The Gilded Age:

from the 1870s to the early on 1900s, the United states experienced one era of rapid economic growth. Together industrialization expanded, a small number of businessmen overcame American economics. The country’s wealth void increased greatly and also became an extremely apparent to the public. Numerous citizens resented the height 1% who owned the bulk of the nation’s wealth. These service titans likewise often exploited their workers for profit, resulting in plenty of strikes and worker unions. Later, note Twain coined this era the “Gilded Age” because the financial growth gift the appearance of a glittering jewel, but underneath lurked disparity, conspicuous consumption, and corruption (White 2019). Political cartoons ended up being a prime device to to express the public’s anger. 

Cartoon #1:

“Protectors of our Industries” was developed by Bernhard Gillam and also published by Keppler and also Schwarzmann in The Puck, a satirical magazine. It to be released in 1883, 6 years before the Johnstown flood (Gillam 1883). The cartoon depicts the outrageous inequalities that ravaged the Gilded Age. In the image, affluent businessmen sit on top of a raft the is organized up by various types of workers. The businessmen cling to their money, while the workers struggle beneath them. This image catches the public’s frustration through the parasitic power dynamic in between the commercial giants and the working class. Businessmen typically exploited their workers, forcing them to shoulder horrendous and also often dangerous working conditions, while suffering no such circumstances themselves. In the results of the Johnstown Flood, this strength dynamic was basic to the public’s anger. The was specifically infuriating the the numbers who to be responsible because that the catastrophe were currently exploiting many of the victims in the first place, yet confronted no after-effects for one of two people crime.

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Cartoon #2:


“Bosses the the Senate” was produced by Joseph Keppler and likewise published in The Puck on January 23, 1889, less than 5 months prior to the Johnstown Flood. This picture was greatly circulated in the media (Keppler 1889). That depicts large, overindulgent businessmen representing your corporate interests together they loom over small senators. The sign behind the businessmen reads, “This is the Senate the the Monopolists through the Monopolists because that the Monopolists.” Businessmen had an overwhelming politics influence throughout the Gilded Age. America’s legal device was corrupt and essentially useless, because dominating industrial interests undermined any pursuit the justice. Regardless of often exhilaration unfairly and also even illegally, businessmen were frequently able come evade consequences. This corruption became noticeable in the consequences of the Johnstown Flood. Despite evidence of their guilt, the south Fork Fishing club members took benefit of their substantial wealth and also influence come avoid any legal liability. 

Cartoon #3:


“Andrew Carnegie plays a dual Roll” was released in the Saturday world in 1892, 3 years ~ the flood. The cartoon depicts two inconsistent sides that Carnegie: the business titan and the philanthropist. Out of every one of the prominent service figures that emerged during the Gilded Age, Andrew Carnegie is perhaps regarded in the many positive light. Cursed to his Gospel of Wealth, Carnegie donated much of his riches to charity and was well-known for donating libraries to miscellaneous towns. However, this picture points the end that when his philanthropy to be commendable, he was also a awful businessman. His economic ferocity to be perhaps finest represented by the homestead Strike of 1982, wherein workers in among his stole factories walk on win in hopes of boosted wages and also working conditions. Carnegie hired a private security team to fulfill these strikes through violence (White 2019). Despite perhaps more generous than many others, Carnegie was very first and foremost one unrelenting businessman who exploited his workers. Carnegie was one of the most influential members that the southern Fork Fishing Club. After ~ the flood, citizens thought about him responsible, in addition to many other club members, because that the disaster. Proceeding with his usual practice, Carnegie donated a library come Johnstown as part of the relief initiative (PA Inquirer, august 23, 1889). The public reaction come his actions is well-represented in this cartoon. Johnstown residents were thankful for the library, but that did no excuse the injustices that led to the catastrophe in the an initial place.

Cartoon #4:

“The Republican monopoly Pleasure Club and also its dangerous Dam” was published in Puck magazine on June 12, 1889 (JAHA 2019). That depicts the members that the southern Fork Fishing club picnicking atop the dam, enjoying leisurely activities while the leaking dam floods the city beneath. Though this cartoon catches the Johnstown Flood much more literally 보다 the ahead cartoons, the is quite comparable to them. Also if the Johnstown overwhelming did no occur, it would certainly not be surprising to discover this image in a arsenal of overexaggerated metaphorical cartoons illustrating the injustices that the Gilded Age. Like the previous images, it depicts the tumultuous outrage in the direction of the businessmen who confronted no after-effects for your harmful actions. Not only are the society members unconcerned through the terrible tragedy that they are causing, but they still enjoy the very same lavish lifestyle while the stays of the citizens who they were currently exploiting gain washed away.

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By the town hall this collection of cartoons, that is obvious that the Johnstown disaster was just an additional dramatic example of the same economic and social strength dynamic that pervaded the Gilded Age. The destruction of the south Fork Dam copy the collapse of the industrialists’ reputation in the so late 1800s. Following the Gilded period was the progressive Era, a duration where activists advocated for social and also political revolutionary in bespeak to resolve the problems caused by industrialization (White 2019). Public reaction to the political and economic corruption that was exposed by the Johnstown Flood helped launch the unified States right into this brand-new Progressive Era that would begin within a decade of this disaster.