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8th Grade Textbook Summary - KEEP ALL YEAR! 1 - The First Americans Europeans and other groups did not start arriving in North America until a little more than 500 years ago. For thousands of years, the first Americans had the American continents to themselves. Scientists believe that ancestors of American Indians migrated to America from Asia across a land bridge during the last Ice Age. As their descendants traveled east and south, they adapted to the challenges of living in many different environments. Wherever they settled, American Indians had a special relationship with the world around them. They believed they were part of nature, and they treated the environment with respect. Depending on where they lived, American Indians ate different food, built different kinds of houses, and clothed themselves in different ways. They also practiced many kinds of crafts, making such things as jewelry, fine baskets, and animal masks. American Indians built the first towns and villages in North America, and they were the continent’s first farmers. American Indians living in different cultural regions developed distinctive ways of life that were suited to their environment’s climate and natural resources. Scientists study these ways of life by examining the artifacts America’s first people left behind. 2 - European Exploration and Settlement Europeans had no knowledge of the people of the Americas, half a world away, or the land where they lived. Explorers like Christopher Columbus were looking for a westward route to Asia when they stumbled onto the American continents. European nations competed to claim these new lands and the riches they might contain. Spain claimed vast territories, including Mexico and the southwestern portion of the future United States. In their search for gold and other treasures, Spanish conquistadors conquered the Aztecs of Mexico and the Incas of Peru. The Spanish also brought enslaved Africans to the Americas to plant and harvest crops. In the American Southwest, Spanish missionaries worked to convert American Indians to Christianity. The French staked a claim to much of present-day Canada, as well as Louisiana, the territory west of the Mississippi River. Most French settlers were more interested in trapping and trading furs than in farming or establishing large settlements. The English based their claim to North America on John Cabot’s 1497 voyage. After several attempts, the English established their first permanent colony at Jamestown in Virginia. The Dutch established a foothold in North America by founding the colony of New Netherland. The English, however, drove the Dutch out and renamed the colony New York. For American Indians, the arrival of Europeans brought many changes, including new technology and new ideas. But they also brought deadly diseases that killed great numbers of the first Americans. 3 - The English Colonies in North America Settlers had many reasons to come to America in the 1600s and 1700s. Two important reasons were freedom of religion and the chance to start a new life. However, even though colonists treasured freedom for themselves, they had Africans brought to America by force to work as slaves. The New England, Middle, and Southern Colonies had distinctive geographies and natural resources. As a result, different ways of life developed in each region. Colonies also varied in their form of government, but all were democratic to some degree. Religion and geography were key influences in the New England colonies. Although Puritans sometimes disagreed, they hoped to establish model communities based on their religious faith. New England’s forests and coastline made lumbering, shipbuilding, and trade very important to the region’s economy. The Middle Colonies were geographically, culturally, and religiously diverse. Catholics, Quakers, Anglicans, and members of other Protestant faiths all found homes in this region. In the Southern Colonies, climate and geography encouraged the planting of cash crops and the development of large plantations. In time, slave labor would become a major part of this region’s economy. 4 - Life in the Colonies The colonists developed an economy based on farming, commerce, and crafts. Farm families produced most of what they needed for themselves. In the villages and cities, many trades and crafts developed. American colonists expected to enjoy all the rights of English citizens, especially the right to have a voice in their own government. Colonial assemblies defined crimes and punishments. Punishments were often harsh, but for most of the 1700s, the colonists were content to be ruled by English laws. Enslaved African Americans had almost no rights or even hope for liberty. After being brought to America in chains, they faced a life of forced obedience and toil. Religion was very important to the colonists. The Great Awakening revived religious feeling and helped spread the idea that all people are equal. Most colonial children received little education, except in New England. Instead, they were expected to contribute to the work of the farm or home. Most colonial families were large. They often included many relatives in addition to parents and their children. Much of colonial life was hard work, but colonists also found time to enjoy sports and games. 5 - Toward Independence During the French and Indian War (1754-1763), Great Britain and France fought for territory and power. When the war ended, France gave up Canada to Great Britain. Great Britain now had a much larger American empire to control. The war left Great Britain with huge debts. To raise money, Parliament passed the Stamp Act in 1765. Colonists protested the Stamp Act because it was passed without colonial representation. Colonists also protested the Quartering Act, which required them to house British troops at the colonies’ expense. The Townshend Acts imposed more taxes on the colonies, which divided many colonists into opposing camps. Loyalists urged obedience to Britain, but Patriots resisted "taxation without representation" through protests, boycotts, and riots. Tensions in Boston erupted into violence in 1770 when British troops fired into a crowd of colonists in what become known as the Boston Massacre. When Patriots protested a new tax on tea by throwing tea into Boston Harbor in 1773, Great Britain responded by passing the Intolerable Acts to force the colonies to give in to British authority. Patriots responded by forming the First Continental Congress and organizing colonial militias. Fighting between Patriots and British troops at Lexington and Concord in 1775 showed that colonists would not only fight for their rights, but were willing to die for them. 6 - The Declaration of Independence George Washington took command of the Continental Army after the Battle of Bunker Hill. The Continental Army used cannons brought from Fort Ticonderoga in New York to force the British to abandon Boston in March 1776. The failure of the Olive Branch Petition and the success of Thomas Paine’s 8th Grade Textbook Summary - KEEP ALL YEAR! pamphlet Common Sense moved the colonies closer to the decision to declare independence from Great Britain. Thomas Jefferson, a delegate to the Second Continental Congress, was selected to write the Declaration of Independence. On July 4, 1776, the delegates approved the Declaration of Independence. For the first time in history, a government was being established on the principle of people’s natural rights and the duty of government to honor those rights. 7 - The American Revolution The Continental army was short of men, and few men were trained for battle. The Americans also lacked adequate weapons and food. Their strengths included patriotism, support from France, and Washington as their military leader. British troops greatly outnumbered American troops and were better trained and equipped. Sending troops and supplies to the colonies was slow and costly. The British also had poor leadership and a lack of support from people at home. The British won a series of victories early in the war. After the loss of New York City, only Washington’s leadership kept the colonists going. Thomas Paine’s The Crisis encouraged Americans to keep fighting. Colonial victories at Trenton and Princeton gave new hope for their cause. The colonists’ victory in the Battle of Saratoga in 1777 marked a turning point in the war. Shortly afterward, France and Spain joined the colonies as allies. The British moved south into Georgia and the Carolinas, but American troops slowed their advance. The British surrendered after the Battle of Yorktown. The conflict ended with the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1783. Under the terms of the treaty, Great Britain recognized the United States as an independent country. 8 - Creating the Constitution Under the Articles of Confederation, Congress did not have the power to solve disagreements among states over such issues as taxes. Congress passed laws on how to settle the Northwest Territory. Shays’ Rebellion showed that under the Articles of Confederation, the government was too weak to keep order. In 1787, delegates met at the Constitutional Convention and agreed to revise the Articles. The Great Compromise established how states were to be represented in the legislative branch of government. The Three-Fifths Compromise settled the question of how slaves were to be counted in determining a state’s population. A third compromise created a single chief executive, to be chosen by the Electoral College. Delegates signed the Constitution in September 1787. They agreed that 9 of the 13 states had to ratify the Constitution before it could go into effect. 9 - The Constitution: A More Perfect Union As the first words of the Preamble tell us, the Constitution’s authority comes directly from the people, not the states. This concept is known as popular sovereignty. The Preamble goes on to list the goals of the new government. Article I of the Constitution creates a bicameral Congress with a House of Representatives and a Senate. Every state is represented by two senators. Representation in the House is based on a state’s population. Congress’s primary job is to make laws. Article II creates the executive branch. The head of the executive branch is the president. The president serves a four-year term and may be reelected once. The president carries out laws passed by Congress. Other powers of the president include making treaties and appointing Supreme Court justices. Article III establishes the Supreme Court and gives Congress the power to create lower courts. Supreme Court decisions are binding on all lower courts. The power of judicial review allows the Supreme Court to decide whether laws and actions by the legislative and executive branches are unconstitutional. The framers developed a system of checks and balances that enables each branch of government to limit, or check, the power of the other two branches. The Constitution provides checks and balances in the powers of each branch. Article V outlines the process by which amendments can be made to the Constitution. Twenty-seven amendments have been added. The first ten amendments form the Bill of Rights. The Constitution creates a federal system of government in which power is shared between the national government and the states. Elections serve the vital function of expressing the will of the people. People also participate in government by joining political parties and taking part in interest groups. 10 - The Bill of Rights By 1791, nine of the 13 states had ratified ten amendments drafted by James Madison and approved by Congress. These ten amendment form the Bill of Rights. The First Amendment protects five basic freedoms: the right to worship freely, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and the rights of assembly and petition. The Second, Third, and Fourth Amendments protect people against the abuse of government power. The Fifth through the Eighth Amendments are intended to guarantee fair treatment for people involved in legal actions. Other Rights and Powers The Ninth and Tenth Amendments concern the relationships among the federal government, the states, and the people. The Ninth Amendment protects rights that are not expressly listed in the Constitution. The Tenth Amendment says that powers that are neither given to the national government nor forbidden to the states belong to the states and the people. 11 - Political Developments in the Early Republic George Washington took office as president in 1789. In 1794, he ended the Whiskey Rebellion, a farmers’ protest against taxes. Hamilton and the Federalists favored a strong national government. They supported a loose construction of the Constitution. They also favored using the government’s power to support business, manufacturing, and trade. Alarmed by the violence of the French Revolution, the Federalists favored Great Britain in its war with France. Jefferson and the Republicans championed states’ rights and an economy based on agriculture. They supported a strict construction of the Constitution. Republicans saw the French Revolution as a step toward democracy and attacked the Federalists’ support for Great Britain. During Adams’s presidency, Federalists used the Alien and Sedition Acts to attack Republicans. In response, Republicans urged states to nullify these laws. Adams lost the election of 1800 to Thomas Jefferson after the Federalists broke a tie vote between Jefferson and Aaron Burr. In 1804, the Twelfth Amendment was added to the Constitution to prevent such ties. 12 - Foreign Affairs in the Young Nation The first U.S. president knew that the young nation was unprepared for war. George Washington established a policy of isolationism to avoid alliances with other countries, which could draw the country into wars abroad. During the presidency of John Adams, France attacked U.S. ships. Adams followed 8th Grade Textbook Summary - KEEP ALL YEAR! Washington’s policy of isolationism and kept the United States at peace by securing a treaty with France. President Thomas Jefferson also faced threats at sea. When peace talks failed, he passed the Embargo Act of 1807. It, too, was unsuccessful. President James Madison offered a trade deal to both France and Great Britain, but the attacks at sea continued. He finally abandoned isolationism and declared war on Great Britain. The War of 1812 ended in a peace treaty with Great Britain. President James Monroe, in support of the new Latin American states, issued a policy called the Monroe Doctrine. In it, he warned European nations to respect the newly independent colonies. The Monroe Doctrine established the United States as a strong nation, willing to stand up for its own freedom and that of its neighbors. 13 - A Growing Sense of Nationhood A spirit of patriotism after the War of 1812 helped the United States form a national identity, even though distinct lifestyles developed in different regions of the country. This national identity was shown in Americans’ pride in symbols, such as the White House, the Capitol, and Uncle Sam, and in shared values, such as equality. James Monroe became president in 1816. His presidency is known as the Era of Good Feelings because of the national unity the country experienced between 1816 and 1824. During these years, leaders like Henry Clay, John C. Calhoun, and Daniel Webster supported proposals that called for the federal government to take a more active role in developing the nation’s economy. Also during this period, the chief justice of the Supreme Court, John Marshall, helped strengthen federal power over the states and encourage the growth of capitalism. American art forms also helped the nation develop a unique identity. Painters of the Hudson River School created artworks that highlighted the landscape’s natural beauty, and George Catlin painted scenes of American Indian life. New forms of music included spirituals and patriotic anthems. Writers used uniquely American settings and subjects to create such stories as “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and popular novels like The Pioneers and The Last of the Mohicans. 14 - Andrew Jackson and the Growth of American Democracy Andrew Jackson was a self-made man who rose from poverty to become president of the United States. First-time voters, many of them farmers and frontier settlers, helped elect Jackson in 1828. His supporters celebrated his election as a victory for the “common man” over the rich and powerful. As president, Jackson relied on his “kitchen cabinet” rather than the official cabinet. He replaced a number of Republican civil servants with Democrats in a practice that became known as the spoils system. A controversy over higher tariffs led to the nullification crisis, in which South Carolinians threatened to secede from the United States. Although Jackson forced them to back down, the crisis was another sign of developing tensions between North and South. Jackson thought the Bank of the United States benefited rich eastern depositors at the expense of farmers, workers, and smaller state banks. He also thought it stood in the way of opportunity for capitalists in the West and other regions. Jackson vetoed the bank’s renewal charter. Jackson’s Indian policy was simple: move the eastern Indians across the Mississippi to make room for whites. The Indian Removal Act caused great suffering for tens of thousands of American Indian 15 - Manifest Destiny and the Growing Nation In 1803, the United States added the vast territory known as Louisiana. The Louisiana Purchase doubled the nation’s land area. A treaty with Spain added Florida to the United States in 1819. In 1836, Americans in Texas rebelled against the Mexican government there and created the Lone Star Republic. In 1845, Congress admitted Texas into the union. The Lone Star Republic was formally dissolved in 1846. A treaty with Great Britain added Oregon Country in 1846. In 1846, the United States went to war with Mexico in the Mexican- American War. In an 1848 treaty with Mexico, the United States acquired the present-day states of California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico, as well as parts of Colorado and Wyoming. Five years later, the Gadsden Purchase completed the outline of the continental United States. 16 - Life in the West Explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark went west to find the Northwest Passage and to establish friendly relations with native people. The expedition helped prepare the way for future settlement. In California, Spanish-speaking settlers followed in the footsteps of missionaries. The Californios’ way of life centered on the rancho and the raising of cattle. Valuable beaver furs—and a life of freedom and adventure—attracted fur trappers to the West. Many of these hardy mountain men stayed on as scouts, guides, and traders. People traveled to Oregon and other western territories in hopes of converting Indians to Christianity. Although they made few converts, the missionaries attracted other settlers to the West. Many women pioneers sought new opportunities in the West. Besides working to establish homes and farms, women often brought education and culture to new settlements. Mormon pioneers traveled to Utah in search of religious freedom. They built cities and towns and introduced new methods of farming to the dry plains. Gold seekers from all over the world rushed to California in 1849. Few became rich, but many stayed to help build the new state’s economy. The gold rush attracted thousands of Chinese immigrants to California. Although they often had to fight prejudice, most of them remained in the United States, working as laborers and starting new businesses and farms. 17 - Mexicano Contributions to the Southwest Mexicano knowledge, skills, and techniques advanced the development of mining in the Southwest. These contributions helped build the gold, silver, and copper mining industries. American settlers learned about cattle ranching, cowboy life, and sheep raising from Mexicanos. They adopted Mexicano traditions for raising cattle and sheep. The American cowboy’s language was enriched by Spanish-Mexican words like burro, rodeo, and lasso. White settlers in the Southwest adopted irrigation techniques that had been pioneered by Mexicanos and Pueblo Indians. They also learned to appreciate Mexicano food. Today, Mexicano culture survives in such American adaptations as Spanish-style homes and buildings as well as legal traditions regarding mining, water, and community property. Millions of Americans enjoy music, dances, festivals, and rodeos that come from Mexicano traditions. 18 - An Era of Reform Many Americans were inspired by the Second Great Awakening, which emphasized the role of good works in the lives of Christians. Transcendentalist writers like Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, who 8th Grade Textbook Summary - KEEP ALL YEAR! urged people to question society’s rules and institutions, also inspired Americans. Some transcendentalists formed communities that attempted to create an ideal society of cooperation. Dorothea Dix pioneered the reform of prisons and the treatment of people with mental illness. Her efforts led to improvements in state prison systems and the creation of public institutions and hospitals for the mentally ill. Horace Mann led the movement to make education freely available to all. His ideas led many Northern states to establish public schools. Education reform did not improve opportunities for most girls, women, and African Americans, however. Inspired in part by religious revivalism, abolitionists worked to end the practice of slavery. Key leaders in the movement included William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, Angelina and Sarah Grimke, and Sojourner Truth. The women’s rights movement began with the Seneca Falls Convention and its Declaration of Sentiments. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott organized the convention. Susan B. Anthony was another key leader in the movement. 19 - The Worlds of North and South Geography was one reason why Northerners and Southerners developed different ways of life. In the North, physical features such as harbors encouraged the growth of shipbuilding, fishing, and commerce. The land and climate supported the harvesting of timber and such crops as corn and wheat. In the South, the climate and land was ideal for warm-weather crops like cotton, rice, and sugarcane. In contrast to the variety of trades and businesses in the North, the South depended primarily on agriculture. Although only a minority of white Southerners owned slaves, much of the South’s economy depended on slave labor. In the North, the new inventions of the Industrial Revolution led to the development of mills and factories. Increasing numbers of people went to work as wage earners. Steamboats and railroads improved transportation for Northerners, making it easier for them to travel and to ship goods over long distances. In the South, however, people continued to travel by river, and rail lines were fewer. In the South, the wealthy few enjoyed great influence and power. But even the poorest whites ranked above African Americans, whether free or slave. The North, too, had its wealthy class. But farmers and laborers alike believed they could create comfortable lives for their families through hard work. 20 - African Americans in the Mid-1800s African Americans had a great impact on the development of American life. The South’s economy was built on slave labor. Some blacks lived in freedom in the North and South, but nowhere could they escape racism and discrimination. Most white Southerners did not own slaves. Whether they owned slaves or not, whites understood that the South’s economy depended on cotton and the slave labor needed to grow it. Working and Living Conditions of Slaves All slaves worked constantly—in the fields, as house servants, or at skilled trades. Most slaves lived in simple, dirt-floor cabins. Some slave owners used harsh punishments to control slaves. Most slaves resisted slavery using quiet acts of rebellion, while some fought back openly. At great risk, many tried to run away. Some slaveholders would rather kill runaways than allow them to escape. Enslaved African Americans created families and communities under the most difficult conditions. Slaves spent Saturday nights at social events and worshiped in their own churches on Sundays. They prayed and sang spirituals to help themselves find joy and hope in their hard lives. Africans brought many languages and cultural traditions to the United States. The combination of old and new cultural traditions was expressed through their quilts, songs, dances, and folktales. 21 - A Dividing Nation The issue of granting Missouri statehood threatened to upset the balance of free and slave states. Northerners were concerned that if Missouri entered the Union as a slave state, other territories would also be admitted as slave states. Southerners worried that if Congress banned slavery in Missouri, it would try to end slavery elsewhere. In 1820, the Missouri Compromise resolved the issue by admitting Missouri as a slave state and Maine as a free state. It also drew a line across the Louisiana Territory. In the future, slavery would be permitted only south of that line. The furor over slavery in new territories erupted again after the Mexican-American War. The Compromise of 1850 admitted California as a free state and allowed the New Mexico and Utah territories to decide whether to allow slavery. It also ended the slave trade in Washington, D.C., and included a stronger fugitive slave law. Attitudes on both sides were hardened by Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the Kansas-Nebraska Act. In 1857, the Supreme Court issued a decision in the Dred Scott case: African Americans were not citizens and the Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional. Antislavery activists formed a new political party: the Republican Party. The party nominated Abraham Lincoln for the Illinois Senate. Slavery was the focus of debates between Lincoln and opponent Stephen Douglas. Lincoln lost the election, but the debates brought slavery into sharp focus. A raid launched by abolitionist John Brown raised fears of a slave rebellion Lincoln won the presidency in 1860. Soon afterward, South Carolina and six other Southern states seceded from the Union and formed the Confederate States of America. In early 1861, Confederate troops fired on Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina, marking the beginning of the Civil War. 22 - The Civil War Both sides had strengths and weaknesses going into the war. The North had a larger population and more factories and railroads than the South, but it lacked strong military leadership. The South had serious economic and transportation problems, but it had better military leadership and the advantage of fighting a defensive war. The Battle of Bull Run in 1861 was a victory for the Confederacy and showed the Union that ending the war would not be easy. As the North and South built their armies, women supported their families and the military forces. Using a strategy called the Anaconda Plan, Union forces blockaded Southern ports and gained control of the Mississippi River. High death tolls at the Battle of Antietam reflected new methods of warfare that included improved weapons. The Battle of Gettysburg ended the South’s last attempt to invade the North. From that point on, Confederate forces fought a defensive war in Southern territory. In 1863, Confederate forces continued to hold Vicksburg, a key location on the Mississippi River. Capturing Vicksburg would divide the Confederacy in two and allow the Union to control the Mississippi River. After weeks of bombardment, Vicksburg surrendered. African Americans were able to join Union military forces in 1862. They fought in 8th Grade Textbook Summary - KEEP ALL YEAR! nearly 500 battles. The most famous black regiment was the 54th Massachusetts Infantry, which fought in the Battle of Fort Wagner. In April 1865, Union forces captured the Confederate capital of Richmond and surrounded General Lee’s Confederate army. Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court House. 23 - The Reconstruction Era Under President Johnson’s Reconstruction plan, every Southern state rejoined the Union after it had written a new constitution, elected a new state government, cancelled its war debts, and ratified the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery. Congressional Reconstruction began in 1866, when Republican leaders in Congress worked to give freedmen the full rights of citizenship. Congress passed, and the states ratified, the Fourteenth Amendment, which gave citizenship to all people born in the United States and equal protection of the law to all citizens. Under the Military Reconstruction Act, federal troops returned to the South in 1867 and began registering voters. New Southern voters helped former Union general Ulysses S. Grant become president. In 1869, Congress passed the Fifteenth Amendment, which protected the right of African American men to vote. Many blacks were elected to state government offices during this third phase of Reconstruction. Southern whites used legal means as well as violence to keep blacks from voting or taking office. Reconstruction officially ended in 1877, when President Rutherford B. Hayes withdrew all remaining federal troops from the South once he took office after the disputed election of 1876. After Reconstruction, African Americans lost educational and political gains. Many Southern states closed schools that had been opened to freedmen. They also passed laws designed to keep blacks from voting. Jim Crow laws and the Supreme Court’s decision in Plessy v. Ferguson legalized many forms of discrimination against blacks. Many African Americans responded to segregation by leaving the South. Many migrated to other parts of the United States. Those who remained in the South worked hard to improve their lives. 24 - Tensions in the West For centuries, Nez Perce Indians had roamed the area where Oregon, Washington, and Idaho come together today. The Nez Perce saved the Lewis and Clark expedition from starvation in 1805. As settlers moved west, American Indians were pushed off their lands and onto reservations. In 1877, when the Nez Perce resisted relocation, the U.S. Army chased them and their leader, Chief Joseph, almost to Canada. The Indians surrendered and were sent to a barren reservation, where many died. During the Civil War, two government acts aroused new interest in the West. The Homestead Act of 1862 gave homesteaders a plot of land to cultivate. The Pacific Railway Act of 1862 resulted in the building of a transcontinental railroad that made it easier for settlers to travel westward. The completion of the first transcontinental railroad—built by Chinese and Irish immigrants, ex-soldiers, Mexicans, and freed slaves—in 1869 opened the West to a flood of new settlers. Miners came in search of gold and silver. Ranchers and cowboys introduced large-scale cattle ranching to the Great Plains. Homesteaders turned the Great Plains into the most productive wheat- producing region in the world. The flow of settlers led to changes in federal policy toward American Indians. Under the Indian Removal Act of 1830, Indians had been promised lands in the Great Plains in exchange for giving up their homelands in the East. In 1867, Congress tried to force American Indians onto reservations, promising them food, farm tools, and schools in exchange for their land. Ongoing wars between settlers, soldiers, and Plains Indians came to a head in the Battle of the Little Big Horn, also known as Custer’s Last Stand, in June 1876. The Indians won the battle, but the U.S. Army soon tracked them down and forced them onto reservations. Most American Indians had been moved onto reservations by 1887. They would never again freely roam across the West. 25 - The Rise of Industry Rapid industrialization transformed American life in the decades following the Civil War. Entrepreneurs in banking, commerce, and industry amassed enormous wealth. Businesses grew larger in part because of new technologies, new investors, and policies such as laissez-faire. According to this theory, economies work best when governments do not interfere. New inventions and manufacturing methods prompted the growth of new industries. A less expensive method of making steel made it possible for businesses to grow in size and efficiency. Other inventions, such as the electric light and the telephone, made daily life easier for many Americans. While new innovations allowed more Americans to afford manufactured items, there was a hidden price. With the rise of big business through corporations, trusts (such as Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Trust), and monopolies, the wealthy got wealthier and the poor got poorer. As cities grew, factories rose ten or more stories above the ground, and people from all over came looking for jobs. People lived in crowded, unclean, and dangerous tenement buildings. Men, women, and children worked long hours for low wages in crowded, unsafe factories. Doors were kept locked, and workers could not leave their stations without permission. Workers didn’t dare speak up for fear of losing their jobs. By joining labor unions, workers could fight as a group for better wages and working conditions. When organized workers went on strike, factory owners often responded with violence or by hiring non-union workers. Although labor unions had some successes, many factories remained unsafe. 26 - The Great Wave of Immigration The immigrants of this period were far more diverse than earlier arrivals. Many were refugees escaping poverty, wars, or persecution. Others were drawn by the promise of economic opportunity. With their skills and labor, these new immigrants helped build the nation’s booming cities and industries. But they also faced many challenges, including the tension between assimilation and preserving their way of life. Millions of Italians came to the United States to escape poverty. Many settled in cities, where they lived in mostly Italian neighborhoods. Between 1881 and 1924, some 2.4 million Jews came to the United States from Russia and other countries. Many came to escape persecution in their home countries. People from China had come to the United States since the late 1860s. As the number of Chinese immigrants increased, so too did discrimination against them. In 1882, Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act. Many Mexicans came to the United States between 1910 and 1920, during the years of the Mexican Revolution. Most found work in agriculture, although the work paid very little. In the 1920s, Nativism led Congress to limit 8th Grade Textbook Summary - KEEP ALL YEAR! the number of foreigners who would be allowed into the United States. Quotas brought an end to the great wave of immigration. By then, the United States had become a far more diverse country. 27 - The Progressive Era As early as the 1870s, farmers organized to protest the government’s laissez-faire policies and the growing power of big business. The Granger and Populist movements championed the cause of the common man and helped sow the seeds of Progressive reform. To men of industry like Carnegie and Rockefeller, calls for reform were misguided. All of America, they argued, had benefited from industrialization. The country was growing in wealth, and ordinary Americans enjoyed luxuries that were previously unheard of. Unlike industrialists, many people thought big businesses took unfair advantage of workers and consumers. As president, Roosevelt broke up business monopolies, including the Northern Securities Company railroad monopoly and the Standard Oil monopoly. As governor of Wisconsin, La Follette helped put party bosses out of business by pushing reforms that put people in charge of politics. Labor leader Mary Harris Jones—known as Mother Jones—fought hard to end child labor. Because of her influence, 43 states passed laws by 1909 outlawing the hiring of children. Naturalist John Muir spurred on the growing conservation movement. His writings called for laws to protect wilderness and helped convince Congress to create Yosemite National Park. W. E. B. Du Bois Sociologist W. E. B. Du Bois fought racism and discrimination against blacks. He helped to form the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which pledged to work for equal rights and opportunities for all African Americans. In his 1906 novel The Jungle, Upton Sinclair described the horrors of meatpacking plants. The best seller prompted a federal investigation of the meatpacking industry and led to new laws protecting American consumers: the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act. In 1916, Alice Paul formed what came to be known as the National Woman’s Party. Her work led to the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920, giving women across the country the vote. 28 - The United States Becomes a World Power The United States’ first great expansion after the Civil War was the purchase of Alaska. The nation also expanded westward by annexing the Midway Islands in the Pacific in 1867 and Hawaii in 1898. In 1898, the United States declared war with Spain over the Cuban struggle for independence. As a result of the Spanish-American War, the United States gained two new possessions: Puerto Rico and the Philippines. Although the nation did not take over Cuba, it did, under a treaty made in 1903, lease land in Cuba to establish a naval base. In Central America, the United States encouraged revolution in Panama and then purchased a strip of land from the new country in order to build the Panama Canal. The United States maintained control over the Canal Zone for the rest of the 20th century. By the time World War I broke out, the United States was becoming a world power. America remained neutral until late in the war, when it entered the conflict on the side of the Allied Powers. President Wilson described the war as a fight to make the world safe for democracy. World War I saw great changes in how war was conducted. The war in the west was fought from two parallel lines of trenches that eventually stretched for 600 miles across France. Machine guns and chemical weapons added to the horrors of trench warfare. German U-boats, or submarines, sank vessels on sight. Americans helped to win the war, but Wilson was unable to get all of his peace plan adopted. The U.S. Senate refused to ratify the peace treaty, preventing the United States from joining the League of Nations. In Europe, the harsh terms imposed by the victorious Allies caused great bitterness in Germany. Meanwhile, the United States turned back toward isolationism. 29 - Linking Past to Present In 1914, white men dominated the workforce and political life. After much struggle, women and men of all races have won the right to vote and compete as equals in all areas of life. Cars and airplanes made travel faster and easier. Motion pictures created a new form of entertainment. Radio and television brought the world into every home. During the first half of the last century, the United States shifted from an agricultural to an industrial economy. During the second half, it shifted again to a service economy. By the dawn of the 21st century, the economy had entered an information age. In 1914, the United States was just beginning to move onto the world stage. By the turn of the 21st century, it was the world’s sole superpower. In the 21st century, new ideas and challenges will continue to change the way we live.
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