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Curriculum Unit on the Gilded Age in the United States

Grade Levels

High School 9-12



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As we begin to explore the Gilded Age (1870-1900), that era in American History sandwiched between the Civil War/Reconstruction and the Progressive Era to the Great War, we want students to grasp the enormity of the changes impacting the lives of Americans who have largely been engaged in farming in many cases not so different than their ancestors had for several hundreds of years. Technological changes in the first half of the 19th century contributed to some mechanization and manufacturing, but the enormity of the Civil War and the acquisition of the entire continental territory in the 1850s, accelerated changes in the production of goods, in the development of communication and transportation, in the growth of cities, in the opportunities for immigrants, for participation in politics, and in the reach of the government. In this lesson, students will dip into the many changes over the decades from 1860 to 1900 by searching for information on a variety of topics, including: Banking or Finance, Demographics, Government, Industrialization, Immigration, Middle Class Angst, Military, Natural Resources, Politics, Racism, Robber Barons/Captains of Industry, Technological Innovations, Transportation, Urbanization, Voter Turnout, and Xenophobia.

Publication Date



lesson plan, Gilded Age


Curriculum and Instruction | United States History

Creative Commons License

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

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