by Robert W. Cherny

The years between the end of the Civil War, in 1865, and the end of the century witnessed rapid and far-reaching change in the economic and social life of the United States. During those years, the nation was transformed from rural and agricultural to urban and industrial. Manufacturing developed at a rapid pace and on a dramatic scale. The number of miles of railroad tracks increased more than 600 percent, giving the US a nationwide transportation network; the new railroads also integrated the West into the national economy and accelerated that region’s economic development. Cities burgeoned as thousands of people moved from rural areas and many more thousands poured in from around the world, especially Europe, attracted by the promise (though not always the reality) of economic opportunity. By 1900, the United States had emerged as the most vigorous economy in the world—it was the world’s largest producer of steel, petroleum products, and food.More »


United Fruit Company banana conveyors in New Orleans, LA, ca. 1910 (LC-D4-39636)

The United States and the Caribbean, 1877–1920

Author: Jason Colby Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels:

The War against Spain in the Philippines in 1898

Author: Richard Meixsel Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels:
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Featured Primary Sources

Theodore Roosevelt to William H. Hunt, September 26, 1901 (Gilder Lehrman Collec

Confirming governors for territories of Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines, 1901

Creator: Theodore Roosevelt Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels:
Our Victorious Fleets in Cuban Waters, 1898. (GLC03534)

Our Victorious Fleets in Cuban Waters, 1898

Creator: Currier & Ives Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels:
Map of the United States, Mexico, and the West Indies, 1846 (GLC)

Panama Canal proposal, 1881

Creator: Ulysses S. Grant Curriculum Subjects: Geography, Government and Civics Grade Levels:
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Teaching Resources

Introduction to Imperialism

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The Folly of Empire

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The Folly of Empire (Condensed Version)

Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12
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Interactive Features

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