Gilded Generation

From Academic Kids

The Gilded Generation is the name coined by William Strauss and Neil Howe in their book Generations for the generation of Americans born from 1822 to 1842. This generation included the Gold Rush Forty-niners who made circa-1850 San Francisco, California the most monogenerational city ever seen in America and the most anarchic, with no families or laws, just vigilante justice enforced by hangings. It includes most of the veterans of the American Civil War on both sides. It lent its name to the Gilded Age.

This generation lived a hardscrabble childhood around parents distracted by the Second Great Awakening's spiritual upheavals. They came of age amid rising national tempers, torrential immigration, commercialism, Know Nothing politics, and declining college enrollments. As young adults, many pursued fortunes in frontier boom towns or as fledgling "robber barons". Their Lincoln Shouters and Johnny Rebs rode eagerly into a Civil War that left them decimated, Confederates especially. Having learned to detest moral zealotry, their midlife Presidents and industrialists put their stock in Darwinian economics, Boss Tweed politics, Victorian prudery, and Carnegie's Law of Competition. As elders, they landed on the "industrial scrap heap" of an urbanizing economy that was harsh to most old people.

Altogether, there were about 17 million Americans born between 1822 and 1842. 28 percent were immigrants and 10 percent were slaves at any point in their lives.

The Gilded Generation's typical grandparents were of the Republican Generation. Their parents were of the Compromise Generation and Transcendental Generation. Their children were of the Progressive Generation and Missionary Generation and their typical grandchildren were of the Lost Generation.

Sample members of the Gilded Generation with birth and death dates as this generation is fully ancestral include:

The Gilded Generation had six U.S. Presidents:

The Gilded Generation held a plurality in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1869 to 1893, a plurality in the U.S. Senate from 1873 to 1903, and a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1890 to 1910.

Prominent non-U.S. peers of the Gildeds include Henrik Ibsen, Louis Pasteur, Maximilian, Lewis Carroll, Alfred Nobel, Johannes Brahms, and Paul Cézanne

Sample cultural endowments of the Gildeds include:


Preceded by:
Transcendental Generation
1792–1821
Gilded Generation
1822–1842
Succeeded by:
Progressive Generation
1843–1859
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