🎧 Listened to: Talking Politics Guide to … The Gilded Age

Episode summary: We talk to historian Sarah Churchwell about the Gilded Age in late nineteenth century America and the comparisons with today. Rampant inequality, racial conflict, fights over immigration, technological revolution: is Trump’s America repeating the pattern or is it something new? Talking Points: In 1873, Mark Twain and Charles W. Warner coined the term “The Gilded Age,” in their eponymous novel. - The phrase was re-discovered in the 1920s and applied retrospectively to the period of the 1870s-roughly 1900. - The Gilded Age satirized the way wealth and consumerism were taking over American life and showed how this move towards a “huxterist” culture was subverting America’s democratic ideals. Yet this was also a period of real growth. - The major transformation of the period was the railroad. - Rampant inequality characterized the era: the robber barons on the one hand, and poor immigrant communities on the other. But in the middle of this, there was also a group of people working their way into the middle…

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