The preamble to the Constitution lists the different roles of government, however, during the Gilded Age these things were very different than today. When it comes to promoting the “General Welfare” the government basically did three things. They issued tariffs to help US companies, it sold cheap land for development, and gave pensions to Union soldiers from the Civil War. That was it. There was no thought of a safety net or any kind of help for those in need. That would not come until the Progressives.