Just like any other period, the gilded age is associated with various changes in America and is linked with modernization of America. There were a lot of changes in the United States of America during the nineteenth century as the nation transformed from agricultural, secluded, rural, and traditional society to an industrialized, integrated, and urban & knowledge society. There was the emergence of a modern industrial economy that brought about effective and efficient communication and transport networks among other benefits.
Although this period is considered to have had positive effects to the American economy, the benefits were unevenly distributed and there were attractive features on the surface while people suffered underneath from aspects of corruption. Mass society entails looking at the people as one and undifferentiated, which cannot be completely achieved. The few people with powers took advantage of the opportunity over the majority who had no powers and exploited them.
One of the most notable incidents was the changes in the drama and theatre sectors in the United States of America. There were a lot of external influences on the American theatre before the Gilded Age but it was now possible to produce stars, writers, and quality stage performers internally with little or no foreign influences.
Musical theatre that combined both music and dance in performance also emerged and the United States could now compete with others for instance, in Europe and England since they were now nearly at the same level.
America received musical entertainment from France and England during the nineteenth century but towards its end, Victor Herbert from America was able to produce his own musical entertainment, for example, the Prince Ananias, the Wizard of the Nile and the Serenade after which other persons came up with other musical entertainment.
There was also a lot of improvement in drama and changes in perspectives of the people towards it as people learnt to appreciate it as opposed to associating it with immorality as it was the case initially.
People stopped depending on external productions like Shakespeare and created their own productions. For example, American melodrama became popular than the melodramas from England and Europe. However, there were distinctions of people on class of basis as some would not afford to pay for the dramas. All these improvements were made possible due to technological advances brought about by industrial revolution (Hughes, 2010).
There was change in leisure perspectives. Due to growth of consumption and work, there was increased interest in leisure activities as a way of utilizing time away from work especially in the evenings and on vacations.
Sports was another aspect of concern in the gilded age as many games for instance outdoor tennis, basketball, and golf emerged and expanded in the United States. A good example of an important aspect in American sport is the formation of the first American tennis court in 1874 reducing dependence on external courts and enhancing the formation and maintenance of strong clubs.
US Lawn Tennis Association (USLTA) formation in 1881 was also a positive step in the tennis sport. St. Andrew golf club was established in America in 1888. Basketball originated in America unlike golf and tennis and hence everything was formulated afresh, from number of members to rules governing the game. It was initially perceived as a less serious sport but importance was attached to it as adult men and women got interested and joined in (Porter, 2010).
Hughes, W. (2010). Theater during the Gilded Age. In Hoogenboom, A, and Gary B. N, (Eds). Encyclopedia of American History: The Development of the Industrial United States, 1870 to 1899, Revised Edition (Volume VI). New York: Facts on File, Inc.
Porter, D. L. (2010). Sports and Recreation in the Gilded Age. In Hoogenboom, A, and Gary B. N, (Eds). Encyclopedia of American History: The Development of the Industrial United States, 1870 to 1899, Revised Edition (Volume VI). New York: Facts on File, Inc.