History 368

HIST 368
The Populist and Progressive Era

Catalog Entry

HIST 368
The Populist and Progressive Era
Three hours lecture/discussion: (3)

Prerequisite: Three hours of History at the 100 level.

Examines the political, economic, and social history from 1877-1917. Special emphasis on the the role of the Populists within the social and cultural context of American history and the contemporary treatment of the origins and aims of the Progressive movements.

Detailed Description of Content of Course

The course will offer an in-depth examination of the "origins of modern America," as many textbooks describe this period. The course will focus on the evolution of an industrial economy and the social and political impact of the new economic system. Students will examine the period from a variety of perspectives, including those of the leaders of the new industries, workers, farmers, minority groups, the "middle class," and others. The foundations of a modern industrial society were laid during this period. Students should leave with a greater appreciation of the complexities of this new society and the views of its supporters, as well as the views of its opponents. Major topics covered will include:

1.  The end of Reconstruction and the "Compromise of 1877"
2.  Robber Barons or Industrial Statesmen: Rockefeller, Carnegie, and the rise of the "trusts"
3.  Politics, 1880-1900: "the Great Barbecue?"
4.  The New South, 1877-19OO
5.  Workers in industrial America
6.  The Populist Revolt
7.  Imperialism, expansionism, and the fate of Native Americans, 1877-1917.
8.  Origins of "progressivism"
9.  The Progressive Presidents, Roosevelt and Wilson
10. Varieties of social reform: the "social gospel," settlement houses, prohibition

Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

This course will combine lectures, class discussions based on assigned readings and media presentations, and a variety of written assignments. Students will be encouraged to explore topics of special interest through primary research and/or directed reading in secondary sources.

Goals and Objectives of the Course

Departmental Goals and Objectives:
1. Students will practice thinking critically and analytically about historical issues, acquire a broader knowledge and deeper understanding of pertinent historical events and processes, and cultivate a familiarity with the concepts of historical argument and interpretation.

2. Students will develop disciplinary research skills by designing strategies to locate and analyze primary and secondary source evidence, processing and organizing the resultant data, and composing proper citation and bibliographical entries.

3. Students will apply their critical thinking, research, and compositional skills to the creation and presentation of thesis driven essays that discuss, for example, historical social, economic, political, and/or cultural developments and that address issues such as the causes and consequences of historical change and continuity.

Course Goals and Objectives:
Upon completion of HIST 368, students will be able to identify, describe, and discuss major themes associated with the Populist and Progressive movements, including but not limited to:

1. The origins of  modern America
2. The similarities and differences in origin, strengths, and programs of Populists and  Progressives
3. What happened to progressivism as a result of WWI
4. The similarities and differences between New Deal programs and the goals of Populist and Progressive antecedents
5. The origins of regulatory efforts in both the marketplace and workplace
6. Changing judicial interpretations relating to the marketplace and workplace

Assessment Measures

Knowledge and understanding of the material covered in this course will be measured using an array of assessment tools that may include, among other things, class attendance and participation, written examinations, formal writing assignments of various types, and informal writing assignments. All exercises are designed to expand the student's ability to evaluate historical events and to develop his or her ability to compose persuasive arguments.

Other Course Information


Review and Approval
October 2010: Reviewed and Approved by Sharon A. Roger Hepburn, Chair