Choose one of the following topics and write an essay.
The Gilded Age
How does the term “Gilded Age” characterize American society in the late nineteenth century?
In what ways is this characterization accurate or inaccurate? Be specific and provide examples from the text and course modules to illustrate your conclusion
Government and Politics in the Gilded Age
With farmers still representing a significant segment of American society, why did government officials—Democrats and Republicans alike—prove unwilling to help find solutions to farmers’ problems?
Upon reflection, did the Populist Party make a wise decision in choosing to support the Democratic Party’s candidate in the 1896 presidential election? Why or why not?
Despite its relative weakness during this period, the federal government made several efforts to provide a measure of relief for struggling Americans. What were these initiatives? In what ways were they more or less successful?
The Progressive Era
Describe the multiple groups and leaders that emerged in the fight for the Progressive agenda, including women’s rights, African American rights, and workers’ rights. How were the philosophies, agendas, strategies, and approaches of these leaders and organizations similar and different? What made it difficult for all Progressive activists to present a united front?
How did President Theodore Roosevelt’s “Square Deal” epitomize the notion that the federal government should serve as a steward protecting the public’s interests?
How did the goals and reform agenda of the Progressive Era manifest themselves during the presidential administrations of Roosevelt, Taft, and Wilson?
What vestiges of Progressivism can we see in our modern lives—politically, economically, and socially? Which of our present-day political processes, laws, institutions, and attitudes have roots in this era? Why have they had such staying power?
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