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- [Instructor] In the year 2000
a wealthy Bostonian named Julian West
woke up from a very long nap.
He had fallen asleep in the year 1887.
The United States in the year 2000
was very different from the Gilded Age he knew.
It was a utopian society where there was no poverty
no labor strikes, no pollution.
His new friends in the future explained to him
how this society worked.
There was no private property and no money.
Everyone worked at the job they were most suited for
and received their fair share of the national wealth
on a credit card that they could use to buy necessities.
This is the plot of Edward Bellamy's
1888 novel "Looking Backward."
It was a bestseller of its day but today we remember it
not only for its predictions about the future
but as an example of how thinkers of the time period
explored the burning question of the Gilded Age.
Was it possible to have a modern industrial society
without great inequalities of wealth?
In the late 19th century the rapid changes in American life
stemming from the rise of industrial capitalism
caused a great deal of concern.
The United States prided itself on being different
from the countries of Europe
where the inequality between the aristocracy
and the working class caused strife and revolution.
But industrialization had brought
both millionaires and impoverished millions
to the United States, packing them in to cities
where mansions sat side-by-side with filthy tenements.
Suddenly, the New World looked a lot more like the old world
and so people at the time wondered
was inequality an inevitable by-product
of advancing society?
Those who answered yes were called Social Darwinists
who thought that the survival of the fittest
would weed out the weak and improve society overall.
We'll talk more about Social Darwinism elsewhere
but in this video I wanna concentrate
on those who believe that it was possible to have a society
that was both modern and equitable.
During the Gilded Age there were a number of reformers
and reform movements that attempted to solve the problems
posed by urban and industrial life.
So let's talk about some of the ways that reformers
attempted to respond to the inequalities of the Gilded Age.
One was to suggest new economic systems
for the United States.
For example, you might have noticed
that in Edward Bellamy's utopian society
there was no private property
and the national wealth was equally shared.
In fact, what he was suggesting was socialism
a system in which the government, not private individuals
owns economic enterprises.
Bellamy carefully avoided saying the word socialism
which was associated with anarchists
and immigrant radicals
but he portrayed it as the ultimate remedy
to all problems in the country.
Bellamy's work influenced many reformers
including the labor activist and socialist leader
Eugene V. Debs who ran for president
on a socialist platform five times.
Another popular suggestion of the time
was the single tax which was proposed by Henry George
in his book "Progress and Poverty."
George's solution to wealth inequality
was to replace all other taxes with a single high tax
on the value of land.
He believed that the revenue from this tax
would be enough to pay
for all necessary government services.
One of George's many admirers was Jacob Riis.
He was a social reformer who published
a photo expose of tenement life in New York City
called "How the Other Half Lives."
Riis was one of the first muckrakers
whose chosen method of combating social problems
was to shine a light on them.
His images of dangerous living conditions in tenements
led to laws which regulated building safety.
Other muckrakers targeted the corruption in industry
like Ida Tarbell, who wrote a history
of the Standard Oil Company
that exposed its unscrupulous practices.
Some focused on the unjust treatment of racial minorities.
In 1881, Helen Hunt Jackson published a book
called "A Century of Dishonor"
which discussed the mistreatment, violence
and broken treaties that indigenous Americans had faced
at the hands of the U.S. government and white settlers.
Journalist Ida B. Wells campaigned
against the lynching of black men in the South.
In addition to campaigning
against economic and social inequality
many Gilded Age reformers attempted to remedy the problems
befalling cities and their residents.
The most famous of these was the settlement house movement.
Settlement houses were community centers
based in immigrant neighborhoods
where newcomers could learn English, get job skills
attain childcare and find a range of services
that helped them adapt to life in urban America.
Jane Addams founded Hull House in Chicago in 1889
and many other reformers
founded settlement houses in other cities.
Similarly some churches of the time period
began to emphasize that confronting
contemporary social problems and helping the poor
were the embodiment of the teachings of Christianity.
This Social Gospel movement as it was known
led to the establishment of missions in urban areas
and churches opened libraries
gymnasiums and classrooms for public use.
Some reformers focused their energies
on the physical setting of cities
believing that the squalor of dirty streets and tenements
depressed people and encouraged moral decay.
The City Beautiful movement
works to incorporate parks
inspiring architecture and good design
into American cities.
Frederick Law Olmsted designed Central Park in New York City
to be a respite from the urban jungle
and City Beautiful architects like Daniel Burnham
created monumental spaces and buildings in Washington D.C.
These spaces were supposed to inspire harmony
order and civic virtue in society.
One aspect of Gilded Age reform you may have noticed by now
is that a large number of reformers were women.
Jane Addams, Ida B. Wells and Ida Tarbell
all placed prominent roles in the movement.
After the Civil War a growing number of middle class women
went to college and these active and educated women
began looking for work and meaning outside of the home.
Many white, middle- and upper-class women
joined clubs dedicated to social reforms
and they argued that women's traditional role
of keeping their homes clean
and the people within them upstanding and moral
also extended to their communities
which they called municipal housekeeping.
The Women's Christian Temperance Union, for example
became the Gilded Age's largest female organization
with more than 150,000 members.
Led by Frances Willard, the WCTU grew from its roots
in opposing the sale and consumption of alcohol
to advocate for policy solutions to social problems
ranging from prison reform to domestic violence.
The WCTU also campaigned for women's suffrage.
In 1890 the two major women's suffrage organizations
which had been at odds with each other
since the passage of the 15th Amendment reunited to form
the National American Woman Suffrage Association.
Their efforts would lead
to the growth of woman suffrage at the state level
and later, with the help of the National Woman's Party
the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
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Reform in the Gilded Age | AP US History | Khan Academy

14 分類 收藏
林宜悉 發佈於 2020 年 3 月 28 日
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