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Mark Twain coined the term "Gilded Age" to describe the era. His characterization is based on the concept of "Gilding the Lilly." The lilly, is naturally beautiful, it needs no further embellishment.
Attempting to "Gild the Lilly", or add a gold covering to it, to enhance its beauty is superfluous and unnecessary. Thus, Twain's description refers to the unabashed desire of the wealthy of this era to broadcast their status through their status through extravagant opulence
The era known as the Gilded Age (1870s to 1890s) was a time of vigorous, exploitative individualism. These nouveau riche families broadcast their new status through conspicuous consumption. This was particularly true in New York City where families such as the Astors, the Vanderbilts and the Rockefellers built extravagant homes in Manhattan and luxurious vacation residences on Long Island and New Port, Rhode Island.
A new "Gilded Age" has happen in Mitt Romney. In the popular view, the late nineteenth century was a period of greed and guile: of rapacious Robber Barons, unscrupulous speculators, and corporate buccaneers, of shady business practices, scandal-plagued politics, and vulgar display. Unfettered capitalism is another way of saying greed! Still in fact what seems like a new reality is really an old American tradition; a tradition of unlimited corporate money in campaigns that dates back more than 100 years to what came to be called the Gilded Age. So, remembering the old admonition that those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it.
Ted Rudow III,MA