Lesson Plan: Overview

Trial at the Turn of the Century: A Window on a World

Grade Level: High School

Gonzales editorial entitled "Harmful Factory Legislation." Click here to go directly to the primary source!

Academic Standards

Standard USHC-5: The student will demonstrate an understanding of major social, political, and economic developments that took place in the United States during the second half of the nineteenth century.

USHC-5.1 Summarize developments in business and industry, including the ascent of new industries, the rise of corporations through monopolies and corporate mergers, the role of industrial leaders such as John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie, the influence of business ideologies, and the increasing availability of consumer goods and the rising standard of living. (E, H)
USHC-5.2 Summarize the factors that influenced the economic growth of the United States and its emergence as an industrial power, including the abundance of natural resources; government support and protection in the form of tariffs, labor policies, and subsidies; and the expansion of international markets associated with industrialization. (E, G, H, P)
USHC-5.4 Analyze the rise of the labor movement, including the composition of the workforce of the country in terms of gender, race/ethnicity, and skills; working conditions for men, women, and children; and union protests and strikes and the government’s reactions to these forms of unrest. (H, E)
USHC-5.6 Explain the influx of immigrants into the United States in the late nineteenth century in relation to the specific economic, political, and social changes that resulted, including the growth of cities and urban ethnic neighborhoods, the restrictions on immigration that were imposed, and the immigrants’ responses to the urban political machines. (H, G, P, E)
USHC-5.7 Compare the accomplishments and limitations of the progressive movement in effecting social and political reforms in America, including the roles of Theodore Roosevelt, Jane Addams, W. E. B. DuBois, and Booker T. Washington. (H, P, E)
 
Social Studies Literacy Elements
K. Use texts, photographs, and documents to observe and interpret social studies trends and relationships
N. Challenge ad hominem and other illogical arguments (e.g., name calling, personal attacks, insinuation and innuendo, circular arguments)
O. Consider multiple perspectives of documents and stories
P. Locate, gather, and process information from a variety of primary and secondary sources including maps

Historical Background Notes

In 1903, N.G. Gonzales (editor of The State newspaper) was murdered by James Tillman (Lt. Governor and nephew of “Pitchfork” Ben Tillman) as part of an on-going feud.  Tillman was found not-guilty by a jury of sympathizers in Lexington County in a very famous trial.  The importance lays not so much in the trial, however, but on the window these events give on South Carolina at the turn-of-the-century.  Gonzales was often seen as part of the conservative aristocracy (though a second generation Cuban immigrant), yet also was progressive in his time, favoring child labor laws, anti-lynching measures, and so on.  His writings in The State, as well as letters to the editor in response, give direct evidence of arguments at the turn-of-the-century.

There were issues of the mills and industrialization and the effects they had on workers, pro or con—depending on who you talked to.  There was immigration, not as pronounced in the South, but still a part of life, as exemplified by Columbia’s Jewish population, and even Gonzales himself.  There were new social patterns such as increased national unity, somewhat experienced in South Carolina following the Spanish American War, as well as with improved transportation and communication.  There was the rising role of labor in opposing management in larger industries.  And, there was the gradually changing role of women in society.  All these issues were being discussed, in addition to the fiercely contested battleground in South Carolina between the traditional conservatives, and the radical “Tillmanites.” 

Having already received a background on these issues, students will be prepared to look at this extraordinary character, N.G. Gonzales.  He had a lot to say in the ongoing debates.  Furthermore, since he was also extremely outspoken and opinionated, he was sure to offend or please differing segments of Columbia’s population—thus leading to fierce divisions regarding the trial in 1903, and to a very interesting learning experience for the students as they reexamine these events.

Materials

Primary Sources
"Editor Gonzales Makes Ante-Mortem Statement: Declares He Sent Tillman No Message, and That the Assault Was Made without Warning." The State, 16 January 1903. From Gonzales - Tillman Scrapbooks, 1903. Manuscripts Division, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina.
 
"Editor Shot by Lt.-Governor Tillman." NY American, 1903. From Gonzales - Tillman Scrapbooks, 1903. Manuscripts Division, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina.
 
Gonzales, N.G. "The Cause of Cuba." The State, 1 March 1895, 2. Newspapers on Microfilm.  Published Division, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina.
 
_____. "Child Slavery in Our Cotton Mills." The State, 29 January 1900, 4. Newspapers on Microfilm.  Published Division, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina.
 
_____. "[Editorial Regarding Child Labor Legislation]." The State, 23 January 1901, 4. Newspapers on Microfilm.  Published Division, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina.
 
_____. "[Editorial Regarding the Philippines]." The State, 25 January 1901, 4. Newspapers on Microfilm.  Published Division, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina.
 
_____. "[Editorial Regarding the Unions, Including Their Actions on Child Labor]." The State, 23 January 1901, 4. Newspapers on Microfilm.  Published Division, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina.
 
_____. "[Editorial Regarding the U.S. Takeover of Hawaii]." The State, 13 November 1893, 4. Newspapers on Microfilm.  Published Division, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina.
 
_____. "Harmful Factory Legislation." The State, 26 January 1897, 4. Newspapers on Microfilm.  Published Division, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina.
 
_____. "The State's Position." The State, 11 May 1895, 4. Newspapers on Microfilm.  Published Division, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina.
 
_____. "This Lawlessness Must Cease!" The State, 25 June 1901, 4. Newspapers on Microfilm.  Published Division, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina.
 
_____. "Today's Suffrage Issue." The State, 29 October 1895, 4. Newspapers on Microfilm.  Published Division, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina.
 
"N.G. Gonzales Shot by James Tillman." Atlanta News, 1903. From Gonzales - Tillman Scrapbooks, 1903. Manuscripts Division, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina.
 
"Tillman Finds Friends in Gonzales' Enemies." Florence Times, 1903. From Gonzales - Tillman Scrapbooks, 1903. Manuscripts Division, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina.
 
Secondary Sources
Jones, Lewis Pinckney.Stormy Petrel:  N.G. Gonzales and His State. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1973.
 
Moore, John Hammond. Columbia and Richland County. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1993.

Lesson Plans

This lesson is divided into two days.

Teacher Reflections

No teacher reflections available for this lesson plan.

Student Assessments

Day 1 and Day 2: On-going evaluation of student participation.

Day 2: Evaluation of the oral arguments exhibited in the students’ responses to examination and cross-examination (by rubric).

Day 2: Student Reflective Essay graded by a rubric such as:

  • Introduction
  • Central Message
  • Validation (do they give enough supporting facts and explanations)
  • Application (do they show how this applies to other historical incidents)
  • Conclusion/value (do they show how this is valuable to them personally)

Examples of Students Work

No examples available for this lesson plan.

Credit

Kib Hunt
Eau Claire High, South Carolina