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Is The Gilded Age Based on a True Story? Real Events, Facts & People


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The Gilded Age is a period drama series that follows the life of Marian Brook, who moves to New York and lives with her aunts. The show portrays a transformative period of rapid industrialization, and economic expansion, and how a new social order impacts individuals. So, is The Gilded Age based on a true story of power and politics, and does it rely on any real events and facts?

Is The Gilded Age based on a true story?

No, The Gilded Age is not a factual account but a fictional narrative crafted by Julian Fellowes and Sonja Warfield. The storyline is largely based on the writers’ imagination, but historical figures inspire some characters within the series. The show is set against the backdrop of post-Civil War America, and the elements of the Gilded Age are accurate. They portray how the influx of wealth and the rise of a new affluent class create a stark contrast in society.

The Gilded Age’s real events and facts explained

The series realistically showcases the aftermath of the Civil War and the enormous wealth that was generated from industries such as railways, shipping, copper, and coal. It also represents the rivalries between the newcomer families that were amassing wealth in the late 19th century and the established upper-class rooted families from Scotland and England. The Gilded Age also pictures the architectural and societal aspirations of the newly arrived folks, who constructed lavish palaces along Fifth Avenue in New York.

The real people behind The Gilded Age’s characters

Despite being fictional, the show includes some historical figures like Clara Barton, a nurse and founder of the American Red Cross, T. Thomas Fortune, a renowned Civil Rights leader and journalist, and Mrs. Astor’s daughter, Caroline. Dr. Erica Armstrong Dunbar, was the historical consultant for the show, along with being the executive producer. The show’s authenticity and storytelling which seems to be grounded in reality is due to her thorough research and knowledge.

Is Bertha Russell a real person?

Bertha Russell is a fictional character, who is a determined woman who aspires to become a part of New York’s high society. She depicts the experiences of the families with new money from The Gilded Age period. However, she does encounter some resistance from the pre-existing elites, who are not open to newcomers.

Is George Russell a real person?

George Russell is also a created character, and he’s Bertha’s husband. Similar to his wife, Geroge’s character also represents the challenges that one has to face in a society that thrives on gatekeeping and boycotting people with aspirations.

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