Twain, born as Samuel Langhorn Clemens and known as the first American
celebrity and the father of literature, was extremely influential during the Gilded
Age through his writings. The Gilded Age got its name from the book, The Gilded
Age, written by Mark Twain and Charles Dudley. The book criticized the
government corruption, big business, and greed of the American people seen in post-civil
war America. Mark Twain continued to write short stories, articles, and books throughout
the Gilded Age including Life on the
Mississippi, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and The Adventure of Huckleberry Finn. All three were influenced by
his childhood, growing up on the Mississippi River, and are well known today.
However, The Adventures of Huckleberry
Finn made the biggest impact on Mark Twain’s life and continues to make the
biggest impact today because its controversial content being taught or banned in
schools. In the book Mark Twain attacks the continued harsh treatment of black
Americans after the civil war and shows the possibility, as well as the
struggles, of making moral changes despite the pressures of society. The book
also brought him a large amount of wealth through a publishing contract he had
with Ulysses S. Grant. Despite the wealth and success, he obtained through this
book, bad investments pushed him into debt and bankruptcy. In order to save
money and pay back his debts, Mark Twain moved to Europe and began a lecture
tour around the world which greatly contributed to him becoming a well-known
celebrity. His passion for the fair treatment of all people drove him to
continue write about government corruption in both the United States and Europe.
After paying off his debts and returning to the United Sates, Mark Twain becomes
vice president of the Anti-Imperialist League until his death.
Not only was the Gilded
Age named after one of his books, it also ended in the year Mark Twain died, 1910.
Mark Twain’s life work challenged the status quoe of society, revealed the corruption
of the American government and big businesses, and championed the fight for
racial equality in the southern United States. For these reasons and more, Mark
Twain deserves to be honored as one of Time Magazine’s most influential people of