History

Modern America Begins

The so-called Gilded Age, from the end of the Civil War to
1900, transformed America from an agricultural country
consisting of scattered farms and communities largely
located east of the Mississippi into the world’s largest
industrial power, with major cities and a population spreading
across a continent. This explosive growth was accompanied
by serious problems of corruption, economic
inequality, inhumane working conditions, urban squalor,
major depressions, racial segregation and rural poverty.

The course will begin by discussing the positive and negative
aspects of the Gilded Age. We will then turn to two
political movements which attempted to limit its excesses.

First, the Populist Movement of the 1890s, a grassroots
movement centered in the West and South, embodying
the politics of resentment against powerful elites believed
to be victimizing farmers and industrial workers. The
Populists faded from the national scene after the election
of 1896, but many of the reforms proposed by them were
enacted by their successors during the Progressive Era
when a nationwide movement was led by middle and
upper-class professionals. Progressives believed that
expertise and efficiency could develop policies that served
the needs of everyone. Progressivism was at its strongest
during the administrations of Theodore Roosevelt (1901–
1908) and Woodrow Wilson (1912–1920).

Although the issues may have changed since the
1890s, the differing approaches of Populism and
Progressivism continue to affect our political discourse.
These are personified most recently by the “populist”
Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders and the “progressive”
Barack Obama and Bill and Hillary Clinton.



Additional Information

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389.32
Arlington Mill Community Center
Room 413
Heymsfeld 11/15 - 12/13 Th 12:00 PM - 01:30 PM $55.00 View