Lecture_notes _08-34_ by MarijanStefanovic


									History 2020 – 001

 The United States since 1877

        Lecture Notes

      Dr. Stephen G. Fritz

 East Tennessee State University
  Topic 1: Industrialization & Urbanization: The Transformation of America
                                          Text: ch. 17-19

I. Emergence as an Economic Power:

        A. Technological Change
        Technology affected the lives of Americans more than any political or philosophical
developments in the late 19th century. New technologies not only created new industries, and
thus new jobs, but also laid the foundations for a marketing and managerial revolution, which
also created new jobs along with changing old ways of doing business.

        B. Population Patterns and the New Industrial Workforce
        Mechanization increased productivity and created jobs. Agricultural machinery replaced
manual labor on farms, driving thousands of rural Americans seeking employment (or more
money) into cities, which resulted in skyrocketing urban growth between 1870-1900. This
population shift was essential to industrialization. It created a large, available workforce,
encouraged mass production and mass marketing, encouraged a communications revolution, and
eventually led to mass consumerism. Internal migration and foreign immigration accounted for
80% of urban growth. The “new immigrants” seemed different from earlier ones, both because
they were less skilled and because they were primarily from Catholic, Jewish, and Orthodox
areas of eastern and southeastern Europe. From the mid-1890's on, African-Americans from the
rural South also joined the exodus, moving north for economic opportunity and to escape the
increasing racial persecution. The managerial revolution and growth of “white collar” jobs also
aided in the movement of women into the business and industrial workforce.

II. Industrial Growth:

        A. Stimulating Factors
        In general, the interaction of four major factors stimulated rapid economic growth
between 1870-1900: 1) technological innovation; 2) intense competition; 3) steady drop in
prices; 4) high interest rates & tight credit.

        B. Social Darwinism and the Gospel of Wealth
        Social Darwinism and the Gospel of Wealth justified the increasingly ruthless
competition and behavior of businessmen. Social Darwinism was a social philosophy that drew
on the theory of “survival of the fittest” to explain how societies evolved as a result of
competition. The Gospel of Wealth, as propounded by Andrew Carnegie, argued that those who
made money had a religious duty spend some of their money on philanthropic endeavors, thus
softening some of the harshness of Social Darwinism.

        C. Laissez-faire
        The economic idea of laissez-faire (“hands-off” or “leave it alone”) was based on the
belief that a free and unregulated market would result in a more vibrant economy.

III. From Competition to Consolidation:
       A. Railroads
       Railroads played a key role in encouraging economic growth, the creation of new
marketing and distribution methods, and in the consolidation of industry (which meant
eliminating competition).

        B. The Merger Movement
        Businessmen such as Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Gustavus Swift and others,
while not wanting government intervention or regulation, disliked intense, unrestrained
competition because it tended to produce price instability and thus a boom-and-bust economic
cycle. Their solution was to control the market by consolidating competing firms under their
control. The various steps in this path to consolidation were pools, trusts, horizontal integration,
and vertical integration.

         C. The Union Movement
         Workers sought to gain leverage over the workplace by pursuing their own consolidation.
Unions such as The Knights of Labor sought to form a gigantic union of all workers, regardless
of skill or function, with the ultimate goal of transforming the capitalist economic system. The
American Federation of Labor, on the other hand, aimed to organize only skilled workers, and to
get more of the wealth produced by the existing system for its members.

IV. Economic Modernization in the South and West:

        A. The New South
        Despite calls for a “New South” modeled after the North, the South largely remained non-
industrial, except for a few areas (textile mills and steel). Since southern agriculture was debt-
burdened, many rural southerners began a migration to northern cities. Both white and black
sharecroppers struggled against a social and political system which denied them any effective
voice. Booker T. Washington promoted the policy of pursuing educational and economic
opportunity for blacks while foregoing agitation over social and political rights.

        B. The West
        In the mid-west and west farm production and efficiency had improved, with fewer
farmers growing more. The beginning mechanization of agriculture was already transforming the
family farm, as farms were becoming specialized, commercial businesses. On the high plains,
though, farmers remained in a web of dependency on the weather, credit, and the world market.
As their crop prices dropped, their purchasing power also decreased, in part because of high
protective tariffs designed to promote industrial growth.
        A clash of cultures emerged in the west as immigrants displaced Native Americans in a
search for cheap land, economic gain, and the prospect of building a new life.

V. Life in Industrial America:

       A. Wages, Hours, and Standard of Living
       Industrialization exacted a heavy psychological and emotional toll from workers at the
same time that it transformed America into the most prosperous and economically powerful
nation in the world. Wages rose gradually during the period 1870-1900, and purchasing power
tended to increase as well because of declining prices for consumer goods. New methods of
marketing such as department stores, chain stores, and mail order also made more goods
available at affordable prices. Improvements in diet and the ending of epidemic diseases also
improved living standards. By the end of the period, increased purchasing power combined with
more available time led to the development of leisure activities such as professional sports,
vaudeville, and amusement parks.
Topic 2: The Revolt Against Industrialization: The Turbulent Nineties, 1890-1900
                                          Text: ch. 20

I. The Farmers’ Revolt:

        A. Grievances: Real and Imagined
        Bad economic times for farmers in the 1880's and 1890's created the discontent that led to
the agrarian revolt. Farm prices dropped steadily, railroads charged more for short haul than long
haul, tariffs raised prices for manufactured agricultural implements, and credit was tight and
interest rates high. Overproduction, the basic cause of the farmers’ problems, was too abstract
for them to grasp; they sought the origins of their plight in a conspiracy of big business, banks,
and the economic elite.

        B. The Farmers Organize
        Individualism and geographic separation hampered organization, but continued economic
difficulties spurred development of The Grange, Farmers’ Alliances, and eventually the Populist
movement (People’s Party).

         C. The Populist Agenda
         Populist rhetoric mixed radicalism with moderation, but in general they aimed to make
economic and political power more accessible to the common person. They called for a
graduated income tax and lower tariff, a postal banking system, an inflated currency (“free
silver”); government storage and loans on their surpluses; direct election of senators; secret
ballot; initiative and referendum; and government regulation of railroads and banks.

        D. Emergence of the Populist Party
        The Populist Party emerged from the unification of the Northern and Southern Alliances
in 1892. Most Populists were marginal, small-scale, one-crop farmers. The Party attempted to
broaden its appeal to urban workers by including some of their concerns in their platform. In the
south there was, for a time, an attempt to bring black and white farmers together on the basis of
their common economic hardships. The Populist movement gave disaffected Americans
(primarily farmers) an alternative to the traditional Democratic and Republican Parties.

II. The Depression of 1893 and Turbulence in the 1890's

        A. Worker Discontent
        The Depression of 1893 originated in Europe. Falling demand for American products
and a spate of railroad bankruptcies caused price deflation and widespread unemployment.
Perhaps 20% of the industrial workforce was without a job. This was a new type of
unemployment, with those without a job unable to take care of their families at all. It
accentuated the new dependency of the urban industrial worker. A series of violent strikes and
labor confrontations, as well as a march on Washington by several thousand unemployed workers
demanding federal aid, contributed to the upheaval and turbulence of the period.

       B. Deteriorating Race Relations
        The 1890's was one of the worst decades of racial violence in American history, with
widespread lynching of blacks who defied the growing system of racial segregation. Populist
attempts to unite the races led to considerable bloodshed. White-run state governments in the
South also began to restrict black voting rights. As black voting rights declined, so did their civil
rights. The Supreme Court’s Plessy v. Ferguson decision (1896) sanctioned limitations on black
rights and a system of racial segregation, as long as the separate facilities were “equal.”

       C. The Election of 1896
       In 1896 the Populists attempted to influence national politics by essentially merging with
the Democrats (both parties nominated William Jennings Bryan for president). In a fiercely
fought campaign Bryan denounced the “money conspiracy” while his Republican opponent,
William McKinley, portrayed himself as the candidate of tolerance, consensus, and pluralism.
With Bryan’s defeat, the Populists lost their platform, their agrarian revolt, and their party.

III. Economic Expansionism and the “White Man’s Burden”

       A. The Search for Markets
       As a result of the Depression of 1893, American business and political leaders sought
new opportunities and areas for exporting U.S. goods, since domestic consumption was not
keeping up with production. A stronger navy seemed essential if the U.S. hoped to compete for
world markets.

        B. The “White Man’s Burden”
        Expansionists combined a belief in American exceptionalism with Social Darwinism,
racism, and paternalism to argue that U.S. (and western) civilization would benefit the peoples of
“lesser” nations. Many Americans also exhibited a religious zeal and sense of duty in spreading

        C. The Spanish-American War (1898)
        Outrage over Spain’s treatment of Cuba, economic ambitions, the impact of a new mass
public opinion inflamed by “yellow journalism,” and a desire to “set things right” led the U.S.
into a war with Spain. Although the war was short, it left the U.S. with colonies and a new
image as a growing world power.

IV. Conclusion
        Although Americans rejected the seeming radicalism of the Populist crusade, and Bryan’s
emphasis on free silver had alienated urban workers, the Populists had raised important issues of
political and economic power in the new industrial society.
                Topic 3: The Progressive Reform of Industrialization,
                                           Text: ch. 21

I. The Progressive Impulse:

       A. America in 1900
       There were a number of problems plaguing American society by 1900: maldistribution of
wealth, poor living and working conditions, pollution, and concentration of economic power.
Many people believed these problems could be solved only by making government more
democratic, and by making the federal government more powerful.

        B. Theory and Practice
        Progressives emphasized the notion of “environmental determinism,” that social ills
resulted from an unhealthy environment, not human nature. They emphasized action and
experimentation, based on a philosophy developed by William James known as Pragmatism.
The notion of Reform Darwinism argued that evolution could be advanced more rapidly if people
used their intellect and expert knowledge to alter their environment. In general, Progressives
rejected laissez-faire and called for more governmental intervention in the economy and society.
Progressive reform generally began at the urban level, then moved upward through the states to
the federal government.

        C. Scientific Management and the Cult of Efficiency
        An emphasis on means as well as ends marked Progressivism. Efficiency and expertise
became synonymous with progressive reform. Unlike the Populists, who called for a greater
voice for the common people, the Progressives emphasized social justice, but with experts like
themselves put in charge.

        D. The Limits of Reform
        Progressives tended not only to be paternalistic, but excluded certain groups. It tended to
ignore the demands for equal rights of African Americans, and of women for the right to vote.
Booker T. Washington, W.E.B.DuBois, and Ida B. Wells all outlined differing strategies for
blacks, while Margaret Sanger emerged as a vocal advocate of birth control as the first step in
emancipating women.

II. Progressivism at the National Level

        A. Theodore Roosevelt
        An aristocrat by birth, Theodore Roosevelt shared two progressive beliefs: that competent
people should run government, and that industrialization had created the need for a more active
federal government. As president, he championed the principle of government regulation of
corporate behavior, but also stressed the idea of enlightened compromise.

       B. William Howard Taft
       Although he had a distinguished record, Taft was not a charismatic leader. He viewed
government power more narrowly than Roosevelt, and lacked the political skills necessary to
restrain the growing divisions between conservatives and reformers in the Republican Party.
Taft’s actions eventually alienated reformers, leaving the door open for Roosevelt to attempt a
political comeback.

       C. The Election of 1912
       Sensing Taft’s weakness, Roosevelt challenged him for the Republican nomination for
president, but failed to secure the nomination. He then formed the Progressive Party, which
nominated him on a platform known as the “New Nationalism,” a continuation of his earlier
“Square Deal.” The split in the Republican Party allowed a little known Democrat, Woodrow
Wilson, an opportunity. Wilson campaigned for the “New Freedom,” which aimed at breaking-
up big business and restoring smaller-scale competition in the U.S. Because of the split in the
Republican Party, Wilson won the election with only 43% of the popular vote.

        D. Woodrow Wilson
        A self-righteous moralist, Wilson shared Roosevelt’s belief that the president should be
the nation’s political leader. Despite his calls for a New Freedom, however, as president his
reforms tended to follow Roosevelt’s pattern of simply regulating business, not dismantling it.

        E. Conclusion
        In general, progressives responded to the problems of modernization with programs
designed to achieve greater social justice and stability. They did not, however, grapple with the
issues of ethnic and cultural diversity. Progressivism also began the 20th century trend toward
greater power centralized in the federal government and in the presidency.
          Topic 4: War as Progressive Crusade: America in World War I
                                          Text: ch. 22

I. The Road to War:

       A. The European Crisis
       World War I began as a result of the breakdown of the balance of power in Europe. Once
begun, the technological changes in the weapons of war, and the awesome destructive power they
unleashed, resulted in a stalemated, trench war.

         B. American Neutrality
         On the outbreak of war, Wilson proclaimed a policy of neutrality, one that was
problematic at best. Wilson himself was a pronounced Anglophile, which led him to overlook
the initial violations of American neutrality that resulted from Great Britain’s blockade of
Germany. When Germany responded with submarine warfare, including the sinking of the
Lusitania, a British passenger ship carrying a cargo of munitions, Wilson threatened Germany
with war unless it restricted its actions. Although Wilson’s protests won a temporary halt to
unrestricted submarine warfare, his actions marked a decided pro-Allied tilt, so that the U.S. war
hardly neutral anymore. Because of the flow of American loans and material aid to the Allies,
and the impact of the continuing British blockade, Germany resumed unrestricted submarine
warfare in early 1917. Wilson again threatened war, but this time Germany did not desist.
Wilson in April 1917 then asked Congress for a declaration of war against Germany. Concerns
for neutral rights, economic ties, cultural sympathies, and submarine warfare all played a role in
Wilson’s actions, as did his desire to dictate the peace in Europe along the lines of American

II. The Crusade for Democracy:

        A. Mobilizing the Nation and Industry
        Ironically, Wilson’s actions on behalf of freedom resulted in a vast increase of federal
government power and unprecedented intrusions into the lives of ordinary Americans, as well as
extensive government control over the economy and private businesses. The government
instituted a draft, established the War Industries Board which had the power to compel business
and industry to cooperate in the war effort, and created a host of agencies to oversee virtually
every aspect of economic and social life in the U.S. In order to sell the war to a divided nation,
Wilson established the Committee on Public Information, a propaganda agency run by George
Creel whose goal was to encourage support for the war and create “100% Americans.” The
inevitable consequence was a wave of anti-German hysteria and violence, as well as repression of
any dissent or anti-war activity.

        B. Social Changes
        For the majority of Americans who stayed at home, the war was a time of prosperity and
plentiful jobs. This encouraged many women to enter the industrial workforce for the first time.
In addition, the movement of African-Americans from the rural South to the urban North
accelerated greatly. As the war broke down old barriers and offered new job opportunities, a
Great Migration of blacks to the North ensued. This brought both opportunity for blacks, as well
as a white backlash and violence.

III. A Flawed Peace:
        A. The Paris Peace Conference (Treaty of Versailles)
        American entry into the war broke the military stalemate and tipped the balance in favor
of the Allies. While Wilson promoted the idea of a lenient peace through his 14 Points and other
speeches, Great Britain and France wanted a punitive peace that would destroy German power.
The result was a peace that was just harsh enough to anger the Germans and make them seethe
with revenge, but not harsh enough to destroy their power. Wilson, frustrated and despondent,
placed his hopes for future stability on a League of Nations and the notion of collective security.

        B. The Fight for the Treaty
        Having compromised his other principles at Versailles, Wilson was in no mood to
compromise on the League of Nations or collective security, but it was precisely the latter that
caused objections from many Senators, who feared a loss of America’s traditional freedom of
action. In the end, Wilson failed to secure the necessary votes for treaty approval in the Senate.
The U.S. neither signed the Treaty of Versailles nor joined the League of Nations.

IV. Postwar Change:

       A. Labor Upheaval
       Labor unrest, particularly because of inflation and the threat of unemployment, led to a
wave of strikes. The violence associated with these strikes, and the Bolshevik (Communist)
revolution in Russia, raised fears among many Americans.

        B. The Red Scare
        This wave of strikes and violence, along with the many rapid changes in American
society caused by the war, produced a backlash against labor, foreigners, or anyone suspected of
being a radical. In late 1919 and early 1920 the Attorney-General, A. Mitchell Palmer, led a
series of round-ups of radicals – and deportations of those who were foreign-born. With the Red
Scare, the Progressive Era came to an end.

V. Conclusion:
       At home and abroad the war had been a traumatic experience. Americans had
experienced the horrors of war only to witness a tarnished peace after the end of the war. At
home, the war had brought changes unprecedented in their swiftness and extent, leaving many
Americans yearning for “normalcy.”
               Topic 5: Reaction to War: From “Norm alcy” to the Great
                                Depression, 1920-1932
                                            Text: ch. 23

I. The New Era and the Clash of Values:

         A. The Consumer Society
         Following a brief recession as business converted back to peacetime production, the
country entered a prolonged economic boom characterized by a shift to a consumer-oriented
society. At the heart of the boom was Henry Ford and the development of the American
automobile industry. Ford created the cheap, rugged, reliable Model T through the use of mass
production assembly line techniques. He also increased productivity by voluntarily raising
worker’s wages which, as the price of his car steadily dropped, allowed workers also to become
consumers. The Model T became the symbol of a new, fast-paced era. Critics worried about the
social effects of this transformation, from the blurring of class lines, to the undermining of habits
of thrift, to an increase in sexual promiscuity.
         An increase in the availability of electricity made possible the widespread use of
appliances, while the introduction of the radio made possible a communications revolution.
There was also an increase in leisure time activities, with sports, movies, and the recording
industry producing popular heroes.

        B. The Lost Generation and Modern Values
        The death and destruction of World War I resulted in a disillusionment among the
younger generation with the old values of moderation, thrift, and delayed gratification.
Impressed by the war’s demonstration of the fragility of life, they aimed to live for the moment
and indulge their immediate desires, which created a favorable environment for new sexual
values, while the popularized versions of the teachings of Sigmund Freud provided a rationale for
this new sexual openness. There was also much talk in the 1920's of the New Woman, as young
females seemed more open and assertive than their mothers.
        Many American writers and artists, although contemptuous of traditional American
society, also attacked the consumerism and materialism of the new era. Writers such as Ernest
Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sinclair Lewis, Gertrude Stein and others struggled with the
question of individual identity in a mass production, materialist world.

        C. The Harlem Renaissance and the New Negro
        The 1920's also witnessed a new assertiveness and outpouring of cultural expression on
the part of African-Americans. Expressing an outpouring of black pride, artists such as Langston
Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, James Weldon Johnson, Countee Cullen, and others sought to
assert an identity as a black and an American, while confronting the same consumerist society.
At the same time, Marcus Garvey asserted a form of black nationalism with his “Back to Africa”

II. Traditional America and Resistance to Change:
        A. The Rebirth of the Ku Klux Klan
        The explosive growth of the new Klan, reborn in 1915 outside of Atlanta, symbolized the
traditionalist backlash against the new era and its values. By 1925 it had 3-4 million members,
was popular in the mid-west as well as the south, was powerful in local and state politics, and
even staged a march down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC. It now combined hatred of
African-Americans with hostility to immigrants, Catholics, Jews, and urban society in general.

      B. Prohibition and Immigration Restriction
      Two good indicators of traditionalist backlash were support for prohibition and restriction
of immigration. The latter was largely successful, but the former resulted primarily in open
contempt for the law and the growth of organized crime.

         C. The Scopes Trial
         The conflict between literal faith in the Bible and the new science of evolution also
illustrated the resistance to modernism. The 1920's version of the “trial of the century” took
place in Dayton, TN and featured William Jennings Bryan in one last national hurrah. Although
Scopes lost the trial, Bryan and those who defied science were humiliated in the national media
and in the eyes of modern, urban America.

III. From the New Era to the Great Crash:
        A. Herbert Hoover
        Orphaned at an early age, Hoover seemed the epitome of the best of traditional America,
having trained as an engineer and made himself a millionaire by the time he was forty. His food
relief work for Wilson in World War I, and his efforts in providing relief to the victims of the
1927 Mississippi River flood, both illustrating his principles of voluntarism, made him a hero to
many traditionalists. On the other hand, his support of a more activist government, business, and
labor partnership, which he termed “associationalism,” seemed to respond to the needs of the
New Era.

       B. The Unstable Economy
       The consumer-based economy was already beginning to slow markedly even before
Hoover was elected president. A slowdown in the auto and construction industries, a serious
worldwide agricultural depression, a poor distribution of income, economic protectionism, and
overextended credit all produced an unstable economy already verging on recession.

        C. The Stock Market Crash of 1929
        A great wave of speculation on stocks beginning in 1928 produced an enormous bull
market, and masked the serious weaknesses in the economy. Large numbers of people and
financial institutions gambled their own and their investors savings through unsecured loans and
“buying on margin.” The bubble burst in October 1929, as a great wave of selling and panic hit
Wall Street. The problem was not so much the precipitous decline in stock prices, as in the
resultant collapse of the banking system, which caused many people to lose their life-savings and
dried up loans for businesses just as the economic recession began to hit. The result was a flood
of business and bank failures, and skyrocketing unemployment.
       D. Hoover’s Response
       Far from the image of a “do-nothing” president, Hoover responded vigorously to the
economic problems of the depression, based on his notions of voluntarism, which had worked
successfully in two preceding crises. When voluntarism failed to stem the tide of depression,
Hoover resorted to government activism.

IV. Life in the Great Depression:
        A. The Human Toll
        The Great Depression resulted in an unprecedented economic decline in the U.S. The
GNP fell 50%, incomes fell 40%, and by 1933 approximately 25% of the workforce was
unemployed. Behind the statistics, life for millions of Americans got harder, as they faced
poverty, homelessness, postponed marriages and families, declining career opportunities, and a
daily struggle to feed themselves and their families.

         B. Denial and Escape
         In some respects, men were most affected psychologically by the depression, as many lost
their traditional role as bread-winner and found it difficult to cope with their diminished role.
While some sought to find escape in movies and popular culture, others traveled the rails as
tramps and “railroad hoboes.” Even nature seemed to conspire against Americans, at least on the
Great Plains, as a drought that began in 1931 and lasted for five years resulted in the Dust Bowl,
one of the greatest natural and economic disasters in American farming history.
         By 1933, the cultural clashes of the New Era seemed only a distant memory, as most
Americans worried merely about their economic existence, while talk of a New Woman or New
Negro seemed a mockery.
            Topic 6: Franklin D. Roosevelt & The New Deal, 1933-1938
                                          Text: ch. 24

I. The Age of Roosevelt:

         A. A Patrician in Government
         Coming from an elite, privileged background, Roosevelt did not at first appear to be one
who could relate to ordinary people. He had, however, been struck by polio in 1921, and his
battle to resume a successful political career left him with a deep understanding of the
psychological aspects of a crisis. He had also been impressed by his service in the Wilson
administration during World War I. In contrast to Hoover, Roosevelt exuded charm, charisma,
and confidence. As Governor of New York from 1928-1932, Roosevelt already had experience
in dealing with the problems of the Great Depression and in experimenting with various
pragmatic reform programs.

II. The First New Deal

        A. The First 100 Days
        The New Deal was a hastily improvised program of recovery. Roosevelt’s goals were
immediate and not long-term: to restore economic growth and eliminate unemployment. Many
of his programs were thus meant to be limited in scope and duration.

      B. Banking and Finance Reform
      Roosevelt’s first task was to restore confidence in the banking and financial system, for
economic recovery could not occur without a stable banking system.

        C. Relief Efforts
        Roosevelt targeted specific groups of the population for immediate aid, among them
farmers (Agricultural Adjustment Act), young men (Civilian Conservation Corps), and the urban
unemployed (Federal Emergency Relief Act). Farm policy was intended to raise commodity
prices by eliminating overproduction through a subsidy to farmers to limit their production. The
CCC aimed to provide assistance and meaningful jobs to young men to prevent their
radicalization, while the FERA was to provide immediate relief to the unemployed.

        D. Industrial Recovery
        To promote large-scale industrial recovery, Roosevelt got Congress to authorize such
projects as the Tennessee Valley Authority, which aimed at regional economic development, and
the National Industrial Recovery Act. The NIRA was composed of both a Public Works
Administration (similar to Hoover’s), and a National Recovery Administration. The NRA was
controversial since it attempted to promote government economic planning and coordination of

      E. Challenges to the New Deal
      Despite some economic improvement, by 1935 unemployment was still 17% and
Roosevelt now found himself challenged by many critics. The Supreme Court ruled some
programs unconstitutional, while on the Left critics denounced the New Deal as not radical
enough. Prominent and popular critics were Father Charles Coughlin, a Catholic priest, Dr.
Francis Townsend, who demanded aid for the elderly, and Huey Long, a demagogic senator who
advocated redistribution of income through his Share Our Wealth scheme.

III. The Second New Deal and the Rise of the Welfare State

        A. The Second New Deal
        Stung by criticisms of his policies, Roosevelt was forced to review and extend his own
programs. He effectively responded to his critics in the summer of 1935 with programs such as
the Works Progress Administration (WPA), Social Security, the National Labor Relations Act,
and the Revenue Act. Having regained the initiative, Roosevelt won a sweeping re-election
victory in 1936.

        B. The New Deal and Minorities
        Because the New Deal spending programs provided some minimal aid for them, many
minorities voted overwhelmingly for Roosevelt in 1936, effectively broadening the New Deal
coalition. In practical terms, however, Roosevelt and the New Deal did little of substance to end
racial discrimination against blacks, or to aid women and other minorities.

         C. The New Deal in Decline
         Angered by Supreme Court decisions that struck down some New Deal programs, and
basking in his great electoral triumph, Roosevelt in early 1937 decided to remove what he saw as
the last bastion of conservatism in government – the Supreme Court. Roosevelt introduced
legislation to allow him to name up to six new justices, but this “court-packing” scheme was an
ill-disguised attempt to destroy the independence of the Supreme Court and horrified and angered
liberals and conservatives alike. This blunder cost Roosevelt some of the popular support and
good-will he had just won. His prestige also suffered from attempts to balance the budget before
the economy had fully recovered. The resulting “Roosevelt Recession” resulted in
unemployment rates again hovering around 25%. Congressional elections in November 1938
resulted in gains for Southern anti-New Deal Democrats and Republicans, a coalition which now
effectively stalemated the New Deal.

IV. Conclusion:
        The New Deal never succeeded in ending the Great Depression and was thus an economic
failure. Still, it had an enormous impact on restoring the confidence of the American people,
expanding the federal government’s role in the economy and people’s lives, and in creating the
beginnings of a welfare state.
     Topic 7: Global Crisis: The U.S. and the Second World War, 1939-1945
                                          Text: ch. 25

I. The Coming of World War II:

       A. Peacetime Dilemmas
       The Great Depression undermined the League of Nation’s policy of collective security,
while at the same time it led some nations, such as Japan, Nazi Germany, and Fascist Italy, to
seek the solution to their economic problems in territorial expansion and aggression. In the case
of Nazi Germany, a virulent racism also fed ideas of expansion.

       B. The Western Democratic Response
       Great Britain and France responded to the threat of aggression with the policy of
appeasement, which was meant to prevent war by conceding some of Hitler’s territorial demands.
The U.S., on the other hand, responded with the Neutrality Acts, which were meant not so much
to prevent war from occurring as to keep the U.S. out of it.

        C. War in Europe, 1939-1941
        Once war began in Europe in September 1939, Americans generally hoped that Great
Britain and France could deal with Germany alone, but the rapid Nazi victories in Poland and
France dispelled this illusion. Fearing a situation in which the U.S. might be left alone to
confront the aggressive Axis nations, from the Summer of 1940 Roosevelt promoted a policy of
“all aid short of war” to keep Great Britain in the war. By the Fall of 1941 the U.S. was in a
virtual undeclared naval war in the Atlantic with German submarines.

        D. War Comes to America
        With Roosevelt’s attention focused on Europe, the irony was that the U.S. entered the war
because of actions in Asia and the Pacific. Throughout the 1930's the U.S. had protested
Japanese aggression in Manchuria and China. By 1941 Roosevelt had turned to an economic
blockade and embargo on oil sales to halt Japanese expansion. This policy backfired, however,
as the Japanese determined to get oil by conquering the Dutch East Indies. Their attack on Pearl
Harbor was part of a plan temporarily to destroy American naval power in the Pacific in the hope
of fighting a stalemated war against the U.S., one which would result in a negotiated peace that
would allow Japan to keep its Asian conquests.

II. Fighting Back, 1941-1943:

         A. Turning the Tide in the Pacific
         Although Roosevelt proclaimed a “Europe-First” approach, Japanese actions in the
Pacific forced the U.S. to respond there first. The Battle of the Coral Sea (May 1942), the Battle
of Midway (June 1942), and the invasion of Guadalcanal (August 1942) marked a turning of the
tide in the Pacific. The fighting on Guadalcanal, however, was a bitter preview of what was to

       B. Europe and North Africa, 1942-1943
        Because of the savagery and success of the German assaults on the Soviet Union in 1941
and 1942, Allied leaders were preoccupied with a “second (fighting) front.” The Soviet leader,
Stalin, strongly pressed for an Anglo-American invasion of German-occupied France (to force
the Germans to transfer troops west) in 1942, but the western Allies were not in a position to do
this. Instead, they invaded North Africa in November 1942, Sicily in July 1943, and Italy in
September 1943. Stalin deeply resented the western Allied failure to open a second front in 1942
or 1943.

III. The War at Home:

       A. Economic Mobilization
       Despite initial problems, by the end of 1942 the U.S. was already producing as much war
material as Germany, Japan, and Italy combined. As a result, the Great Depression ended, there
was virtually no unemployment, and prosperity soared. Wage and price controls were enacted to
prevent inflation, and a system of rationing was introduced. The “planned innovations” in
technology for war purposes also led to the beginnings of th “high tech” society of today.

        B. Social Changes
        Fighting for democracy abroad, many Americans were forced to examine prejudice in
their own society. For African-Americans, especially, the war accelerated their demands for
equality. Service in the military and increased job opportunities both promoted a more
determined attitude on the part of many blacks and the emergence of an early civil rights
movement. Women also benefitted from increased job opportunities, as the popular image of
“Rosie the Riveter” demonstrated. The war also had an impact on family life, as well as
promoting both social and geographic mobility. Of all minority groups, Japanese-Americans
suffered the most, as nearly 120,000 Japanese-Americans living on the west coast were relocated
to internment camps.

IV. Military Victory, 1943-1945:

       A. From Normandy to Berlin
       The opening of the second front finally occurred in June 1944 with the successful Anglo-
American invasion of the Normandy coast of France. By February 1945, with the defeat of
Germany imminent, Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin met at Yalta to discuss post-war plans. The
considerable bitterness over sharply different visions of post-war Europe was temporarily stifled,
however, as an ambiguous compromise gave Stalin what he wanted.

       B. The Defeat of Japan
       From 1943 on the U.S. progressed slowly toward Japan through a strategy of “island-
hopping.” Fanatic Japanese resistance led to high casualties and deep concerns about the cost of
any American invasion of Japan. With the successful testing of an atomic bomb in the summer
of 1945, President Truman, wanting to end the war quickly without an invasion of Japan,
authorized their use against Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

V. Conclusion:
       World War II resulted not in a peaceful world, but with the creation of two superpowers
with sharply divergent views of the postwar world. Domestically, it restored prosperity,
expanded the power of the federal government, and promoted extensive social change.
               Topic 8: The Age of Anxiety: The Cold War, 1945-1953
                                          Text: ch. 26

I. Containing the Russian Bear:
        A. Origins of the Cold War
        The Cold War arose over conflicting visions of postwar Europe between American and
Soviet leaders. Truman disliked Stalin’s demands for security in the form of territorial
domination of eastern Europe, while Stalin viewed with suspicion Truman’s demands for free
elections in that region. Truman came to see Soviet actions in imposing communism on eastern
Europe a similar to Hitler’s aggressiveness before World War II. To Truman, aggression had to
be halted.

        B. Containment and the Truman Doctrine
        Communist attempts to seize power in Greece led to the creation of an activist U.S.
foreign policy known as containment, which aimed at containment of communist expansion by
political, economic, and military means. The formal expression of U.S. willingness to aid any
country threatened with communist aggression was the Truman Doctrine.

       C. The Marshall Plan
       Devastated by war and slow economic recovery, Europe in 1947 was faced with growing
communist influence. Secretary of State George Marshall proposed a plan of American
economic aid to rebuild Europe. It was seen as a way to create a strong, democratic Europe
which would simultaneously provide markets for American goods and check Russian expansion.
The success of the Marshall Plan greatly enhanced American prestige.

        D. The Berlin Airlift and Creation of NATO
        In early 1948, while the Marshall Plan was still being debated, the Soviets staged a coup
in Czechoslovakia and installed a communist government. Shortly thereafter, in June 1948,
Stalin ordered western Allied access routes to West Berlin closed off in the hope of forcing the
western Allies out of Berlin. Seeing this as another sign of Soviet aggression, Truman
immediately ordered a massive airlift of supplies to the blockaded city. The airlift eventually
broke the blockade. In the meantime, in April 1949, the U.S. and its western European allies
created the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, a military alliance aimed at preventing Soviet

         E. Globalization of the Cold War
         The early focus of Cold War tensions was Europe, but in 1949 it shifted to Asia, as China
fell to the communists. Then, in June 1950, communist North Korean forces, trained, armed, and
supplied by the Soviets, invaded South Korea. Seeing this as aggression that had to be halted,
and in order to retain credibility of the containment policy, Truman immediately ordered U.S.
forces to intervene in what became the Korean War. Essentially a defensive war of containment,
the expenditure of lives and money without promise of victory bred frustration and anxiety,
which had domestic as well as foreign policy consequences.

II. The Cold War at Home:
        A. Domestic Turbulence
        A series of postwar strikes and revelations of communist infiltration into government
agencies contributed to a growing fear of communism within the U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy
capitalized on these fears to gain political prominence with his claims that the State Department
was riddled with communists. This fed a growing paranoia and led to a second Red Scare.
   Topic 9: America at Mid-Century: Prosperity & Its Discontents, 1952-1968
                                       Text: ch. 27 & 28

I. Quiet Changes, 1953-1961:

       A. I Like Ike
       Eisenhower won the 1952 presidential election on a platform promising to end the
Korean War. A man of considerable organizational skill and with the ability to work well with
diverse people, in his political dealings he emphasized moderation and compromise. At home he
sought to limit the growth of governmental power and eliminate bureaucratic waste, while in
foreign policy, although embracing the idea of containment, he rejected Truman’s version of it as
too confrontational, expensive, and disorganized. With the rise to power in the U.S.S.R. of
Nikita Khrushchev (following Stalin’s death in March 1953), a period of “peaceful coexistence”
ensued as both sought to moderate Cold War tensions and hostilities.

         B. We Shall Overcome
         Steady progress against racism in the 1940's convinced blacks to step up the battle for
racial justice. In a momentous court case in 1954, Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme
Court struck down the “separate but equal” doctrine and ruled segregation in public schools
unconstitutional. This was followed in December 1956 by the initiation of the Montgomery Bus
Boycott, which marked the emergence of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a major spokesperson for
civil rights. King preached nonviolent civil disobedience as the means to achieve change, an idea
adopted in 1960 by the sit-in movement.

         C. The Sounds of Change
         Despite its appearance of stability, the 1950's was a decade of profound change in the
U.S., from the transformation of agriculture, to the burgeoning growth of suburbs, to the
democratization of higher education, to the beginning growth of the Sun Belt. The explosive
growth in popularity of television had a major impact on American culture and society. Finally,
just as the 1920's had its “Lost Generation,” the 1950's saw the emergence of a counterculture
movement. The Beat Generation generally rejected materialism and conventional morality, while
rock-and-roll artists shocked middle class sensibilities with their embrace of sensual lyrics and
black musical rhythms.

II. A Decade of Rebellion, 1961-1968:
        A. Kennedy and the New Frontier
        Making effective use of television, John Kennedy won a narrow (and disputed) election
victory over Richard Nixon in 1960. More style than substance, Kennedy achieved little of
consequence in terms of domestic reform, nor did he do much to aid the cause of civil rights until
compelled to by events.

       B. Lyndon Johnson and The Great Society
       A great admirer of Franklin Roosevelt, Johnson aimed to complete the creation of a
welfare state. In The Great Society, he launched a war on poverty, promoted health care for the
poor, and embraced civil rights legislation. The mid-1960's also saw an increase in militancy in
the civil rights movement, with the growth of radical black nationalist movements and the death
of King. Other protest movements also emerged: a student movement, the New Left, an antiwar
protest movement, a hippie movement, an Hispanic rights movement, and the beginnings of the
modern feminist movement.
Topic 10: War Abroad, War at Home: Vietnam & the Limits of Power, 1965-1980
                                          Text: ch. 29

I. New Frontiers in Foreign Policy:

        A. The “Macho” President
        Kennedy’s rhetoric emphasized style over substance. To offset his youth and
inexperience in foreign policy, he decided to take a tough stand against communism, pledging
not merely to contain communism but to win a cold war victory. This led him to expand
America’s nuclear arsenal, engage in an arms race with the U.S.S.R., redesign American fighting
forces, and attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro and other communist leaders.

        B. Something Short of Camelot
        Eager to attack communism, and back up his tough rhetoric and image, Kennedy
embraced a poorly conceived CIA plan to invade Cuba with anti-communist Cuban exiles.
Following the Bay of Pigs fiasco in April 1961, Kennedy in June 1961 failed to establish any
personal credibility in a summit meeting in Vienna with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev. In
order to make American power credible, Kennedy began looking to Vietnam as the place to
establish his toughness. First, though, Khrushchev tested Kennedy’s resolve by ordering the
erection of the Berlin Wall in August 1961. Noting that Kennedy again backed down when
confronted with force and a fait accompli, Khrushchev in 1962 attempted a dangerous gamble:
shift the balance of power between the U.S. and U.S.S.R. by placing offensive nuclear weapons
in Cuba. In essence, he was threatening the U.S. with nuclear blackmail. This was the
background to the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962, as Kennedy vowed not to allow Soviet
nuclear missiles into Cuba. This crisis brought the U.S. and U.S.S.R. to the brink of nuclear war,
but Khrushchev now relented and ordered that Soviet nuclear missiles not be placed in Cuba.

II. Vietnam: America’s Longest War:

       A. From French to American Participation
       Plagued by centuries of foreign domination, Vietnamese nationalists, under the rule of the
communist Ho Chi Minh, had proclaimed their independence in 1945. Cold War diplomacy,
however, frustrated their hopes. In exchange for French support of his containment policy,
Truman abandoned Roosevelt’s anti-colonial position and agreed to support French efforts to
reimpose its colonial rule in Vietnam. The result was a nine-year struggle during which the U.S.
supplied the French with money and equipment to fight the communist-led guerrilla war. In
1954, a humiliating defeat at Dien Bien Phu led to a French decision to pull out of Vietnam.
Achieving a face-saving peace treaty at Geneva in the summer of 1954, Vietnam was to be
divided temporarily into Northern and Southern halves to give the French time for an orderly
withdrawal, then unification elections were to be held in 1956. With American support,
however, the leader in South Vietnam, Ngo Dinh Diem, a devout Catholic anti-communist
nationalist who had little support in the broader Buddhist society, rejected the elections and
sought to create an independent nation of South Vietnam. By the time Kennedy came to office in
1961, a full-scale terrorist guerrilla war was underway, as communist forces sought to undermine
Diem by force, while the U.S. was committed to Diem.
        B. Kennedy’s Testing Ground
        Buoyed by his apparent “victory” over Khrushchev in the Missile Crisis, Kennedy now
sought to reinforce the credibility he had belatedly restored. Kennedy now sought a more
aggressive confrontation with communism in Vietnam. He devised a strategy of “flexible
response” which entailed the use of conventional and counterinsurgency forces, and escalated the
number of American “advisors” in South Vietnam to almost 20,000 by 1963. In the meantime
Diem had alienated most elements of South Vietnamese society with his repressive policies.
Having decided that Diem could no longer govern, Kennedy supported his overthrow in a bloody
military coup. By the time of his assassination, Kennedy had involved the U.S. in a growing
quagmire in Vietnam.

        C. Lyndon Johnson: Texas Tough in the Tonkin Gulf
        Regarded as a legislative genius, Johnson had no experience in foreign affairs. As
president, he embraced both containment and Kennedy’s policy on Vietnam. He was especially
concerned with avoiding any overseas losses to communism that would undermine his domestic
reform program. Johnson thus used two reported attacks on American vessels in the Tonkin Gulf
as a pretext for gaining a broad congressional resolution freeing him to escalate the war.

       D. Neck Deep in Big Muddy
       Still interested primarily in pushing through his Great Society program, Johnson decided
on “incremental escalation” in Vietnam, hoping that he could persuade the North Vietnamese
communists to end their war in South Vietnam by a gradual intensification of force. This did not
succeed, and Johnson found himself in an escalating cycle of increased American troops and a
massive bombing campaign. The war was inexorably becoming Americanized.

        E. To Tet and Beyond
        Administration assurances of victory lost credibility with the 1968 Tet Offensive. Hoping
to influence the growing anti-war movement in the U.S., North Vietnamese communist forces
launched a surprise attack on American forces. Despite suffering a military defeat in the vicious
fighting over the next few months, the North Vietnamese communist regime won a political
victory, as the Johnson administration, and much of American public opinion, now ceased to
think of victory and began to look for a way out of the war. Johnson ended the bombing of North
Vietnam, sought peace negotiations, and announced that he would not seek re-election.

       F. A Nation Polarized
       As the war progressed, it resulted in increasing internal conflict and turmoil in the U.S.
Johnson’s duplicitous style of leadership and the nature of the war generated disillusionment,
especially among college students, many of whom combined distrust of authority and skepticism
about patriotism with a New Left political agenda. Campus violence and terrorist actions
increased as opposition to the Vietnam War overwhelmed both the civil rights movement and
Johnson’s reform program.

III. The Tortuous Path Toward Peace

       A. Richard Nixon’s Search for Peace with Honor
         Nixon won a close election in 1968 largely on a promise to end the war in Vietnam.
Although he hoped to end the war quickly, he too found the war a quagmire. His goal was to try
and extricate the U.S. from the war while still retaining the credibility of American power that
was crucial to the containment policy. To this end, he promoted the “Vietnamization” of the
war: forcing South Vietnam to assume greater responsibility for combat, beginning the
withdrawal of American forces, pressing for real peace negotiations, and bombing guerrilla
supply routes through Laos and Cambodia. In order to pressure North Vietnam to negotiate,
Nixon also sought a detente, or lessening of tensions, with the U.S.S.R. and pulled-off a
diplomatic breakthrough with China. Although his policy reduced American deaths and did
finally result in a peace accord, opposition continued in the U.S.

       B. The Peace Accords and the Fall of Saigon
       Nixon’s dual strategy of negotiating and bombing finally resulted in a peace accord in
January 1973 that allowed the U.S. to extricate itself from Vietnam. American troops were to be
withdrawn with a pro-American government left in South Vietnam. The civil war continued,
however, and in April 1975 North Vietnamese forces overran South Vietnam and forcibly united

        C. The Legacy of Defeat
        The Vietnam War had been America’s longest and least successful. It resulted in a
lessening of American prestige and credibility abroad, and in deep bitterness, extreme mistrust of
government, and violence at home. It also left deep scars on an American public which in the
future would not be so eager to assert American power overseas.

IV. The Decline of Trust and Confidence, 1968-1980

        A. Domestic Turmoil and the Emergence of New “Rights” Movements
        In the general decline in support for traditional values and institutions that opposition to
the Vietnam War brought in its wake, a crop of new movements emerged demanding various
“rights” for different elements in American society. Among them were a more radical black
nationalist movement, a New Feminism which stressed employment equality, abortion rights,
and nationwide day care centers, and a new environmental movement.

        B. Watergate and a Constitutional Crisis
        Although he expanded the welfare state, effectively began affirmative action programs,
stressed a lessening of tensions with the U.S.S.R. and China, and promoted arms limitation
agreements, Nixon continued to be bitterly attacked by critics on the left. Despite his general
popularity and weak opponent in the 1972 election, Nixon, a deeply suspicious loner, bumbled
into the coverup of a third rate burglary of the Democratic Party headquarters at the Watergate in
Washington, DC, thus provoking a constitutional crisis that eventually led to his resignation.

       C. The Outsider as President: Jimmy Carter
       A former governor of Georgia, Carter took advantage of the mood of mistrust and
suspicion at Washington insiders and (barely) defeated Gerald Ford in the election of 1976.
Although he hoped to establish a more honest, open, and compassionate government, and a
foreign policy based on human rights, and despite being hard-working and well-intentioned,
Carter’s presidency was largely a failure, as he worked poorly with Congress and failed to
achieve many of his domestic initiatives. In foreign policy, his hopes of reshaping American
foreign policy resulted in a disaster, as the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 and the Iranian
revolution (and oil price shock), also in 1979, resulted in deep humiliation for the U.S. Carter
failed to bridge the gap of domestic mistrust, economic problems mounted, and a feeling of
impotence in foreign affairs increased as the Iran hostage crisis dragged on. By 1980, the U.S.
seemed to be a pitiful, failing giant.
  Topic 11: The Retreat From Liberalism and End of the Cold War, 1968-2000
                                       Text: ch. 30 & 31

I. The Rising Tide of Conservatism:

        A. The Election of Ronald Reagan
        Public dissatisfaction with the growing failures of liberalism brought a reaction in the
form of a new conservatism which advocated limited government intervention, deregulation, a
market-oriented economy, a cut in taxes, welfare reform, the limitation of race-based preferences,
and restoration of American power and prestige abroad. In its broadest sense, the new
conservatism took aim at what it considered the failures of the Progressive/New Deal-type of
government and society, and sought not just to moderate this system but to eliminate it. Despite
much criticism by the media, Reagan won a record re-election victory in 1984.
        In foreign policy, Reagan essentially embraced Kennedy’s earlier policy of winning a
Cold War victory — only this time not through active confrontation with the Soviet Union or its
proxies, but in an economic and technological competition which he and his advisors believed
the Soviets could not win. Indeed, pressured economically and technologically, the Soviet
leadership, despite the apparent ascendancy of their nation in the Cold War at the end of the
Carter presidency, soon found themselves in their own quagmire war in Afghanistan and
increasingly unable to match the American economic and technological successes without
considerable domestic reform. This realization led Mikhail Gorbachev, who became Soviet
Premier in 1985, to begin a policy of domestic reform, one which eventually got out of his
control and resulted in the end of the Soviet domination of eastern Europe, and in the collapse of
communism and the disintegration of the Soviet Union itself. From a very unpromising position
in 1980, by 1989 (or 1991) the U.S. had won the Cold War, a stunning alteration in world affairs.

       B. George Bush and A New World Order
       Bush essentially sought to continue the policies of Reagan. In foreign affairs, he was
confronted with the task of building a new world order after the collapse of communism.
Despite record popularity levels after the successful Persian Gulf war against Iraq, a mild
economic recession which resulted from that war led to his defeat in the election of 1992.
Because of the third-party candidacy of Ross Perot, who gained 19% of the vote, Bill Clinton
was able to win the presidency with only 42% of the popular vote.

II. The Clinton Administration and the Search for a Popular Center

        A. The Politics of Incrementalism
        Although elected as a moderate, Clinton quickly fell into disfavor by seeming to promote
a return to welfare-statist policies in health care, big government, and economic regulation.
Democrats lost control of congress in the off-year elections of 1994, and Clinton himself won re-
election in 1994 once again with only a plurality of the vote (49%), making him the first
president since Wilson to win two terms as president and yet never gain 50% of the popular
vote. Faced with a congress controlled by Republicans, Clinton’s more ambitious proposals were
moderated, and the development of a new center began in earnest.

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