Monday, January 6, 2020

The United States Identity During The Gilded Age

As the 19th century closes, the west held the reputation of mythical proportion and defined the United States’ identity during the gilded age. Promises and dreams of having free land, your own freedom, and wealth for all people infatuate the nation and those who hear of the frontier; these myths created a â€Å"golden gilding â€Å" which masks the actual turmoil and issues in the United States. In 1863, historian, Frederick Jackson Turner lectured, â€Å"‘The Significance of the Frontier in American History,’ in which he argued that on the western frontier the distinctive qualities of American culture were forged: individual freedom, political democracy, and economic mobility.† These tall tales created in the country a drive to push and inhabit the west†¦show more content†¦America was truly not a free land for all â€Å"men†, but only one which those in the party in power may claim and enjoy. Foner, Give Me Liberty, Volume Two, Seagull, 5th Edition, 614. To begin urbanizing the west, the government began the building of railroads, granting land to families, and companies with policies such as, the Homestead Act of 1864. Eric Foner describes the industrial phenomenon, â€Å" By the 1890s, five transcontinental lines transported the products of western mines, farms, ranches, and forests to eastern markets and carried manufactured goods to the West.† The incorporation of production companies, family farms, and small cities with justice systems starting to form, made the west a much tamer place, and shunned away the â€Å"wild† lifestyle of the cowboys. On the other hand these policies caused massive economic growth, â€Å"By 1913, the United States produced one-third of the world’s industrial output—more than the total of Great Britain, France, and Germany combined.† Foner, Give Me Liberty, Volume Two, Seagull, 5th Edition, 607-615. 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