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Well, not all Americans had leisure time during the gilded age. You have to remember that the bulk of Americans still were of the working class... still slaving away in factories or on farms. However, you are correct that some Americans enjoyed some leisure time during the gilded age, namely the upper class and the new emerging middle class of Americans. The new middle class grew as industrialization grew in the U.S. Factories needed managers for example, and those managers made fairly decent money for the time. Also, as factories became more efficient, the middle class workers were able to have some time off... so they have extra cash and extra time. The result was a whole new industry (and here's your important meaning) the entertainment industry. During the later part of the Gilded age new businesses dedicated soley to entertaining people begin to crop up all over American cities. My personal favorite example would be Coney Island in New York... one of the first amuesment parks. Also some of the staples of American life as we know it were born out of this time. For example, Coca Cola (with a very different, healthful herbal formula) was produced as a leisurely "energy" drink. This was also the time that the Hershey company began producing their candy. Bicycles, tennis sets, hot dogs, and eventually motion pictures were all a direct result of Americans having some down time from the job.
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