Question Description

For each essay response, read the documents listed and answer the prompt question in essay form. The essay must include an introduction and conclusion, clear and concise analysis, and be printed, at least one page in length, double-spaced, with one-inch margins and twelve-point font.

Essay Response 1


The Gilded Age in America was the heyday of the robber barons and unrestricted financial growth. As industrialization and commercial speculation boomed, thousands of immigrants entered the United States, answering the call for cheap labor in the hopes of forging a better life for themselves and their families. Out of the seismic political, economic, and social shifts in this period arose conflicting interpretations of how and in what ways American prosperity would lead to freedom. In your essay response, explain how Sumner defined liberty. How and why did he feel efforts to provide for the poor diminished liberty? Compare Sumner’s assessments with those of George. How did he define liberty, and how is it different from Sumner’s definition? What did Bellamy write about inequality in his work and how did he connect it to the American quest for freedom and liberty? Why do you think Bellamy’s idea of an American utopia was so popular with members of the general public?


William Graham Sumner on Social Darwinism (ca. 1880)

Henry George, Progress and Poverty (1879)

Edward Bellamy, Looking Backward (1888)