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AMH 2020 Week 6

by: Jocelyn

AMH 2020 Week 6 AMH 2020


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The West and Populism
American History 1877-Present
Dr. Noll
Class Notes
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Popular in American History 1877-Present

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This 8 page Class Notes was uploaded by Jocelyn on Saturday February 13, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to AMH 2020 at University of Florida taught by Dr. Noll in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 51 views. For similar materials see American History 1877-Present in History at University of Florida.


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Date Created: 02/13/16
Monday, February 8, 2016 AMH 2020 Week 6 The West - Unintended consequences of good intentions - End of the Frontier • 1890: Wounded Knee • 1893: Turner Native Americans - White people force their beliefs and looks onto the Indian people so that they will bring these “positive influences” back to their culture - White people are turning Native Americans into white capitalists - Independent white men: landowner/farmer also known as Yeomen - Jefferson believes that Yeomen are the backbone of America: ironic because he himself used slaves since he didn’t want to get his hands dirty - Indians are going to be taught to be independent farmers; however, this is irrelevant as we are moving towards a more industrial time and we are giving them land they we don't want Government Involvement - In the 1880s, the Indians Rights Association decides that they want to turn Native Americans into independent farmers • So, In 1887, they pass the Dawes Act or the Severalty Act or the General Allotment Act - How do Indians own this land since their reservations are owned by the tribe? • The acts listed above are going to break up the land and give 160 acres/family for them to cultivate • After 25 years of cultivating, the federal government will give them a deed pronouncing them a landowner. This stinks because the land we give to them probably isn't even arable. 1 Monday, February 8, 2016 • The acts breaks up the land into individual parcels but eventually the land is going to end up in the hands of the white people • The Dawes Act/Boarding Schools destroys the notion of the tribe and significantly decreases the amount of land that Indians have on their reservations. End of Confrontation - 1880s, Native Americans develop a new religion called the Ghost Dance developed by a man named Wovoka - Wovoka was raised by white missionaries though, influencing the Ghost Dance to be similar to messianic Christianity - In the vision of the ghost Dance, they see a vision of the land being returned to them • The buffalo has been decimated by white people, but it the vision the buffalo has returned • It is a utopian vision • The visiting Indians want to add something to the vision: If they wear costumes and confront white people, they believe that they are invincible to white people. - Sitting Bull, the most important Indian leader at the time, (wins the Little Bighorn battle) becomes an Indian that tries to convince Europeans that Indians confronting white people is a show worth watching • He wants to go to Europe • On the Wild West show, he is actually getting paid • He is seen as a major problem by white americans when he returns supporting the Ghost Dance - December of 1890, there is a huge gun battle and Sitting Bull is now dead shot by American troops • Everyone that tried to helped Sitting Bull was either arrested or free Battle of Wounded Knee/Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890 - Right after Sitting Bull was killed, white people surround these Indians and ask them to surrender. Native Americans are mowed down and many women and children are shot down. 2 Monday, February 8, 2016 - Marks the end of concerted conflict between whites and Native Americans on the front because they are just going to kill - The frozen body of Big Foot is left there and it marks the end of conflict Turner 1893 - At the World’s Fair, historian named Frederick Jackson Turner writes “The Significance of the Frontier in American History” - The Frontier is this line that is constantly moving westward and it gives Democracy • • Freedom • Opportunity - The irony is that we took all of the land from somebody else - With the Frontier gone, is democracy, freedom, and opportunity going to be gone too? • They are going to look overseas to become an imperial power for the first time - The idea of the West is this idea of America’s uniqueness but now that it’s gone, we might rethink it - We were imperialists all along just on our own continent Late nineteenth century cont’d - While this is still going on, Yeoman farmers are hurt because crop prices are diminishing. If prices are diminishing: • You can grow more crops • You can stop farming - Thousands of farming move aside for more economic opportunity - Farmers are hurting for two reasons: • Their self-esteem is being crushed • They are hurt economically 3 Monday, February 8, 2016 - The farmers blame their problems on two large groups of people: • Bankers (because farmers are in significant debt because the need to borrow money from the bank) • Railroads: farmers are no longer growing crops for their own benefits completely and to get their good to market they have to use the railroad which is way over the price that they should be spending - How are we going to fix this? • Government is the solution because big businesses are the problem • We can regulate the railroads so that they don't charge rates that are bad for us • We can regulate banks so that they don't charge irregular amounts of business Grange - Grange is a group of farmers organized together that pass a set of laws known as the Granger laws to regulate the prices that railroads can charge to farmers - Railroads take the Granger laws to court in 1877 in Munn v.s. Illinois and they rule that the state has the right to rule railroad rates, a big victory for farmers • Railroads are gong to find a way to get this overturned. Nine years later in a case of Wabash v.s. Illinois, the court overturns itself and declares this unconstitutional because the federal government deals with interstate commerce • If thats the case, a state cant implement laws over the federal government in regards to railroads and farmers feel betrayed - What is the US monetary system based on at this time? GOLD! • Gold has value and is stable • Farmers want a currency that is not based on gold: silver or greenbacks • Greenback money is enlargeable but the problem is that the more you print the less it is worth: inflation - Why would anybody want inflation? • They are debtors and they love inflation since they don't have to be at the mercy of the banks • By the 1890s, farmers are going to organize to regulate business and currency 
 4 Wednesday, February 10, 2016 Populism - Imperialism? Why? - Why is the “Splendid Little War” instated? - Farmers: angry, agitated, and scared because they are losing economic, social, and political power • They have a desire to increase the currency by using silver or greenbacks rather than gold - In order to do so, they have to get involved with government • They wanted to regulate railroads - Supreme Court in 1886, regulation of railroads was not in the hands of state governments • They want to get involved in politics to elect people to do what they want - “It is time to raise less corn and more hell”. How can they accomplish these things? • Go through the existing political system - Entrenched bureaucratic entities • Establish a 3rd party - Hard to break away from two party system - The first thing they do is organize in a group known as the Farmer’s Alliance in the late 1880s • Overtly political group that has 350,00-500,000 members mainly in the South and Midwest - They are going to establish a party known as the People’s Party and later known as Populists — Populism • Known to incorporate large numbers of people that is associated with farmers • They want to take away the power from big businesses and wealthy capitalists 5 Wednesday, February 10, 2016 • They have people in state legislatures December 1890: Populists meet to form a platform in Ocala, FL due to the warmth and they get cheap rates • They issue a set of demands known as Ocala Demands • They demand the abolition of national banks, the government should establish banks by the national government, the circulating medium should be increased speedily, congress should decrease laws betting on the price, demand equal rights to all, and an income tax • Before this point, the government raised money through tariffs taxing imported goods • The money of the country should be kept in the hands of the people, honest state government and government supervision of transportation, congress amend the constitution to elect senators by the people rather than state legislatures • Before, Congress was known as the millionaires club - Federal government is going to be loaning money to farmers and the middle man has to go to the federal government • The government is going to provide a series of sub treasuries - Need to have collateral. Farmers have crops that are worth something to try to take banks out of the lending process. - Very radical idea - Farmers in the south are profoundly divided by racial grounds because of sharecropping - Populism in the South is about class - Populists believe that class trumps race : black farmers and white farmers are going to work together to get out of the system that keeps them in poverty • When push comes to shove, white farmers are going to believe that race trumps class 6 Wednesday, February 10, 2016 1892: Presidential Election with all parties running a candidate - Populist party candidate is James Weaver who only gets 23 votes - They believe they will always be a third party so they want to run under an established party to achieve votes - By 1896, the Populists decide that it is better to go through another party • To do so, they eliminate their more radical ideas such as abolishing national banks, electing senators, and income tax They are going to focus on currency and become tied to free silver • • They are going to attach themselves to the Democratic Party and essentially take over - 1893: US is in a depression due to the Panic of 1893. Democrats have a bad name at this time because democrats are blamed for the depression so they are more willing to merge. • 1896: William Jennings Bryanfrom Nebraska runs on a platform that advocates for the coinage of free silver • He runs against a man in the Republican party known as William McKinley • The Republicans win the election because Bryant is accused as a radical and communist. Populism dies throughout this election but the ideas of populism remain. - Income tax, senators need to be elected by the people, and half of the US population still can’t vote. April 15th, women can vote, and could vote for senators. - Populism as a movement fails farmers but ideas still are relevant later on European countries at this time are carving out the world (Africa and Asia) and the US feels that we have to compete with them by having a navy - The world was increasingly becoming a global market - Many people say that we don’t need to do this because America is a colony and we broke away from other ideals in Europe for a reason 7 Wednesday, February 10, 2016 - Cuba in the 1890s is owned by Spain. Spain only has Cuba and Puerto Rico at this time. - Why would we want to help the Cubans? • Cuba has great natural harbors with geopolitical importance • Cuba also has economic importance because America businessmen look at Cuba and see sugar production as something that we can control there • Cubans are in a time when they are trying to overthrow the Spanish because they are trying to do the same thing we did to England (humanitarian anti-colonial) • Jose Marti reached out to America for seeking their help for Cuba • US sends the Maine to warn the Spanish that we may be interested in going to Cuba and the Maine blows up in Havana harbor and the assumption is that the Spanish did it. American journalists push for us to avenge the death of American sailors. They are known as yellow journalists. Remember the Maine, to hell with Spain. - Yellow is about stretching the truth like Yellow Kid 8


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