Posted: February 9th, 2023

Why Did the Gilded Age End?

Why Did the Gilded Age End?
The Gilded Age, a term coined by Mark Twain, refers to the period of rapid economic growth and industrial expansion in the United States during the late 19th century. This era, which lasted from around 1870 to 1900, was characterized by a booming economy, rapid industrialization, and the rise of the capitalist class. However, the Gilded Age ultimately came to an end, and there are several factors that contributed to its demise.
The Panic of 1893, an economic downturn that occurred in the late 19th century, was a major contributor to the end of the Gilded Age. The causes of this panic included overinvestment in the railroad industry, a decline in agricultural prices, and the failure of several major banks. The panic caused a severe economic depression that lasted for several years, which had a devastating impact on the American economy. Many businesses collapsed, leading to widespread unemployment and poverty. The economic downturn was a significant factor in bringing an end to the Gilded Age, a period of rapid economic growth and industrial expansion in the United States during the late 19th century.
Another factor that contributed to the end of the Gilded Age was the rise of labor unions and the subsequent labor movement. During the Gilded Age, workers were often subject to poor working conditions, low wages, and long hours. In response, workers began to organize and form unions, which led to the rise of the labor movement. This movement, which gained momentum in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, called for better working conditions, higher wages, and the eight-hour workday. The labor movement ultimately led to the passing of several important labor laws, such as the Clayton Antitrust Act and the Federal Arbitration Act, which helped to protect the rights of workers and curb the power of big business.
Additionally, Progressive reform movement also played an important role in bringing an end to the Gilded Age. Progressivism was a political movement that emerged in the early 20th century in response to the social and economic problems that had arisen during the Gilded Age. Progressives believed that the government should play a larger role in addressing these problems and that it should take steps to regulate big business, improve working conditions, and promote social justice. They pushed for reforms such as the Pure Food and Drug Act, the Federal Reserve Act, and the Clayton Antitrust Act, which helped to curb the power of big business and improve the lives of ordinary Americans.
Lastly, World War I also played a major role in ending the Gilded Age. The outbreak of World War I in 1914 led to a massive increase in government spending, as the United States began to ramp up its military production in preparation for the war. This spending helped to stimulate the American economy and brought an end to the economic depression that had begun in the late 19th century. Furthermore, the war also led to a significant shift in the American economy, as the country transitioned from a primarily agrarian economy to an industrial one. The war effort also created jobs for many Americans, and this helped to alleviate some of the economic problems that had plagued the country during the Gilded Age.
The Gilded Age was a period of rapid economic growth and industrial expansion in the United States, but it ultimately came to an end due to a combination of factors. The economic downturn of the Panic of 1893, the rise of labor unions and the labor movement, Progressive reform movement, and World War I all contributed to the end of this era. These factors brought an end to the Gilded Age and set the stage for the country’s transition into the 20th century.

Works Cited
“The Gilded Age.”, A&E Television Networks,
“Panic of 1893.” Encyclopedia Britannica,

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