SAQs For APUSH Topic 6.13 — Politics in the Gilded Age

Ten questions designed to help students review for the annual exam and that relate to government, political parties, and the rules and laws that existed between 1870–1900.

  1. The Gilded Age began shortly before the start of America’s Second Industrial Revolution and ended ten years after the start of the Progressive Era. It also overlapped the Era of Reconstruction. When did the Second Industrial Revolution begin? When did the Progressive Era begin and when did it end? Same question for the Era of Reconstruction
  2. During the Gilded Age, the major political parties appealed to lingering divisions from the Civil War. Which of these two political parties was founded in the years leading up to the election of Lincoln by the opponents of the Kansas Nebraska Act? Which of these two parties consisted mostly of Protestants? Catholics? Which was most likely supported by the New Immigrants? By African Americans? Which of the two was most like to support the call for a gold standard? A silver standard? High tariffs? Low tariffs? Which of the two was most likely to support the notion of states' rights? The government regulation of social issues? Which of the two were factory owners most like to support? (Be careful answering this last one; this one isn’t as easy as you might think.)
  3. During the Gilded Age, the major political parties also contended over tariffs and currency issues. What is a “tariff?” What is mean by the term “currency issue” in the content of the Gilded Age?
  4. During the Gilded Age, political machines thrived. A political machine is a group in which an authoritative leader (aka a boss) commands the support of a corps of supporters and businesses (usually campaign workers), who receive patronage as a reward for their efforts. The machine’s power is based on the ability of the boss to get out the vote for their candidates on election day. In an urban atmosphere where access to power was unequally distributed, political machines thrived, in part by providing immigrants and the poor with social services. What is patronage? Name and briefly describe the work of a famous political machine boss.
  5. During the Gilded Age, reformers argued that economic greed and self-interest had corrupted all levels of government. Evidence in support of this claim is something called Tammany Hall. What was Tammany Hall?
  6. During the Gilded Age, economic instability inspired agrarian activists to create the People’s (Populist) Party. What does the word “agrarian mean? What’s an agrarian activist? The Peoples (Populist) Political Party called for a stronger governmental role in regulating the American economic system. Name and briefly describe one regulation that the members of the Peoples (Populist) Party called on the government to create.
  7. Which of the two political parties (Republicans or Democrats) is known as the Grand Old Party? Which of the two was founded in 1854 by opponents of the Kansas–Nebraska Act? Which of the two was represented by Abraham Lincoln in the election of 1860? Which of the two can claim to have banned slavery in the United States? Which of the two is most likely to consist of members that opposed the US Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade? Which of the two today consists of members that are likely to support all or most of the following: lower taxes, free-market capitalism, restrictions on immigration, increased military spending, gun rights, restrictions on abortion, deregulation, and restrictions on labor unions.
  8. Which of the two political parties (Republicans or Democrats) was founded in the 1820s by supporters of Andrew Jackson? Which of the two supported progressive reforms and opposed imperialism. Which of the two is most closely associated with the New Deal? With the Great Society? The African American Civil Rights Movement? Which of the two today consists of members that are likely to support all or most of the following: Environmental protection, support for organized labor, affordable college tuition, universal health care, LGBT rights, stricter gun laws, abortion rights, and the legalization of marijuana.
  9. Voter turnout in the Gilded Age reached an all-time high. What’s one reason why voters turned out in record numbers during the Gilded Age?
  10. Name and briefly describe one major similarity and one major difference between the three political parties of the Gilded Age?
  11. Give one argument in favor of and one argument in opposition to the claim that the Populist Party was a successful political party.

High school APUSH teacher with much in-class and online teaching experience. Also a blogger, keynote speaker, editor, podcast host, and conference presenter.