The Gilded Age:

indigenous the 1870s to the early on 1900s, the United states experienced one era that rapid economic growth. As industrialization expanded, a small variety of businessmen overcame American economics. The country’s wealth gap increased greatly and also became an extremely apparent come the public. Plenty of citizens resented the height 1% who owned the majority of the nation’s wealth. These company titans additionally often exploited their employees for profit, result in countless strikes and worker unions. Later, mark Twain coined this era the “Gilded Age” since the financial growth presented the figure of a glittering jewel, yet underneath lurked disparity, conspicuous consumption, and corruption (White 2019). Politics cartoons became a prime device to refer the public’s anger. 

Cartoon #1:

“Protectors of ours Industries” was produced by Bernhard Gillam and also published by Keppler and also Schwarzmann in The Puck, a satirical magazine. It was released in 1883, 6 years prior to the Johnstown overwhelming (Gillam 1883). The cartoon depicts the outrageous inequalities that ravaged the Gilded Age. In the image, rich businessmen sit on height of a raft that is organized up through various varieties of workers. The businessmen cling to their money, if the workers battle beneath them. This image captures the public’s frustration v the parasitic strength dynamic between the industrial giants and the working class. Businessmen commonly exploited their workers, forcing them to shoulder horrendous and also often dangerous working conditions, while experiencing no such scenarios themselves. In the aftermath of the Johnstown Flood, this power dynamic was fundamental to the public’s anger. It was particularly infuriating that the numbers who to be responsible because that the catastrophe were currently exploiting countless of the victims in the first place, yet challenged no after-effects for one of two people crime.

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Cartoon #2:


“Bosses that the Senate” was produced by Joseph Keppler and also published in The Puck on January 23, 1889, less than 5 months before the Johnstown Flood. This photo was greatly circulated in the media (Keppler 1889). The depicts large, overindulgent businessmen representing their corporate interests as they loom over tiny senators. The authorize behind the businessmen reads, “This is the Senate the the Monopolists through the Monopolists because that the Monopolists.” Businessmen had an overwhelming political influence throughout the Gilded Age. America’s legal mechanism was corrupt and essentially useless, since dominating commercial interests undermined any type of pursuit the justice. Despite often acting unfairly and also even illegally, businessmen were often able come evade consequences. This corruption became obvious in the after-effects of the Johnstown Flood. In spite of evidence of their guilt, the south Fork Fishing society members took benefit of their considerable wealth and influence come avoid any type of legal liability. 

Cartoon #3:


“Andrew Carnegie theatre a double Roll” was released in the Saturday globe in 1892, three years after ~ the flood. The cartoon depicts two contradictory sides the Carnegie: the company titan and also the philanthropist. The end of every one of the prominent organization figures that developed during the Gilded Age, Andrew Carnegie is perhaps regarded in the most positive light. Cursed to his Gospel of Wealth, Carnegie donated lot of his wide range to charity and was well-known for donating libraries to miscellaneous towns. However, this photo points the end that while his philanthropy was commendable, the was additionally a ruthless businessman. His financial ferocity to be perhaps finest represented by the homestead Strike of 1982, whereby workers in among his steel factories go on strike in really hopes of improved wages and working conditions. Carnegie hired a exclusive security team to accomplish these strikes with violence (White 2019). Despite perhaps an ext generous than countless others, Carnegie was first and foremost an unrelenting businessman that exploited his workers. Carnegie was among the most significant members that the southern Fork Fishing Club. After ~ the flood, citizens thought about him responsible, in addition to many various other club members, because that the disaster. Continuing with his typical practice, Carnegie donated a library come Johnstown as component of the relief initiative (PA Inquirer, august 23, 1889). The public reaction to his action is well-represented in this cartoon. Johnstown inhabitants were grateful for the library, however that did no excuse the injustices that caused the disaster in the very first place.

Cartoon #4:

“The Republican monopoly Pleasure Club and its attention Dam” was released in Puck newspaper on June 12, 1889 (JAHA 2019). That depicts the members the the southern Fork Fishing society picnicking atop the dam, enjoy it leisurely tasks while the leaking dam floods the city beneath. Though this cartoon records the Johnstown Flood more literally 보다 the ahead cartoons, it is quite similar to them. Even if the Johnstown overwhelming did no occur, it would not be surprising to find this picture in a arsenal of overexaggerated metaphorical cartoons illustrating the injustices that the Gilded Age. Prefer the vault images, the depicts the tumultuous outrage towards the businessmen who faced no aftermath for your harmful actions. Not only are the club members unconcerned with the terrible tragedy that they space causing, but they still enjoy the very same lavish way of life while the lives of the citizens who they were already exploiting get washed away.

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By the town hall this series of cartoons, it is noticeable that the Johnstown catastrophe was just one more dramatic example of the exact same economic and social power dynamic that pervaded the Gilded Age. The damage of the southern Fork Dam copy the fallen of the industrialists’ call in the so late 1800s. Following the Gilded age was the steady Era, a duration where activists supported for social and also political revolutionary in order to address the difficulties caused through industrialization (White 2019). Public reaction to the political and economic corruption the was exposed through the Johnstown Flood helped launch the joined States into this brand-new Progressive Era the would start within a decade of this disaster.