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Intro: Gilded Age The Gilded Age was a term given by Mark Twain to describe the late 19th century in the United states. Twain meant that this era was bright and shiny on the surface but corrupt and poor beneath. The Gilded Age was an age of quick economic growth, especially in the North. At the time wages were higher in America than in Europe, which led to a massive immigration movement coming from Europe. Even though this period of time was a major step toward new industrial technology, the lower class was exploited. There was a huge income gap between the upper and lower classThesis Statement:In certain aspects, like the growth of businesses, urbanization, and communication, life in the United States in the 21st century is similar to the Gilded Age. Yet, differences lie in labor reforms and transportation systems in the cities.Big Businesses: Businesses existing today and during the Gilded Age use the same techniques of horizontal and vertical integration to overcome competition. In the late 1800s companies that sought to eliminate their competition took over other businesses in the same industry to increase their market share. John D. Rockefeller was an oil tycoon and became one of the world’s wealthiest men with his savvy business skills. He decided to establish a monopoly in oil refining; this process is known as horizontal integration. In 1890, the Sherman Antitrust was passed and banned trusts and monopolies, limiting the reaches of horizontal integration. Today’s most distinct example of this process/technique is Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram for 1,000,000,000 U.S. dollars. But not all big companies used the process of horizontal integration to increase their market shares and build up their profit. Some used vertical integration, which is is a strategy where a company expands its business operations into many different steps on the same production path, such as when a manufacturer owns its supplier and/or distributor. Andrew Carnegie who was a vertical integration tycoon, combined all phases of manufacturing from mining to marketing into one organization. This process made supplies more reliable and improved efficiency. It also controlled the quality of the product at all stages of production. Carnegie integrated every phase of his steel-making operation, he did not only owned steel mills, but also owned coal mines, coke refineries, iron ore barges, and railways. Up to this day important companies, such as Target, still use the same process Carnegie used during the Gilded Age. Target owns the manufacturing, controls the distribution, and is the retailer. The company set itself into a position where it is able to control all of its prices and wages.  The growth of businesses in the United States in the 21st century is very similar to the Gilded Age due to its horizontal and vertical integration process used to limit competition and increase their production.  Urbanization: Urbanization is  another way the 21st century is like the Gilded Age. In 1860 only 16% of Americans lived in towns and cities with a population of 9,000 or more. By 1900, that percentage had nearly doubled, and about 15 million americans lived in cities with a population of more than fifty-thousand people. During this time period many immigrants came to America seeking greater economic opportunity, and better lifestyle, while some arrived in search of religious freedom.Due to this massive immigration movement urban areas had a population made up of more than 40 percent foreign born. While factories in the cities were in need of cheap labor counting anyone who is willing to work for the lowest wage Rural americans and immigrants were attracted by the jobs those factories were offering. Even though the city jobs were hard and dangerous works for little money, they were an improvement over the alternatives of many immigrants and rural americans. In addition to this rapid growth in population rate, cities had to keep up with housing demands, provision of water, safety, sewers, and schools for everyone. To do so, american innovators started to develop new technologies to improve living conditions. The innovators and engineers began to design skyscrapers and elevators.   Today, roughly 54 percent of the world’s population and 80 percent of America’s population lives in urban areas.

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