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Curriculum Unit on the Gilded Age in the United States

Grade Levels

High School 9-12



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America as a whole was undergoing dramatic changes during the last quarter of the 19th century. Industrialization was a major part of that change, as it pushed industry to new heights and sparked the biggest wave of immigration in U.S. history. It also helped create a new emphasis on leisure among American workers, as improved production led to shorter work days and higher wages meant those workers had more money to spend with their newfound free time. Additionally, the boom in railroad production and advancement of subways and electric trollies in urban areas made transportation easier and encouraged people to find activities outside their homes. All of those factors resulted in an explosion of recreational activities across all interests and socioeconomic classes. Through an examination of primary sources, this lesson will look at some of those activities and explore the deeper questions of what those activities said about American society during the Gilded Age.

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lesson plan, Gilded Age, leisure


Curriculum and Instruction | United States History

Creative Commons License

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

Learning How to Relax: Culture of Leisure in the Gilded Age



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