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The Dark Side of the Gilded Age

            All that was gilded was not golden during the Gilded Age. While railroad magnates promised progress, western settlement, and jobs for immigrants, the laying of westbound tracks, changed the face of the country. This progressive movement began decimating native Indian populations, polluting the land, and creating an ever increasing divide between rich and poor. I support this idea because what was made to help people caused many problems among them "the rich got richer while the poor got poorer"" (Are we Living 1). There were many jobs in the cities which made people move from rural areas to the cities causing overpopulation.
             Native Americans were accustomed to a nomadic type of lifestyle consisting of hunters and gatherers who relied on natural resources for survival. It was this that kept the Native American culture alive. The commencement of the gilded era however ran many Native Americans out of what they considered to be home. Industrialization caused them hardship because they were ran out of their land so that a railroad system can be built to travel from the north to the south. In reference to an image created by John Gast called "American Progress" created in 1872 depicts Native Americans fleeing the land due to the progression of industrialization which changed their lifestyles" (John Gast, American Progress, 1872, Library of Congress).
             Pollution became a major problem during the gilded age. Factory owners and workers would build homes beside the factories providing easy travel and access. Many natural habitats were destroyed in order for people to create more factories and homes; this meant tearing down lots of trees and forest areas. Water which was used for industrialization was poured into the river system causing contamination. Water contamination caused many diseases which caused an issue for people who relied on the river systems. Railroad systems released smoke as they were powered by coal.

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