Progressive America


After the Fact: “The Mirror with a Memory”

How should we approach photographs as evidence?

How does interpretation play a role when evaluating a historian’s work that includes photos?

How did Riis’ background contribute to his work?

What was the press or reporting style during those days and how did it affect the coverage of the news and issues?

Why did he write How the Other Half Lives and why was it more effective than other exposes?

Why are photos so powerful?  Why better than drawings or paintings?

Why are photos not always what they seem to be?

How can photos be biased?

How did this shape his view of immigrants and portrayal of them?

What about his pixs might have affected how middle-class readers saw immigrants and poverty?


Interpretations of American History

How had US changed in previous few decades which help explain rise of progressivism?

How did individualism figure into this?

How did progressives view of gov’t differ from earlier reform efforts?

How did Progressive school of historians interpret the period and movement?

How did Marxists historians differ in their interpretation?

How did Consensus school see this period?

How did Wiebe in his work “Search for Order” see a new or different group as center of progressivism?

How did New Left historians interpret progressivism?

What do more recent scholars mean that progressivism is best understood as a series of “shifting coalitions”?

How have some recent historians challenged the idea that progressivism was generally a positive effort by noting its dark or negative side?


Rodgers, "American Progressivism in the Wider Atlantic World"

What is Rodgers primary point or thesis regarding the nature of American progressivism?

Why is this important?

The Jungle (Attack on the Meatpackers)

Why are Sinclair’s book and this excerpt so important?

What was the purpose of this story?

What does it tell us about the place of business in America at this time?  Role of gov’t?