The Gilded Age & the Progressive Era (1877–1917)
Study Questions & Essay Topics
Always use specific historical examples to support your arguments.
1. How did railroads change American society, politics, and economy in the post–Civil War era?
2. Many historians believe that the election of 1896 was the most critical election of the post–Civil War years. Do you agree with this assessment? How did the election change American politics?
3. What were the causes of urbanization during the Gilded Age? What consequences did this urban revolution have on politics, the economy, and society?
Suggested Essay Topics
1. Why did the Populists gain so much power in the 1880s and 1890s, and why did they disappear soon after that?
2. Compare and contrast Roosevelt’s Square Deal with Wilson’s New Freedom.
3. What were the causes and consequences of Progressivism?
4. Describe how three of the following shaped American politics in the early twentieth century: Ballinger-Pinchot Affair Payne-Aldrich Tariff muckrakers Underwood Tariff Square Deal Progressive Party