The impact of the anxiety associated with the transformation of late 19th century American society can be measured by the growth in advice literature. Advice literature was common throughout the nineteenth century but during the last three decades of the century, over 50 advice magazines and books were published per year triple what had been published in the beginning of the century. The majority of the readers of advice literature were middle class Americans.
The top one per cent of fortunes holds two-fifths of the total wealth. After thousands of scholarly and popular articles on the topic, one might think we would have a pretty good idea why the richest people in the US are pulling away from the rest.
As the Congressional Budget Office concluded in Some commentators point to economic factors, some to politics, and others again to culture.
Yet obviously enough, all these factors must interact in complex ways. What is slightly less obvious is how a very long historical perspective can help us to see the whole mechanism. In his book Wealth and DemocracyKevin Phillips came up with a useful way of thinking about the changing patterns of wealth inequality in the US.
In doing so, he found a striking pattern. From to the s, inequality increased more than a hundredfold. Then came the reversal: Over that time, the top fortunes hardly grew from one to two billion dollars; a decline in real terms.
Yet the wealth of a typical family increased by a multiple of From to the present, the wealth gap has been on another steep, if erratic, rise.
Bring the 19th century into the picture, however, and one sees not isolated movements so much as a rhythm. In other words, when looked at over a long period, the development of wealth inequality in the US appears to be cyclical. An obvious objection presents itself at this point.
Does observing just one and a half cycles really show that there is a regular pattern in the dynamics of inequality? But this is where looking at other historical societies becomes interesting.
In our book Secular CyclesSergey Nefedov and I applied the Phillips approach to England, France and Russia throughout both the medieval and early modern periods, and also to ancient Rome. Over periods of two to three centuries, we found repeated back-and-forth swings in demographic, economic, social, and political structures.
And the cycles of inequality were an integral part of the overall motion. Cycles in the real world are chaotic, because complex systems such as human societies have many parts that are constantly moving and influencing each other.
Despite this complexity, our historical research on Rome, England, France, Russia and now the US shows that these complex interactions add up to a general rhythm.
Upward trends in variables for example, economic inequality alternate with downward trends. And most importantly, the ways in which other parts of the system move can tell us why certain trends periodically reverse themselves. Understanding and perhaps even forecasting such trend-reversals is at the core of the new discipline of cliodynamics, which looks at history through the lens of mathematical modelling.
So it looks like the pattern that we see in the US is real. Ours is, of course, a very different society from ancient Rome or medieval England. It is cut off from them by the Industrial Revolution and by innumerable advances in technology since then.
Even so, a historically based model might shed light on what has been happening in the US over the past three decades. First, we need to think about jobs. Unless other forces intervene, an overabundance of labour will tend to drive down its price, which naturally means that workers and their families have less to live on.
One of the most important forces affecting the labour supply in the US has been immigration, and it turns out that immigration, as measured by the proportion of the population who were born abroad, has changed in a cyclical manner just like inequality.
In fact, the periods of high immigration coincided with the periods of stagnating wages.Preserving American Freedom, a Historical Society of Pennsylvania digital history project funded by Bank of America, explores how Americans have interpreted and fought for their freedoms from the s to the present and how these freedoms have shaped America's history.
The modern day father comes in various forms. Today’s father is no longer always the traditional married breadwinner and disciplinarian in the family.
Other research on the role of fathers suggests that the influence of father love on children's development is as great as the influence of a mother's love. Fatherly love helps children. Charles Darwin lived a fairly quiet and studious life, yet became one of the most controversial figures of the 19th century.
America Moves Westward The Gilded Age Crimes & Disasters The Most Important Inventions of the Industrial Revolution African American History Darwin's influence on modern science is impossible to overstate.
Modern history, the modern period or the modern era, is the linear, global, historiographical approach to the time frame after post-classical history.
  This view stands in contrast to the "organic," or non-linear, view of history first put forward by the renowned philosopher and historian, Oswald Spengler, early in the 20th century. . The first modern humans shared the planet with at least three species of early humans.
Over time, as modern humans spread around the world, the other three species became extinct. We became the sole survivors in thehuman family tree. Economic Inequality: It’s Far Worse Than You Think regardless of age, education, political affiliation, or opinion on inequality and pay.
To make matters worse, America has considerably.