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Word Count: 1,875
The Gilded Age saw enormous industrial progress accompanied by the growth of appalling conditions in the slums of the cities and in the plight of farmers and others ground up by the wheels of progress The struggle between capital and labor called a war by historian Page Smith showed that Americans were prepared to fight for their economic rights as they had done in 1776 and from 1861 to 1865 If the terrible conditions of the working poor had not been addressed it is highly possible that some sort of revolution might have taken place In fact a revolution of sorts did take place through it came largely from the topor at least from the middle class This revolution was called the Progressive Movement and in many ways to was a conservative movement not meant to upset society but to fix what was wrong with it in order to retain its essential character The progress that Henry George had talked about in his work Progress and Poverty made possible the Progressive movement in many ways Despite the harsh conditions for workers living standards had risen dramatically for many since the Civil war Education was expanded people had more leisure time newspapers books and magazines proliferated and a new breed of journalists began to examine American life in detail These new journalists became known as the muckrakers and they benefited from the wide circulation of magazines and newspapers made possible through advertising Although the muckrakers themselves were sometimes guilty of the things they complained about muckraking which we now call investigative journalism became a highly respected vocation Writers like Jacob Riis Lincoln Steffens and Ida Tarbell wrote long detailed articles and entire books exposing fraud waste corruption and other evils in government business and social structures such as the slums of the cities They took on bossism profiteering child labor public health and safety prostitution alcohol political corruption and almost every aspect of public
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