History Exam 2 Essays
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Empire: was America an Imperial power? If so, how and why did it acquire such an empire? If not, how and why did it avoid the perils of imperialism while other Western Powers rushed to acquire empires?
- - Yes, America was an Imperial power
- - For the most part, America became an empire on accident. While the other roughly twenty-five percent of empire came from deliberate methods.
- - Accidental empire: Amercia was living under isolationism before the 1900s and very focused on staying out of European issues as evidenced by the Monroe Doctrine. With America's weak military, its main focus was on protecting the borders of the lands it had, not on acquiring more land. However, America was hearing the "Macedonian calls" out of Latin America, especially Cuba. Through media exploitation the events in Cuba were dramatized and the American public was stirred into action with humanitarian concerns. President McKinley was upset by Spain's "uncivilized and inhumane conduct" toward the Cubans. When the US battle cruiser Maine exploded and sank in the Havana harbor, McKinley cabled an ultimatum to Madrid to an immediate armistice for 6 months and required peace negotiations with the rebels. Spain refused, so McKinley received permission from Congress to intervene in Cuba.
- - Deliberate: While humanitarian concerns were encountered, Captain Alfred T. Mahan greatly influenced the concepts of power with his book The Influence of Sea Power over History (1890). He claimed that America needed to modernize its navy in order to have the ability to protect itself and its overseas bases. Without using empire and conquering terminology, Mahan greatly influenced American perspectives of the navy and by the end of the decade, the US Navy was modernized. When America decided to intervene in Cuba, Theodore Roosevelt had placed Commodore George Dewey as the commander of the Pacific fleet with direct instructions to set sail immediately against the Spanish fleet in the Phillipines if America went to war. This move by Roosevelt and Dewey was the decisive factor in the Spanish-American War because the US Navy completely destroyed the Spanish fleet and the Phillipines were then under American power.
- - Once the Phillipines, among other conquered nations, were under American power, humanitarian ideas were set aside or used as a guise to justify keeping said countries under American power and using them for strategic advances in trade, sea presence, and power. McKinley concluded that the Filipinos were "unfit for self-rule" and would be worse off by themselves than if they had stayed under Spain; so the Phillipines, along with Hawaii, Peurto Rico, Guam and several of the Samoan islands were now a part of America's empire.
Role of Government: How did the Progressive Era and the New Deal transform the role of government in American society? Which do you see as having a larger impact and why? Mention specific reformers and legislation.
- Progressive Era
- - Progressivism is about recognizing an issue and setting out to fix it - but there are a lot of different solutions and progressives didn’t always agree. Focused on concrete reforms instead of abstract ideals.
- - Rethinking of politics: Direct primaries are instituted, Initiative, referendum, recall, direct elections of senators - causes controversy because some progressives don’t agree (the people don’t have a choice if their senators are elected for them), Government becomes more democratic and is there to aid - not oppress
- - Reform government, especially of machine politics
- - People were able to appeal to higher levels of government for justice
- - Government regulation of big business instead of anti-trust/anti-monopoly acts - Teddy Roosevelt (later in the progressive era)
- - Progressive Solution: Individualism has gone to far and more attention needs to be given to the wholeYou can achieve justice through the union of science and faith
- - Progressive reformers: Teddy Roosevelt, John Dewey in education, Robert M La Follete in railroad improvement and direct primaries, Lincoln Steffens by providing the truth to the readers, Rauschenbusch through social gospel
- New Deal
- - Franklin D. Roosevelt was the primary leader in the New Deal. He put together brain trusts (intellectuals) and the corporate leaders and instructed them to experiment and solve the problems of America and the Great Depression. He promised Americans a "new deal" in his acceptance speech.
- - First New Deal gets the government involved, is critical of capitalism and implies that the federal government should fix the unemployment issues. The first new deal was focused on the economy and in the first 100 days congress enacted 15 bills centered on banking failures, agrictultural overproduction, business slumps, and unemployment. Specific acts: AAA, NRA, CCC, FERA, TVA.
- - Second New Deal
- Government realized the state was unable to solve the problems so they intervened to protect consumers and their rights and allow themselves to be the crutch that holds up the economy. The second new deal was focused on social justice through acts like social security, the NLRB which allowed unions to collectively bargain and through public relief programs like WPA.
- Through the New Deal government became actively and intimately involved with the American citizens. They gave Americans the illusion that a lot was being done to pull them out of the Great Depression but the incohesiveness of the acts and the experimentation worked against the desires of Roosevelt and congress. However, the New Deal did have more of an impact than the Progressive Era. That being said, I think the Progressive Era set up the New Deal to be relatively successful in changing the government. The idea of attention being given to the whole and government involvement offered in the Progressive Era led into the focus of the government on social justice and direct involvment with the economy in the New Deal.
Culture: Explain the rise of cultural and intellectual modernism between 1900 and 1930. How have American values and beliefs changed? Why? Use specific events and figures to explain the transformation.
- - Darwinism
- People were starting to accept other possibilities rather than God such as the origin of species; Monkey Scopes Trial: Darrow - He was a modernist who Defended Scopes; Scopes - High School Teacher in Tennessee who was charged with teaching evolution; Bryan - Lawyer/Presbyterian that went against scopes; New york times favored Darrow - They made fun of Bryan calling him an ex presidential candidate - They called Darrow a Future presidential Candidate - Made fun of the religious “freaks”
- - Entertainment
- Peoples form of entertainment started to change. Men and women started going on dates vs men just courting women to get their attentinon. People started doing recreational activities. Silent films/movies were becoming popular and could be viewed cheaply, even from the poor at nickelodeons. people were going out to restaurants; Cars were affordable so people were able to purchase them and not be confined by boundaries. They were able to take a nice drive through the country and escape for a bit.
- - The Armory show
- Artists were becoming more abstract and different. “Nude descending the Staircase” by Marcel Duchamp
- - Gender Roles were becoming less defined
- Flappers - women making a statement; cutting their hair and dyeing it black, wearing shorter skirts, smoking - Clara Bow, a young movie star, represented this idea and appealed to many young women - she was the “it girl”
Trace the rise and fall of the Progressive Movement. Who were the Progressives? Were they able to accomplish their goals? Why or why not?
- - The progressive movement was a period of social activism and reform. The progressives were Theodore Roosevelt, Robert M. La Follette, Charles Evans Hughes and Herbert Hoover on the Republican side, and William Jennings Bryan, Woodrow Wilson and Al Smith on the Democratic side. The progressives also involved labor unions and other prohibition groups
- - Immigration Policy- Woodrow Wilson and Roosevelt were for immigration restriction - Starting in the 1880s, the labor unions aggressively promoted restrictions on immigration, especially restrictions on Chinese and
- other Asians; The basic fear was that large numbers of unskilled, low-paid workers would defeat the union's efforts to raise wages through collective bargaining - Prohibitionist groups opposed immigration because it was the base of strength of the saloon power, and the West generally. - Rural Protestants distrusted the urban Catholics and Jews who comprise most of the immigrants after 1890.- On the other hand, the rapid growth of the industry called for large numbers of new workers, so large corporations generally opposed
- immigration restriction. By the early 1920s the consensus had been reached and that the total influx of immigration had to be restricted, and a series of laws in the 1920s accomplish that purpose (National Origins Quota Act)
- - During World War I, the progressives strongly promoted Americanization programs, designed to modernize the recent immigrants and turn them
- into model American citizens, with diminishing loyalties to the old country.
- - Muckrackers- Muckrakers were journalists who exposed waste, corruption, and scandal in the
- highly influential new medium of national magazines and were active at the state and local level, while Lincoln Steffens exposed rule in many large cities, Ida Tarbell went after Rockefeller's Standard Oil Company. - Samuel Hopkins Adams in 1905 showed the fraud involved in many patent medicines, Upton Sinclair's The Jungle (1906) was a novel that gave a horrid portrayal of how meat was packed, and David Graham Phillips unleashed a blistering indictment of the U.S. Senate in 1906. - Roosevelt gave these journalists their nickname when he complained they were not being helpful by raking up all the muck.
- - Econmic Policy - By the turn of the century, a middle class had developed that was leery of both the business elite and the radical political movements of farmers and laborers in the Midwest and West.- The progressives argued the need for government regulation of business
- practices to ensure competition and free enterprise. Congress enacted a law regulating railroads in 1887 (the Interstate Commerce Act), and one preventing large firms from controlling a single industry in 1890 (the Sherman Antitrust Act). These laws were not rigorously enforced, however, until the years between 1900 and 1920, when Republican President Theodore Roosevelt (1901–1909), Democratic President Woodrow Wilson (1913–1921), and others sympathetic to the views of the Progressives came to power.
- Partial success was found but the division between different progressives on what to do about WWI were the downfall of the progressive movement. Because there was separation on issues, a lack of cohesiveness worked against effective measures. Later on with prohibition and women's rights, progressives finally received some of the things they had fought for before WWI.
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