During the Gilded Age, Americans faced enormous social and economic upheaval. No place embodied the struggle more than Illinois. Illinois During the Gilded Age presents primary source materials which shed light on major themes in this period's society, politics, and culture.  

Frances E. Willard, 1839-1898


Born in 1839 in Churchville New York, Frances Willard became the successful president of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union...
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American Populism, 1876-1896


In the early 1890s, a coalition of farmers, laborers, and middle class activists founded an independent political party named the People's Party, also known as the Populist Party. Read more...

The Haymarket Bomb


On the evening of May 4, 1886, an unknown individual lobbed a dynamite bomb into a formation of Chicago police officers sent to disperse an anarchist meeting in Chicago's Haymarket Square. Read more...

The Pullman Strike


In the late spring of 1894, over four thousand workers at the Pullman Palace Car Company went out on strike.

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How To Use This Site


The Illinois During the Gilded Age site is comprised of both primary source documents, as well as modern scholarly interpretive materials, including thematic essays and video interviews.  Read more...