The Gilded Age robber barons - the Goulds, the Vanderbilts, the Morgans and Rockefellers - did quite well under laissez-faire. Most of the rest of Americans were still stuck in the ditch, with little to no economic security, life expectancy of roughly 45 years, and horrific infant mortality rates that claimed 300 babies per 1,000 in the cities.

Ben Fountain

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