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American History + Culture (19th /20th century)


The victory of the North in the Civil War affirmed the U.S. as an
indivisible nation

The defeat of the Confederacy/ South = destruction, devastation of

most fertile agricultural area

July 1866: the Congress passes the Civil Rights Bill (to prevent
racial discrimination by Southern legislatures) + the 14th
Amendment to the Constitution
All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the
jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the States in
which they reside ratified in 1868

1870: the 15th Amendment:

The rights of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied
or abridged by the United States or any state on account of race, color
or previous condition of servitude

president Andrew Johnson opposed the solutions of the Radical

attempt to remove him from office (dangerous precedent) = failure
by a narrow margin, preservation of the separation and balance of

The Congress: developed the Program of Reconstruction/Reform of

the Southern states

June 1868: The Military Reconstruction Act readmission to the

Union of Arkansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Louisiana,
Georgia, Alabama, Florida.
+ (1870): Mississippi, Texas, Virginia

By 1870, the Southern states were governed by groups of blacks,

cooperative whites and transplanted Northerners ( = carpetbaggers,
who had gone south after the war to make political fortunes + formed
alliances with the newly freed African-Americans)

improvement of education, development of social services, protection

of civil rights
attempts to restrict the freedom of former slaves and block blacks
from voting
illegal ways of preventing them from gaining equality; resentment
form the Southern whites

Ku Klux Klan (violent secret society to protect white interests and

advantages, terrorize blacks, prevent their social advances)

American History + Culture (19th /20th century)

suppressed by the federal government by 1872 BUT white Democrats

continued to use violence + fear to regain control of their state

The Compromise of 1877


disputed Election of 1876: the Electoral Commission awarded the

election to Republican Rutherford B. Hayes
the Southern Democrats planned to block
the Compromise: the Southern Democrats would accept Hayes as
president if the Republicans granted them the demands such as
removal of federal troops from former Confederate states
appointment of at least one southern democrat to Hayes
construction of the transcontinental railroad in the South
adoption of proper legislation to help industrialize the

The end of Reconstruction

The autonomy of the Democratic Party in the South
The ascent of Redeemer governments (replace the
+ Democratic vote in the South until mid-20th century

despite constitutional guarantees,

regarded as second-class citizens

new + humiliating kinds of discrimination: the Jim Crow laws =

segregation in public schools, hospitals
forbade/limited access to many public facilities (parks, restaurants,
+ denied the right to vote by imposing poll taxes and literacy tests





more rigid oppression towards the end of the century: the laws in
Southern States enforced strict segregation in public transportation,
theaters, sports, even elevators or cemeteries.

- after the end of the Civil War (1865) Americans settled the western
half of the U.S.
- miners (search for gold and silver) Rocky Mountains
- farmers (German, Scandinavian immigrants) Minnesota, Dakotas
- huge herds of cattle grazed in Texas + other western states: hired

American History + Culture (19th /20th century)

the cowboy: most celebrated and romanticized figure in American

culture (American hero)

frequent battles with the Indians + continual disappearance of Native

Americans due to diseases
whites forced them out of their lands + nearly destroyed the buffalo

the U.S. becomes the worlds leading industrial power; great fortunes
to shrewd businessmen
1869: first transcontinental railroad, followed by huge expansion
petroleum industry: dominated by John D. Rockefeller (Standard Oil
empire of steel mills + iron mines: Andrew Carnegie (poor Scottish
textile mills (South), meatpacking plants (Chicago)

electrical industry, inventions (telephone, phonograph, light bulb,

motion pictures, alternating-current motor + transformer

Louis Sullivan (Chicago) the first skyscraper

Freedom to develop enterprises vitality of American economy

Issues: competition, monopoly of corporations and trusts over smaller
competitors (produce + sell cheaply, set prices)
Belief in the limitation of such power (protect rights of the individual)

- the rise of organized labor (American Federation of Labor, 1881 =

coalition of trade unions)
- fight for better wages, shorter work-hours; strikes
- many immigrants (1865 1910: 25 million people!)

1882: bar the entrance of Chinese (unwilling to accept small wages

for unskilled work),
1907 large exclusion of Japanese
prejudice religious liberty, political freedom, economic
since 1607 (Jamestown): 2/3 of worlds immigrants have been
accepted by the U.S.

1867 the purchase of Alaska from Russia

1898 Spain declared war on the U.S. (who supported the Cuban revolt
against Spanish colonialism)

American History + Culture (19th /20th century)

The U.S. acquired Cuba, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Guam + (unrelatedly)
the Hawaiian islands

Criticized by anti-imperialists (actions went against the national, anticolonial profile)

Supported by most Americans
1903: president Theodore Roosevelt proposed to build a canal in
Central America (buy a strip of land from Colombia) revolt, Panama

1914: The Panama Canal

the Amercan troops left Cuba;
the Philippines limited self-government (1946: independence)
1953: Puerto Rico =self-governing commonwealth within the U.S.
1959: Hawaii = becomes the 50th State of the Union

before 1900, strategy of economic laissez-faire (little government

intervention with business)

Roosevelt Administration:
The Progressive Movement economists, sociologists, technicians,
civil servants (social engineers), believed that scientific, cost-efficient
solutions could be found to all political problems
More radical ideologies: Socialist Party (advocated gradual transition
to state-run economy)
Industrial Workers of the World called for strike to overthrow the
capitalist system (never had much appeal in the U.S.)

Democrat president Woodrow Wilson New Freedom
program (federal governments responsibility to protect smaller businesses
against corporations)

1914: First World War erupted in Europe; Woodrow Wilson urged a

foreign policy of strict neutrality (got reelected in 1916)

American sympathies + interests= with the Allies (Great Britain +


American History + Culture (19th /20th century)

January 1917, Germany declares unrestricted submarine warfare

against all ships bound for Allied ports, including neutral merchant

April 6, 1917 the U.S. enters the war on the Allies side (not just to
defeat Germany and end the submarine warfare, but to secure the
rights and liberties of free people everywhere

Wilson: spoke of a crusade for world peace + national selfdetermination (The world must be made safe for democracy.
America entered the war to end all wars)

provided significant troops and supplied for Allied victory


spring-summer 1918: the Americans play decisive part in repelling

the long-awaited German offensive (the German armies were
retreating by autumn)

January 1918, Woodrow Wilsons war aims = formulated as The

Fourteen Points

Call for abandonment of secret international agreements (=open

guarantee of freedom of the seas
removal of tariff barriers between nations (=free international trade)
reductions in national armaments
just settlement of colonial claims
self-rule and unhampered economic development for European
+ (14th Point) formation of an association of nations to afford mutual
guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great
and small states alike

October: German government

November 11, 1918

1919: negotiations of the peace treaty at Versailles

despite Wilsons opposition, the Allies imposed crushing reparations

on Germany + divided its colonies among themselves (the concept of
self-determination= impossible to implement)

Wilson did succeed in establishing The League of Nations but his

disillusionment led to national isolationism
(The U.S. never ratified the Versailles Treaty or joined the League of






American History + Culture (19th /20th century)

1920s = the U.S. turns inward + withdraws from European affairs

lack of interest in international concerns domestic policies +
growing suspicion + hostility towards foreigners
1919: series of terrorist bombings (The Red Scare) series of
deportations of radicals (anarchists, socialists, communists)

1921: Sacco-Vanzetti case (Nicola Sacco + Bartolomeo Vanzetti = 2

Italian anarchists, convicted of murder on the basis of dubious
evidence. Intellectual protests against ideological condemnation BUT
denial of trial+ execution by electrocution in 1927)

The Congress enactment of immigration limits (1921, 1924, 1929)

favored the Anglo-Saxon + Nordic stock;
small quotas for Eastern + Southern Europeans, NONE for Asians
Increasingly urban country, transformation of everyday life by the
consumer revolution

Republicans support president Warren G. Harding
(limited education; promised return to normalcy, seemed to embody oldfashioned American values)
far from normalcy
- extraordinary, contradictory decade (bohemianism+ hedonism
puritanical conservatism)
Prohibition (alcoholic beverages were outlawed in 1920 by a
Constitutional Amendment)
speakeasies (illegal bars), bootleggers (supplied illegal liquor)

revival of the Ku Klux Klan (1915) terror to blacks, Catholics, Jews,

immigrants (millions of followers!)

black literature: The Harlem Renaissance

JAZZ AGE (George Gershwin)

1927: Charles Lindbergh: first nonstop flight New York Paris

(reaffirmation of individual heroism)

1925: The Monkey Trial (John T. Scopes was prosecuted for

teaching Darwins theory of evolution in Tennessee public schools)

= embodiment of the great national cultural schism of the 1920s

(modern ideas traditional values)
Hardings successor = president Calvin Coolidge = immensely popular
(The chief business of the American people is business)
- the government should not interfere with private enterprise

American History + Culture (19th /20th century)

1920s = age of economic prosperity

- consumer society (radios, home appliances, synthetic textiles,
- businessman = popular hero (creation of wealth = noble calling)
- Henry Ford = one of the most admired men of the decade (assembly
line introduced into automobile production)
Flaws of the age
overproduction of crops depress food prices farmers suffer
lots of money available for investment, much into reckless
stock market, frantic bidding (over-rating the value of stocks)
fortunes were made overnight BUT possibility of sudden loss

1929: worldwide depression

October 1929, rapid drop of the American stock market (thousands of
investors lost large sums of money, if not everything)
The (Wall Street) Crash longest period of high unemployment
+ low business activity
banks, stores, factories closed millions of Americans homeless,
decrease of world trade
by 1932: Americas worst economic crisis of modern times

most profound revolution in the history of American social thought and

economic policy