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Teaching Guide

Teaching Progressive Era Politics

It's a Jungle out there.


When it comes to contemporary political reformers, the original progressives were like the Atari 2600: the trailblazers responsible for getting things started.

In this guide you will find

  • activities analyzing the key people (Teddy Roosevelt, Charles Darwin) and important documents (The Jungle) of the period.
  • current resources exploring the long-lasting legacy of the progressive era.
  • related guides on the Women's Movement, Immigration, and Muckrakers.

And much more.

What's Inside Shmoop's History Teaching Guides

Shmoop is a labor of love from folks who love to teach. Our teaching guides will help you supplement in-classroom learning with fun, engaging, and relatable learning materials that bring history to life.

Inside each guide you'll find quizzes, activity ideas, discussion questions, and more—all written by experts and designed to save you time. Here are the deets on what you get with your teaching guide:

  • 3-5 Common Core-aligned activities (including quotation, image, and document analysis) to complete in class with your students, with detailed instructions for you and your students. 
  • Discussion and essay questions for all levels of students.
  • Reading quizzes to be sure students are looking at the material through various lenses.
  • Resources to help make the topic feel more relevant to your 21st-century students.
  • A note from Shmoop's teachers to you, telling you what to expect from teaching the topic and how you can overcome the hurdles.

Instructions for You

Theodore Roosevelt's record of reform has sometimes been exaggerated, but the press loved him and celebrated his achievements in dozens of political cartoons. In this exercise, your students will examine some of these cartoons and research and explain their meaning.

1. Direct your students to these sites, where they can examine cartoons. Ask them to research their meaning, and for each one write a one-paragraph explanation of the cartoon and the story behind it.

Instructions for Your Students

How do political cartoons shape the way we see political leaders?  Teddy Roosevelt was, in many ways, the first modern president, a leader whose image in the public was just as important as the specifics of his policies or speeches.

Political cartoonists (who have been around for a long, long time) loved drawing Roosevelt, and their depictions of him did much to shape the president's image.  So what kind of president were they drawing?


Check out all the different parts of our corresponding learning guide.

Intro    Summary & Analysis    Timeline    People    Facts    Photos    Best of the Web    Citations    
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