Houghton Mifflin Social Studies
A More Perfect Union
Lesson at a Glance
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Chapter 16 Lesson 2: The Reforming Impulse (pp. 477-485)
The Big Idea
Framework Concept: Justice Reformers addressed problems in government and business in the late 1800s.
- Create a cause-and-effect chain showing how the political stalemate of the late 1800s led to abuses of the spoils system, which led to investigations of corruption, calls for reform, and eventually the passage of the Civil Service Act of 1883. Discuss problems under the spoils system and have students debate how the Civil Service Act could have solved those problems.
- Describe the unfair business practices of the railroads and reform efforts aimed to end them. Explain monopolies and trusts, their effect on the nation's economy, and reform efforts aimed at limiting their power.
Use the Lesson Outline to preview the content of the lesson. You may wish to print it for your students as a guide during reading.
Check for Understanding
- Have each student make a three column chart. In the first column, they should list the government and business abuses and unfair practices covered in this lesson. In the second column they should note who benefited from these practices, and in the third column who was harmed by them.
- Divide the class in half. Have one half of the students create posters showing reformers' views of the Civil Service Act, the Interstate Commerce Act, or the Sherman Antitrust Act. The other half should show business leaders' or loyal party supporters' perspectives on one of the laws. Students can use words or pictures to show their group's opinion.
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