The Gilded Age was a time when there was a rapid economic growth that generated vast wealth. New products and technologies improved middle-class quality of life. Industrial workers and farmers did not share in this new prosperity however, and worked long hours in dangerous condition for low pay. The Gilded Age politicians were largely corrupt and ineffective. Most Americans during the Gilded Age wanted political and social reform, but they strongly disagreed on what kind of reform. The Gilded Age was a time of good and bad times. However, the negative effects of the Gilded Age is tremendous. .
It seemed wonderful that farmers were leaving their farms and going into the city to become a part of the workforce. However, for some of the farmers the down side was that, machine power was expensive. Many farmers went into debt trying to purchase the costly farming machinery and the land. Farmers problems were compounded by the railroad's high cost of shipping compared to the low purchasing rates. Many farmers lost their farms unfortunately. Immigrants were also in poverty, living in unsanitary conditions in neighborhoods that led to outbreaks in typhoid and cholera which spread quickly throughout the overcrowded poorly ventilated apartments. African Americans were also undergoing discrimination and a lack of rights. Georgia passed a law which taxed polling places, which meant African Americans had to pay money to place their votes. Legislations were passed to disfranchise African Americans by robbing them of their freedom and voice in politics. Literary tests were a means of disfranchisement. If you couldn't read, you couldn't vote. By the late 1890s, African Americans were stripped of most of their rights they were promised of after the Civil War. In 1896, the Supreme Court ruled in the case of Plessy vs. Ferguson. The ruling stated separated but equal facilities and accommodations were legal under the constitution.