Gilded Age and Progressive Era

Course Description

The decades just before and after the turn of the twentieth century were ones marked by rapid social, political, economic, and technological change. These years, which historians now call the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, saw the development of a modern America. If the twentieth century would become the “American Century” then the Gilded Age and Progressive Era were the most important times for the growing nation. This class will explore these time periods through three primary themes of inquiry: the rise of labor and industry, the emergence of an American Empire and its racial implications, and the efforts to reform the nation. Though these themes will guide the class’ examination of the people and events of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, students will also have the opportunity to investigate events of their own choosing in guided research papers during the course. By understanding this period of drastic society-wide change, students will gain a better understanding of their own place in today’s constantly changing world.

Required Texts

A Fierce Discontent
Ladies of Labor
Looking Backwards
The Great Gatsby
How the Other Half Lives
Industrialization and the Transformation of American Life: A Brief Introduction
Making San Francisco American
Manliness and Civilization
Unfamiliar Fishes

Other short readings will supplement these main texts.

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