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Nobody Here But Us Capitalists:  Democracy, Big Business, and Progress at the turn of the 20th century

Day 1

  • Show photographic images of the Gilded Age (see Materials)

  • Students take notes on the images, in pairs, on provided notesheet (see Materials)
    They were simply to write down what they noticed about the photos.

This worked well, in that they noticed more, I believe, because they did not know what I was going to ask them to do with what they found. What did not work so well is that it took longer than I had hoped. Next time I would reduce the number of slides from 25 to 15. Another possibility would be that the students could view the slides on their own; however, I think that they gained more from it doing it at the same time, as we, obviously, did some whole class discussion of the slides as we went along.

  • When they were done, I asked, "Do these pictures show a democratic society?"

This surprised them. I think that it is safe to say that no one had expected that question. Several blurted out "yes" and several said "no". One student said, "What does democracy have to do with it?" It ended up being quite a wonderfully frustrating conversation, in which I played a very small role. I simply prodded them with questions (such as, if YES, then "why and how is it?" and if NO, then "what would it need in order to be?" and "are these conditions the result of a democracy?'.

Before beginning the lesson
Day One
Day Two
Day Three
Day Four
Day Five
Day Six
Internet Resources
Worksheet:" Meet the Press"
MS Word version
pdf version

Urban Dreams
OUSD Curriculum Unit

"Nobody Here But Us Capitalists:
Democracy, Big Business, and Progress at the Turn of the 20th Century"

Subject: U.S. History
Grade Level: 11th

Lesson Plan Author:
Elizabeth Haugen
Organization: OUSD