The Gilded Age, spanning roughly 1870-1900, is often condemned as period of "robber barons" in which a few ruthless individuals garnered most of the nation's wealth while exploiting working people. However, this is not the whole story.
It is true that the era was marked by huge wealth inequalities and a lack of protection for the common person. However, despite this, it was a time of huge economic growth. Between 1877 and 1893, the size US economy grew almost 100 percent as the country threw itself full throttle into industrialism. By the twentieth century, with British power beginning to wane, the US was poised to become the world's superpower, which it eventually did.
While much wealth was concentrated in a few hands, the standard of living for the average person improved markedly, largely through widespread technological innovation. This era saw the invention of the telephone as well as the invention of the electric lightbulb,...
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