The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship


Curriculum Unit on the Gilded Age in the United States

Grade Levels

High School 9-12



Download Full Text (318 KB)


As the Carnegie’s and Rockefeller’s led the way for the wealthy and the struggling poor worked tirelessly, there was a rather large portion of individuals that did not quite fit within the two extremes of rich and poor. During the Gilded Age, many institutions were questioned for the first time in United States history, one of them being the class system. While many Americans were weary of actually placing a class system in society because of negative connotations with Europe, a class system already existed in society during the late nineteenth century, it just did not have an official title. The phrase “middle class” was officially inserted into society in 1889. The middle class consisted of professionals who were organized and had specific criteria, like education, for being a part of the group. The middle class changed the social aspects of the United States and also changed the geographic look since most middle class members began moving out of the larger cities to create suburbs. The Gilded Age gave a name to the middle class and its effects are still present today.

Publication Date



lesson plan, Gilded Age, middle class


Curriculum and Instruction | United States History

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

The New Middle Class in the Gilded Age



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.