H-SHGAPE Question of the Week: Transnational History and the GAPE

Elizabeth Garner Masarik's picture

Welcome to H-SHGAPE's Question of the Week! Each Wednesday, the list editors will ask a question about the Gilded Age and Progressive Era that we hope will provoke lively discussion. We encourage you to share your thoughts by typing in the "Post a Reply" box below the original post, or, if you're getting this by email, by clicking on the "Read More or Reply" link.

If you'd like to submit a question to be asked in a future week, please contact the H-SHGAPE Editor-In-Chief, Chelsea C. Gibson via email:  cgibson2@binghamton.edu

How do you incorporate transnational movements and ideas when teaching GAPE? How much emphasis do you put on transnational history during the period?

I incorporate transnational ideas when I teach the Progressive Era by leaning on the scholarship of Daniel R. Rodgers. As explained by Rodgers, many American Progressives were inspired by similar reformers in Europe, especially Germany and Britain. For example, I often use Frederic Howe's "The German and the American City" to show my students how Progressives often compared conditions in the United States with those in Europe in order to make their arguments. That said, I do not emphasize the transnational nature of the Progressive Movement as much as I emphasize how the US was unabashedly engaged in the transnational project of empire-building during the GAPE. The Gilded Age featured the final US wars against American Indians as well as the US acquisition of Alaska and Hawai'i; the turn-of-the-twentieth century witnessed the War of 1898 and Spain's cession of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines to the US; and the Progressive Era included unprecedented US assertiveness across the Caribbean and Central America (military occupations of Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and Honduras as well as outright ownership of the Panama Canal Zone and the Virgin Islands).