Sample Term Paper

Words 1,614


During the nineteenth century, the United States experienced a period of rapid urbanization. There has been a definite change in the urban area as more and more people have immigrated to the cities. The Industrial Revolution and the nation’s change in status from a small, agricultural country to a foremost commercial and industrial power led to an enormous change in the makeup of the American city. Cities grew quickly, with huge influxes of the population, mainly poor, many of them foreigners, and much faster than city infrastructure and development could properly handle. Population density was tremendously high, much higher than today, and large numbers of people lived in tenements. Tenement housing was dirty, crowded, noisy, and immeasurably unhealthful. There is need to improve living conditions in the inner cities where there is a lot of poverty.


Historians regularly call the period between 1870 and the early 1900s the Gilded Age. This was an era of swift industrialization, laissez-faire capitalism, and no income tax. Captains of industry like John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie made fortunes. They also proclaimed “survival of the fittest” in business. Sociologists like  William Graham Sumner admired the new class of industrial millionaires. Sumner argued that social progress depended on the fittest family’s transient on their wealth to the next generation. According to the Social Darwinists, capitalism and society itself desired unlimited business competition to thrive. By the late 1800s, however, monopolies increasingly controlled the production and prices of goods in many American industries. As a result workers’ wages and working conditions were free. Millions of men, women, and children worked long hours for low pay in dangerous factories and mines. There were few work-safety regulations, no worker compensation laws, no company pensions, and no government social security.

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