The Gilded Age

Essay by teddy75High School, 11th gradeA+, February 2006

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The finality of the Civil War wasn't reached until Reconstruction was completed. The North had won the war, but the South was not a part of the Nation. In the South, the ideals of slavery and secession ran rampant throughout the area. Difficulties of successfully completing Reconstruction made the era of hardships and problems last longer and longer. One of the consequences of this horrible time period was the Gilded Age. An era that exploited the weaknesses of the nation's aftermath of the Civil War allowed for this type of behavior to continue on without sufficient reprimands. Wastes, extravagances, speculation, and graft were all products of the Civil War, products that were not easily quelled by law enforcement. Although many of the businesses throughout the nation returned to normal, honorable methods, those special few ended up spoiling the entire system. The carnival of corruption was about to take charge and no one was able to prevent them from starting or able to force them to stop.

This time period brought forth some of the worst criminals in history, making this era one of corruption and greed. Two of the financially notorious millionaires in society, Jim Fisk and Jay Gould cornered the gold market in 1869. Using the delicate combination of physical power and mental prowess, the two successfully implemented their plan on "Black Friday", reeking havoc on the American stock market and economy. Another example of the Gilded Age was witnessed in the infamous Tweed Ring in New York. Led by Boss Tweed, the fraudulent elections, combined with bribery and graft, stole over 200 million from the city. Most of this behavior was permitted to continue because of President Grant being in control. His inability to foresee some of these scandals allowed more atrocities to continue. The Credit...