The Gilded Age Versus the Progressive Era
Below are six questions that cover the major topics and aspects of our course thus far. In a 1200-1600-word (approximately 4 ½ – 6-pages) essay, answer the question you feel you can best support through readings and lecture. Be sure to answer all parts of the question using a variety of course material (including, but certainly not limited to, lecture). While a “works cited” page is not necessary, proper citation of your sources with footnotes or endnotes is critical (this is how historians not only show their evidence for claims, but allow a reader to follow up on an aspect he or she may find interesting).1 Be sure to give your paper a title that is something beyond “Paper 1” or “History Midterm Paper.” A title should give your reader some idea about what your topic is. (Imagine picking up a book titled “Book Number Three”–would you want to read that?) Your paper should be double-spaced, use a 12-point font, and have 1” margins all around.
To cite lecture, use “Henry Maar, Lecture [number/title].” All the questions can be answered using available course material (including the primary sources from The American Yawp). You may use outside sources, but be certain those outside sources are credible; likewise, be certain to cite them appropriately, giving the name, title of the publication, and the source (book, journal, or website if found on the internet). The exam is due on Canvas by 11:59PM on Oct. 21. There is no class on Oct. 14, so you will have two weeks to work on the paper. No late papers will be accepted without documented medical or familial emergency. I am available to consult on papers both via email and over Zoom. Likewise, the CSUN History Department has tutors available via the Michael Patterson History Writing Center. If you wish to schedule an appointment with a tutor, call 818-677-3566.1)
The Era of Reconstruction is sometimes called “Radical Reconstruction.” What was Reconstruction about and what was so “radical” about it? What brought about the end of Reconstruction, and in what ways did life for African Americans in the so-called “New South” change in the years to come?2) Compare and contrast the Gilded Age and the Progressive Era. From politics to culture, economics and the role of labor, discuss the events or features that define these two related periods.
What distinguishes one period from the other? (Where does one end and the other begin?) Be sure to discuss the differences between the Populists, the Progressives, and the Socialists. 3) In 1886, the United States unveiled a new statue in New York Harbor: The Statue of Liberty. On the pedestal of this gift, the inscription reads, “give me your tired, your poor/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” It would be the first site most immigrants would see upon arrival to the United States. What factors drove immigration to the United States between 1880 and 1920? What groups immigrated over and from what parts of the world? What difficulties did immigrants encounter (language or otherwise) in the United States between (approximately) 1880 and 1920?1 This is a footnote. For more on how to place footnotes see:
4) In 1898 the United States declared war on Spain over the status of Cuba (officially). Many Americans, however, objected believing the United States was acting as an “empire.” Who were these critics of the Spanish-American War, and what were their objections? Do you think the United States acted as an empire between the period (approximately) 1898 – 1917 (perhaps beyond that)? Be sure to consider the defining features of an empire and whether the US constitutes such.5) In 1920, the United States passed the 19th Amendment securing women the right to vote. Discuss the changing role of women, from approximately 1910 – 1945 (a period ranging from the suffragist movement through the end of World War II). In what ways did women’s role in society change in these years? What gains did they make and what setbacks did they continue to face? 6) At the end of World War II, the United States and Soviet Union emerged as victors in a war over fascism and Nazism. Within a year, however, the United States and the Soviet Union became bitter antagonists overseeing a global Cold War. What were the origins of this new rivalry (what factors contributed to it)? Had President Roosevelt survived (or if the Democratic Party nominated Henry Wallace), could the Cold War have been avoided, or was the relationship between the US and the Soviets during WWII only a marriage of convenience against a common enemy?