About a century has passed since the events at the center of this lesson-the Haymarket Affair, the Homestead Strike, and the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. In this lesson, students use primary historical sources to explore some of the questions raised by these events, questions that continue to be relevant in debates about American society: Where do we draw the line between acceptable business practices and unacceptable working conditions? Can an industrial-and indeed a post-industrial-economy succeed without taking advantage of those who do the work?
This lesson looks at Thomas Paine and at some of the ideas presented in his pamphlet Common Sense, such as national unity, natural rights, the illegitimacy of the monarchy and of hereditary aristocracy, and the necessity for independence and the revolutionary struggle.
Reading Robert Browning’s poem “My Last Duchess,” students will explore the use of dramatic monologue as a poetic form, where the speaker often reveals far more than intended.