US History, 1877 to Date – Review for First Exam HIST 1320.007, Professor Jason Mellard
Dr. Mellard explained to us at the beginning of the semester that we would be focusing on major themes that happened throughout these periods in history. These major themes were:
∙ What does it mean to be an American? (How has the American Identity changed throughout the history of the nation?)
∙ The growth of the federal government (How the American federal government has grown in both size and power throughout history.
For organizational purposes I will be highlighting major themes in red, highlighting key points in yellow, and important people in turquois. I will review in chronological order to help make sense of time frames.
Reconstruction Era (18651877)
The reconstruction that took place after the civil war is as or more important than the war itself because it define how we would interpret the events that took place and view the war itself.
The Civil War officially ended in the Appomattox Courthouse, April 1865.
The freed slaves answered the question of “what’s next?” by themselves, and began seizing what they didn’t have before the abolition of slavery, without waiting on government action or the approval of others.
Sharecropping characterized the south
Many blacks went back to work in plantations because both had a vested interest in rebuilding the southern economy that was centered on cotton. Sharecropping was the new agreement many blacks chose to work under, in which the plantation owners would divide up the property between the workers (significant because they now had their own land) and provide
tools to the workers. When the crop was harvested it would be divided between the two parties.
Freedmen’s Bureau (1865)
The Freedmen’s Bureau was established by the federal government for the newly freed blacks with a mission to:
Don't forget about the age old question of What is Hans Selye theory?
∙ build schools If you want to learn more check out what are the Impact of British rule in their imperialized nations?
∙ provide aid
∙ secure equal treatment under the court
∙ settle disputes between blacks and whites
The Bureau is especially significant because it is the first time the federal government was controlling something that extended to all the states.
Andrew Johnson assumed the presidency after Lincoln’s assassination, and therefore became the man in charge of rebuilding. Being from the south himself and chosen as vice president for campaign purposes, he was incredibly lenient on the south. Don't forget about the age old question of What phase of bacterial growth the cells no longer growing?
The only requirements of the southern states after losing the war:
∙ recognize abolition of slavery
∙ apologize for secession
∙ refuse to pay confederate debt
Eventually the House of Representatives voted to impeach Andrew Johnson
Black Codes (1865 and 1866)
One by one the southern states started to minimize the rights of the blacks by passing laws that targeted them, such as requiring them to have a job in the county in which they are found. This restricted the free travel of blacks because if an officer pulled them over in a county that they were simply passing through, they could be arrested. When arrested, enforced labor was allowed, bringing many back into a similar condition of slavery.We also discuss several other topics like What is Aneuploidy?
Radical Reconstruction (begins 1867)
After the Black Codes were recognized for the discrimination that they were, radical republican legislators took over believing that freed slaves should have full rights as new and free Americans.
Radical Reconstruction changes what it means to be an American with the 14th and 15th Amendments:
∙ 14th (1868): grants freed slaves birth citizenship and the due process of law
∙ 15th (1870): gives freedmen the right to vote and that votes cannot be denied on account of race
Civil Rights Act of 1875: barred racial discrimination in places of public accommodation. This act was overturned in 1883 by the Supreme Court stating that it was unconstitutional. If you want to learn more check out What is Caylee’s Law?
For the first time, freed slaves are being elected into offices.
Reconstruction in the south is being protested by southern elites and the Ku Klux Klan is born.
Gilded Age (18771900)
The Gilded Age witnessed the growth of tremendous fortunes and industrial expansion during economic uncertainty.
Frederick Jackson Turner:
Notable as a historian for declaring that the frontier was closed and that westward frontier expansion was the reason for the American ideology of being self made.
The U.S. army used tactics learned from the war to begin taking land from the Indians. The Comanche tribe, led by Quanah Parker stood their ground in the Red River Wars of 1874-75.
In a final stand Quanah Parker and his tribe is defeated, and he leads them into selective assimilation. He used his title as a Native American as strategic path to success and used his land to remain an influential figure. He makes a fortune in ranching and hunted with Teddy Roosevelt.
The Battle of Little Bighorn (1876)
The U.S. Army led by General Custer suffered a famous defeat in a battle against allied native American tribes. This year was the 100th anniversary of our country and made us reconsider manifest destiny.
Dawes Act (1887)
Government’s attempt at de-tribalization by breaking up the Indians’ communally-held land in farms of private ownership. The Legislators thought this would be a good idea but didn’t understand that it was breaking an important aspect of Native American life. This resulted in the federal government being more in charge of the Indian peoples and it further forced them to assimilate into American society. We also discuss several other topics like What is the content of Koch’s
Wounded Knee (1890)
Over 200 killed in a “misunderstanding”.
The wounded knee massacre marked the end of a 4-century struggle between the Native Americans and the government.
Rise of the Cattle Kingdom
With the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad (1869), cattle farmers could employ the use of trains to transport their livestock and meet the north’s demands for meat.
A great deal of the railroad construction was done by Chinese immigrants but this is forgotten.
Events related to Chinese American history:
∙ 1848 – California Gold Rush
∙ 1875 – Page Act (first restrictive federal immigration law) was directed at restricting immigration from Asia and especially women. ∙ 1882 – Chinese Exclusion Act
∙ 1898 – United States v. Kim Wong
o Kim Wong was not allowed to return to the country after going to China to visit his parents. He took the issue to court and the Supreme Court ruled that the 14th amendment applied to Chinese Americans.
∙ 1924 – Immigration Act strengthens Asian Exclusion
∙ 1943 – Chinese Exclusion Repeal Act
A shift is seen from localized process to centralized industry.
Industrialization leads to urbanization, and now most Americans live in an urban setting. From 1880 to 1920, the percent of Americans living in urban areas grows from 20% to 68%.
Many of the thousands of factory jobs were being filled by immigrants. The initial groups of these immigrants were English, German, and Irish, but later a new wave of immigration sees an influx from Southern and Eastern Europe.
All these immigrants bringing their cultures, beliefs, ways of life, languages, and ideologies are viewed as a threat to American ideas. The question of the time is “do all of these different cultures define a new America or will institutions cause them to assimilate?”
Business during industrialization became larger than any organization that had ever been in America before, even larger than the government. Corruption of legislature begins with these corporations.
Founders of these businesses that became larger than America and monopolized certain industries were:
∙ Andrew Carnegie: established a steel company that establish vertical integration, which was a business that controlled every phase of the process from raw materials to transportation, manufacturing, and distribution.
∙ Cornelius Vanderbilt
∙ J.P. Morgan
∙ John D. Rockefeller: founded Standard Oil Company, and began with horizontal expansion, the process of buying out competitors until he controlled the majority of the industry. Considered by many to be the worst of the robber barons.
These powerful men became known as “robber barons”. These men owned massive corporations that were more powerful than the government in some respects, and were held accountable by no one. They fought against labor unions and had repressive labor policies in their companies. Their undemocratic power led to fears that they were undermining democratic and economic freedom. Their deep pockets allowed them to bribe government officials and hold great power in legislation.
Workers began to unionize to protest these harsh working conditions, long hours, and minimal pay. The people begin to hold the companies accountable.
The Knights of labor organized the Great Railroad strike (1885-1886), and their numbers grew from 100,000 people to 700,000 people in one year’s time.
The Haymarket Affair
A rally in Haymarket Square was held to protest the killings of strikers the day beforehand. Someone, whose identity is still unknown, threw a bomb into the crowd, the detonation killed a policeman and the other police opened fire in a panic, killing bystanders and fellow officers alike. 8 anarchists were charged with plotting and carrying out the bombing, even though the evidence against them was incredibly weak. Employers took the opportunity to paint the labor movement as dangerous.
American Federation of Labor
Samuel Gompers organized the American Federation of Labor in 1886 and sought to make unions about pocketbook issues, as opposed to the Knights of Labor, which wanted a cooperative commonwealth. Rather than confronting the owners of industry head on, the AFL negotiated with employers for better working conditions and higher wages. The AFL ascended to popularity after the demise of the Knights of Labor.
Key points of the Gilded Age
∙ Modern corporations and their enormous size helped pave the way for the new national integration of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era ∙ A huge growth in the industrial workforce resulted from this and led to a number of issues regarding workplace safety, fair wages, and working conditions. Organized labor unions formed to give employees a bargaining power with employers.
∙ The influx of immigrants into major cities (often times making up a majority of the population) defined ideas of modern Americanism.
The Populist party started out as the Farmer’s Alliance, which was originally formed to help farmers get back into the market after the civil war.
The alliance eventually became so big that they formed their own party. Populist Party’s Omaha Platform (1892)
1. Call for fair elections by the means of secret ballots (so people could vote with privacy)
2. Call for a more equitable burden of taxation by graduated income tax 3. Demand for an eight-hour work day
4. Ability for the people to propose laws themselves and referendum (the ability to vote laws up and down themselves)
5. Popular election of senators (the people voted on senators instead of them being appointed)
6. Oppose any federal aid or subsidy to corporations
7. Government ownership of railroad and means of communication 8. Free coinage of silver
1896 Election Mckinley (R) vs. Bryan (D)
William Jennings Bryan the “Great Commoner” became the 1896 “fusion” candidate for both the Democrat and Populist Party.
During this election:
∙ Populist issues enter the mainstream debate for the first time ∙ Causes changes in what the parties stand for
∙ There is party realignment and the party vote is no longer decided by region as much as in previous election.
Bryan runs against the Republican candidate, Mckinley and loses by a slim margin of the popular vote.
After the Populist Party Fell and was absorbed into the Democratic party, all of the governments in the south enacted laws between 1890 and 1906 to try and eliminate the black vote.
Plessy v. Fergusson
The supreme court decision of “separate but equal” that would uphold the constitutionality of state laws that would require segregation. Harlan’s dissent: The sole supreme court justice that voted against this decision, stated that “the constitution is colorblind”.
Southern Culture of Violence
The south saw an increase in violence against colored people. Those suspected of crimes or simply disliked by the community were at risk of having their businesses destroyed, arrested on weak pretenses, and sometimes dragged out of jail to be lynched. Some lynchings were secretive, while others were advertised in advance and made into events.
In every year between 1883 and 1905, more than fifty persons (mostly black) were lynched in the south.
If an African American attempted to step outside the bounds of segregation, they would most likely be killed, and therefore it was rigorously upheld in the south.
Due to the violent nature of the south, and job prospects that were presented in the next era, many blacks moved to the north in what is called the “Great Migration”.
Progressive Era (19001920)
The Progressive Era was a time during which people attempted to make sense of the dislocation that came out of the Gilded Age. A new idea of national government was formed during this era. Activists, intellectuals, and politicians theorized a new relationship between state and society that would define the U.S. in the 20th century.
Middle class reform movement, seeking government regulation, rationalism, social science, and objectivity. Progressivism tried to work out the economic problems of the gilded age. Progressivists wanted bureaucracy for the sake of organization and so that businesses would be held accountable.
The new bureaucratic orientation to social problems changed how corporations would conduct business, caused the protections expected by consumers, changed how the marketplace would operate, and established safety of the workplace.
Journalists played a large part in this movement. Their method of spurring change was to find a problem, research it, and then find a solution.
Upton Sinclair: author of The Jungle, a book that brought attention to the unsafe and unsanitary conditions of the met industry. Ultimately this led to the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906. This is another instance in which the federal government grows in power, this time to regulate an industry.
John Altgeld: was the first progressive gov. He enacted child labor laws, and established 8 hour workdays.
After William McKinley was assassinated by an anarchist (1901), Theodore Roosevelt was brought into the presidency. He was the first truly progressive president. (progressivism was nonpartisan, meaning the movement did not belong to any party).
Roosevelt was the first president to make the presidency as important and influential as it is today, by setting a national agenda. Under him the office became a “bully pulpit” from which to expound on a variety of issues. He had three goals in office:
1. Be the pre-eminent figure of his party (republican)
2. Make the executive office a dominant force in the government 3. Make government the single most important influence in national affairs
In 1908 Howard Taft assumes the presidency and Teddy Roosevelt travels to Africa.
Election of 1912
Roosevelt returns to find that Taft did not accomplish what he wanted him to in office and runs for presidency again. Upon losing the republican nomination, he creates the Progressive party.
∙ Howard Taft of the Republican Party (supported big business and big government)
∙ Teddy Roosevelt of the Progressive Party
∙ Eugene Debs representing the socialist element of the country ∙ Woodrow Wilson of the Democrats (considered the government’s size to be a curse and decided it needed to downsize to a smaller scale)
Woodrow Wilson wins the race because the republican vote was split between Teddy Roosevelt and Howard Taft, but after entering the office he realizes that Roosevelt’s ideologies were the most rational and shifts his presidency to a more progressive outlook.
Presidency of Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson gave us a number of progressive reforms and economic advances, including the creation of government organizations that remain central to the operation of the economy today.
∙ Keating-Owen Act, outlaws child labor (1916)
∙ Adamson Act, requires eight hour workdays for railroad workers (1916) ∙ United States Revenue Act, creates a federal income tax and the 16th Amendment
∙ Creates Federal Reserve (1913)
∙ Creates Federal Trade Commission (1914)
Other Important Key Concepts
W.E.B. Du Bois
∙ Was militant in seeking full social and political equality for blacks ∙ A founder of the NAACP
∙ Author of The Souls of Black Folk
∙ Was an educated man, born in the north and graduated from university.
∙ First African American to earn a doctorate
Du Bois felt strongly about education. In contrast with Booker T. Washington felt that people of color should seek a developed and classical education and strive for excellence.
Du Bois spoke out against and encouraged blacks to resist
Booker T. Washington
∙ Gave the acclaimed speech titled the “Atlanta Compromise” that urged blacks to adjust to segregation and temporarily stop their push for civil and political rights.
∙ His views on education included a focus on job education instead of classical education.
∙ Emphasized that African-Americans needed to obtain farms and acquire skilled jobs, and that these were far more important to those emerging from slavery than the rights of citizenship.
∙ Urged blacks to not try to combat segregation but instead focus on building up their segregated communities.
∙ Was born a slave, witnessed violence, and grew up in the south.
Differences and similarities between Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois:
∙ Sought to improve the social plight of blacks in the nation ∙ Both were leaders in the African-American community
∙ Education: Washington advocated that African-Americans stop pursuing classical educations and focus instead on obtaining a more industrial/vocational education that would help them find employment, earn a living, and establish themselves in society this way. W.E.B. Du Bois felt that blacks did not need to conform and should instead pursue classical education to become intellectuals.
∙ Booker T. Washington wanted blacks to take the stance of being non violent, reliable, and to appeal to white employers by having these attributes.
∙ On rights: W.E.B. Du Bois was militant about blacks seeking equality, while Washington was more of an accommodationist. Washington proposed that African Americans give in to white political dominance in the south as long as it would end the violence against them, and as long as they would be extended due process of law and a chance at education and vocational training.
∙ Washington grew up in the south and was born into slavery. Unlike Du Bois who was raised in the north and away from slavery.
“ID’s” to know for the Exam:
Bargain of 1877: Deal made by republican and democratic special congressional commission to resolve the disputed presidential election of 1876; Republican Rutherford B. Hayes, who had lost the popular vote, was declared the winner in exchange for the withdrawal of federal troops from involvement of politics in the south. This deal marked the end of Reconstruction.
NAWSA: National American Women’s Suffrage Association, lost members after young members who were more militant about the rights broke off to form the Women’s Party.
Freedmen’s Bureau: federal government established organization that was meant to ensure that equality for blacks was upheld
Lusitania: British vessel sunk by a German submarine, resulted in the death of 1m198 passenger and 124 Americans. This urged America closer to involvement in WWI.
14th Amendment: granted freed slaves birth citizenship and due process of law.
League of Nations: Established during the Treaty of Versailles, establishing the international order Wilson called for in his Fourteen Points. Its goals included disarmament, preventing war through collective security, settling disputes between countries through negotiation, and improving global welfare.
American Federation of Labor: Labor organization that gained speed after the fall of the Knights of Labor organization. They were different because they set out to negotiate wages and working conditions with employers instead of with the heads of the industry.
Eugene Debs: Ran in the election of 1912, representing the socialist voice of America. Only won 6% of the popular vote
Andrew Carnegie: A robber baron who accomplished vertical integration, which was the control of an industry from raw materials to manufacturing, transportation, and distribution. Carnegie was involved in the steel industry.
The Jungle: written by Upton Sinclair, brought attention to the conditions of the meat industry and led to the Pure Food and Drug act of 1906
The Souls of Black Folk: Collection of essays authored by W.E.B. Du Bois that explored the plight of African Americans in the nation.
New Freedom: Campaign speeches and promises in Woodrow Wilson’s 1912 presidential campaign
Battle of Little Bighorn: Famous battle between the U.S. and the Indian tribes in which the United States suffered a major defeat; the battle in which General George Custer died
Lucy Burns: Women’s rights activist and suffragist. Helped to form the National Women’s Party. Partook in hunger strikes after being jailed and eventually her plight became a national issue and resulted in the 19th Amendment.
John Peter Altgeld: first Progressive in politics (governor of Illinois), established child labor laws and the 8-hour work day.
19th Amendment: gave women the right to vote
Omaha Platform: Platform of the Populist party, expressing the issues they represented, a few of them being: fair elections by secret ballot, the people’s ability to propose new laws and vote on them (referendum), and
Chinese Exclusion Act: Immigration act that restricted Chinese immigrants into the country. Chinese were required to carry identification papers at all time or face deportation.
William Jennings Bryan: “The Great Commoner” became the “fusion” candidate for the populist party and the republican party. Lost the election to the Republican candidate William McKinley.
Election of 1912: Election between Teddy Roosevelt of the Progressive party, Woodrow Wilson of the Democratic party, Howard Taft of the Republican party, and Eugene Debs of the Socialists. Woodrow Wilson won because the republican vote was split, gg Wilson.
Plessy v. Ferguson: a decision by the Supreme Court in which it was determined that segregation was legal as long as “separate but equal” facilities were maintained for blacks and whites.
Farmers Alliance: The largest citizen’s movement of the 19th century. The organization’s initial goal was to improve rural conditions and assist farmers who had lost their market connections because of the civil war, but the alliance slowly became more politically, asking the federal government to store unsold crops and use them as collateral for loans. Eventually the Farmers alliance grew into the Populist Party.
Ida B. Wells: Helped found the NAACP, most important for her campaign against lynching, also a women’s suffrage activist
Minor v. Happersett: Happersett, a woman, attempted to register to vote and took the denial to the supreme court, which ruled against women having the right to vote.
Haymarket Affair: Bombing occurred at a rally (not strike) about the death of strikers the day before. A bomb was thrown into the crowd and killed a police officer. The result of the Haymarket Affair was the death of 7 police officers, and 2 bystanders. 8 people were charged for the bombing (7 were immigrants) even though the evidence against them was weak.
Dawes Act: Broke up tribal communal lands into privately owned farms, resulted in further detribalization of Native Americans
Progressivism: The 20th century middle-class movement that wanted bureaucracy for the sake of organization. Progressivists changed how businesses would conduct business and be held accountable, and were the cause behind establishing safety in the workplace. Progressivism was nonpartisan and the first progressive president was Theodore Roosevelt, followed by Woodrow Wilson.
Emilio Aguinaldo: established a provisional government after the Philippine War, with a constitution modeled after the United States’ constitution. McKinley decided to retain possession of the Philippines, and though Emilio and McKinley started out as allies, they became enemies when the Filipino movement turned against the united states.
Booker T. Washington: African American community leader, most important for his advocation that blacks should relent to white political superiority as long as they were given due process of law, and opportunities for education and employment. Advocated that blacks seek vocational training as opposed to pursuing a more classical education, saw employment and the ownership of property to be the best path for African-Americans to obtaining equals rights and become established in the nation.
Quanah Parker: Chief of the Commanche tribe that helped his tribe assimilate into American Society and remained an influential figure through use of his identity, and lands.
Spanish-American War: The war that took place between the U.S. and Spain as America sought to expand its influence across the hemisphere. McKinley’s administration justified its policies regarding the Philippines on grounds that the aim was to uplift, civilize, and Christianize the nation. The United States acquired multiple territories during this war and its action established a precedent for American intervention in other countries.
Monroe Doctrine: Also called “Manifest Destiny”; the idea that it was America’s destiny to expand Westward and bring its culture, ideas, and values with it.
Fourteen Points: Woodrow Wilsons speech to assure the nation about its reasons for joining the war and to clarify the nation’s aims in the war. Wilson’s fourteen Points would establish the agenda for the peace conference that followed the war.
Open Door Policy: United States’ demands that the European powers that had recently divided China into commercial spheres grant equal access to American exports. This policy referred to the free movement of goods and money between the U.S., but not people. Chinese were still banned from immigrating to America, but America wanted access to the investments and market opportunities of Asia.
U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark: Supreme Court case that established Chinese Americans born in the U.S. are citizens.
Knights of Labor: Organized labor organization, founded 1869, one of the most important in American history, reached nearly 800,000 members at its peak. Demanded the 8-hour workday and sought ethical treatment of members. Lost most of its numbers after the Haymarket Affair.
Appomattox Courthouse: The Courthouse in which generals from the Confederacy and Union met to sign treaties and end the Civil War in 1865.
WCTU: Women’s Christian Temperance Union, pushed for prohibition because alcohol was starting to violate the women’s separate sphere. Men were spending their wages at the bars and alcohol was creating abusive husbands.