Often referred to as the 'Gilded Age', the period spanning from 1870 to 1900 encompassed both extravagant wealth and dire poverty in America. Due to this disparity, political agitators and reformists armed with socialist and anarchist manifestos flourished and the distinction between urban life and rural life grew increasingly sharper, creating an entirely new set of living conditions and social customs. Technological advancements such as the automobile, camera, and factory-made furniture facilitated the rise of a new middle class. The Panic of 1893 caused an economic downturn and a major shift in electoral politics in the 1896 presidential race, leading to the nomination and victory of Republican William McKinley, whose policies would usher in a new century.
The Gilded Age, 1870-1900
Facts On File, Incorporated
1870 to 1900
Handbook to Life in America, Volume 4