Important Questions How did whites finally overcome resistance of the Plains Indians, and what happened to the Indians after their resistance ceased?
What were the actual effects of the frontier on American society at different stages of its development? What was valuable in Frederick Jackson Turner’s “frontier thesis,” despite it being discredited by subsequent historians?
How did the forces of economic class conflict and race figure into the farmer and labor revolt of the 1880s and 1890s? Was there ever any chance that a bi-racial coalition of farmers could have succeeded not only in economic change but in overcoming the South’s racial divisions? Were race relations actually worse after Populist revolt failed?
Were the Populist and pro-silver movements of the 1880s and 1890s essentially backward-looking protests by a passing rural America, or were they, despite their immediate political failure, genuine prophetic voices raising central critical questions about democracy and economic justice in the new corporate industrial America?
What were the major issues in the crucial campaign of 1896? Why did McKinley win, and what were the long-term effects of his victory?
Some historians have seen Bryan as the political heir of Jefferson and Jackson, and McKinley as the political heir of Hamilton and the Whigs. Are such connections valid? Why or why not?
The settlement of the “Great West” and the farmers’ revolt occurred at the same time as the rise of industrialism and the growth of American cities. To what extent were the defeat of the Indians, the destruction and exploitation of western resources, and the populist revolt of the farmers caused by the Gilded Age forces of industrialization and urbanization?