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Joined: 01 October 2007
Posts: 1
Posted: 01 October 2007 at 2:46pm | IP Logged Quote Rebecca

I could use some feedback on this essay, grammatical stuff, if its logical, coherent and if it flows. It's a comparison essay comparing my life to a "typical person" from the Gilded Age and Progressive Era.
You choose 1 topic and I chose Class Structure and Mobility

Class Structure and Mobility                 
The Gilded Age was a time of industrialization, growing capitalism and the emergence of the middle class in the United States of America. The Progressive movement followed and became a time of change and the promotion of economic and political reforms. There were reforms limiting work hours and banning child labor in most states that made education a reality, especially for women who were now offered higher paying jobs than in the Gilded Age. However, both the Gilded Age and Progressive Movement have maintained very similar social stratifications of a dominant two-class system with an emergence of the middle class.  In contrast with modern times, the social classes are once again moving towards extremes among the richer and poorer classes. Although these class systems of then and now are headed in completely opposite direction, I still believe that it is easier for someone like myself to achieve mobility than it was for a “typical person” of both the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. In both the present day and about 100 years ago there are both pros and cons to climbing up the social economic ladder.

One positive aspect of the Gilded Age was that white-collar occupations such as stenographers, typists, bookkeepers, and teachers were now offered to educated women. This opportunity sparked a desire among woman to acquire equal social status and break away from old domestic lifestyle to move to the middle class life of the suburbs. Women became so ambitious to receive an education and earn higher-level jobs, that female high school graduates had outnumbered men by 1890.  However, the “typical” person of either the Gilded Age or Progressive Era would not have had the opportunity to attend school. Children spent so much of their time supporting their families that they had to forfeit education. During the Gilded Age, the majority of students left school within four years, and few went to high school. People soon realized, that the new industrial economy demanded advanced technical and managerial skills. Workers loyal to capitalism required a society to “provide ladders upon which the aspiring can rise” as Andrew Carnegie pointed out along with other business leaders. Child labor became banned and there was a maximum 8-hour workday impended by most states. Soon, the number of public high schools jumped from 800 in 1875 to 5, 500 in 1898. In 1870 a mere 72,000 students that had attended high school skyrocketed to more than a half a million by the turn of the century.  Thirty-one states passed laws between 1865 and 1895, requiring 12 to 16 weeks a year of school attendance by children between the ages of 8 and 14. Three-quarters of American children between those ages attended school, mostly in cities. Although there had been a dramatic increase in public education, opportunities differed greatly for white and black students. In 1880, about 62 percent of white children attended elementary school, compared to only 34 percent of African-American children while many immigrants faced “Americanization” in the public schools and the average student faced strict harassment and abuse from their teachers. Education was still unequal restricting many from acquiring a higher social and economic status.

Today, education is a standard and non-discriminatory way of achieving mobility by acquiring special expertise. Statistics show that a person of 25 years or more with some high school education makes about a median of $20,321 per year while, someone with a bachelor’s degree or higher makes about a median of $49,303 per year, and someone with a doctorate degree earns about $70,853 a year. The majority of this country is made up of the middle class that consists of an upper middle class, made up of professionals distinguished by exceptionally high educational attainment as well as high economic security; and a lower middle class, consisting of semi-professionals. With the emergence of a two-tier labor market, the economic benefits and life chances of upper middle class professionals have grown considerably compared to those of the lower middle class. The lower middle class earns anywhere from $32,000 to $50,000 while the upper middle class earns a much greater income of anywhere from 62, 500 to 100, 000 a year. Because of this difference in profit, lower middle class families commonly need two income earners in order to sustain a comfortable standard of living, while many upper middle class households maintain a similar standard of living with just one income earner. Although both groups are believed to be growing, there is great controversy that the middle class is dividing into as many as three sections. Many are concerned that this division among the middle class will resemble that of the division between the rich and poor. For example, the rich is four times less than that of the lower class population, while the upper middle class is less than half of the lower middle class population in this country.

A hundred years ago, there was an emergence of a new middle class that had developed from a two-class system. Today however, we have a middle class that is heading in the opposite direction towards extremes between the white and blue-collar citizens of the middle class as well as a greater gap amongst the rich and poor. The different directions of both the class movements between the present and the Gilded Age as well as Progressive Era have to do with the differences in how education has played a role in society.  During the Gilded Age, education was not as valued as a standard commodity as it is today. Although the reforms of the Progressive Era did change the work world so children around the country had the opportunity to go to school, education was not commonplace like it now. In the state of California, I am required by law to attend school. It is easier to achieve mobility now than it ever was because education is required by the state. Education is also more essential to moving up the social economic ladder in the present day than a hundred years ago. For instance, rich capitalists did not necessarily achieve their upper class social status by means of education. Nowadays, if I wanted to get a better job and better pay, it is vital for someone such as myself, to earn a degree or even a Masters. This is true in terms of moving up in the business world, especially if it is a company that deals with finance or industry. Even if I didn’t end up having an occupation, I would be better respected by my community and therefore attain a higher social status than I would if I had not received an education. Therefore, I am very fortunate to have education opportunities available to me.

There are many pros and cons to achieving mobility in both the Gilded and Progressive Era and in modern times. A hundred years ago, children, immigrants and women became educated to achieve a higher social status and thus an emerging middle class was formed lessening the gap between the rich and the poor. However, education was not made commonplace or fair like it is now, giving people like myself a better advantage to climbing up the social economic ladder. Although, education wasn't a necessity of the day, now a college degree is essential to learning a skill to get ahead into today’s structural society of positions and promotions. The importance of education is reinforced when the social classes are once again moving towards extremes among the richer and poorer classes. This creates less of an unpredictable chance of achieving mobility and gives people such as myself a more assured life and future in comparison to a “typical person” of both the Gilded Age and Progressive Era.

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Joined: 07 September 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 13
Posted: 26 October 2007 at 10:39am | IP Logged Quote Alianna22

There should be a comma in the first paragraph, first sentence between capitalism and the word and:

capitalism, and

Cross out

The word 'both' -both times its written in the first paragraph, last sentence.  The sentence should also be written in chronological order.  Meaning it should read:

with the 100 years remark prior to the present day comment

Such as:

There has always been pros and cons of climbing up the social economic ladder from 100 years ago to the present day.

To be honest, I found several additional errors; however, I believe this paper is written wonderfully and really puts your points across well.

I reccommend to read your essay outloud to yourself.  This always works for me.  Make a few more changes and repost it! :)

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