the Gilded Age was an era of prosperity for many
Americans, economic depressions brought hard times
to many businesses and made sporadic employment
a reality for the working class.
The industrial plants that survived became more
demanding in terms of both the speed and the regularity
with which their workers produced goods. Increasingly
frustrated by unfair demands, many laborers chose
to strike. It was a collective action, a way of
protesting as a group against the economic injustices
of the workplace.
Strikes enabled laborers to
express disagreement with the idea of a permanent
wage-laboring class. This was the opposite of what
the American republic claimed to offer.
Few working-class citizens were
able to own or operate a business, buy property,
or upgrade to better housing. By the turn of the
century, most reformers favored the argument that
poverty was the result of the nation's