“The one event that separates American history into two distinct eras is not the Civil War but the Industrial Revolution,” wrote biographer Maury Klein in his book The Life and Legend of Jay Gould. “The shock waves of change unleashed by industrialization affected every aspect of American life, leaving in their wake confusion and a sense that everything had been pulled to polar extremes. Progress spawned great wealth and immense poverty, success and scandal, materialism and misery. Growth seemed to pull society apart at the seams, embroiling it in ugly and often violent clashes. Prosperity brought with it problems on a scale never before imagined. Amid this upheaval the old verities no longer seemed sure guides to behavior, often they seemed irrelevant or inapplicable to the new realities.”
The more things change, eh?