Analyze the corruption of the Gilded Age in relation to the increasingly low moral and political standards of the time. Contrast the quality of politicians with those of the previous age—Clay, Jackson, Webster, and Lincoln.
Examine the impact of the new political alignments in the South. Consider the role of “redeemers,” poor whites, and blacks in the post–Reconstruction era.
REFERENCES: Otto Olsen, Reconstruction and Redemption in the South (1980); Michael Perman, The Road to Redemption (1984).
Consider the link between racial and labor conflict, especially in places like California, where the “racially different” Chinese were seen as threats to the advances of white (often Irish or other immigrant) working people.
REFERENCE: Alexander Saxton, The Indispensable Enemy: Labor and the Anti-Chinese Movement in California (1975).
Examine the depression of the 1890s as the immediate context for the growing sense of class crisis in America. Consider the different but related grievances of western and southern farmers and (largely) northern and eastern industrial workers.