Friday, February 18, 2022


It was a time of a enormous change for one thing. Untaxed money for another. And there were villans and robber barons and there was Cassie Chadwick. She was a con woman who claimed to be the illigitimate daughter of Andrew Carnegie and she lived on millions for years before the police caught up to her and she was tried for conspiracy to defraud a bank. Her trial was so popular it knocked the inauguration of Teddy Roosevelt off the front pages. But the opulance of this age as evidence in the HBO show The Gilded Age is astounding. For the first time America had a monied class built off the toil of people who worked in factories and foundaries and made the very few wealthy at the expense of the very many. It is during this time America came of age. The railroads allowed national markets to flower and bring goods to a national market. All those rail lines built during the Civil War to move troops could now move goods to market. And they did. For the first time local markets were eclipsed for a distant place where few would ever meet the people buying their wheat, tomatoes, corn, tobacco. Wage Slaves and Conspicuous Consumption were two terms born at the same time. Americans now would sell their time for a wage and become slaves to ten hour work days and six day weeks. There were no child labor laws. Childen died in foundaries and mills by the dozens. There were no rules at all except that the fabulous new class of the rich could do whatever they wanted. And yet it was a time of the building of the Statue of Liberty which had trouble finding funding. The Brooklyn Bridge where men died in droves from the bends. The corrupt election of Rutherford B Hayes which makes what Donald Trump tried to pull off small time. And there was Andrew Carnegie who wrote a book called Wealth where he tried to decide why he should have so much when others had so little. He didnt beleive in hard work and only worked four hours a day. So that wasn't it. He finally decided it was luck. Being at the right place at the right time. That right time was when the Civil War ended in 1865 and Titanic sunk in 1912. That time was called The Gilded Age.

Books by William Hazelgrove