Re-thinking History

"Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today." Malcolm X "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams." Henry David Thoreau

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Location: California, United States

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The Progressive Era and WWI

Hello History 12~
I have edited this page to reflect information that will appear on the midterm.
The Progressive Era
  • Progressives started in the cities, addressing acute problems, such as tenement housing, slum lords and deplorable and unsafe conditions in factories. (Triangle Fire)
  • Some of the various reform movements during the Progressive era: settlement houses (Jane Adams), emergence of reform organizations such as the Women's Trade Union League, (WTUL 1903) and the National Consumer's League. Reform also included publications by muckracking journalists, such as Upton Sinclair, whose 1906 publication of The Jungle addressed the filthy conditions in meatpacking plants. The Temperance movement strengthened as women now linked excessive drinking to poverty and domestic violence. Prior to the Progressive era, drinking was considered a moral sin. The Progressive era included economic and the issue of violence as two fundamental problems of alcohol. Photojournalism emerged during this era to illustrate tenement life in cities, as Jacob Riis, a Danish immigrant who knew the squalor of NY lodging houses and slums campaigned for tenement reform. Lastly, reform occurred at the personal level, as there was a new visibility of women in urban public places, which indicated that traditional gender roles were changing dramatically during the era. Native born W.A.S.P. women enjoyed high paying office jobs while immigrant women were largely confined to low paying factory jobs. In the South, progressives was distinct and centered on the idea of white Southern progress, economic development, the educating the masses separately. MS was applauded by progressive whites in 1904, for the states heroism in educating blacks and whites in separate facilities.
  • Reform at the State Level: Cleveland Mayor Thomas L. Johnson reduced the street car fair from $.5 cents to $.3 cents and supported municipal ownership of public utilities. In Wisconsin, Governor Robert M. LaFollette used professors and scientists in his administration to lower railroad rates and raise railroad taxes, improved education, preached conservation, established factory regulation and worker's compensation. Lastly, California Governor Hiram Johnson was successful in removing the Southern Pacific Railroad Company from CA politics and signed an employer's liability bill.
  • Progressive Policies of President Theodore Roosevelt: Investigated the Northern Securities Company in 1902; used the Sherman Antitrust Act against 43 trusts; refused to send troops to quell the coal miner strike in Pennsylvania, instead attempted to meet with owners and the representatives of miners in the White House; coined the term "Fair Deal" following the arbitration by miners and management; Hepburn Act, which increased the power of the ICC; passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act & the Meat Inspection Act in 1906; Hetch Hetchy dam and clash with John Muir (conservationist vs. preservationist); addition of the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine in 1904; the building of the Panama Canal; won Nobel Peace Prize for his role in negotiating an end to the Russo-Japanese War.
  • The 16th and 17th Amendments were passed during the Taft administration. The 16th Amendment established an income tax. The 17th Amendment established the direct election of senators.
  • Events leading to the Election of 1912: The four way contest between Taft, Roosevelt, Democrat candidate Woodrow Wilson and Socialist Eugene Debs became a national debate on the relationship between political and economic freedom in the age of big business. In February 1912, Roosevelt challenged Taft for the Republican nomination, but Taft refused to step aside. At the Chicago convention, the Republicans refused to seat Roosevelt's delegates, who numbered 248 to Taft's 48 in the primary election. A brawl broke out on the floor of the convention and Roosevelt's supporters bolted from the party. However, seven week later, the Progressive Party (the Bull Moose Party) emerged and nominated Roosevelt, with Hiram Johnson, governor of CA as his vice-president selection. Roosevelt ran on the slogan "New Nationalism", which called for women's suffrage, an end to child labor, minimum wage that included women, worker's compensation and social security. Wilson ran on the slogan "New Freedom". A little over 4 million people voted for Roosevelt, capturing 27.4% of the popular vote compared to Wilson's 41.9%.
  • The Importance of the Federal Reserve System of 1913 & the Federal Trade Commission of 1914: The Federal Reserve System consisted of 12 regional banks, overseen by a central board appointed by the president, to handle the issuance of currency, aid banks in danger of failing and influence interest rates to promote economic growth. This was created in response to the Panic of 1907, when the failure of several financial companies threatened the general collapse of the banking system. The second expansion of national power occurred as Congress established the Federal Trade Commission to investigate and prohibit unfair business activities such as price fixing and monopolistic practices.

WWI: Abroad and at Home

  • What were the reasons for the U.S. declaration of war on Germany in 1917: In May 1915, a German submarine sank the British liner, Lusitania off the coast of Ireland and 124 Americans lost their lives; One year later, Germany announced the suspension of submarine warfare against noncombatants. However, in 1917, Germany announced its intention to resume submarine warfare against ships (including commercial) sailing to or from the British Isles, and several American merchant ships were sunk; the Zimmerman Telegram (March 1917) called on Mexico to join in the coming war against the U.S. and promised to help Mexico recover territory lost in the Mexican War 1846-48. On April 2, Wilson asked Congress for a declaration of war against Germany, proclaiming that the world must be safe for democracy. (In November 1917, a communist revolution headed by Vladimir Lenin overthrew the Russian government that had come to power in March of the same year. In January 1918, Wilson issued his "Fourteen Points", which historians have considered to be the clearest statement of war aims and his vision for a new international order. It was not until Spring 1918 that American forces arrived in Europe under the direction of General John J. Pershing.)
  • Espionage Act of 1917: Prohibited spying and interfering with the draft, prohibited false statement that might impeded military success.
  • American Protective League: Assisted the Justice Department identify radicals and critics of the war by spying on their neighbors.
  • The suffrage movement: Frances Willard, during the Populist era asked that suffrage be included in the platform of the People Party in 1892. The National Woman's Party was organized during the war period and demanded the right to vote. Alice Paul, leader of the party compared Wilson to the German Kaiser and with a group of women, chained themselves to the White House fence. In addition, Carrie Chapman Catt was instrumental in influencing Wilson's decision to extend suffrage to women during his second term and in 1920, the 19th Amendment was ratified, barring states from using sex as a qualification for the suffrage. However, as noted during class, Wilson suffered a massive stroke and his wife assumed responsibility for the affairs of the country. Historians have argued that it was Wilson's wife that changed Wilson's opinion concerning suffrage. However, historians have also argued that during his bid for reelection, he courted suffragists as well, in an effort to garner support for his bid for second term. The U.S. became the 27 country to allow women to vote.
  • The 18th Amendment (ratified 1919): This Amendment established prohibition in the United States. The prohibition movement of the 20th century has roots in the 19th century temperance movement. Women were supporters of prohibition as excessive drinking increased violence in the family and threatened the economic security of the family. It was repealed by the 21st Amendment in 1933. Prohibition was not a success, and as Eric Foner noted, led to criminalization as law enforcement officers would take bribes to ensure the continuance of bootlegging. Crime actually increased during this period, as demonstrated by Al Capone and various criminal enterprises.
  • The Versailles Treaty: Eric Foner argued that this treaty was a harsh document that laid the premise for future conflict in Europe. The treaty placed severe restrictions on the size of Germany's future army and navy. In addition, Wilson was persuaded to add a clause declaring Germany morally responsible for war and set an astronomical payment which crippled the Germany economy. The German people were impoverished as a result of this treaty, and German officials were threatened with use of military force if they declined to sign the treaty. This treaty created the seeds for the emergence of Adolf Hitler, his destruction of Jews, Gypsies and others and WWII.
  • 1919, a watershed year for the U.S. and the global community: According to Eric Foner, 1919 was a year of worldwide social and political upheaval. Inspired by Lenin's call for revolution, communist-led governments emerged in Bavaria and Hungary. Strike occurred in Belfast and Glasgow demanding fulfillment of war time promises of "industrial democracy" Crowds challenged British rule in India and national movements in other colonies demanded independence. As political journalist Walter Lippman argued, "we are living and shall live all our lives in a revolutionary world." Wilson's policies toward the Soviet Union revealed the contradictions of his liberal internationalist view. On one hand, Wilson desired to foster trade with Lenin's government but the fear of communism as a source of international economic, political and social instability & a threat to private community thwarted any attempts that the U.S. would engage in dialogue with Russia. In the U.S. 1919 brought turmoil as racial violence, labor strikes and the Palmer raids defined the "Red Scare" The Palmer raids were overseen by 24 year old J.Edgar Hoover, the director of the Radical Division of the Justice Department.
  • How did WWI transform "Americanization into a government sponsored campaign that demanded immigrant to demonstrate their devotion to the U.S.? : A demand for Americanization of immigrants was a product of war, as war transformed Americanization into a government sponsored program. Prior to WWI, Americanization efforts were conducted by private organizations. Wilson declared that some Americans "born under foreign flags were guilt of disloyalty and must be absolutely crushed." The Committee on Public Information renamed the Fourth of July 1918, Loyalty Day and asked ethnic groups to participate in patriotic pageants. New York City's celebration included a procession of 75,000 persons with dozens of floats and presentations linking immigrants with the war effort and highlighting their contributions to American society. However, German immigrants bore the brunt of forced Americanization, as the use of German expressions, language, culture & music enjoyed prior to WWI became a threat to American notions of liberty, freedom and democracy. In Iowa, Governor William L. Harding issued a proclamation that required all oral communication in schools, public places and over the telephone, to be conducted in English. Americanization programs attempted to exclude undesirables, such as the mentally ill. In 1917, despite a veto by Wilson, Congress required that immigrants be literate in English or another language. Americanization was designed solely for 'white' immigrants, as these programs assumed that European immigrants and their children could eventually embrace American values, life and become productive citizens. In the Southwest, public officials treated the Mexican population with contempt, despite that Mexicans were legally classified as white in 1917. Segregation, both law & custom was common in school, hospitals, theaters and other institutions. By the 1920, nearly all Mexican children in CA and the Southwest were educated in their own schools and classrooms. Puerto Ricans occupied an ambiguous position within American society and on the eve of WWI, Congress conferred American citizenship to the residents of the island, in an effort to stymie any support of Puerto Rican independence. Puerto Rican men were drafted into WWI and Jose de Diego, Speaker of the House of the island's legislature, wrote Wilson in 1917 asking that Puerto Rico be granted the democracy the United States was fighting for in Europe.