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

Day 4- Meet the Press panel discussion


"One Sees His Finish Unless Good
Government Retakes the Ship"
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Stan Pesick, from The Urban Dreams Project, was the main questioner. It was very helpful to have a guest questioner familiar with the topic. The five students representing Steffens, Addams, Tarbell, Carnegie, and Riis were at the front of room (eight students for the AP class). Other students were in seats, not necessarily their own. The panel members were questioned about their views of society, c. 1900, and how society might best progress. This took one hour.

Questions included:

  • What is the best way to have progress?
  • What is "progress"?
  • Is there a need for more government involvement?
  • Is there a need for more private competition?
  • What should the government do to improve society?
  • What should business do to improve society?
  • What should "common" people do to improve society?
  • Do Americans need the government to protect them from corporate abuse?

Students not on the panel raised their hands and asked questions, as members of the press. They also needed to take notes on the notesheet for credit. (see Materials)

Students who were on the panel did not have to fill out the notesheet.

This seemed the fair thing to do; however, I do not think that the people on the panel ended up with the level of understanding of the positions of the others on the panel that I would have liked.

I had planned to have them write a paragraph for homework on: Which of these people (or solutions) would make the U.S., c. 1900, a more democratic society?

Because of time constraints, neither class wrote this paragraph (they had too much other homework for my class). I think that this assignment would have worked, however. Instead we devoted some time the next morning to reviewing the positions of the five (or eight ) people.

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