The Gilded Age

The essays in this section have been written by leading scholars of American history. They provide additional depth on events and ideas referred to in the introductory essay and, in some cases, different interpretations by historians looking at the same events. These essays are particularly useful as informational texts to introduce your students to one of the most exciting aspects of studying history—understanding the past from a variety of perspectives.

Photograph of Edison Machine Works in New York City, 1881. (GLC07616.05)

Edison’s Laboratory

Author: Paul Israel Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Grade Levels: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
The Empire Builders, by Bernarda Bryson, the Resettlement Administration (LOC)

Entrepreneurs and Bankers: The Evolution of Corporate Empires

Author: Robert W. Cherny Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels:
Teenager operating machinery, 1913, by Lewis Hine. (LC-DIG-nclc-04898)

History Times: The Industrial Revolution

Author: Gilder Lehrman Institute Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels: K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Essays from Other Sub-Eras

Advertisement for shares in the Union Pacific Railroad, Harper’s Weekly, August

Financing the Transcontinental Railroad

Author: Maury Klein Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Geography, Government and Civics Grade Levels:
Bank note from the Bank of the United States dated December 13, 1840. (GLC01994)

Getting Ready to Lead a World Economy: Enterprise in Nineteenth-Century America

Author: Joyce Appleby Curriculum Subjects: Economics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Pullman porter car from Scribner’s Magazine, September 1888

Home Adrift: Women and Domesticated Rail Travel

Author: Amy G. Richter Curriculum Subjects: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Grade Levels:
Ford Local 600 of the CIO in the Labor Day parade in Detroit MI, 1942. (LOC P&P)

Labor Day: From Protest to Picnics

Author: Joshua B. Freeman Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Mary E. Lease in an illustration from Puck, 1896. (LC-DIG-ppmsca-28845)

Mary Elizabeth Lease: Populist Reformer

Author: Kelly A. Woestman Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels:
Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, ca. 1890. (Library of Congress P&P)

Nineteenth-Century Feminist Writings

Author: Anne Firor Scott Curriculum Subjects: Literature Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
“Scene near Deeth; Mount Halleck in distance,” by Alfred Hart, ca. 1867 (LOC)

Photographing the Transcontinental Railroad

Author: Glenn Willumson Curriculum Subjects: Art, Geography, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Grade Levels:

Photography in Nineteenth-Century America

Author: Martha A. Sandweiss Curriculum Subjects: Art, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+

Rethinking Huck

Author: Steven Mintz Curriculum Subjects: Literature Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
“The Florida Case before the Electoral Commission,” Cornelia Fassett (US Senate)

The Contentious Election of 1876

Author: Michael F. Holt Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels:
Letterhead from Buffalo Bill's Wild West show, 1910, detail. (GLC)

The Myth of the Frontier: Progress or Lost Freedom

Author: John Mack Faragher Curriculum Subjects: Art, Economics, Geography, Literature Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Panorama of Chicago, ca. 1906, Universale View Co., Philadelphia, PA (LOC)

The Transnational Nature of the Progressive Era

Author: Daniel T. Rodgers Curriculum Subjects: World History Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Note of 1 shilling, 6 pence, printed in the colony of New Jersey, 1776. (GLC)

The US Banking System: Origin, Development, and Regulation

Author: Richard Sylla Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Teddy Roosevelt in the Rough Riders, ca. 1898. (GLC07002.39)

Theodore Roosevelt: The Making of a Progressive Reformer

Author: Kathleen Dalton Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
The County Election, based on a painting by George C. Bingham, 1854. (Gilder Leh

Winning the Vote: A History of Voting Rights

Author: Steven Mintz Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
World War I poster, published by the US Food Administration, ca. 1917 (GLC09522)

“The New Colossus”: Emma Lazarus and the Immigrant Experience

Author: Julie Des Jardins Curriculum Subjects: Literature Grade Levels: