Coming to America Millions of newcomers to the United states left their countries of birth for better lives. From the 1880s to the 1920s immigrants from Western and Eastern Europe came in huge numbers to the U.S. through the Ellis Island immigrant transfer station in New York Harbor. Immigrants’ criminal and health records were checked in reference to their countries of origin. Immigrants deemed too sick or had deadly diseases were sent back to their home countries or quarantined [isolated] until they were well enough to join the rest of the population. Immigrant Labor and Work Many of the new immigrants from Western and Eastern Europe were from the peasant classes [uneducated, unskilled] and often encountered discrimination and a language barrier. Immigrant children often assimilated quickly but often spoke broken English. Public school helped immigrant children with adjustment and assimilation. Laborers often did piece work for local businesses manufacturing textiles sewing [most often women and children]. Each item or “piece” was paid a price. Women also worked outside the home in sweatshops in unsafe conditions for very long hours at low wages. Urbanization and City life Populations of major U.S. cities such as New York, Chicago and Philadelphia doubled from about 40 million in 1870 to about 80 million by 1900. Big cities were often very crowded [densely populated]. Streets were filled with vendors and domestic animals [chickens, horses, pigs] causing filthy and unsanitary conditions. High crime was rampant. Urbanization of the United States concentrated large populations of people into cities. New immigrants such as Western Europeans [Italians and Jews] were drawn by the lure of industrial type jobs in factories. New Immigrants vs. Old Immigrants Old immigrants-From the 1600s to early 1800s most of the people who arrived as immigrants to the United States were from English speaking countries such as England, Scotland and Ireland. Many Germans and French came to the U.S. as well. The dominant religion was Protestantism. New immigrants from the mid-1800s to early 1900s did not speak English and were mostly Catholic and Jewish. The differences between the two groups caused resentment and conflict. The Old immigrants wanted to preserve their language and culture and preached nativism [favoring and maintaining original America]. Jane Addams and Settlement Houses Hull House was a community center in Chicago that was created to help newly arrived immigrants, especially women, transition to the New World. Helped new comers cope with big city life and to learn English. Provided cultural activities such as block parties, rent parties and street festivals to raise money for the center and needy families. Jane Addams provided free simple health care and job training for women. Addams also advocated against child labor and sweat shops. Living conditions of city dwellers Cramped living conditions and poor sanitation facilities were common. Dumbbell tenements were designed to maximize space by using a vertical design [multiple floors] with long, narrow construction. Communal bathrooms often used by multiple families increased the chance of disease transfer and also created a lack of privacy for residents. Early tenements also had poor ventilation [causing respiratory ailments] and poor natural lighting due to a lack of windows throughout [one room had window] the apartments. Prior to introduction of fire escapes deaths due to fire were common. Transportation Electric trolleys were used to transport people through city streets on top of metal tracks similar to those used by railroads. Mass transit lines were expanded in major cities such as Chicago and New York [powered by overhead electric power lines]. Electric trolleys were eventually replaced by underground subways at the turn of the 20th century. Public transportation allowed easy and cheap transportation to work for poor citizens. Inventions and Innovations Elevators-created to transport people vertically within multi-story buildings in major cities such as Chicago and New York. Telephones-patented by Alexander Graham Bell it gave people the ability to communicate inexpensively over long distances. Typewriters-gave people ability to write text in a faster and more efficient manner. Newspaper and magazine writers, as well as book authors, used these machines to share the written word. Spectator sports Bare-knuckled Irish-American brawlers such as John L. Sullivan and “Gentleman Jim” Corbett fought as prize fighters during the mid-late 1800s. In 1892 the two pugilists [boxers] fought before more than 10,000 spectators in New Orleans. Corbett defeated Sullivan handing the legendary Irish boxer his first and only loss. Championship boxing matches were enormously popular in the early 1900s. Spectator sports Team sports became wildly popular with the advent of “basket ball” by Dr. James Naismith in 1891 at Springfield, Massachusetts and baseball by Alexander Cartwright in 1845 at Hoboken, New Jersey. The popularity of the two sports sprang from the expansion of leisure time among young American men. The desire to be competitive and physically fit yet group oriented greatly enhanced the appeal of these sports. The two “games” remain highly regarded to this day. Jacob Riis and How the Other Half Lives Jacob Riis was an immigrant from Denmark. He was a photo-journalist [photographer who told stories with photos] for New York City newspapers. He published thousands of photos showing how immigrants lived in squalor [horrible poverty], unsafe and unsanitary conditions. In 1890 he published a collection of his photos titled How the Other Half Lives showing how the poorest of the urban poor lived. Chinese Exclusion Act Because Chinese workers were willing to work for extremely low wages [lower than other immigrants] lots of resentment was directed towards them. Violent attacks on Chinese workers by white immigrants and poor whites took place in San Francisco and other cities The U.S. Federal Government passed a law called the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882 that banned Chinese immigration. Frederick Law Olmstead City life was stressful because of overcrowding, filth and crime. Landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead was hired to design public parks in large cities such as New York, Detroit and Chicago. The purpose of public parks was to provide open spaces for recreation, exercise and escape from the stress of city life. New York City’s Central Park and Prospect Park were designed by Olmstead. Amusement Parks Entrepreneurs [business owners] created parks with exciting attractions such as rides and strange acts to attract people to pay admission fees. The most famous early American amusement park was Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York. City residents could escape from city life for a time. The park contained rides, restaurants, hotels, circus acts, freak shows, beach and boardwalk [wooden road overlooking the seashore]. Thomas Edison The most influential and famous of all American inventors. He patented hundreds of inventions so he could receive payments. His most famous inventions were the light bulb, phonograph and movie recorder. His inventions [especially the light bulb] improved the quality of life for Americans. Gilded Age Time period from 1870-1910 when a small number of Americans became extremely wealthy due to their exploitation of Laissez Faire policies of the U.S. Government. Railroads, The Steel industry and Oil companies controlled their business sectors with complete control. Competition between businesses was limited and prices of goods were very high. There was a huge disparity [difference] between the rich and poor. Captains of Industry These were business owners who were ruthless and did everything they could to be financially successful by controlling their types of business. They were called captains of industry as a result of their tactics. These men became very wealthy and powerful because they controlled huge amounts of money. Robber Barons Robber barons were business owners who sometimes broke the law or twisted rules to their advantage in order to make huge amounts of money. They controlled the wealth of the United States by “stealing” money from citizens with exorbitant pricing. Edwin Drake Drake was the first American to successfully drill for and find significant oil in the United States. He discovered oil in Pennsylvania and refined it into kerosene. Kerosene was originally used for lamp fuel. Because of his discovery other people later drilled for oil and eventually also became very wealthy. John D. Rockefeller and Standard Oil Rockefeller built on the success of Drake and went into the oil business. Because of the invention of cars and the use of gasoline Rockefeller became very wealthy. Rockefeller used a business strategy called horizontal integration to consolidate other businesses by taking them over. He was then able to create a monopoly and charge whatever he wanted to. Andrew Carnegie, Bessemer Process and U.S. Steel Carnegie was a Scottish immigrant who was very poor when he arrived in the United States. He worked his way up to owner of U.S. Steel Corporation which later became a monopoly in the steel business. He was shown the Bessemer process by a chemist who demonstrated how to create high quality steel for military weapons. The Bessemer process enabled him to make super strong steel in a quick manner using oxidation [air blown through molten steel]. He also used a business strategy called vertical integration which combined every part of the steel business in order to make higher profits. J.P. Morgan Railroad and banking tycoon who financed numerous businesses and formed banking trusts He cleverly acquired ownership in companies that were often considered unfair. He purchased U.S. Steel Corporation from Carnegie for $400 million He often forced companies to dissolve when profits were siphoned off [workers lost jobs] Vanderbilt Family The Vanderbilt family of New York dominated the railroad industry. The ruthless Vanderbilt family was well known for charging high fees for shipping freight. They were also well known for bribing members of the U.S. government in order to get laws passed that would favor their business interests. The Interstate Commerce Act greatly reduced the power of the railroads. George Westinghouse Westinghouse was an inventor from New York. He made a fortune selling his railroad air brake. He later made millions of dollars organizing the Westinghouse Electric Company that used the principle of AC [alternative current]. Electricity became very popular in many American homes to power lights and appliances. Herbert Spencer Some people believed the reason people were rich was because they were smarter. Nature favored much as the British Naturalist Charles Darwin thought it favored stronger creatures. Poor people deserved their poverty because they were inferior according to the theory of Social Darwinism. This concept of Social Darwinism was used by the Robber Barons as justification of their wealth. Horatio Alger Horatio Alger wrote a series of inspirational novels telling various rags to riches tales. The stories focused on how kids from impoverished beginnings were able to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Very few of these stories were real but they offered hope for future success. The Gospel of Wealth Not all wealthy business owners were bad! Andrew Carnegie, a robber baron, gave away almost all of his money before he died. He believed dying wealthy was a type of crime according to an essay written by Andrew Carnegie. His financial gifts funded public libraries and museums across America. Therefore, according to Carnegie, the wealthy had a responsibility to do good with their money through philanthropy. The Workplace and workers During the late 1800s and early 1900s places people worked were often very dangerous. The risk of serious injury and death was always present. Poor and dangerous working conditions such as faulty equipment, long work hours and low pay often made working in factories unbearable. Very low wages [the amount of pay workers received] forced people to work many hours which made them very tired, angry and ineffective. Because many families in large cities were often poor they sent their young children [age 3 to teenagers] to work. Their lack of strength and experience put them at high risk of injury. Workers United Eventually many workers got smart and united together to fight for better working conditions and higher wages. The groups of workers called themselves labor unions. Unions usually organized themselves by the type of work they did such as carpenters and shoemakers. Trade unions and craft unions were types of unions that were specific to types of industries to protect those types of workers. For example a carpenters’ trade union would protect the rights of carpenters. Conflicts and labor leaders Even with labor unions there were still problems between workers and business owners. Businesses often forced workers, as a condition of employment, to sign yellow dog contracts which forbade them from joining labor unions. Labor union leaders such as Eugene V. Debs encouraged members to go out on strike [walk out of work] when they believed they were being treated unfairly by employers. Debs led the Pullman Strike in 1894 which led to over 100,000 workers walking out on their railroad jobs. Debs was jailed for his participation in the strike because the effect of the strike was too negative. Samuel Gompers Gompers learned from the failures of other unions. Gompers led the American Federation of Labor [A.F.L.] for over 40 years. Federation=Group of separate entities [in his case unions] that combines. His most important strategy was to pool the resources of different types of unions. The funds were used to support workers during prolonged strikes. He also championed closed shops which did not allow non-union workers to work in union dominated jobs. Labor Strife and Unrest Business/Labor conflicts were not always peaceful. On May 4, 1886 rioting in Chicago’s Haymarket Square led to multiple deaths and a bad reputation for unions. The greatest mistake by the Knights of Labor [labor union with different types of workers] was including skilled and unskilled workers under one unified group. Unskilled workers could be replaced by strike breaking scabs while craftsmen [skilled workers] were not. Skilled workers believed their jobs were unprotected. Sherman Anti-Trust Act The U.S. Government in 1890 tried to rein in the power of business trusts. The shrewdest of businessmen hired lawyers who were able to find loopholes in the law and avoid compliance. Trusts were sometimes forced to break up into separate companies. The best example of a corporate break-up was the 1911 break up of Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Corporation. The U.S. Government was bent on Trust busting after passage of the law Homestead Strike and Steel Company tactics Workers at Carnegie’s steel company wanted better working conditions and better pay. The steel labor unions went on strike at the Homestead Steel Works. Because the workers refused to agree to Carnegie’s terms they were locked out [not allowed to work by the company]. Violence was threatened from both the Steel company and their workers. After much negotiation, fighting and legal battles most of the striking workers were blacklisted by U.S. Steel and not allowed to work in the industry again. Machine Politics Political machines-strong political parties that control who comes to power by using bribery and tight political organization. Tammany Hall-The name of the New York City Democratic party headquarters. Was well known for corruption led by party leader William Boss Tweed. Boss Tweed-Leader of Tammany Hall who used bribery and extortion to rule New York City politics. Graft-a technique of using bribery or stealing money by an elected official. Civil Service System-a system of using tests to decide who gets government jobs. Pendleton Act-a federal law created to prevent corruption by using merit instead of patronage and graft. Thomas Nast’s cartoons A New York City cartoonist named Thomas Nast criticized the corruption and illegal activities of Tweed and other government officials. His cartoons were so effective because readers did not have to know how to read to understand what Nast was describing. Eventually the pressure applied by Nast led to Tweed’s arrest, prosecution and imprisonment. Scandals, Corruption and ways to stop it Crédit Mobilier scandal-An example of government officials taking bribes from railroad companies, Whiskey Ring scandal-Terrible example of corruption by U.S. Government officials who stole Whiskey taxes. Secret ballot (Australian)-Type of voting system that protected privacy of voters [ex. Voters did not reveal who they voted for]. Initiative-A type of vote started by the citizens [usually to get something changed] such as raising the drinking age. Referendum-A type of law passed by the citizens of a country instead of a legislature. Recall-A vote to fire an elected official before his term is over because the voters do not like his performance. Mugwumps Group of people who rebelled and left the Republican party because they were tired of corruption. James Blaine ran for president in 1884 but lost the elections because he was considered too corrupt. Republican Presidential A criticism of the Mugwumps was candidate James that they had a holier than thou toward morality as if they A. Blaine were above criticism themselves. Sherman Anti-Trust Act Federal law passed by Congress to break up Trusts. The trusts formed monopolies that controlled prices of goods such as oil and steel. This legislation broke up the Standard Oil company. The law gave the U.S. Government more power to regulate businesses and protect consumers. U.S. v. E.C. Knight, Co. (1895) This U.S. Supreme Court case was important because it ruled against the federal government on the key issue of Big Business. The U.S. government wanted to break up sugar trusts. The Court ruled that Big Sugar did not pose a significant enough threat to the United States because sugar was not essential. What is Imperialism? Root word is Empire. An empire is a powerful nation with powerful leadership that seeks to acquire and control weaker nations. Sometimes the more powerful nations allow the weaker nations to rule themselves [ex. Ancient Rome]. Most of the time the Empire assimilates the weaker nation into the Empire and forces it into submission [ex. Soviet Union]. American “Imperialism” Some Americans believed it was the U.S. government’s duty to save foreign countries from themselves [religiously and economically]. Reverend Josiah Strong preached that “we must Christianize them,” by spreading our values to the “backward” people of the world. Former U.S. Navy officer Alfred Mahan believed the U.S. should build and maintain a powerful navy to assert world dominance. Admiral Alfred T. Mahan Mahan gave many examples of world powers who used such a tactic. American Jingoism Emboldened by American war hawks and sensationalist newspapers America became more aggressive militarily. America entered into a policy of jingoism that stressed U.S. military power and territorial expansion abroad. The immediate result was the acquisition of Puerto Rico, Cuba, Guam and the Philippines from the Spanish-American War. What was the problem with this policy? The U.S. created more enemies and envious foreign competitors. Anglo-Saxon Superiority There were many Americans who believed white people were “better” than non-whites. Because of superior standard of living and Christian beliefs many people believed Americans were justified in taking over less developed or civilized countries. The White Man’s Burden Building on what Josiah Strong preached many Americans believed it was the responsibility of white Americans to spread Christianity, democracy and American goods to foreign countries. If white America did not do it no one else was capable of doing it according to this way of thinking. Seward’s Folly In 1867 [2 years after the end of the U.S. Civil War] Secretary of State William Seward was able to get the U.S. Senate to agree to a treaty with Russia to buy Alaska for $.02 per acre [totaling $7.2 million]. The U.S. increased its size by about 20%. Eventually massive oil deposits were discovered which the U.S. still uses today. A major result of this acquisition was that it wetted the appetite [influenced] of the United States to become imperialist. Annexation of Hawaii Americans such as Sanford Dole whose families had moved to Hawaii in the 1830s and 1840s were initially welcomed warmly by Hawaii’s monarchy. Fruit Planter Sanford Dole After newer larger plantation owners came to Hawaii in the 1870s and 1880s they pushed to remove the Queen. Rich fruit company owners led by Dole’s descendants convinced the U.S. military to dethrone and remove Queen Liliokalani. Hawaii was officially annexed [taken over] by the U.S. in 1898. It later became the 50th state in 1959. Hawaii’s Queen Liliokalani USS Maine A U.S. warship was sent to Havana Harbor in Cuba to protect U.S. interests in 1898. Cuba at the time was still a Spanish possession. There was tension between the U.S. and Spain because Spain held territories within the United States’ sphere of influence. Aboard the USS Maine were tons of explosives that were not tightly guarded or secured. A huge explosion occurred killing at least 266 U.S. personnel. U.S. newspaper articles speculated that Spain had sunk the ship. The U.S. declared war on Spain and defeated her within 113 days. Splendid Little War Due to the aggression and strong naval power of the United States it was able to defeat Spain with 113 days. Secretary of War John Hay wrote a short letter to President Teddy Roosevelt from London stating that he thought the Spanish-American War had been a “Splendid Little War.” He most likely believed this because: [a] it was short and the United States did not suffer large numbers of casualties [b] the U.S. acquired several territories. The Philippines The spirit of Jingoism throughout the United States had spread as the war with Spain spread to Asia. Commodore [High ranking U.S. Navy officer] George Dewey was in charge of the invasion of the Philippines which was also a Spanish colony. To make the invasion easier and more successful Dewey reached out to a Filipino rebel named Emilio Aguinaldo to help fight the Spanish. Within weeks of the invasion the Philippines was captured by the U.S. The Rough Riders Due to the destruction and low morale created by the U.S. Civil War the U.S. Military [especially the army] had very low numbers. In order to field a force able to battle Spain in the so-called Spanish- American War more than 1,000 volunteers were called to serve by President McKinley. Former NYC police commissioner and state legislator Theodore Roosevelt was selected as second in command of the 1st Cavalry Brigade. Teddy Roosevelt The Rough Riders Many of the soldiers were very experienced. Veterans of the U.S. Civil War and Western Indian Wars were eager to see action in Cuba. The group included gamblers, army veterans, hunters, Buffalo soldiers, Native-Americans and college students. Lt. Colonel Roosevelt Within weeks of their arrival in Cuba the Rough Riders were triumphant in key battles including the famous and decisive Battle of San Juan Hill. Their exploits enabled the U.S. to defeat Spain and liberate Cuba. The Panama Canal The Panama Canal was completed by the U.S. after a long and dangerous 10 year construction. France had earlier failed miserably in its attempt to build the Canal. Many people died during the long, tedious and dangerous construction. THE PURPOSE OF THE CANAL WAS TO ENSURE THAT MARKETS IN SOUTH AMERICA AND ASIA WOULD BE OPENED TO THE UNITED STATES. The Panama Canal shortened shipping time and distance between the U.S. and Latin America as well as Asia. The Teller Amendment and Cuba President McKinley sought authority [War Message] from Congress to attack Spain as revenge for the USS Maine. Senator Teller of Colorado added an amendment to the war declaration that would forbid the U.S. from establishing a permanent colony in Cuba. Cuba would be liberated and allowed to be an independent nation. Yellow Journalism Both new immigrants and long standing Americans had a “hunger for words.” Inexpensive newspapers were common in every major city and most people at least read the Front Page Headlines. Most people believed anything that was written in the newspapers Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst competed for readers and lucrative advertising dollars by publishing sensational and scandalous stories. Crime, corruption, sex and scandal attracted readers to the daily newspapers. The money and influence gained by these newspapermen struck fear in the hearts of their enemies and the government. Pulitzer Hearst Treaty of Paris in 1898 President McKinley U.S. Secretary of State John Hay Spain’s foreign minister In order to end the Spanish-American War Spain and the U.S. met in Paris to sign a peace agreement called the Treaty of Paris [several earlier treaties were also called that]. The most important part of the agreement was the transfer of Puerto Rico, Guam and Cuba to the U.S. [Cuba was later given its independence]. The Philippines was later purchased for $20 million by the U.S. The U.S. Senate ratified the treaty 2 months later. The Platt Amendment The Platt Amendment was added to a federal law in 1901. The purpose of the Platt Amendment was to ensure that Cuba would remain tied to the United States [even after independence]. The following conditions were placed on Cuba: [a] Cuba must not make treaties that would weaken its independence. [b] Cuba must allow the U.S. to buy or lease the Guantanamo Bay naval base. [c] Cuba must keep debts low to avoid foreign conflicts and wars. [d] The U.S. reserved the right to involve itself to maintain order and independence . President Wilson’s Mexican problem Mexican rebel leader Pancho Villa After territorial acquisitions in Latin America and Asia the United States had a “reputation” to maintain. The Monroe Doctrine and Roosevelt Corollary set precedents for the U.S. to show force in its sphere of influence. In the 1910s corruption and political unrest led to a revolution in Mexico. The Mexican Army overthrew its corrupt dictator Porfirio Diaz and replaced him with General Victoriano Huerta. The U.S. was not pleased with the situation and with military force [naval bombardment] installed a new president that Mexican rebels hated Venustiano Carranza. The Elusive Pancho Villa and General Black Jack Pershing Mexican forces led by rebel Pancho Villa would not accept President Carranza and as a result conducted raids [swift, violent military invasions] into U.S. areas such as New Mexico and Arizona. U.S. President Wilson sent General Pershing into Mexico to capture Villa to end the raids. Pershing was never able to find and capture Villa who to many Mexicans became a symbol of independence and defiance of the United States. Other people simply called Villa a lawless bandit. U.S. Army General Jack Pershing Mexican rebel leader Pancho Villa Anti-Imperialism League After the Spanish-American War several prominent U.S. citizens, especially intellectuals, opposed American imperialist policies. People such as John Dewey, Mark Twain, Jane Addams and Andrew Carnegie believed imperialism especially in Asia [the Philippines specifically] was an abrogation of the republican principles the U.S. was founded on. Open Door Policy From 1898-1900 the United States and European countries competed for spheres of influence throughout China. After the United States acquired the Philippines after the Spanish-American War it wanted to expand its Asian markets. Although there was much apprehension and constant mistrust among China’s guest countries Chinese ports were open to foreign trade. Boxer Rebellion In response to perceived exploitation by foreign countries young Chinese men, many of whom were martial artists, rebelled against Western nations with the tacit approval of the Chinese empress. Off and on for roughly 2 years battles between the Boxers and foreign nations occurred in many provinces throughout China. Western nations convinced China’s empress that ending the war was beneficial to her and the nation. China executed many Boxers by beheading and paid reparations to Western nations. The Roosevelt Corollary Roosevelt built onto the foreign policy established by President Monroe. The Monroe Doctrine asserted the U.S. would respond militarily if European powers interfered in the Caribbean and Latin America. Roosevelt added that the U.S. would intervene by force, if necessary, into the affairs of Caribbean nations if they could not pay debts or posed a threat to U.S. interests. Big Stick Diplomacy To assert and maintain control of the American sphere of influence President Teddy Roosevelt used what he called Big Stick Diplomacy. His motto [borrowed from ad old African proverb was “speak softly and carry a big stick.”] The metaphor was meant to clearly state his intent to carry out a foreign policy based on strong military action when needed to support U.S. interests. Echoing Alfred Mahan’s opinion that a strong navy would aid this mission the U.S. Navy was essential to projecting U.S. power. Dollar Diplomacy Roosevelt decided not to run for re- election in 1908. His protégé William Howard Taft won the 1908 election. Taft decided to maintain U.S. foreign policy influence by using financial resources to bribe, loan or prop up failing Caribbean nations. The use of military force was minimized compared to the Monroe Doctrine and Roosevelt Corollary. Missionary Diplomacy President Woodrow Wilson proposed and supported alternatives to the Monroe Doctrine and the Roosevelt Corollary. Instead of using violence and military force Wilson promoted American idealism and threatened non-recognition of foreign countries [especially Latin American nations].
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