a single generation. The nation became the world’s leading producer of food, coal, oil, and steel, attracted vast amounts of foreign investment, and pushed into markets in Europe and the Far East. As national wealth expanded, two classes rose simultaneously, separated by a gulf of experience and circumstance that was unprecedented in American life. These disparities sparked passionate and violent debate over questions still being asked in our own times: How is wealth best distributed, and by what process? Does government exist to protect private property or provide balm to the inevitable casualties of a churning industrial system? Should the government concern itself chiefly with economic growth or economic justice? The battles over these questions were fought in Congress, the courts, the polling place, the workplace and the streets. The outcome of these disputes was both uncertain and momentous, and marked by a passionate vitriol and level of violence that would shock the conscience of many Americans today. The Gilded Age presents a compelling and complex story of one of the most convulsive and transformative eras in American history.”

CBS Sunday Morning: “Palm Beach: Where the Gilded Age never ended. The first thing you should know about Palm Beach is that it’s an island (unto itself) – the most exclusive town in America, and (according to writer Laurence Leamer) America’s first “gated community.” Mo Rocca takes a tour of the city that rose from Florida’s tropical wilderness, which today features one of the richest commercial strips in America, and is home to Mar-a-Lago, the “Winter White House” resort of President Donald Trump.”

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