These events are both causes and effects of why America is what it is today. During the Civil War the economy in the North boomed -- a continuation of the industrial advances from the 1840s. Technology was rapidly moving, economic conditions were rapidly changing, everything in the United States was booming—population, expansion, industries, etc. Technology was probably the most vital aspect of this time period. Railroads was/is the most influential thing that happened to the United States. If it wasn’t for railroads, America wouldn’t be what it is today.
The railroads were a positive chain reaction. It changed American agriculture, delivering goods from state to state, sea to shining sea, etc. Railroads opened and expanded business in the Far West, where not much has been developed. There was much controversy concerning government policy and economic control. Individual enterprises fought diligently to dominate economic affairs but the government was obligated to intervene when unjust activity was apparent. It was unanimously believed, among businessmen, that the government should have very little say in economic issues, the basis for Laissez-Faire.
Laissez-Faire was definitely incorporated in every issue concerning government policy. Many people are outraged with the political speakers. The people are saying that the political leaders have misled them. The Interstate Commerce Act was enacted to limit the freedom and wrongful capital gain of railways to benefit the people. The Senate passed the Sherman Antitrust Act, heavily influenced by the monopolies. The purpose of the act was to oppose the combination of entities that could potentially harm competition. Economic conditions during this time period were extreme.
The Depression of 1893 was the most serious blow to the United States politics during the Gilded Age was the five-year depression that began in 1893. When the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad collapsed, a stock market panic ensued. Banks, railroads, & businesses closed, 20% unemployment; led to 1,400 labor strikes in 1894. Coxey’s Army in 1894 demanded government action to end the depression & job creation programs. Technology, government policy, and economic conditions changed American agriculture for better and for worse.
Farmers had many problems during this time. Farmers were plagued by falling prices, high railroad & mortgage rates, & deflationary policies. Farmers usually lashed out at Eastern bankers, railroads, and U. S monetary policies, as well as the continued debate over gold and silver currency. Farmers were generally outraged about overproduction and how they don’t earn enough. There is a lot of supply, but the demand is very low. This time period was probably one of the most changing times in American History.