You are on page 1of 44

The History of the United States

Part 5 (1865-1918)

Transformation defined this important era of American History. After the Civil War, the South was heavily
destroyed and a new birth of rights existed for newly freed black human beings. Also, a white racist backlash
against black freedom existed via the Klan, the Reedemers, and the vicious system of Jim Crow in general. While
this was occurring, massive social changes developed with new immigration (these immigrants came from
Ireland, Italy, Russia, the Caribbean, Greece, Germany, and other places of the world), the Gilded Age, the
increase of the labor movement, and the growth of the suffrage movement. During this time period, laws that
ended slavery, increased voting rights, and promoted citizenship were made manifest. Also, soon after of this time
period, women finally got the right to vote in the USA. In the midst of economic inequality and governmental
corruption, the Progressive movement transpired and it caused many fundamental changes in American society.
The fight for justice remained and America increasingly became more diverse in the midst of complex political
realities. WWI mobilized America and made America more international. Domestically, violations to civil
liberties, lynching, anti-black riots, and other evils were unfortunately abundant. Also, heroes fighting injustices
were strident back then too. From 1865 to 1918, the United States of America witnessed new changes and further
developments in its whole atmosphere.
The Table of Contents
Prologue
Reconstruction
The West
Industrialization and the Gilded Age
New Social Realities
Women’s Suffrage
Foreign Policy
The Progressive Era
World War I
Prologue
This time period of American history was an extraordinary, transformative era. Everything changed in
America after the U.S. Civil War. The North and the South (including the Midwest plus the West)
became more industrialized. More Americans moved into the cities from rural locations. Many black
people gained rights, but the racist backlash of Jim Crow apartheid harmed real black progress via the
evils of lynching, violence, the burning of locations, rape (especially the rape of black women by white
racist terrorists), and the denial of inherit voting rights. The era of Reconstruction saw historic firsts
among many black politicians and many saw hope for the future, but it ended by 1877. Likewise African
Americans formed numerous organizations and other institutions courageously to defend the human
rights of black people. The end of the 19th century saw Native Americans continuously losing their lands,
having their treaties broken, and many of them forced to live in harsh reservations, which was a total
injustice. Immigrants came into America in the realm of 27.5 million people between 1865 and 1918.
These new immigrants (from Germany, Ireland, Scandinavia, Italy, Eastern Europe, the Caribbean, Asia,
Latin America, etc.) experienced both discrimination and hardships. Yet, they also made outstanding
contributions to American society (from inventions to a myriad of cultural developments). The Gilded
Age signified the growth of large corporations including robber barons. Also, it was a time where the
labor movement increased in power in which they executed strikes in order for them to promote living
wages, better working conditions, and ending child labor. By the end of the 19th century and the
beginning of the 20th century, the Progressive era developed. It did numerous good things in helping the
poor, creating legitimate regulations to promote safety, promoting conservation including environmental
protections, and holding companies accountable for their actions. Their weaknesses were that many of
them ignored racism that harmed the lives of black Americans and some of them advanced the evil of
eugenics.

The women suffragists fought for women to have the right to vote in America (plus worldwide) and by
1920, they were victorious in their determined efforts in the United States of America. This was a time
when American imperialism expanded globally from the Caribbean to Asia. The end of his period of
time started with World War I. U.S. forces came later into the battlefield on the side of the Allied forces.
WWI saw new military weapons, chemical warfare, and a more globalized world society. Domestically,
the suppression of civil liberties was commonplace, which was wrong. American supplies of food, military
supplies, and other items were crucial in the Allied victory. After WWI, a more internationalized world
would be formed with the Treaty of Versailles and the League of Nations. Self-determination among
nations plus other places expanded in places like China, Turkey, Poland, the Soviet Union, etc.
American culture boomed and the continued fight for equality and justice (led by African Americans and
other human begins of diverse backgrounds like Native Americans, Mexican Americans, Asian
Americans, women, the poor, immigrants, etc.) existed.
Reconstruction
Reconstruction changed the world forever. It dealt with debates about governmental power. Also, it gave
black Americans freedom that didn’t exist before the Civil War. Some historians and scholars believe
that Reconstruction started as early as 1863 when the Emancipation Proclamation was issued which freed
slaves in the Confederacy. The end of the Civil War saw Southern cities like Charleston and Richmond
completely demolished. The South’s total wealth declined. Southern factories, plantations, and railroads
were gone. The South experienced desolations as a response to the Union’s efforts to end the
Confederacy. The Confederacy is to be blamed for promoting oppression. People talked about what to
do with eleven states that rebelled against the Union. Reconstruction dealt with rebuilding the South,
promoting the lives of newly black freed human beings, and creating the future of society. African
Americans continued to fight for full citizenship and equal rights after the war. Three million African
Americans in the South saw a new era and they mostly lived in rural communities. That is why tons of
black people were farmers back then and many black Americans came into the cities of the South for
economic opportunities. While some people like General William Tecumseh Sherman wanted millions
of acres of lands to be given to former slaves by the federal states (like forty acres and a mule doctrine of
Sherman), many southern landowners opposed this idea. African Americans from the South, during the
Reconstruction period and beyond, fought for voting rights, access to education, and other benefits that
most northern black people (and all black people in general) were fighting for too. Southern white racists
would fight against legitimate progress at every step of the way since they wanted their status and power in
society along with those racists being wicked too.

As early as 1864, people increasingly knew that the Union was going to win the Civil War. So, people
before 1865 talked about what do with newly freed black people once the war was over. There were three
views back then. One view was the progressive viewpoint, which wanted land sent to black Americans and
full equality. Conversely, Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson were the moderates who wanted an
immediate reconciliation of the Confederacy to the Union after the war was over. Both Lincoln and
Johnson wanted a national healing and immediate admission of rebel states into the Union. Abraham
Lincoln promoted the ten percent plan. This was the Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction. It
wanted ten percent of a state’s voters took a loyalty oath to the Union, and then the state would set up a
new government. If the state’s constitution abolished slavery and provided education for African
Americans, then that state would regain representation in Congress. In my personal opinion, Lincoln was
too generous and too accommodating to former Confederates. For example, Lincoln wanted to give
pardons (not prison time) for Confederates. He considered compensating them for lost property. He
recognized the pro-Union governments of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Tennessee even though they denied
African Americans the right to vote immediately after the Civil War.

Then, you have the disgusting reactionaries who rejected political and social equality for black people.
The progressives included black leaders and Radical Republicans who stood out to defend the Union
and they wanted punishment (including making former Confederate states to have the stipulation of
swearing allegiance to the Union) sent to the rebels for their actions of extremism during the Civil War
too. One leader of the Radical Republicans was Thaddeus Stevens and Charles Sumner. They opposed
Lincoln’s 10 percent plan since Confederates committed the crimes of enslaving black Americans and
advancing the Civil War. Lincoln’s plan was rejected and replaced with the Wade-Davis bill in 1864.
This policy required the state’s prewar voters to swear loyalty to the Union before the process of
restoration started. It promoted guarantees of equality to African Americans. Lincoln ended this plan by
a pocket veto or withholding his signature beyond the 10 day decline with the end of the congressional
session. Lincoln was wrong to do this.

On March 3, 1865, the Freedmen’s Bureau was established. This was supported by Lincoln. It was
formed to give assistance to newly emancipated African Americans. It had huge successes and large
economic burdens. Racist terrorism harmed many schools of the Freedmen’s Bureau. It ended by 1872.
The Freedmen’s Bureau wanted to give newly freed black persons food, clothing, health care, and
education including for white poor folks of the South. It also helped to reunite black families who were
split apart as a result of slavery. It was used to aid 4 million newly freed black human beings. It spent
about $5 million to set up schools for former slaves. Howard University, Hampton University, and Fisk
University were founded and financed with the help from the Freedmen’s Bureau too. After April 15,
1865, Andrew Johnson was President. Johnson would go on to be one of the most racist Presidents in
American history. Also, he refused to support even middle of road Reconstruction measures in a
vindictive way. The Union General Benjamin Butler in 1865 was elected to Congress as a Radical
Republican.

After Lincoln’s assassination in April 1865, Andrew Johnson became the next President. Like Lincoln,
Johnson wanted to restore Southern states to the Union as quickly as possible. His plan was to allow any
Confederate in the Union if they swore allegiance to the Union and the Constitution. He also wanted
each state to ratify the Thirteenth Amendment and draft a Constitution that abolished slavery. He wanted
wealthy planters to write to him personally in order to get a pardon as he detested wealthy planters. By
October 1, 1865, Andrew Johnson would pardon many Confederates in a higher rate. Like many
southerners, he was a stone cold racist who wanted America to be a “government for white men.”
Andrew Johnson didn’t want to give black Americans the right to vote. He believed in states’ rights in
allowing the states to deprive black people human freedoms. Andrew Johnson declared Reconstruction
over by December 1, 1865 which angered Radical Republicans. They refused to accept new governments
in the South. In December of 1865, most Confederate states had met Johnson’s plan for readmission
when Congress reconvened. By December 6, 1865, the 13th Amendment was ratified.

Ebenezer Don Carlos Bassett (1833- Mary Fields (ca. 1832-1914) has been Dr. Edward Alexander Bouchet (1852-
1908) was the first African American known as Stagecoach Mary. The 1918) was a physicist and educator.
diplomat and the fourth American reason is that she was the first African He was the first African Americans to
ambassador to Haiti in 1869. His American woman star route mail earn a Ph.D. from any American
family included people of the free carrier in the United States. She lived university. He completed his
black community in Derby, in Montana. She was a brave woman dissertation in physics at Yale in 1876.
Connecticut. He taught school in New who had a rifle to defend herself. She He worked in many jobs and is an
Haven and was a friend of the owned a laundry service and was a inspiration for those involved in STEM
abolitionist Frederick Douglass. respected, beloved person in fields.
Cascade, Montana.

The 13th Amendment abolished slavery in the United States of America. In the same year, Southern
states increased the existence of Black Codes. Black Codes are Jim Crow laws that restrict the rights of
African Americans involving voting, owning businesses, owning a gun, holding office, etc. Southern states
started to allow even Confederates in Congress. The black Codes forced African Americans to work in a
few jobs like servants or farm laborers. Many states banned black people from owning land as owning
land is a key prerequisite in real economic plus political power. Vagrancy laws existed that made any
black person who didn’t have a job could be arrested and made to work as prison labor (which involved
kidnapping and de facto slavery. This was part of the peonage system). During this time when with Union
military occupation of the South, many white southerners openly used violence and intimidation to
enforce the black codes. This was so evil that Radical Republicans and moderate Republican fought back
against the South’s disrespect of the essence of Reconstruction. When southern representatives came into
Washington, D.C. Congress refused their seats. Congress used a committee to investigate the treatment
of former slaves. The spring of 1866 saw more events. Radical Republicans wanted to defend the rights
of black people while Johnson opposed this plan. Congress passed a bill to fund the Freedmen’s Bureau.
It was given authority to punish state officials who failed to extend rights to African Americans. Johnson
vetoed this bill. On February of 1866, there was a black delegation with Frederick Douglass met with
Andrew Johnson. They wanted Johnson to promote voting rights for African Americans and Johnson was
opposed to this plan which caused more opposition to the Johnson administration.

April 9, 1866 was the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1866. This gave citizenship to African Americans
and guarantees equal rights. It created federal guarantees of civil rights and tried to stop states trying to do
evil. Johnson vetoed the law and defied Congress. Johnson objected to the bill on the grounds that he
believed that black people didn't deserve to become citizens, and that doing so would discriminate against
the white race. He also thought that both the Civil Rights Bill and the Freedmen's Bureau Bill would
centralize power at the federal level, depriving states of the authority to govern their own affairs (a typical
prewar philosophy of government). Johnson was a despicable white racist. Human rights are superior to
states' rights.

Later, Congress overturned the veto to make the Civil Rights Act of
1866 the law of the land. The Memphis race riot from May 1-3, 1866
was when white racists and the police killed 46 African Americans and
destroyed 90 homes, schools, and four churches in Memphis,
Tennessee. By July 30, 1866, the New Orleans race riot involved the
police murdering more than 40 black Americans and white
Republicans. More than 150 people were wounded. 1866 was the year
when the Ku Klux Klan was formed. It was a secret organization that
wanted to use murder, violence, and rape to terrorize African
Americans and establish white rule in the South. It was founded in
Pulaski, Tennessee. Radical and moderate Republicans blamed
Johnson’s total lenient policies of compromise for the violence against
black people in the South. Radical Reconstruction started when more This image shows the ruins of
Radical Republicans gained power in Congress. Tennessee was the Charleston, South Carolina in
first former Confederate state readmitted to the Union on July 24, 1865. The picture outlines Broad
1866. Riots and a race massacre break out in New Orleans, Louisiana. Street.
A white mob attacks Blacks and Radical Republicans attending a Black
suffrage convention, killing 40 people on July 30, 1866. Union forces further demobilized in the
South. Congress passes a third Freedman's Bureau bill, overriding another veto on July 16, 1866. On
November of 1866, Republicans win well over a two-thirds majority in the House of Representatives and
the Senate. The election is seen as a popular referendum on the widening divide between Johnson and
the Radical Republicans. By January 8, 1867, Overriding President Johnson's veto, Congress grants Black
male citizens in the District of Columbia the right to vote.

The 1867 Reconstruction act divided the former Confederacy states (of 10 of them) into five military
districts via the Military Reconstruction Act of 1867. Congress had overridden President Johnson’s veto
again. The generals (who were Union generals from the Civil War) ruled those districts until the states
had an oath of allegiance to the Union (and allow African Americans suffrage). These districts wanted
African American men to vote as women wouldn’t be allowed to vote until the 1900’s. In 1867, the
Republican convention in New Orleans has a party platform including promoting equality for African
Americans.

In 1867, tension with Johnson and the


Congress increased. Congress passed the
Tenure Office Act to control the President’s
power. It said that the President must have
Senate approval before getting rid of some
members of his office. Later, he tried to get
rid of the last Radical Republican in his
cabinet who was Secretary of War Edwin
Stanton. He barricaded himself in his office
for nearly 2 months. Then, the House of
Representative voted to impeach Johnson
for trying to fire Stanton. Johnson was so
stubborn that he had an impeachment trial
The Map of the five Reconstruction military districts by the Spring of 1868. From March to May
of 1868, by one vote, the U.S. Senate failed
First Military District to remove President Johnson from office.
Second Military District The moderates didn’t want Johnson to leave
Third Military District office. Andrew Johnson promised to
enforce the Reconstruction Acts. The
Fourth Military District
Fourteenth Amendment was ratified in July
Fifth Military District 21, 1868. This Amendment guaranteed due
process and equal protection under the law
to African Americans. The 14th Amendment wanted to punish any state the refused to allow black
people the right to vote with losing House seats. It banned leading Confederate officials from holding
federal or state offices.

On August 11, 1868, Thaddeus Stevens, Radical Republican leader in Congress, died at the age of
76. The Opelousas Massacre in Louisiana transpired on September 28, 1868 and it involved an
estimated 200 to 300 Black Americans being killed. On November 3, 1868, President Ulysses S. Grant
was elected President. He was the 18th President and a former Union general. He beat Democratic
candidate Horatio Seymour of New York State and he had a majority of the white vote. Congress passed
the Fifteenth Amendment in 1869. It forbade any state from denying suffrage on the grounds of race,
color, or previous condition of servitude. Many southern racists used loopholes to deprive black people
of voting rights by using literacy or property qualifications. In its 5 to 3 Texas v. White decision (on April
1, 1869), the U.S. Supreme Court declares Radical Reconstruction constitutional, stating that secession
from the Union is illegal. On April 6, 1869, Ebenezer Don Carlos Bassett is appointed minister to Haiti—
the first Black American diplomat and the first Black American presidential appointment. For many
years into the future, both Democratic and Republican administrations will follow a tradition of
appointing African Americans as ministers to Haiti and Liberia.

By year's end in December of 1869, the Freedmen's Bureau tallies nearly 3,000 schools, serving over
150,000 students, in the South; the first public school system in the South outside of North Carolina.
The Klan harmed African Americans and the poor. So, the passage of the Enforcement Act of 1870
made intimidation of people having voting rights a federal crime. The first redeemer government was in
Tennessee. This was in 1869 when TN replaced a biracial Republican state government with an all-white
Democratic government. This was followed by Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia in 1870. 1870 was
the year when all of the former Confederate states had met the requirements under Radical
Reconstruction and rejoined the Union. The Republicans dominated state governments. More African
Americans used their political power to be part of government at every level. More black people were
now school superintendents, sheriffs, mayors, coroners, and legislatures in the South. The Republican
Party also had members who were Scalawags or poor white people who agreed with Reconstruction.
Carpetbaggers came from the North and they wanted economic profit in the South via businesses. Many
of them were accused of financial exploitation of people. By February 23, 1870 was when the first black
senator was elected. His name was Hiram Revels of Mississippi and he was in the U.S. Senate as a great
political leader.

Sister Sarah J. Tompkins Garnet was a famous African


American educator and suffragist from New York City. She
was the first African American woman school principal in the
New York City public school system. She was born in
Brooklyn, New York City on July 31, 1831. She was also the
second wife of Henry Garnett. Her maiden name was Smith
as her parents were Sylvanus and Anne (Springsteel) Smith.
Her sister was Susan McKinney Steward (and Susan Steward
was the first African American woman in New York state to
earn a medical degree and the third woman in the United
States to have done so). Sarah Garnet was a suffragist and
was part of the National Association of Colored Women.
She passed away on September 17, 1911.
Important History

On February 12, 1865, Rev. Henry Highland Garnet, a former slave and pastor of the Fifteenth Street Presbyterian
Church in Washington, D.C., became the first African American to speak in the Capitol Building in Washington,
D.C. He married fellow abolitionist Julia Williams. They were key leaders of the Reconstruction movement. His
sermon was delivered on Sunday, February 12, 1865 within days of Congress's adoption of the 13th Amendment
banning slavery. A number of Republican leaders thought the occasion merited a public religious service to
commemorate the event. They extended the invitation to Rev. Garnet. The following words are from the sermon
titled, “Let the Monster Perish." It appears below.

"...The great day of the nation's judgment has come, and who shall be able to stand? Even we, whose ancestors have
suffered the afflictions which are inseparable from a condition of slavery, for the period of two centuries and a half, now
pity our land and weep with those who weep. Upon the total and complete destruction of this accursed sin depends
the safety and perpetuity of our Republic and its excellent institutions.

Let slavery die. It has had a long and fair trial. God himself has pleaded against it. The enlightened nations of the earth
have condemned it. Its death warrant is signed by God and man. Do not commute its sentence. Give it no respite, but
let it be ignominiously executed.

Honorable Senators and Representatives, illustrious rulers of this great nation, I cannot refrain this day from invoking
upon you, in God's name, the blessings of millions who were ready to perish, but to whom a new and better life has
been opened by your humanity, justice and patriotism. You have said, "Let the Constitution of the country be so
amended that slavery and involuntary servitude shall no longer exist in the United States, except in punishment for
crime." Surely, an act so sublime could not escape divine notice; and doubtless the deed has been recorded in the
archives of heaven. Volumes may be appropriated to your praise and renown in the history of the world. Genius and art
may perpetuate the glorious act on canvas and in marble, but certain and more lasting monuments in commemoration
of your decision are already erected in the hearts and memories of a grateful people..."
The Fifteenth Amendment was ratified on March 30, 1870. It extended the vote to all male citizens
regardless of race or previous condition of servitude. In 1871, the 43rd Congress had five black members
in the House of Representatives: Benjamin S. Turner of Alabama; Josiah T. Walls of Florida; and
Robert Brown Elliot, Joseph H. Rainey and Robert Carlos DeLarge of South Carolina. The first African
American governor was P. B. S. Pinchback, acting governor of Louisiana from December 9, 1872 to
January 13, 1873. Pinchback, a black politician, was the first black to serve as a state governor, although
due to white resistance, his tenure is extremely short. In 1874, for the first time since before the Civil
War, Democrats control both houses of Congress. Robert Smalls, black hero of the Civil War, was
elected to Congress as representative of South Carolina. Blanche K. Bruce was elected to U. S. Senate.
Blanche was born in Virginia as a slave. He learned to read. He left the plantation and went into Missouri
during the Civil War. He ran a school for black children and came into Oberlin College in Ohio. He was
a great landowner at age 25 by 1866. By his mid-thirties in 1874, he was elected to the United States
Senate. Ironically, no black Congressman was elected in the North until the twentieth century. Some
Republicans were wrong to not want women’s suffrage immediately since they felt that they couldn’t get
enough support to get voting rights for women. Black people and women gained new opportunities
during Reconstruction from working in medicine, schools, etc. Many women were leaders in orphanages
and relief programs.

Schools grew in the South during Reconstruction. Most were segregated. A few of the Radical
Republicans wanted integration. Land speculation, illiteracy, and poverty were fought against by
progressive people in the South. African Americans saw a new world with Reconstruction. Most black
people in the South were farmers and wanted land to cultivate their own lives and families. Many
organized economic institutions and civil rights groups to fight for their rights. The reason is that freedom
must be established by both using economic and political power merged into one. In other words, we
have to fight for just laws and get our economic power increased in order to fight poverty plus set up our
own institutions to benefit the black community as a whole. Black people worked as cooks, carpenters,
blacksmiths, and other workers in southern cities. Many experienced low pay, poor food, and
substandard housing. African American churches were places where black people worshiped, established
job opportunities, organized political movements, and helped to educate black people. In rural
communities, sharecropping existed. There were share tenancy and tenant farming. Sharecropping was
when a landowner dictated the crop and provided the sharecropper with a place to live. In return, a share
of the harvested was given to the sharecropper. The problem was that brought supplies were on credit
with high interest and the sharecroppers were forced to pay for these expensive items. Sharecroppers
would in term be in debt.
These leaders during Reconstruction (from left to right) were Robert Brown Elliot,
Robert Carlos DeLarge, and Octavius Catto.
Many landlords would lie about the costs of supplies and economically exploit sharecroppers who were
both black people and poor whites. Tenant farming involved renting and money management problems
existed too involving tenant farming. Sharecropping extended poverty in the black community. White
racism and black scapegoating contributed to the violent backlash against Reconstruction. Republicans
took over the governments of the South for a time. White racist southerners formed the Ku Klux Klan as
a means to stop Reconstruction. The Klan burned homes, schools, and churches. They came out in
night and killed, raped, and hanged African Americans and white progressives. Anyone (a minister, a
teacher, politicians, etc.), who encouraged black people to vote, were readily assaulted and murdered by
the Klan. The violence against black people was very large. The Congress acted by passing the
Enforcement Acts in 1870 and in 1871. It made it federal offense to interfere with a citizen’s right to vote.
Congress had hearings and invited black politicians and other people to talk about South. George Ruby
of Texas told Congress that he dragged into the woods and beat him because he opened a school in
Louisiana. On October 17, 1871, President Ulysses S. Grant declared martial law in South Carolina;
mass arrests follow, and by the following month, prosecutors are indicting Klan members under the Klan
and Enforcement Acts (the testimony of free black people were solicited).

Racist terrorism was in the North too. In Philadelphia, civil rights leader Octavius Otto was murdered by
a racist mob. He was a teacher and Isaiah Wears plus other black protested the racism found in the
North as well. Hundreds of Klansmen were indicted in America via the Enforcement Acts. After 1872,
violence against black people declined temporarily. With an ex-Confederate general Wade Hampton
being elected in South Carolina, the white racist backlash grew. Ulysses S. Grant did many progressive
things. His administration fought southern resistance to Reconstruction. His administration later had
financial scandals. Grant defeated Horace Greeley in the 1872 election. Reelection of Ulysses S. Grant
with a landslide victory occurred on November 1, 1872. Grant invited Black people to the inaugural ball
for the first time in American history. Later, greed and economic corruption saw the start of the Gilded
Age. The Panic of 1873 involved a recession with failed banks and overextended loans to the railroad
industry. Job losses came about.

On March 1, 1875, the Civil Rights Act of 1875 was enacted by Congress. It guaranteed equal rights to
African Americans in public accommodations and jury service. It was ruled unconstitutional in 1883. A
summer of race riots and terrorism directed against African Americans commenced in South Carolina in
June 1, 1875. President Grant sent federal troops to restore order. The time of from September 4, 1875 -
September 6, 1875 was the Clinton Massacre when than 20 Black Americans are killed in a massacre at
Clinton, Mississippi. In 1876, Republicans challenged the validity of the voting in South Carolina,
Florida, and Louisiana. Wade Hampton was inaugurated the governor of South Carolina, which shown
that Southern reactionary extremists didn’t want Reconstruction but oppression. In 1877, Rutherford B.
Hayes was inaugurated as President. The Electoral Commission awarded disputed electoral votes to the
Republican candidate. In 1877, Reconstruction officially ended with the disgraceful Great Compromise
of 1877. This allowed Rutherford Hayes to withdrawal federal troops from the South as a means for him
to be President. Reconstruction didn’t end because of one reason. The reasons included: the Northern
support evaporated (because of reforming politics and economic matters which is no excuse since you
can handle all issues at the same time), Radical Republicans either passed away or retired, Southern
racists gained power in Congress (via the bigoted Redemption movement), racist terrorists harmed black
people, black people lacked adequate protections, and the Supreme Court promoted decisions that
attacked equality. The Supreme Court in the Slaughterhouse Cases of 1873 restricted the 14th
Amendment in allowing states to regulate the scope of the Amendment.

States in the South soon deprived black people rights further. The 1876 decision of United States v.
Cruikshank overturned the conviction of the racist Cruikshank and wanted states to handle 14th
Amendment affairs (while saying that the 14th Amendment didn’t apply to individuals). Redeemers or
Southern whites who hated Reconstruction took control of legislatures throughout the South. In 1874,
Republicans lost control of the House of Representatives. Reconstruction has been debated to this day.
The truth is that Reconstruction was a heroic, and progressive experiment. Its end should be blamed on
bigots. Its goals were noble and it caused an increase of the education of African Americans, the
expansion of the industrial economy, and the growth of a tax supported educational system. After 1876,
bitterness between North and South continued and 100 years after Reconstruction, the second
Reconstruction of the Civil Rights Movement would finally end Jim Crow apartheid once and for all.
Reconstruction expanded rights and opportunities for African Americans. Also, the Reconstruction
period inspired women to fight for suffrage. Women should have the right to vote ASAP just like black
Americans and suffrage activists continued in their cause. Reconstruction expanded the role of the
federal government and the Republican Party became known as the party of Lincoln. The Democratic
Party included both reactionary southerners and industrial Northerners. The Radical Republicans ended
after Reconstruction, but new activists would develop to defend the human rights of black people and
humanity in general. Reconstruction truly changed the world forevermore.
The West
One of the most important parts of American history deals with the Old West. For thousands of years,
Native Americans were living in the Americas. After 1787, the Construction regulated trade among the
federal government and the Native Americans. The history is clear that the federal government not only
broke treaties with the indigenous peoples, but outraged kidnapped them and placed them into
reservations. From the 1840’s to the 1880’s, more settlers desired more lands even on Native Americans’
lands. After the Civil War, only 200,000 Native Americans lived to the west of the Mississippi River.
Native Americans lived in different cultures and lived in diverse areas. Plains tribes like the Sioux,
Blackfeet, Crows, Comanches, and Cheyenne relied on the buffalo for survival literally. Native
Americans viewed the land as sacred and it wasn’t to be owned for profit while many Europeans wanted
to own the land for economic reasons. Clashes occurred among settlers and Native Americans. By the
1860’s, more laws forced Native Americans to live in reservations. Those areas heavily had poverty,
dilapidated lands, and other problems. This was after the 1834 law that limited trade with Native
Americans and limited white settlers in Indian Territory. Many white settlers brought diseases that
harmed the Native American populations and hunters by the 1870’s almost made the buffalo extinct.
Some people murdered buffalos for sport.

Transpiration and technology rapidly expanded into the West. With that came more conflict among
Native American lifestyles and the growing American nation. Horace Greeley of the New York Tribune
encouraged people to travel into the West. In 1862, Sioux Native Americans fought settlers in eastern
Minnesota over territories. The Sioux rebellion escalated in 1864 when Colorado militia murdered
unarmed Cheyenne and Arapaho civilians. The Native Americans raised the American flag to promote
peace, but the militia murdered men, women, and even children. This was the Sand Creek massacre.
War grew. John Covington was the commanding officer of the incident.

During this time, the West was transformed by railroads, ranches, and mining. Mining communities
desired gold, silver, and other resources. Some authorities hired vigilantes to enforce the law in mining
towns. Some mining towns existed temporarily. Chinese Americans and others helped to create the
Transcontinental Railroads that expanded the developments of cities and towns. Vaqueros and ranchers
owned livestock. Cowboys helped to allow cattle to travel for months into various markets. Cowboys were
white, Mexican, and African American men. To this day, cowboys perform nationwide and they include
women too. The West was complex with discrimination and economic growth. It had Asians, black
people, Mexicans, white people, Native Americans, etc. Homesteads expanded land. Exodusters
included African Americans who wanted to escape the South in order to have self-sufficient, autonomous
communities in places like Kansas and Oklahoma. By 1890, the Western frontier era ended. The new
era of the West would be filled with challenges and fights for equality among Americans.

After the Civil War, both white and black Union soldiers joined forces to subdue the Native Americans.
This was imperialism and it was wrong. Recruitment efforts existed to gain more U.S. soldiers for the job.
The Plains Native Americans tried to hold onto to their territories, but the federal government wouldn’t
let up. In 1866, Red Cloud and his allies lured Captain William Fetterman and his troops. They killed
them. Some people wanted education for Native Americans while others wanted strict rule over them.
The racist United States Indian Peace Commission wanted Native Americans to submit to white
civilization in order for peace to come. The Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 dealt with Sioux lands.
Promises were broken with treaties and conflict continued. The Red River War existed in the late 1800’s
as far as Texas. Comanche people surrendered by 1875.

The Battle of the Little Big Horn was about lands. Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull wanted to drive out
prospectors in their lands. By June 1876, General George Custer was defeated by Crazy Horse with his
2,000 Native American forces. Custer and his men died. Sitting Bull escaped into Canada. Crazy Horse
and his followers surrendered because of starvation and bad weather. Many of the Nez Perces came into
reservations, Also, Chief Joseph tried to go into Canada, but he surrendered. He came into Washington,
D.C. to defend the interests of his Native American people. The Ghost Dance revival inspired a new
resistance movement against U.S. imperialism. In 1890, the government wanted to arrest Sitting Bull.
There was the massacre in Wounded Knee, South Dakota where over 100 men, women, and children
Native Americans were murdered by U.S. forces. Assimilation came and many Native Americans were
stripped of their rights and culture. Some reformers opposed the brutal treatment of Native Americans
like the author Helen Hunt Jackson. Congress passed the Dawes Act in 1887. It dealt with land allotment
to Native Americans and other issues. Native Americans would continue to fight for their freedom after
the 1890’s too.
Industrialization and the Gilded Age
The growth of industry after the U.S. Civil War transformed the total landscape of American society.
This period also involved new inventions and the Gilded Age including the growth of unions (which were
created to defend the rights of workers). The Industrial Revolution started in the late 1700’s. It grew in
America by the 1800’s with railroads and other devices. Coal and iron was used as resources. By the
1850’s, a new era came about in America. This new era involved steel, oil, and the new power source of
electricity. This was the time when goods were created for quicker and efficiently. Immigration grew in
causing more labor resources to construct railroads, goods, and other services in America. The natural
resources of wood from trees, oil, etc. were utilized in many machines. 1 million immigrants per year
came into America by 1905. Horatio Alger wrote his novel that mentioned the story of a poor boy who
worse to wealth and fame by working hard. This promoted capitalism and entrepreneurs. Capitalism
believes that the free market enterprise should dictate the functions of the economy. Entrepreneurs
invested in money in a product in order for them to make profit. They worked in favor of
industrialization. The factories, the mines, and the railroads grew jobs and had foreign investment too.
The government encourages the free enterprise system. The government gave millions of acres of lands
to railroad builders, so they could link East and West. Congress passed protective tariffs or taxes that
would make imported goods cost more than goods that were made locally. Back then, little regulation of
businesses occurred, which was laissez faire capitalism.

An Inspirational, Courageous Quotation


“…When we unite and act together on the industrial field and when we vote
together on election day we shall develop the supreme power of the one class
that can and will bring permanent peace to the world. We shall then have
the intelligence, the courage and the power for our great task. In due time
industry will be organized on a cooperative basis. We shall conquer the
public power. We shall then transfer the title deeds of the railroads, the
telegraph lines, the mines, mills and great industries to the people in their
collective capacity; we shall take possession of all these social utilities in the
name of the people. We shall then have industrial democracy. We shall be a
free nation whose government is of and by and for the people...”

-The Canton, Ohio Speech, Anti-War Speech by Eugene Debs on June 16,
1918
Gilded Age-era Infrastructure

Wabash, Indiana was the first The Brooklyn Bridge was completed in The neoclassical structure of the
city to use electric street lights in 1883. It is a cable and suspension bridge Statue of Liberty was dedicated
the United States of America. By (being the first of its kind) that links up the on October 28, 1886. It was
March 31, 1880, four 3,000 candle boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn designed by the French sculptor
power lamps were suspended spanning the East River. Its main span has Federic Auguste Bartholdi and it
from the top of the courthouse. 1,595.5 feet. It has been known as a U.S. was built by Gustave Eiffel. It has
Two telegraph wires ran from the National Register of Historic Places, a U.S. been a welcoming site to
lamps to the courthouse National Historic Landmark, and a NYC immigrants who came into New
basement, when they were Landmark. York City from countries
connected to a threshing worldwide.
machine to provide power.

The government promoted patents to protect inventors and their inventions. In 1876, Thomas Edison
worked with wealthy industrialists like J. P. Morgan to promote a research laboratory at Menlo Park, New
Jersey. Edison created a patient for the electric light bulb by 1880. In 2 years, he installed a street lighting
system in New York City. The telegraph was invented in 1844 by Samuel Morse. The telegraph sent
communications among thousands of miles in America. In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell invented the
telephone and in 1896, Guglielmo Marconi created the wireless telegraph which influenced the
development of radio. The sewing machine was created by Elias Howe in 1846. The safety elevator was
formed by Elisha Otis. In 1884, the improved steam boiler furnace was created by African American
Granville Woods. This helped to power trains. Steel would grow being lightweight, but powerful. Such
steel was used in skyscrapers and suspension bridges. The Brooklyn Bridge is a suspension bridge being
the first of its kind spanning the East River in New York City. It was completed in 1883. It was the largest
bridge in the world back then. Modern time zones would form by the 1880’s and industry growth would
develop mass production. World markets would be linked more closely with the explosion of modern
inventions. More Americans moved into the cities from rural farms. America became a more powerful
global political, economic power. Industrial waste increased including dust storms and agricultural
problems too, so the environmental movement inspired the creation of the National Park Service and
Yellowstone Park in 1872.

With the growth of business, corporations would dominate railroad systems, resources, and other goods
plus services. One robber baron was Andrew Carnegie. Corporations were owned by a group of
shareholders. Investors would have a dedication to fund the growth of corporations too. Corporations
would be dictated by public shareholders, under them would be the Board of Directors, under them
were the managers, and the managers control the employees. J. P. Morgan and Cornelius Vanderbilt had
massive power. Some corporations dominated a product or service which would be a monopoly. John D.
Rockefeller would make deals with railroads in growing his oil profits. Horizontal integration and vertical
integration were tactics used by corporations in controlling profits and products. Trusts were used by
John D. Rockefeller in order to escape state law preventing companies from owning stock of another
company. The paradox is that many robber barons like Carnegie, Rockefeller, and Vanderbilt used cut
throat tactics in their economic policies while investing in universities, museums, and libraries at the same
time (which they felt would give the disadvantaged the chance to attain wealth). Social Darwinism is
related to Charles Darwin’s Origin of the Species book. Social Darwinism means that wealth was one
measure of one inherit value and those most fit are entitled to that wealth. Social Darwinism is evil since
it promotes classism and it is overtly bigoted against the poor. With these monopolies growing, the
government took action. The U.S. Senate created the ICC or the Interstate Commerce Commission to
oversee railroad operations. The Sherman Antitrust Act in 1890 was passed by the Senate to regulate
trusts. It would be rarely enforced until the Progressive Age years later.

With this massive era of the Gilded Age, the workers fought back for economic justice
heroically. Business owners and workers struggled in the midst of conflicts and disagreements on how to
move forward. Workers experienced heavy hardships during the Gilded Age. Many workers faced long
hours, bad conditions, injuries, and even death from working accidents. Men, women, and children
worked in factories. Families struggled to get child care or education for children. Later, states passed
laws to ban child labor. Company towns were about business renting areas where workers would live.
Corruption inspired the growth of labor unions. Labor unions fought for workers’ rights like collective
bargaining. This was about benefits in helping workers. They came after a strike. The National Trades
Union was the first national labor union being founded in 1834. Many groups wanted higher wages and
the 10 hour work day. Socialism grew too. Socialism believed in the public control of property and
income. German philosophers Karl Marx and Freiderich Engels promoted the ideas of socialism with
their book entitled, The Communist Manifesto. It predicted that capitalism would end when workers
would rise up to overturn it. Most Americans rejected Communism, but socialism was popular in many
smaller circles back then and today.

The Knights of Labor was created by Uriah Smith Stephens to defend labor rights. They even recruited
African Americans. Stephens wanted a workers’ cooperative to replace capitalism. By 1885, the Knights
of Labor had women and people of every race or ethnicity. It disappeared largely by the 1890’s. Samuel
Gompers created the American Federation or the AFL in 1886. The AFL wanted unions to protect
crafts making workers. They wanted higher wages, great working conditions, and low working hours. The
AFL excluded women since they falsely believed that women depressed wages. Many AFL excluded
black workers when they had no explicit policy banning black people from joining. Strikes occurred in
1877 involving railroad workers. The Haymarket Square strike in 1886 in Chicago wanted an eight hour
work day. Many people left the Knights of Labor afterwards. The Homestead Strike wanted higher wages
and the Pullman strikes wanted a better cost of living and higher wages. Eugene V. Debs was a leader in
that strike. Debs was arrested for being involved in the strike. Debs would be a socialist and help for form
the IWW or the Industrial Workers of the World. The Gilded Age ironically helped to spread socialism
and labor rights activists worldwide, because the corruption of robber barons were so overt that radical
change would be necessary for justice to exist for workers. The Gilded Age saw more skyscrapers, more
mass transit like cable cars being electric, trolley cars, and the first U.S. subway system in Boston by 1897.
New York City had its subway system by 1904.
New Social Realities
America is based on diverse peoples representing their cultures. During the era after the Civil War,
massive urbanization (or the rapid growth of cities) developed along with industrialization (or the growth
of factories and railroads). There was an expansion of farming as well. This was facilitated by increased
high levels of immigration. From 1865 to 1918, there was a historic, unprecedented plus diverse amount
of immigrants who came into the United States of America. They came into America in the number of
27.5 million people. 89% of these immigrants or 24.4 million people came from Europe, 2.9 million
from Britain, 2.2 million from Ireland, 2.1 million from Scandinavia, 3.8 million from Germany, 4.1
million from Italy, 7.8 million from Russia and other parts of eastern and central Europe. Another 1.7
million came from Canada. Many came from Africa and the Caribbean too.

Most of these human beings came through the port of New York City, and from 1892, through the
immigration station on Ellis Island. Many ethnic groups settled in different locations. New York City and
other large cities of the East Coast became home to large Jewish, Irish, and Italian populations. Many
Germans and Central Europeans moved into the Midwest. Some of them had jobs in industry and
mining. At the same time, about one million French Canadians migrated from Quebec into New
England. Immigrants came into America because of poverty, religious threats, and other reasons. They
saw America as the “Promised Land” of milk and honey. Many wanted jobs, farmland, and had kin
connections to those in America too. Many of them worked at factories, mines, and construction sites.
Some found farming opportunities in the Plains states too.

Many immigrants were welcomed (other European immigrants weren't for a time) while Asian people
experienced massive racism and discrimination. Many Chinese Americans constructed railroads in the
West Coast, but were treated in a dismissive fashion unlike Western European immigrants. After
massively racist, intense anti-Chinese agitation in the West, Congress passed the evil Chinese Exclusion
Act of 1882. It was signed into law by President Chester A. Arthur. It suspended Chinese immigration
for 10 years and then it was renewed in 1892 and made banning Chinese immigration permanent in
1902. It was the first evil American law to prevent a specific ethnic group from immigrating into America.
It was repealed by the Magnuson Act of December 17, 1943. Yet, even that law allowed for the
continuation of the ban against ownership of property and businesses by the ethnic Chinese people. In
many states, Chinese Americans (including US citizens) were denied property-ownership rights either by
law or de facto until the Magnuson Act itself was fully repealed in 1965. Some immigrants stayed
temporarily in the U.S. then returned home, often with savings that made them relatively prosperous.
Most, however, permanently left their native lands and stayed in hope of finding a better life in the New
World. This desire for freedom and prosperity led to the famous term, the American Dream.

In terms of the religion, the Third Great Awakening existed from the late 1850’s to the early 1900’s. It
saw the growth of evangelical Protestantism from the late 1850’s to the early 1900’s. During this time, this
movement promoted social activism and affected pietistic Protestant denominations. Many followers of
this Awakening believed in the postmillennial theology that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ would
come after humankind had reformed the whole earth. A major component was the Social Gospel
Movement, which applied Christianity to social issues and gained its force from the Awakening, as did
the worldwide missionary movement. New groupings emerged, such as the Holiness movement and
Nazarene movements, and Christian Science. At the same time, the Catholic Church grew rapidly, with a
base in the German, Irish, Polish, and Italian immigrant communities, and a leadership drawn from the
Irish. The Catholics were largely working class and concentrated in the industrial cities and mining towns,
where they built churches, parochial schools, and charitable institutions, as well as colleges. The Jewish
community grew rapidly, especially from the new arrivals from Eastern Europe who settled chiefly in
New York City. They avoided the Reform synagogues of the older German Jewish people and instead
formed Orthodox and Conservative synagogues.

This bronze representation of Ezra


Lazarus’ The New Colossus poem
is found at the Statue of Liberty.
The poem from Ezra Lazarus was
instructive on the point that the
oppressed and the downtrodden
don’t have to suffer in silence. They
can travel into America to receive
compassion, human dignity, and
justice. Today, we are always in
faithful commitment to advance
the principles of social justice and
human liberation.
The image shows the Ellis Island
museum today.
This (or the image in the center) was the Second Ellis Island Immigration Station
which was opened on December 17, 1900. This image above is from 1905.

Ellis Island
One of the great stories of American history deals with Ellis Island (which is found
in the Upper New York Bay). It was a gateway where over 12 million immigrants
came into America. Many of them escaped persecution, some wanted economic
opportunities, and they all desired freedom. The immigrants who came into Ellis
Island were of every color and of many creeds. They came from England, Ireland,
Italy, Greece, Russia, Germany, the Balkans, Scandinavia, Africa, the Caribbean,
This photo by Lewis Hine and other locations. Ellis Island lasted from 1892 to 1954. Today, it is a U.S.
showed immigrants
arriving at Ellis Island in ca.
National Monument since 1965. With events going on today, we are committed to
1908. the promoting the dignity and human rights of immigrants 100 percent.

This is the modern image of the Great


This was the Ellis Hospital. A DVD
Hall where immigrants were
called Forgotten Ellis Island has
processed.
Millions of immigrants were information that shows the history
inspected lasting on average of the Ellis Island Hospital. The
2-5 hours. New arrivals were documentary was made by Lorie
asked 29 questions like their Conway.
name, occupation, and the
money that they carried. They
were tested for diseases too. “Everywhere immigrants have enriched and strengthened the
fabric of American life.”
-President John F. Kennedy
Race relations between 1877 and 1918 were horrible. Black Americans during this time lost many of
their civil rights obtained via Reconstruction. Many African Americans suffered racial discrimination,
racist lynching, violence, and anti-black racial riots. This led to many problems in the living conditions of
many African Americans. The South expanded Jim Crow laws. These laws didn’t just deal with restricting
voting (literacy tests, poll taxes, and grandfather clauses were used to deprive black people in the South to
vote). Grandfather clauses didn’t want people to vote if their grandfathers didn’t vote before 1866. Since,
many black people in the South were slaves before 1866, many black people weren’t allowed to vote. It
meant separate, unequal restaurants, trains, pools, cemeteries, schools, and other facets of society. Many
white people formed all white primaries to only allow whites to have a voice in elections. In 1896, Homer
Plessy, an African American, was denied of his rights via the Supreme Court’s Plessy v. Ferguson
decision. That decision upheld racial segregation via its sick “separate but equal” doctrine. The case came
after Homer Plessy sat in a white section of a Louisiana train car. By the end of World War II, only 3
percent of African Americans had the right to vote. Black people in Louisiana went from 130,000 people
voting in 1894 to only 1,300 people voting in 1904. Black Americans fought back too. Frederick
Douglass lived during racial oppression, but told his allies to continue to agitate and fight for freedom by
the late 1800’s.

Black Americans created civil rights groups, women’s clubs, fraternal organizations, schools, colleges, and
political organizations in fighting for our human rights back then. Many black people had diverse views
on how to achieve equality (like Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois), but they agreed with the
same goal (which is equality and justice for black people). Booker T. Washington was born a slave and
became free. His legacy was part of educational opportunities for those of black African descent. He was
right to advance education and vocational work for African Americans. He was right to promote land
ownership. He was wrong to advance the principle that true equal rights must be based on previous
preparation for it. Freedom is not based on a clock, but should be given immediately irrespective of
anything. He was also wrong to believe in a capitalist extremism and to promote the Atlanta Compromise
since justice is not compromise, but liberation. You don’t compromise with your oppressor, but you
defeat your oppression. Later in his life, Booker T. Washington would support efforts to end Jim Crow.

W.E. B. Du Bois believed that political agitation and embracing a liberal arts education would cause
equality for black people. DuBois is right that no accommodating of southern white racists is needed and
he was right that black people should demand for immediate equality via political agitation. DuBois was
wrong to advance the Talented Tenth principle or a select of bourgeois black people being made leaders
of the black community. Leadership is egalitarian not possessed on a very few amount of people. We can
all be leaders. DuBois is right to promote many progressive positions on housing, the economy, and on
being anti-imperialist. Ida B. Wells also opposed lynching and racism. She was raised in Holly Springs,
Mississippi. She knew both Frederick Douglass and WEB DuBois. She was one founder of the NAACP
which started in 1909. D. W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation (1915), the first blockbuster American film,
made heroes of the KKK in Reconstruction. It was a very racist film while black people protested it
including members of the NAACP. Saum Song Bo opposed racism against Chinese people during this
time. Many California cities banned employing Chinese people. Segregated Asian schools were in San
Francisco during the 1880’s.

In 1886, the Supreme Court case of Yick Wo v. Hopkins ruled that a Chinese immigrant could own a
laundry. By 1868, the Supreme Court ruled that Chinese people born in America maintained their
citizenship rights, but it didn’t end the Chinese Exclusion Act. Mexican Americans fought for the rights
when many whites stole their lands after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. PLM or the Partido Liberal
Mexicano helped Mexican Americans to receive job and housing services in their desire for equality and
justice. The group of the Las Gorras Blancas fought back to maintain Mexican American land rights. The
Society of American Indians was created in 1911 in order to help Native American to preserve their
cultures and fight for their rights. The Anti-Defamation League was created by Jewish people in order to
help Jewish families and fight anti-Semitism.

The Populism movement existed by the late 19th century. The Southern ruling class after Reconstruction
mostly was made up of Democrats. They expanded their hegemony. The Populist movement was about
resistance to the oppression which came against farmers. It started as a class rebellion. Many populists
said that Wall Street with its monopolistic interests dominated the lives of the common people and this
reality must change. Many Southern Populists called for revolution beyond just reform. By 1880, the
Granger movement began to decline and was replaced by the Farmers' Alliance. From the beginning, the
Farmers' Alliance was a political organization with elaborate economic programs. According to one early
platform, its purpose was to "unite the farmers of America for their protection against class legislation and
the encroachments of concentrated capital." Their program also called for the regulation—if not the
outright nationalization—of the railroads; currency inflation to provide debt relief; the lowering of the
tariff; and the establishment of government-owned storehouses and low-interest lending facilities. These
were known as the Ocala Demands. During the late 1880's, a series of droughts devastated the West.
Western Kansas lost half its population during a four-year span. By 1890, the level of agrarian distress
was at an all-time high. Mary Elizabeth Lease, a noted populist writer and agitator, told farmers that they
needed to "raise less corn and more hell." Working with sympathetic Democrats in the South and small
third parties in the West, the Farmer's Alliance made a push for political power. From these elements, a
new political party, known as the Populist Party, emerged. The elections of 1890 brought the new party
into coalitions that controlled parts of state government in a dozen Southern and Western states and sent
a score of Populist senators and representatives to Congress.

Its first convention was in 1892, when delegates from farm, labor and reform organizations met in
Omaha, Nebraska, determined at last to make their mark on a U.S. political system that they viewed as
hopelessly corrupted by the monied interests of the industrial and commercial trusts. The pragmatic
portion of the Populist platform focused on issues of land, railroads and money, including the unlimited
coinage of silver. The Populists showed impressive strength in the West and South in the 1892 elections,
and their candidate for President polled more than a million votes. It was the currency question,
however, pitting advocates of silver against those who favored gold that soon overshadowed all other
issues. Agrarian spokesmen in the West and South demanded a return to the unlimited coinage of silver.
Convinced that their troubles stemmed from a shortage of money in circulation, they argued that
increasing the volume of money would indirectly raise prices for farm products and drive up industrial
wages, thus allowing debts to be paid with inflated dollars.

Conservative groups and the financial classes, on the other hand, believed that such a policy would be
disastrous, and they insisted that inflation, once begun, could not be stopped. Railroad bonds, the most
important financial instrument of the time, were payable in gold. If fares and freight rates were set in half-
price silver dollars, railroads would go bankrupt in weeks, throwing hundreds of thousands of men out of
work and destroying the industrial economy. Only the gold standard, they said, offered stability. The
financial Panic of 1893 heightened the tension of this debate. Bank failures abounded in the South and
Midwest; unemployment soared and crop prices fell badly. The crisis, and President Cleveland's inability
to solve it, nearly broke the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party, which supported silver and free
trade, absorbed the remnants of the Populist movement as the presidential elections of 1896 neared. The
Democratic convention that year was witness to one of the most famous speeches in U.S. political history.
Pleading with the convention not to "crucify mankind on a cross of gold", William Jennings Bryan, the
young Nebraskan champion of silver, won the Democrats' presidential nomination. The remaining
Populists also endorsed Bryan, hoping to retain some influence by having a voice inside the Bryan
movement. Bryan wanted Populist votes, but didn’t agree with Populism philosophically. Despite
carrying the South and all the West except California and Oregon, Bryan lost the more populated,
industrial North and East—and the election—to the Republican William McKinley with his campaign
slogan "A Full Dinner Pail.”

Many in the populist movement included white and black people together. Many Populists wanted to
fight for the rights of both black and white farmers. One famous Black Populist was Reverend R. S.
Doyle. The Colored Farmers’ Alliance had more than 1.25 million black members by 1890. Yet, racists
infiltrated the Populist movement at the end which contributed to its total end. Tom Watson was a racist
and anti-Semitic Populist member before he died. In 1897, the economy began to improve, mostly from
restored business confidence. Silverites—who did not realize that most transactions were handled by bank
checks, not sacks of gold—believed the new prosperity was spurred by the discovery of gold in the Yukon.
In 1898, the Spanish–American War drew the nation's attention further away from Populist issues. If the
movement was dead, however, its ideas were not. Once the Populists supported an idea, it became so
tainted that the vast majority of American politicians rejected it; only years later, after the taint had been
forgotten, was it possible to achieve Populist reforms, such as the direct popular election of Senators in
1914. The end of the Populist movement saw the expansion of white racism in the South. Ironically, the
Populist movement's views would inspire the later Progressive movement. New leaders would emerge to
fight against racism too.

Women's Suffrage
The women’s suffrage movement started at the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention. Many of these activists
supported the abolitionist movement. It was reorganized after the Civil War. In 1869, Susan B. Anthony
and Elizabeth Cady Stanton formed the National Woman Suffrage Association to fight for a
constitutional amendment that would give women the right to vote. Anthony in 1872 voted in an election
in Rochester, New York. She was tried and convicted in federal court since women were banned from
voting in New York State back then. Only Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, and Idaho granted women the
right to vote in 1906 (which was the year of Anthony’s passing). Some suffragists were for prohibition in
groups like the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. By the end of the 19th century, a few western
states gave women the right to vote. Many women won victories like gaining rights in property and child
custody, but full equality didn’t exist back then. During the early 1900’s, women experienced long hours,
dangerous conditions, and sexism. By 1912, the movement reawakened into a higher level. The
movement demanded equality and fought for ending corruption in American politics. Protests became
increasingly common as suffragette Alice Paul led parades through the capitol and major cities. Paul led
the National Woman’s Party of NWP to fight for women’s equality.

Paul split from the large National American Woman Suffrage Association
(NAWSA), which favored a more moderate approach and supported the
Democratic Party and Woodrow Wilson, led by Carrie Chapman Catt, and
formed the more militant National Woman's Party. Also, suffragists were
diverse. Catt had supporters of women who were Jewish immigrants, African
Americans, and Mexican Americans. Many suffragists opposed racism and
some were overt white supremacist racists. Suffragists were arrested during
their "Silent Sentinels" pickets at the White House, the first time such a tactic
was used, and were taken as political prisoners. Finally, the suffragettes were
ordered released from prison, and Wilson urged Congress to pass a
Constitutional amendment enfranchising women.

The old anti-suffragist argument that only men could fight a war, and Ida B. Wells did the right
therefore only men deserved the franchise, was refuted by the enthusiastic thing in exposing racist
participation of tens of thousands of American women on the home front in white suffragists. Not all
suffragists were racists, but
World War I. Across the world, numerous nations gave women the right to
many were like Frances E.
vote. Furthermore, most of the Western states had already given women the
Willard and others. Willard
right to vote in state and national elections, and the representatives from those was forced to condemn
states, including the first voting woman Jeannette Rankin of Montana, lynching and she
demonstrated that Women's Suffrage was a success. The main resistance condoned chapters of her
came from the south, where white leaders were worried about the threat of organization to have
black women voting. The truth is that black women have the right to vote just segregation (under the
like anyone else and black women should always be respected and cherished sick guise of “states’
as equal human beings period. Congress passed the Nineteenth Amendment rights”). Willard also made
in 1919. Carrie Catt and Florence Kelley led the NAWSA by this time after a racist comment in an
they supported the war effort. The moderate NAWSA and the more 1890 interview.
progressive National Women’s Party contributed to the passage of the 19th
Amendment. It became constitutional law on August 26, 1920, after ratification by the 36th required
state. First the first time, millions of American women nationwide would be allowed to vote for anyone
in the United States of America.
Foreign Policy
There came the landslide election victory of William McKinley. He had risen to national prominence 6
years earlier with the passage of the McKinley Tariff of 1890. This was a high tariff that was passed in
1897. Some believed that a decade of rapid economic growth and prosperity existed as a product of that
tariff. National self-confidence grew. McKinley brought into America a new era of governing. It would
dominate the 20th century U.S. political atmosphere. Politics existed in compromising among interests
groups and the national interest was promoted. McKinley wanted economic growth, prosperity for all,
and pluralism for every group. He rejected programs like prohibition and immigration restriction that
were designed to hurt people. He wanted parties to enact the people’s will and educate them to new
ideas. One of McKinley’s greatest mistakes would be his involvement in imperialistic wars. Back during
centuries ago, Spain once controlled a vast colonial empire. By the second half of the 19th century, only
Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and some African possessions remained. The Cubans always
rebelled against imperialism for a long them. The Cubans were in a state of rebellion since the 1870’s.
American newspapers advanced yellow journalism. Also, the New York City papers of William
Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer had shown stories about Spanish atrocities in Cuba. These stories
only reached a small amount of Americans. Some people called for an intervention.

On February 15, 1898, the battleship USS Maine exploded in Havana Harbor. Although it was unclear
precisely what caused the blast, many Americans believed it to be the work of a Spanish mine, an attitude
encouraged by the yellow journalism of Hearst and Pulitzer. The military was rapidly mobilized as the
U.S. prepared to intervene in the Cuban revolt. It was made clear that no attempt at annexation of Cuba
would be made and that the island's independence would be guaranteed. Spain considered this a wanton
intervention in its internal affairs and severed diplomatic relations. War was declared on April 25, 1898.
Spanish forces were quickly defeated and Theodore Roosevelt's Rough Riders gained fame in Cuba.
Meanwhile, Commodore George Dewey's fleet crushed the Spanish in the land of the Philippines. Spain
capitulated, ending the three-month-long war and recognizing Cuba's independence. Puerto Rico, Guam,
and the Philippines were ceded to the United States. Many American forces occupied many areas of the
Caribbean areas and enacted brutal mistreatment of Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Haitians, and other people.

Although U.S. capital investments within the Philippines and Puerto Rico were small, some politicians
hoped they would be strategic outposts for expanding trade with Latin America and Asia, particularly
China. That never happened and after 1903 American attention turned to the Panama Canal as the key
to opening new trade routes. The Spanish–American War thus began the active, globally oriented
American foreign policy that continues to the present day. The U.S. acquired the Philippines from Spain
on December 10, 1898 via the Treaty of Paris. This ended the Spanish American War. Yet, Philippine
revolutionaries led by Emilo Aguinaldo declared independence and in 1899, started to fight the U.S.
troops. The war was brutal with massive U.S. war crimes against the people of the Philippines existing.
The Philippine–American War ended in 1901 after Aguinaldo was captured and swore allegiance to the
U.S. Likewise the other insurgents accepted American rule and peace prevailed, except in some remote
islands under Muslim control. Roosevelt continued the McKinley policies of removing the Catholic friars
(with compensation to the Pope), upgrading the infrastructure, introducing public health programs, and
launching a program of economic and social modernization. The enthusiasm shown in 1898–99 for
colonies cooled off, and Roosevelt saw the islands as "our heel of Achilles." He told Taft in 1907, "I
should be glad to see the islands made independent, with perhaps some kind of international guarantee
for the preservation of order, or with some warning on our part that if they did not keep order we would
have to interfere again.” By then, the President and his foreign policy advisers turned away from Asian
issues to concentrate on Latin America, and Roosevelt redirected Philippine policy to prepare the islands
to become the first Western colony in Asia to achieve self-government. The Filipinos fought side by side
with the Americans when the Japanese invaded in 1941, and aided the American re-conquest of the
islands in 1944–45; independence came in 1946.

During that time, America demanded Spain to stop its oppressive policies in Cuba. Public opinion
(which overruled McKinley) led to the short and successful Spanish-American War in 1898. The U.S.
permanently took over Puerto Rico (making Puerto Ricans Americans) and temporarily held Cuba.
More American involvement in the Caribbean continued. There was the growth of Pacific states like
California. Some wanted a canal across to connect the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Plans for one in
Nicaragua fell through but under Roosevelt's leadership the U.S. built a canal through Panama, after
finding a public health solution to the deadly disease environment. The Panama Canal opened in 1914.
In 1904, Roosevelt announced his "Corollary" to the Monroe Doctrine, stating that the United States
would intervene in cases where American governments prove incapable or unstable in the interest of
bringing democracy and financial stability to them.
That doctrine is nothing more than U.S. imperialism as sovereignty has the right to govern their own
affairs without American authoritarian involvement in those affairs. America made many interventions in
Latin America. They wanted to stabilize shaky governments and permit nations to develop their own
economies under U.S. influence. This intervention policy ended in the 1930’s to be replaced by the
Good Neighbor Policy. In 1909, Nicaraguan President Jose Santos Zelaya resigned after the triumph of
U.S.-backed rebels. This followed up with the 1912-1933 U.S. occupation of Nicaragua. The military
U.S. occupation of Haiti took place in 1915. This came after the mob execution on of the Haitian leader.
Some feared a possible German takeover over the island. Germans controlled 80% of the Haitian
economy by 1914 and they were bankrolling revolutions that kept the country in political turmoil. The
conquest resulted in a 19-year-long United States occupation of Haiti. Haiti was a location that promoted
black racial themes to numerous American writers including Eugene O'Neill, James Weldon Johnson,
Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston and Orson Welles.

The U.S. occupation of Haiti involved U.S. violence against Haitian people regularly. Limited American
intervention occurred in Mexico as that country fell into a long period of anarchy and civil war starting in
1910. In April 1914, U.S. troops occupied the Mexican port of Veracruz following the Tampico
Incident; the reason for the intervention was Woodrow Wilson's desire to overthrow the Mexican
dictator Victoriano Huerta. In March 1916, Pancho Villa led 1,500 Mexican raiders in a cross-border
attack against Columbus, New Mexico, attacked a U.S. Cavalry detachment, seized 100 horses and
mules, burned the town, and killed 17 of its residents. President Woodrow Wilson responded by
sending 12,000 troops, under Gen. John J. Pershing, into Mexico to pursue Villa. The Pancho Villa
Expedition to capture Villa failed in its objectives and was withdrawn in January 1917. In 1916, the U.S.
occupied the Dominican Republic. This was a new era of more overt American imperialism, which was
disgraceful and evil.

The Progressive Era


Many people described the Progressive Era in many different ways. This era of American history lasted
from 1890 to 1920. It was the time when many reformers sought to eliminate government corruption,
some were in favor of temperance, and others wanted a better environment. Many fought for the rights of
workers. They or the progressive back then were diverse. Some believed in the evil of eugenics and
others did not. In essence, the progressives wanted change in society. To start, the existence of
industrialization, urbanization, and immigration grew America. Social problems still existed like poverty,
child labor, corporate corruption, and other evils. Progressives believed that new ideas and making
government efficient and not filled with corruption would cause social justice. The middle class, the poor,
the old, the young, diverse political parties, diverse ethnic groups, and many people of many religions
were part of the Progressive Movement. They wanted to combat the problems that came with
industrialization and urbanization. That is why they put pressure on the federal and state governments
(plus local ones) to help the poor and workers. They were unified in desiring social justice. Both the
Progressives and the Populists attacked bad business abuses and corruption. The populists were mostly
workers and farmers while the progressives were mostly middle class Americans. The Progressives also
focused on a diversity of issues. Some of them wanted women to have the right to vote and others
targeted city officials who were bounded under corrupt political machines. Many party bosses took public
money for themselves (bribery was commonplace) while local residents suffered. The reformers wanted
safe drinking water, decent housing, and municipal services being adequate. Some reformers wanted to
bust trust and give more economic opportunities to small businesses. Progressives didn’t view the 1890
Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 as not going far enough. Some religious progressives wanted to end the
gap between the rich and the poor even by progressive taxation. They also wanted to help workers,
children, and suffering families. One of the most important people of this era were the muckrakers.

They were writers who exposed the bad conditions of many urban areas from corrupt meatpacking
practices to bribery. They used investigative journalism in order to inspire change. One famous journalist
was Lincoln Steffens. He was the managing editor of McClure’s, which was a magazine that discussed
social issues. He published groups of articles entitled, “The Shame of the Cities” in 1903. It exposed the
government of Philadelphia using bribery, and forcing customers to pay high frees to utility companies.
Jacob Riis was a photographer who showed pictures of people suffering poverty in urban areas. He
published his worked in the work of How the Other Half Lives. Ida Tarbell said that John D.
Rockefeller used corrupt methods, high prices, and other means to get huge profits at the expense of
ruining competition. John Spargo exposed the brutality of child labor. Many authors defended the
downtrodden like in Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, Frank Norris’s The Octopus, and other forms of
literary. African American author Frances Ellen Watkins has shown the world the many of the struggles
of black Americans in her 1892 novel called Iola Leroy. Many Reformers believed in the Social Gospel
which believed that people should follow Bible teachings, help to the poor, and following workers’ rights
in order to make society to be filed with justice and herald the “Kingdom of God.”

German American and a son of German Immigrants Walter Rauschenbusch promoted the social gospel
and he became a Baptist minister. So, the Reformers fought child labor, economic corruption, etc. in
order for corporations and trusts to be limited in its power. Settlement houses grew which housed the
poor in urban areas. They helped immigrants to speak English. Jane Addams was a woman who
promoted the house settlement movement. She was inspired by the Toynbee Hall settlement house in
London. Adams opened Hall House or a settlement house in Chicago. YMCA and the YWCA helped
the poor during the Progressive era too. Back then and now, the YMCA has classes, sports programs,
fitness programs, etc. One lawyer named Florence Kelley fought child labor. In 1916, Congress passed
the law Keating-Owens Act which banned child labor. Educator John Dewey wanted to educate children
creativity.
By the early 1900’s, industrial accidents were highly common. People had long hours, fumes poisoned
folks, and unsafe machinery killed many on their jobs. There was the March 1911 fire at the Triangle
Shirtwaist Factory in New York City helped to cause change. The fire killed 146 workers. Many of them
were young Jewish women. Progressives called for reforms. Some states reduced the workday to 10 hours
a day. The Supreme Court later ruled in Lochner v. New York that these laws were unconditional.
Reformers moved to reform city government, especially after the Hurricane in Galveston, Texas. Some
reformers want to contain the power of political bosses and powerful business interests. After the 1900
Galveston hurricane disaster, the city government had a commission to repair the city and raise low lying
neighborhoods above sea level. The Galveston plan was duplicated in almost 500 cities. Robert M. La
Follette promoted a direct primary in Wisconsin. A direct primary is an election in which citizens vote to
select nominees for upcoming elections. By 1916, all but four states had direct primaries.

From that time onward, initiatives, referendums, and recall became common place in America. Senators
could be voted by voters not state legislators by the Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution in 1913.
Progressive era governors like Robert La Follette of Wisconsin, Theodore Roosevelt of New York, and
Woodrow Wilson of New Jersey existed. They promoted taxes or corporations, improvements to
education, safer factories, and direct democracy. During this time, more women had opportunities, but
not equality. Colleges for women grew like Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania and the School of Social
Work in New York State. Florence Kelley found the National Consumers League or NCL to promote
fair prices of goods. Muller v. Oregon regulated work hours. The controversial Margaret Sanger ran her
birth control group called the American Birth Control League. Birth control is not a problem. The
problem is that many people exploited birth control as a means to promote white supremacy and overly
anti-human eugenics. Ida B. Wells helped to form the National Association of Colored Women
(NACW) to help families and educate black women. One weakness of the Progressive movement was
that any of them were racist, indifferent to minorities, and wanted benefits to deal with mostly white,
middle class interests. Many Progressives falsely believed in an extreme form of Americanization that
immigrants must learn English and follow a Eurocentric culture in order to be real “Americans.”
Ida B. Wells and William Monroe Trotter dedicated their lives to promote
freedom and justice in the world. Their legacies live on to this very day near 2019.
Many in the temperance movement were prejudice against immigrants since many immigrants drank
alcohol. Many progressive movements were racist against black people, believed in eugenics, and agreed
with segregation. That is why Woodrow Wilson believed in segregating D.C. and he was a Progressive.
So, African Americans responded by fighting for human rights. People as diverse as Booker T.
Washington and W.E.B. DuBois wanted black people to have freedom albeit in different methods.
William Monroe Trotter and DuBois worked in the Niagara Movement that called for an immediate end
to racism and immediate justice for black Americans. They wanted education and bold ideals. The anti-
black riots in Springfield, Illinois caused the NAACP to form. Many black people and white reformers
formed the NAACP in 1909. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People had
members like Jane Addams, Ray Stananrd, Florence Kelley, Ida B. Wells, and others. By the early
1900’s, Theodore Roosevelt became President. He was 43 years old. His represented the ideals of the
Progressives fully. He worked in politics and was a Rough Rider. He wanted a Square Deal and desired
the wealthy and powerful to not take advantage of small businesses and the poor. He promoted busting
and regulating industry. He met with Booker T. Washington for dinner in the White House which
angered segregationists. He used threats to end a mining strike. He used the federal government end a
labor dispute. He regulated railroads with the Hepburn Act that gave the Interstate Commerce
Commission new powers to deal with the railroad industry. He enforced the Sherman Antitrust Act to
stop illegal trusts. He regulated food and drug industries with the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food
and Drug Act. The FDA monitored companies to this day. The FDA monitored foods too. He also was
influenced by the environmentalist John Muir. Yosemite National Park was created in 1890. Roosevelt
wanted to conserve and use the forests while Muir wanted all wild areas to be left untouched. He
regulated how water systems were regulated by the National Reclamation Act. Theodore Roosevelt
served 2 terms and was very popular.
Legendary Civil Rights Heroes of the early 20th Century

Mary Burnett Talbert Alice Ruth Moore Mary Jane McLeod


(1866-1923) was one of Dunbar Nelson J. R. Clifford
Bethune (1875-
the greatest African (1875-1935) (1848-1933) was
1955) was an iconic
American leaders in worked as a the first African
black woman. For
history. She was an journalist, poet, and American attorney
decades, she has
orator, an activist, a political activist. in West Virginia.
worked as an
suffragist, and a great She lived to be He was a
American educator,
organizer. She was born involved in the schoolteacher, a
a stateswoman, a
in Oberlin, Ohio. She was great Harlem principal, and a
philanthropist, a
a teacher and moved into Renaissance veteran of the
humanitarian, and a
Buffalo, NY. She fought movement. She Civil Union as a
civil rights activist.
constantly to end racism, promoted civil Union soldier. He
She formed a
lynching, and rights for African was one of the
school for African
discrimination against Americans. She had founding
American students
women. She helped to education in many members of the
in Daytona Beach,
give voices of African universities too. Niagara
Florida. She fought
American women Nelson wanted the Movement which
for the lives of
internationally. She was a anti-Lynching Bill to evolved into the
African Americans
founder of the Niagara be passed in 1924. NAACP. He used
to be better.
Movement too. She determination to
helped to promote black fight racial
women leadership. discrimination.

William Howard Taft won the Presidency in 1908. Taft didn’t lower tariffs as low as Roosevelt wanted.
Taft relaxed the Sherman Antitrust Act. Theodore Roosevelt promoted New Nationalism and was in the
Progressive Party out from the Republicans to oppose Taft. Reformer Jane Addams supported
Roosevelt. The bitter election of 1912 had Roosevelt battling Taft and Wilson (who was a Democrat).
The Progressive Party wanted a more active governmental role in reform. Wilson won since the
Republican Party in part was split apart back then. Woodrow Wilson wanted the New Freedom which
involved strict governmental controls on corporations and new opportunities for small businesses.
Wilson lowered tariffs and raised taxes with the Sixteenth Amendment (which promoted a graduated
income tax. This means that the richer Americans paid more tax as a percentage than poorer or middle
class Americans). The revenue from the income tax would make up by lowering tariffs on imports.
Congress passed the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 to allow the Federal Reserve to promote regional
banks to deal with economic power, interest rates, etc. The Federal Reserve Act was one of the most
important pieces of economic legislation in human history. Wilson promoted labor rights at times with
the Clayton Antitrust Act. Wilson also used troops to stop strikers in Ludlow Colorado after the Ludlow
Massacre. The Progressive era was filled with an expansion of the federal government and many reforms
that has helped the lives of millions of Americans to this very day. The American economy has grown.
Federal actions on dams, national resources, and working rights were great. The problem is that many
Progressives didn’t care about the concerns of black Americans plus other people of color when freedom
is meant for humanity in general not for some.
World War I
World War One involving America was complex. Almost four million American soldiers came into
Europe to help the Allies win the war in defeating the Central Powers. World War I existed as a product
of many factors. The whole world experienced imperialism, militarism, nationalism, and entangling
alliances. European nations existed in massive competition with each other for world resources
continuously one century after the rise of Napoleon. Many in Europe wanted nations to reflect one
ethnic group. National rivalries existed. France wanted revenge after Germany regained Alsace-Lorraine
during 1871. Many minority groups in various nations experienced oppression. Social Darwinism was
spreading in the world. Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire were multinational empires who faced
new challenged from religious and ethnic minorities like the Serbians and the Armenians. Germany,
Italy, America, Great Britain, France, etc. lusted after new resources in Africa, Asia, the Americas, etc.
Militarism increased in Germany when Germany grew its army massively. Britain subsequently grew its
navy. By 1914, Germany had the strongest Army on Earth with Great Britain having the strongest Navy
on Earth. By 1914, the Triple Alliance was created among Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy. The
other Triple Entente was made up of France, Russia, and Great Britain. They were formed to protect
each other especially if war would exist in Europe. One June 28, 1914, Archduke Francis Ferdinand (or
the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary) was assassinated. His wife also died who was named Sophie.
Ferdinand was the heir to throne. The conspiracy was made of Gavrilo Princip and others from the
Black Hand Secret Society. This group represented Serbs who believed that Bosnia belonging to Serbia
and that Francis Ferdinand was a tyrant. Princip took out his pistol to shoot at Ferdinand and his wife 2
times. The world was shocked and no expected a world war would exist afterwards. Alliances soon
caused the war. The German Kaiser William II told Austria-Hungary that Germany would support them.
Austria-Hungary sent an ultimatum to Serbia to demand a total cooperation tin the investigation. Serbia
didn’t agree with the demands totally. So, Austria-Hungary declared war on July 28, 1914 against Serbia.

Later, Russia allied with Serbia to defend it against Austria-Hungary as Serbia has a high percentage of
Slavic peoples just like Russia. France declared war against Germany as France was an ally of Russia.
Germany declared war on neutral Belgium. They did this in order for Germany to easily cross into
France. Great Britain declared war against Germany as being an ally of France. The Central Powers were
fighting the Allied powers. The Ottoman Empire joined the Central Powers later on. German soldiers
came into Belgium and then into France. They were close to Paris by September, but the French and
British counterattack stopped the Germans near the Marne River. New technology caused a stalemate
involving WWI. After the Battle of Marne, the Germans created trenches came into certain locations,
and a stalemate persisted. The British and French soon also dug trenches after they tried to cross battle
lines and were mercilessly killed by German forces. Trenches stretched 450 miles along the Western
European coast. This was the Western front of the war.
The war also took place in North Africa, the Middle East,
and Eastern Europe. The stalemate revolved around futile
efforts among both sides charging and soon repealed by
the army troops. Trench warfare was harsh. People
experienced poisonings, starvation, disease, and trauma.
The casualties of the war would grow into the millions.
Machine guns, artillery field guns, poison gas, submarines,
tanks, armored cars, and airplanes were parts of the
deadly technology of World War I. No man’s land was an This picture shows a French bayonet charge.
area of the trench warfare region where it was between
enemy lines that gunfire was common place, so troops
rarely ventured into no man’s land during the stalemate.
President Woodrow Wilson back then promoted
neutrality. Most Americans agreed as seeing the war as a
dispute among Europeans.
This showed German infantry on the battlefield on
August 7, 1914.

European nations wanted American imports during the war too. Many Americans had divided loyalties.
In 1914, one third of Americans were foreign born. When the war came about, many immigrants
supported the fighting nation of their homelands like the German Americans, Irish Americans, and
Polish Americans supported various nations in the war. Some German Americans in the Midwest and
some Irish Americans in the East Coast supported the Central Powers. The Irish in many cases hated the
Great British empire because of the obvious reason (i.e. Britain has a long history of a brutal occupation
of Ireland for years and centuries). Most Americans supported England and France as a cultural
representation. France aided Americans during the Revolutionary war too. Many Irish wanted Ireland to
be independent. Many Jewish Americans back then wanted Russia to be defeated since they suffered
pogroms from the Czars’ murderous regimes.

The German killing of civilians and destroying towns in Europe caused Americans to be divided on the
war. Some were isolationists or wanted no involvement in WWI. Some were interventionists who wanted
America to fund the Allied powers. Others were internationalists. They wanted to be involved in
international affairs, but not be involved in the war (but to only find a way to have peace in ending the
war). President Wilson was an internationalist. Soon, U.S. neutrality would end. From 1914, to 1917,
Wilson tried to work to end the war among both sides. He failed. Britain used a naval blockade of
Germany. International forces allowed contraband items of guns and weapons to be confiscated during
war, but allow food, medicine, and other nonmilitary items were allowed to enter Germany. England
soon banned both contraband and no contraband items from entering Germany. German U-Boats
violated the blockade by attacking British ships. They also destroyed the Lusitania near Ireland.
Germany said that it has weapons on it, but Americans said that it must be asked first and its passengers
must be safe. Wilson still fought for peace. Germany promised Wilson that it wasn’t going to sink
anymore ships. Germany lied. In 1916, Germany sank an unarmed French passenger ship Sussex.
America protested and Germany pledged to no sink another ship again via the Sussex Pledge. It wasn’t
long lasting. Wilson prepared the nation for war in 1915. Congress passed the National Defense Act in
1916 to build up the U.S. Army, and Navy. Wilson won the 1916 election under the slogan of “he kept
us out of the war.” Wilson defeated the Republican Charles Evans Hughes.
In 1917 during January, the Zimmerman note existed. This note proposed Germany to unite with
Mexico if America declared war against Germany. Germany promised Mexico southwestern states lost
from the Mexican-American war if Mexico attacked America. The telegram was intercepted by the
British. The British gave it to U.S. authorities and angered many Americans. Germany continued
unrestricted U-Boat attacks against British. By April 2, 1917, Wilson asked Congress for a declaration of
war against Germany. He had his declaration by April 6, 1917. War was soon declared by America.
Many people opposed the war like the pacifist Jeannette Rankin. Rankin would live a long time on Earth
from 1880 to 1973 in supporting equality for women, civil rights, and being against the Vietnam War.
She was a woman of heroic conviction.

The federal government and other governments played a huge role in American involvement in WWI.
There was a draft. America mobilized for war with an Army development program. Congress passed the
1917 Selective Service Act that drafted young men to have military service in Europe. More than 9.6
million Americans registered for the draft by June 5, 1917 and were given a number. Secretary of War
Newton D. Baker used a lottery system in drafting human beings. A total of 24 million Americans
registered for the war. Many government agencies used industry to fund the war. The War Industries
Board or the WIB was headed by Bernard Baruch (a famous bank who reported to the President).
Increased farm production and food rationing were commonplace during the war.

The CIP or the Committee on Public Information wanted to shape public opinion in favor of the war.
George Creel was director of the CPI who used the media to advance that aim. Millions of posters were
printed by the CPI to advance war rhetoric. Many German and Irish Americans suffered unjust prejudice
and violation to their rights because of the German involvement in World War I. Many anti-war activists
were violated of their civil liberties because of their opposition to war. Some men were imprisoned for
opposing the draft. Conscientious objectors were those who had moral or religious grounds to not fight in
the war. The Selective Service Act allowed conscientious objectors to do so, but in practice many people
were forced to fight even if they had conscientious objections. Many women opposed the war like
Women’s Peace Party and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. During the war,
almost 500,000 women joined the workforce when soldiers left for Europe.
New Weapons of World War One

Machine guns could fire 600 Long range cannons caused more Poison gas was used by both
bullets per minute. Machine guns causalities than any other type of sides during WWI. They
caused difficulty in troops trying weapons during WWI. The included chlorine, phosgene, and
to advance during battles. artillery field guns were highly mustard gas. They could kill,
destructive. blind, and burn flesh.

German U-Boats were Tanks were powerful and Airplanes weren’t just used for
submarines that destroyed ships. durable. They could roll over fighting. They did reconnaissance
Torpedoes from submarines barbed wire and fired weapons too. They could travel many
caused massive damage and during WWI. It could travel in miles and would evolve rapidly
casualties throughout the seas. many terrains. It was introduced after WWI.
by the British in 1916 during the
Battle of Somme.

One mistake during this time was the Espionage Act of 1917 which banned anti-war material in mail, etc.
under the guise of it being classified as “seditious.” The CPI abhorred debate when people have the right
to debate. The 1918 Sedition Act criminalized free speech even more. The law virtually made any free
speech against the war illegal. Eugene V. Debs or the leader of the Socialist Party was arrested and jailed
for opposing the war under the act. He gave a moderate anti-war speech in Canton, Ohio, but he wasn’t a
moderate man. He was one of the greatest socialist leaders in history. Schenck vs. United States in the
Supreme Court upheld the Sedition Act in 1919. German Americans suffered discrimination in America
during this time. Some were beaten and murdered for having German heritage. Some bigots replaced the
name of hamburgers with liberty steaks and liberty pups instead of dachshunds.
WWI changed America in many ways. Opportunities were opened for women, African Americans,
Mexican Americans, and other people. Many women had jobs in the factories, railroads, and telegraph
operators. Some people of color and women were doctors, nurses, etc. Many were in the Army Corps of
Nurses from 1918. This caused Wilson to advance suffrage because of the sacrifice of millions of women
during World War I. During this time, African Americans had the first Great Migration. This was when
1.2 million African Americans from 1910 to 1920 migrated North for many reasons. Some wanted to
gain jobs. Some wanted to escape sharecropping and lynching. Some wanted to not experience Jim Crow
segregation. Southerners who were racists wanted black people to be in the South via violence and
intimidation while African Americans in the North encouraged black people to go into the North from
the South. In the North, many black people had jobs, but many in the North had de facto segregation
where discrimination was also very common. Some black people were forced to live in crowded, poor
housing.

About 367,000 African Americans served in the military with hundreds of black people dying in the
battlefields. They were segregated in units headed by white officers. W.E.B. DuBois surprisingly
supported the war as a means to push America to embrace real democracy. Other black people opposed
the war which included black socialists like A. Philip Randolph and Chandler Owen. Their magazine of
the Messenger also opposed imperialism legitimately. The Chicago Defender, or an African American
owned newspaper, wanted the encouragement the Great Migration for the sake of promoting equality
and freedom for black people back then. Many black people came into Chicago to work in meatpacking
plants. Many came into Detroit to work at auto factories. Others came into the Northeast too. Many
Mexicans came into America during this time to escape war, poverty, and harsh conditions. Many came
into the Southwest and the Pacific West like in California. They were in neighborhoods called barrios
and experienced racism plus discrimination too. They formed great cultures in America as well. When
America came into Europe to fight WWI, many questioned how effective these troops would be.

America is more diverse culturally than Europe. Also, the Americans would be the edge in causing an
Allied victory of World War One. The U.S. used ships in convoys to protect shipping. Germany U-boat
attacks radically declined. By 1917, the Allies had misfortunes. The Central Powers grew in strength. The
Russian Revolution existed in 1917 which meant that Russia was out of the war. At first, a moderate
democratic Revolution ended the reign of the Czars in Russia. Later, Lenin and the Bolsheviks overthrew
the modern government to form a Communist government in Russia. March 3, 1918 was when the Brest-
Litovsk treaty came about which ended war between Russia and the Central Powers. This made
Germany to send more troops to the Western front. By the Spring of 1918, Germany executed a total all-
out assault in West Europe. They came into France. French General Ferdinand Foch helped the Allied
forces.
General John J. Pershing came into Europe in France in June 1917. He had a small American force.
Americans came in larger numbers by early 1918. The German offensive was stalled. Allied
counterattacks in March of 1918 caused the end of the German counteroffensive. Americans increased
their burden on the battlefield. Germany launched many more offensives. Yet, the Allied forces weren’t
defeated. By the spring and summer of 1918, Americans had more experiences. They were called
doughboys. Americans fought on the defensive along with the French at the Second Battle of the Marne
and on the offensive at the Battle of Cantigny. Alvin York from Tennessee was a war hero who fought in
the Meuse-Argonne region of northeastern France. He was trapped in enemy lines. He dodges many
bullets to attack Germans and he had only a pistol. York and the surviving Americans took the German
position and York won the Congressional Medal of Honor. African Americans included other heroes
too. Many faced discrimination in the U.S. Army, but an entire African American unit being the 369th
Infantry Regiment received the Croix de Guerre. That was the French award for bravery involving the
Meuse-Argonne campaign. 1.3 million American soldiers served on the front. More than 50,000
Americans died on the battlefield with about 230,000 being wounded. The Allied forces won with the
combined France, Britain, and American forces. German front regions were ended. Some men from the
German and Austro-Hungary side deserted. Many refused to fight. The leaders of the Central Powers
surrendered on November 11, 1918. At a railway car in Compiegne, France, the Germans surrendered
to the Allies.

The war was over. Almost 5 million Allied forces and about 8 million Central Power troops died. Almost
6.5 million civilians died. The world would never be the same. Vladimir Lenin thought of the war as
imperialist and formed a communist revolution in Russia. President Woodrow Wilson wanted peace to
come after the war. By January 1917, Wilson wanted peace and victory. Wilson also promoted the
Fourteen Points. He spoke of this in his January 1918 address to Congress. The Fourteen Points
promoted independence, openness, and freedom for some nations. It followed national self-
determination. He called for a League of Nations to maintain the independence of newly developed
nations. The problems were that this proposal didn’t address imperialism and lacked sympathy for
independence movements of color found in Africa and Asia.
The 1919 Paris Peace Conference

These men are members of the The Japanese delegation at


Council of Four. They are meeting at the 1919 Paris Peace
the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. Conference had the
Their names from left to right are following people (seated l-
David Lloyd George of the UK, to-r) former Foreign Minister
Vittorio Emanuele Orlando of Italy, Baron Makino Nobuaki,
Georges Clemenceau of France and former Prime Minister
Woodrow Wilson of the USA. Marquis Saionji Kinmochi,
and the Japanese
Ambassador to Great Britain
Viscount Chinda Sutemi.

The Versailles Peace Conference took place in France. President Woodrow Wilson was there. Versailles
was a suburb of Paris being the former palace of Louis XIV. Republicans won the 1918 election, but
Wilson refused to allow any Republican to go with him to France for political reasons. This angered the
Republicans. Many Allied powers wanted revenge on Germany at that Paris Peace Conference. The
Allied Powers made Germany to pay reparations for the war. British Prime Minister David Lloyd-George
and French premier George Clemenceau rejected peace and victory ideas from Wilson. Woodrow
Wilson promoted his views from April 2, 1917 in the following quotation from him: “…The world must
be made safe for democracy. Its peace must be planted upon the tested foundations
foundations of political
liberty…We are but one of the champions of the rights of mankind. We shall be satisfied when
those rights have been made as secure as the faith and the freedom of nations can make them.”
Lloyd-George wanted to maintain colonialism. The League of Nations was created. The problem was
that the League of Nations was not powerful enough to handle the complex realities of new nations. The
Ottoman Empire ended in the Middle East to cause new nations. The Middle East, Africa, and Asia
didn’t have true self-determination. The Versailles Treaty was rejected by the Senate. German Americans
viewed the reparations as too harsh. Irish Americans wanted an independent nation of Ireland.

Isolationist senators didn’t want any treaty as being entangled in world politics or world organizations.
They didn’t want Article 10 that called for mutual defense of the signers of the nation. Henry Cabot
Lodge opposed the treaty too. He was a reservationist and wanted the treaty to be less vague, but was
willing to vote for the Treaty of Versailles. The treaty failed as Wilson wouldn’t compromise. The end of
War World I caused new nations to form and a new reality in America. Lenin’s Soviet Russia funded
other communist movements worldwide. Also, from 1918 to 1919, the influenza flu killed millions
worldwide. It mutated from bird flu to spreading into humans. Between 50 and 100 million people died
as a product of the influenza epidemic.

African Americans and women experienced new job opportunities. A completive job market grew during
the postwar recession of 1920. Many northern cities had industries that black people worked at. By the
summer of 1919, anti-black race riots occurred nationwide. The worst was in Chicago after whites
drowned a young black man. Violence happened for 13 days. In 1921, white racists murdered one black
neighborhood burning 35 city blocks to the grounds. African American men were armed to protect a
young black man from lynching. Many of these men were veterans. The Tulsa riot existed as a result of
racists being jealous of the Black Wall Street community. More inflation also led to labor strikes. Many
Americans got consumer goods not war bonds. Consumer goods were scare. Prices of corn, wheat, etc.
risen and then fell. Farmers didn’t have enough to pay for mortgages. Strikers fought for higher wages in
Boston and other places. The Red Scare was expression paranoia about Communists. It violated civil
liberties too. Communist revolts were in Central and Eastern Europe.

The Red Scare was about authorities suppressing anarchists and communists in America. There were the
Palmer Raids that arrested thousands of people who were both radicals and just immigrants from
southern or Eastern Europe. Many of them were deported without a trial. This was so wrong that the
ACLU or the American Civil Liberties Union was created in 1920 to protect civil liberties. To this day,
the ACLU fights for civil rights. Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were educated. They were Italian
immigrants. They were anarchists. They were accused of shooting and killing 2 men in a robbery
attempt. There was little evidence to convict them. Yet, they were convicted and executed.

The ACLU supported both men in counsel. Many liberal politicians and legal scholars said that they
were convicted based on their ethnicity not on evidence. They were put to death on the electric chair on
August 23, 1927. The Red Scare also involved violence against radicals, immigrants, and others. The Red
Scare ended by the end of 1920. Woodrow Wilson supported Democratic candidate James M. Cox of
Ohio to support the League of Nations. Cox was defeated by Republican leader Warren G. Harding of
Ohio. Harding rejected the League of Nations and was elected President in 1920. Harding wanted
normalcy and rejected progressive reforms. By 1920, Harding witnessed America to be the most
powerful industrialized nation on Earth. Britain and France demanded American goods. America
became the largest creditor nation in the world during that time. Economic power shifted from London
to New York City. World War I ended many monarchies worldwide from Austro-Hungary to other
places. The Ottoman Empire ended. Britain and France grew economically. One old age ended after five
centuries and new era existed. America had to wrestle with the internationalism vs. isolationism debate
for years to come. Nothing will be the same again in America and the world.

By Timothy

The next part of the series will go into the


Roaring Twenties, the Great Depression, the
New Deal, and World War Two. These are
some of the most important parts of American
history.