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The Brief American Pageant , Sixth Edition
David M. Kennedy, Stanford University
Lizabeth Cohen, Harvard University
Thomas A. Bailey
Mel Piehl, Valparaiso University
Suggested Lecture Topics
Chapter 26
Developing The Chapter: Suggested Lecture Or Discussion Topics


  • Place the dramatic Indian wars in the context of both irresistible white encroachment and the postwarfare history of American Indians. The Sioux experience-from Little Big Horn to Wounded Knee and after-might provide a good focus.

    REFERENCE: Robert Utley, The Indian Frontier of the American West, 1846-1890 (1984).

  • Examine the successive phases of economic activity in the Great West: mining, cattle raising, agriculture. Show how in each case an early "little person" era was ended by the coming of big business and new technology, and how the entry of corporate and investment capital shaped later western development.

    REFERENCE: Patricia Nelson Limerick, Legacy of Conquest: The Unbroken Past of the American West (1987).

  • Examine the unique roles of women in the West, including the more "typical" pioneer farming women of the Great Plains, as well as the more unusual women who made their way in the mining towns and later cities of the Far West. Consider how their experience was similar to that of males in the West, and how it was different.

    REFERENCE: Glenda Riley, The Female Frontier: A Comparative View of Women on the Prairie and Plains (1988).

  • Focus on the bitter labor conflicts of the decade, including the Homestead strike and the Pullman strike. Explain why the use of federal troops in the Pullman strike and the use of Pinkerton's antilabor agents in the Homestead strike embittered many workers against both industry and the government's executive and judicial authority.

    REFERENCE: Paul Krause, The Battle for Homestead, 1880-1892 (1992).

  • Examine the 1896 election as a "crucial election" in American history. Show how Mark Hanna and McKinley effectively organized the forces of the new urban industrialism against Bryan's agrarian-based crusade.

    REFERENCE: Stanley L. Jones, The Presidential Election of 1896 (1964).



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