Many changes violently shook America shortly after the Civil War. The nation was seeing things that it had never seen before, its entire economic philosophy was turned upside down. Huge multi-million dollar trusts were emerging, coming to dominate business. Companies like Rockefeller's Standard Oil and Carnegie Steel were rapidly gobbling up small companies in any way possible. Government corruption was at what some consider an all time high. "The Rich Man's Club" dominated the Senate as the Gilded Age reached its peak. On the local front, mob bosses controlled the cities, like Tammany Hall in New York. Graft and corruption were at an all time high while black rights sunk to a new low. Even after experiencing freedom during the Civil War, their hopes of immediate equality died with the death of Lincoln. Groups like the KKK drove blacks down to a new economic low. What time would be better than this to write a book about the great American dream, a book about long held American ideals, now squashed by big business and white supremacy? Mark Twain did just that, when he wrote what is considered by many as the "Great American Epic". .
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, "The great American epic," may be one of the most interesting and complex books ever written in the history of our nation. This book cleverly disguises many of the American ideals in a child floating down the Mississippi River on a raft with a black slave. On the outside of the story, one can see an exciting tale of heroism and adventure; however, that is not all. The book shows Mark Twain's idea of the classic American idealism, consisting of freedom, morality, practicality, and an alliance with nature. Twain manages to show all this while poking fun at the emergence of the "robber barons," better know as the big business of the late nineteenth century. Twain portrays many different American values in this book by expressing them through one of the many different characters.