Industrialization And The Gilded Age, 1870-1900

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Week 3 Readings and Discussion (Industrialization and the Gilded Age, 1870-1900)

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12.5 points, due Wednesday, September 15

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Ruswick, “Just Poor Enough” 

  • During the late-nineteenth century, charities accepted applications from persons requesting need. Charity workers would vet applicants, deciding who would be deemed worthy of receiving aid from private philanthropic organizations. This article looks at these charity seekers and the charities that vetted them, revealing how Gilded Age Americans defined certain types of poor people as worthy of aid and others as unworthy of the support that they sought, and how the poor both accommodated and pushed back against the expectations that wealthier philanthropists had for them.

Rose Wilder Lane on rural life during industrialization  

  • Farmers like Rose Wilder Lane’s family experienced the difficulties of farming during the Gilded Age. While her family eventually found success, daily farm life was oftentimes difficult. Be mindful to consider the importance of migration in Lane’s life as a kid in the Dakotas and eventually Missouri. Furthermore, consider why the Lane family moved from the Dakotas and the larger forces that impacted their livelihood as farmers. These elements include crop failure and the Panic of 1893–an economic downturn caused by several issues such as drought, deflation, and overproduction.

Regarding the first article, how did charities decide who was worthy of receiving aid and who was not and what does this tell us about class-based prejudices during the Gilded Age? How did charity seekers both accommodate and push back against the standards that charities expected them to meet? Finally, consider Rose Wilder Lane’s short autobiography. What challenges did her farming family experience? How did they make ends meet and what did Lane think of the struggles she witnessed at the time? Please answer these questions using examples in your comment. Once you have posted, please reply to at least two other posts with a substantive, thoughtful response. You will not be able to see other students’ posts until you have contributed a comment

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