Does anyone know what the exact dates were from the begining to the end of the gilded age. I am writing a story and need to know if 1870 was part of this era. And also were Masquerades popular in this era, and did they originate in this era.
1875-1914 might be a safe range to consider for the Gilded Age in America, beginning after Civil War reconstruction and lasting in its final throes to WWI. Mark Twain is said to have coined the phrase-and it was a golden time for those tycoons who had no income tax, and their bejewelled wives who climbed the social ladder. There are many helpful links under this topic and a zillion websites!
http://www.sparknotes.com/history/american/gildedage/ A couple to get you started. You might also check out some of the films, beginning with the Martin Scorcese masterpiece, The Age of Innocence, based on the novel of that Gilded Age Chronicler, Edith Wharton. If you come to Newport, Rhode Island -there will be plenty of resources to see!
You might want to bring your date forward a bit, Matt, since the phrase wasn't in use before Mark Twain wrote his novel with that title in 1873. Masquerade parties were certainly popular then, and had been for long before that.
Actually France did sort of parallel the same American dates after Napoleon III and the Second Empire( which was earmarked by an overambitious rebuilding campaign) suffered at the hands of the Prussians and the burning of the Tuileries, the events of 1870 ushered in the Third Republic and its elected president, Marshal Marie Edme Patrice Maurice de MacMahon (1808-93), in 1873.
My story focuses on Paris or Lyon (haven't decided which yet). In the era of early 1870's or late 1870's (leaning more towards late because as you mentioned, the early 1870's wasn't much of the Gilded Age).