The Gilded Age and the first years of the twentieth century were a time of great social change and economic growth in the United States. After the Reconstruction era and before the dawn of the new century, the Gilded Age saw rapid industrialization, urbanization, the construction of great transcontinental railroads, innovations in science and technology, and the rise of big business. Thus, it was obvious to see how many elements of the Gilded Age transformation came together to create the Chicago World Fair.
The Gilded Age was a very influential time for America. Along with the major shift from rural to urban areas, a new wave of immigration increased America’s population significantly, especially in major cities. Immigrants came from war-stricken regions of southern and eastern Europe, such as Italy, Greece, Poland, and Russia. This new group of immigrants was poorer and less educated than the Irish and German immigrants who had made the journey to the United States earlier in the century. By the early twentieth century, more than a million immigrants were entering eastern U.S. cities on a yearly basis. Many immigrants could barely make a living, working as unskilled laborers in factories or packinghouses for low wages.
Likewise, Chicago had a huge influx of immigrants working in its factories and businesses. With such a large number of people living in Chicago, the question of having a labor force was never a problem and many of these immigrants could were unskilled so they took any possible job opportunity. So, it is clear to see that this immigrant labor force made it very possible for the creation of the Chicago World Fair. With the help of Daniel Burnham, the workers worked on the architecture and attractions for the fair and made it possible for the Chicago World Fair to be successful.
In conclusion, the Gilded Age and the first years of the twentieth century were a time of great social change and economic growth in the United States. More specifically, many different elements of the Gilded Age were visible in Chicago. Having very rapid growth, Chicago was able to become an influential city in America. Chicago's flourishing economy attracted huge numbers of new immigrants from Europe and migrants from the eastern states. So this immigrant labor force made it very possible for the creation of the Chicago World Fair. With the help of Daniel Burnham, the workers were able to create things within the fair such as: the “white city’s” architecture and famous attractions such as the Ferris wheel. Without the immigrant labor force, the Chicago World Fair would have not been successful and life in America would be extremely different from what it is today.