Twain’s Gilded Age has been characterized as a period of excess: excessive political corruption, wealth accumulation, expansion of railroad and mining interests, racial segregation, and haphazard urbanization. Contrast this to the Progressive Era and the desire to make a more orderly and fairer society. Did the Progressives achieve their goals of reigning in the robber barons, bringing order to the chaos of urbanization, curbing the power of corporations, and eliminating the excesses of the westward expansion in the area of resource exploitation?
America felt growing pains in the late 1800s, many of which were negative experiences. What influenced urban blight (e.g., standardized housing, abandoned buildings, parts of cities falling into decrepitude due to crime) in the decades around the turn of the century, and was industrial expansion a positive or negative impact? In your response, make sure to address the experience of rising immigrant communities and living in tenement structures.