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: Organization, formed in February 1899, opposed to the US acquisition of overseas territories such as the Philippines at the end of the Spanish-American War on the grounds that such acquisition was unconstitutional, contrary to the US's history as a nation founded on anti-colonialism, contrary to the principles of the US as a republic, and dangerous racially because the people of these territories would be unassimilable. Its arguments are representative of the reasons why some historians contend that the US acted contrary to its own principles during and after the Spanish-American War.
Theodore Roosevelt's foreign policy calling for active, aggressive U.S. action to keep international order, thereby promoting US interests including peace, international trade, and (in Roosevelt's view) civilization among lesser cultures, especially in the Western Hemisphere. His big stick was the US navy with its new steel-plated battleships.
Huge wheat farms on the northern plains, frequently owned by corporations, which depended on machinery, a hired work force, and efficient managers. They represent the growth of commercial agriculture and an effort to consolidate control and increase market share in order to overcome the problems of laissez faire economics in agriculture (as trusts would do in industry) whereby the individual small farmer had to compete in a world market and therefore fell victim to ruinous supply and price fluctuations.
Northerners who moved South after the Civil War for idealistic and materialistic purposes and who were so named by Southerners to discredit them as scoundrels and thieves. As Republicans, they came into control of some southern state and municipal governments during Reconstruction. They were accused of corruption partly because there was corruption but more often because their policies of rebuilding the South (including railroads and public schools) were unpopular and even more because these governments included blacks. They are representative of the mix of idealism and materialism of the time.
: Literally cash connection, this refers to and symbolizes the increasingly impersonal, amoral nature of society as a result of the financial and industrial revolutions and the decline of the hierarchical society. Interpersonal relations in the 19th century (and to some degree in the 18th) gradually became more and more impersonal as the interaction between employers and employees and between business owners and customers came to be governed not by face-to-face, personal relations but by contracts and agreements which involved some impersonal arrangement such as cash in the form of wages paid or goods purchased. The absence of personal relations shows the increased anonymity of people who were no longer living and working on farms and in small towns but in factories and cities. That anonymity and lack of personal connection with others gave individuals more freedom by releasing them from social constraints and therefore from ethical standards and humane considerations. If employers see employees not as individuals with faces and families but merely as numbers such as in statistics on the amount paid in wages, then the employers can overwork, underpay, and fire those employees much more easily. The Cash Nexus is also representative of how the world has become more interdependent economically (as in globalization) but more disconnected and atomized socially (as on the internet).
Labor system established soon after the Civil War under which freedmen signed agreements with landowners to work in gangs as field laborers on a year-by-year basis or to work as sharecroppers whereby the freedmen received an acreage to farm sometimes with seed and supplies in return for giving the landowner 50% of the crop after the harvest.
The gradual spread of the US during the 19th century to the Pacific coast, thereby becoming a continental power.
A method of increasing yields and maintaining the productivity of fields associated with scientific agriculture and also known as crop rotation. Poor farmers were often ignorant of or resistant to these kinds of ideas and suffered from deteriorating soils, declining yields, and greater dependency.
The use of future crops to guarantee loans farmers contracted from merchants so they could plant crops and support their families until harvest time. This system contributed to peonage or perpetual indebtedness even among farmers in the South who owned their own land.
Speech delivered by William Jennings Bryan at the 1896 Democratic convention in support of free silver which gained him the Democratic nomination.
A perpetual indebtedness tying the debtor to the land which resulted from tenant farmers buying supplies on credit based on future crops. Such indebtedness produced social subordination and provided an economic basis for segregation and second class citizenship for blacks in the South.
dumbbell tenements: A type of housing for the poor pioneered in New York City in the 1870s. Dumbbell apartments were designed to house a maximum number of people in a minimum amount of space, while providing each room access to fresh air and light. Usually 4 to 6 stories tall and approximately 30 by 100 feet, each dumbbell contained four apartments per floor, with floor residents sharing a common bath area. The novel feature of the dumbbell design was an airspace separating buildings. This air shaft was designed to provide light and air to each
room of each apartment. However, due to overcrowding and a lack of city services, the air shafts became dumping areas for garbage. Filled with litter, they attracted rats and roaches and contributed to the spread of fires in already crowded inner city areas.
Recurring periods of economic expansion and contraction which are characteristic of free enterprise economies. The late 19th century experienced strong booms followed by severe busts, especially in the Panic of 1873 and the Panic of 1893 each of which led into depressions with many business and bank failures and high unemployment. These extremes of activity in the late 19th century reflect the belief in laissez faire economics and the absence of governmental regulation.
Organizations of farmers most active in the Plains states and the South in the 1880s after the Grange had gone into decline. They arose in response to hard times on the land including drought and falling prices and led to political activity when the farmers, together with labor and Greenback representatives, formed the People's or Populist party in 1890.
Agency established by Congress to ease the transition from slavery to freedom for the former ex-slaves by providing emergency supplies, education, help in relocating families, aid in locating land and jobs and a variety of other services.
A traditional Native American dance which was thought to be a means of contacting one's ancestors. Circa 1890 this dance became identified with a new religious movement which spread among the northern plains tribes and seemed to threaten an Indian uprising. The movement centered in the ideas of Wovoka, a Paiute prophet, who (using Christanity and the Book of Revelations) predicted that the end of the world was near and Native Americans would return to life. Natural disasters would eliminate the white race, while dancing Indians would not only avoid destruction but would gain strength thanks to the return to life of their ancestors. Among the Sioux in the Dakota Territory, this movement took on militaristic strains, the army ordered the tribes to stop the dances and move to the forts. When one tribe under Big Foot refused, the army hunted them down, resulting in the Massacre at Wounded Knee near Rosebud, South Dakota in December, 1890.
Mark Twain's phrase from his and Dudley Warner's novel of the same name suggesting shallow glitter and excessive materialism as the prime characteristics of social and political life in the last quarter of the 19th century.
companies involved in the production of goods such as steel, machinery, and factory equipment, the kinds of capital goods which dominated the late 19th century and created the industrial base necessary for the economic growth of the country and the production of consumer goods later.
Strike at Carnegie's Homestead steel plant in 1892 precipitated by wage decreases which involved armed conflict with Pinkerton guards and was ended by the intervention of state troops. This was another example of how the government tended to support big business against the working man and how the efforts of unskilled workers to organize and improve their working conditions failed and remained ineffective in the late 19th century.
State laws in the South which segregated blacks from whites first in public facilities and ultimately in all aspects of life. The South passed these laws beginning about 1890 and primarily ending by 1915, but by 1915 southerners treated segregation as if it were a folkway which had always existed and, as an extension of nature, must always exist. Hence, these laws became a support for discrimination and prejudice and the argument that laws (such as federal civil rights measures) were useless folly because legal measures could never affect folkways, the way people naturally felt and acted.
This refers to the locales and activity involving miners and others who moved into the Sierra Nevada, Rocky, and western ridge mountains in search of wealth either by finding gold, silver, and other valuable metals or by profiting from provisioning and serving the miners. These people became some of the first to settle in the trans-Mississippi West in the mid and late 19th century. Ironically, the miners, while often staking claims in isolated areas, formed mining camps and towns so that the Miners’ Frontier was at least partly an urban or semi-urban phenomenon in the midst of vast stretches of unpopulated territory. The Miners’ Frontier also exemplified two of the more unfortunate characteristics of untrammeled individualism—exploitation and violence. The miners exploited the land and other people with little consideration of the long-term effects, and they engaged in violence partly because they were removed from any legal authority and had to rely on themselves, vigilante committees, or hired “guns” to enforce their extralegal arrangements. This frontier also represents how violence in the West was romanticized and idealized by authors such as Ned Buntline who helped create the idea of a Wild West. The results of this frontier included the admission of areas as states and territories before most of the land in the area was inhabited, the production of gold and silver which helped fund the Civil War and industrialization, and an increase in clashes with the Native Americans.
A person of mixed Caucasian and Negro ancestry. Originally the term meant the first-generation off-spring of a black and a white.
Theory often attributed to the historian Richard Hofstadter which says that it is wrong, a myth, a national folktale to think, as Thomas Jefferson suggested, that the farmers or yeomen who went West went simply as self-reliant, incorruptible, virtuous citizens, happy to obtain their own land and live close to nature in virtuous harmony, uninterested in material gain or getting ahead. Hofstadter argues that farmers and others were interested in material advancement and were not made virtuous by simply living on the land. This myth has been used as means of claiming that Americans have a special history and are exceptional, superior in virtue to other peoples.
The sentiment which involves the identification of the individual with the nation-state, creating an emotional, potentially blind loyalty to the nation as an extension of that person. The single strongest force in shaping the behavior of societies in the 19th and 20th centuries, nationalism (as known today) began with the French Revolution of 1789. It has taken several forms. Liberal Nationalism in the early 19th century idealistically identified nationalism with liberty—the goal of establishing freedom (and therefore self-government) for each nation which would lead to peace and freedom for all peoples. In the late 19th century, in accordance with the more materialistic outlook of that era, Ethnic Nationalism emerged which was exclusive rather than inclusive. It says that only those people with the proper ethnic background can be full citizens. This suggested, in the late 19th and in the late 20th century when it revived after the end of the Cold War, a kind of tribalism which labels non-members of one’s group as inferior, threatening, and disposable. Civic Nationalism, such as the U.S. has professed to believe in, argues for full citizenship for all under the rule of law. Overall, nationalism has tended to promote suspicion among different peoples, even unreasoning hatred, and has therefore been a factor promoting violence and war.
Immigrants from southern and eastern Europe who were primarily Jewish and Catholic in religion who came to the United States in large numbers after 1880. Many worked in the factories of large cities. The U.S. became much more diversified causing a rise in social tensions in the cities, greater suspicion of unskilled workers and labor unions, and a rise in nativist sentiment (fear and hatred of foreigners) including calls for limits on immigration based on arguments of racial deterioration and national ruin.
List of grievances compiled in December 1890 at Ocala, Florida by representatives of the Southern Alliance, the Farmers' Mutual Benefit Association, and the Colored Farmers' Alliance. The demands included inflation of the currency, the abolition of national banks, the restriction of land ownership to U.S. citizens, and the establishment of a subtreasury system which would allow farmers to store crops and receive partial payment until prices improved. Rather than supporting a third political party movement, the Southern Alliance favored capturing the Democratic party apparatus.
Platform of the Populist party in the 1892 election which called for the reforms demanded by the Ocala Platform of 1890 including a sub-treasury system, plus more means of direct democracy, legislation benefiting labor, a graduated income tax, the inflation of the currency through the unlimited coinage of silver, and government ownership of railroads, telegraph, and telephone. Some of these ideas were incorporated into the Democratic Party.
Congress passed this act authorizing the construction of a transcontinental railroad on July 1, 1862 as part of the Republican party’s program to stimulate economic growth but especially to promote internal improvements, tie the west coast to the East, and generate settlement in the interior. Made possible by the South’s secession and the weakening of the Democratic party, the act dismissed earlier disagreements about the best route and stipulated that a transcontinental railroad would be built between Chicago and San Francisco (1865-1869), that two companies would be chartered for that purpose (the Union Pacific building west and the Central Pacific building east), that the companies would receive loans from the government ($16,000 per mile of track laid on flat terrain, $32,000 in foothills, and $48,000 in mountains), and land grants consisting of ten alternate sections (square miles) on each side of the track. These land grants by 1867 amounted to 131 million acres, making these railroad companies enormously wealthy and two of the first big businesses. The act shows how the national government played a major role in the settlement of the West, how it aided a few individuals (the entrepreneurs) to become extremely wealthy, and how it helped business in the late 19th century contrary to the doctrine of laissez faire, thereby revealing the power of big business and its interpretation of laissez faire. That interpretation said government could help business but it could not regulate business or pass social justice legislation such as minimum wage laws or unemployment insurance because that would interfere with the laws of nature (such as the laws of economics) and therefore slow or stop progress.
Stock market crash at the beginning of the depression of the 1890s. It represents the boom and bust economy of the late 19th century and marks the end of the Robber Baron era of industrial growth and consolidation by rugged individualists from 1865 to 1895 and the beginning of the Finance Capitalist era of consolidation.
Practice of politicians rewarding political supporters with office. Also known as the spoils system (as in "to the victor belong the spoils") which beginning with Andrew Jackson in 1829 became the primary method of appointing people to governmental positions in the 19th century. See Civil Service Reform. It created intense party loyalty.
The socio-economic class which held most of the land, slaves, and political power in the South before the Civil War.
A tax which had to be paid each year to retain the right to vote which was used to disenfranchise poor blacks in the South.
Tax on imported goods designed to protect American businessmen, wage earners, and farmers from the competition and products of foreign labor. This policy became an important sign of the power of big business in the late 19th century and one of the primary ways which government served business interests, contrary to the theory of laissez faire. Beginning with the Morrill Tariff of 1861, the tariff was high and, with a few exceptions such as the Underwood Tariff of 1913, generally moved higher until 1934.
A combination of the Protestant Ethic and the Work Ethic. The Work Ethic grew partly out of the 19th century belief in self-reliance as a moral and even religious imperative (as a result of the demise of the Hierarchical Society and the Second Great Awakening's message that every person called by God has a responsibility to reform society as well as himself). The Protestant Ethic, often associated with Max Weber, argues that Protestants such as the Puritans believe that God calls each person to his particular vocation and that success in material terms is a way of glorifying God and a sign that that person is one of the "elect" whom God, under the doctrine of predestination, has selected to be saved.
Strike against the Pullman Palace Car Company (made sleeping-cars) in 1894 which was broken by federal troops and a court injunction. This is significant because it is an example of how the national government supported big business and acted against workingmen, using the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890 as a basis for ordering the strike to stop and sending in troops because the strike, led by Eugene V. Debs and the American Railway Union, prevented the delivery of the mail and therefore was a "conspiracy in restraint of trade." The strike and the union were smashed.
Movement led by educated, middle-class women to establish centers in urban lower-class neighborhoods to help immigrants adapt to American urban life.
Neighborhoods on the fringes of the city from which upper and middle class residents commuted to work in the inner city by using the new methods of mass transit, streetcars. Beginning with horse-drawn coaches called omnibuses in the 1820s, mass transit became much faster and more efficient after 1852 when rails were grooved and made flush with the pavement allowing for horse-drawn cars on rails. In 1887 Frank Sprague developed a system for propelling the cars with electricity in Richmond, Virginia--trolley cars. After that streetcars became cleaner, faster, convenient, and the wealthier elements in cities moved more readily to the edge of the city. This population shift marked the beginnings of urban sprawl as cities spread out, and it sorted people and property so that the poorer and working people were separated from the wealthier owner-managers reducing community feeling, enforcing class lines and feelings, and allowing the residential areas near the city center to deteriorate. The cities began to be zoned whereas earlier, in the so-called walking cities, residential and commercial and manufacturing activities were mixed together as were workers and owners as part of a hierarchical society in which people had a sense of place on a social scale but also a sense of mutual interests. The streetcar suburbs reduced the sense of mutual interests and strengthened a sense of difference.
Congregationalist minister who in his book, Our Country (1885), combined ideas about Christianity with social Darwinism and the theory of evolution to provide religious and racist justifications for U.S. expansion. "God with infinite wisdom and skill is training the Anglo-Saxon race for. . . the final competition of races." Soon, Strong says, U.S. civilization, as the center of the Anglo-Saxon race and with aggressive traits provided by Christianity, would move out over all of Latin America, "out upon the islands of the sea, over upon Africa and beyond." "Can anyone doubt," Strong asks, "that the result of this . . . will be the survival of the fittest?" Strong is significant as a representative of the widespread conviction in the late 19th century and early 20th century that race and racial differences are scientific (actually only pseudo-scientific because studies of genetics by the late 20th century indicate that all people are 99.9% alike and therefore racial differences are false except for superficial differences such as the pigmentation in the skin), that racial differences are one of the keys to history and society, that some races are superior to others, and that the superior races have a duty to spread their civilization to others. He is also indicative of how religious beliefs are shaped by the culture and times in which they exist. Hence, Strong's argument, in a time of imperialism, that it is God's intention that the U.S. should expand and spread its civilization around the world because of its religious and racial superiority.
The fourth part of a Congressional resolution passed April 20, 1898 (named for its author Senator Henry M. Teller of Colorado) which stated that the U.S. had no intentions of annexing Cuban territory. The other three parts of the resolution authorized U.S. intervention in Cuba to free it from Spain. This led to the Spanish-American War when Spain declared war on the U.S. on April 24. The Teller Amendment is significant as representative of how the U.S. seemed to change its values and principles during the Spanish-American War. As the Teller Amendment indicates, the U.S. began the Spanish-American War as an anti-colonial war (helping Cuba gain its independence from Spain) but ended it as a colonial war because after the war, the U.S. took over much of Spain's empire including the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Guam while also acquiring Hawaii and Wake Island, thereby establishing an overseas empire. In addition, while the U.S. did not annex Cuba, the U.S. made it into a protectorate so that the U.S. controlled it indirectly through political, economic, and military influence.
Book by William Appleman Williams published in 1959 which is a leading example of the revisionist school on US imperialism. Williams and the revisionist school argue that American imperialism—expansion and the acquisition of territory overseas in the late 19th century, early 20th—was a product of domestic interests, particularly economic concerns such as the need for new markets for industrial goods. This meant that the US tried to control areas overseas in order to assure markets abroad and stable investment opportunities for US businesses. The tragedy in this, according to Williams, is that this action produced results contrary to American expectations and principles. Americans expected democracy and freedom to spread abroad as US influence and markets spread and often justified their action on that basis. But often the results were very different. When the US acquired markets or invested heavily in another country, US corporations often would become a major if not commanding influence in that country’s economy, and those corporations would demand stable economic and political conditions, potentially leading to US intervention and the denial of self-determination for that country. This policy also leads to tragic consequences, Williams says, because Americans after World War II came to believe that domestic wellbeing depends on overseas economic expansion. This assumption tends to lead not only to pressure to control other countries and make them similar to the US but also to externalize the causes of both good and bad developments in the US. So, if developments within the US are unsatisfactory, they can be blamed on outside, evil forces which therefore should be changed or eliminated.Treaty
Of or connected to a city. Although rural areas and lifestyles, as a result of theories such as the Turner Thesis and stories of the West, have played a large role in the public consciousness and national ethos, urban areas and populations have been crucial in U.S. history. The history of the U.S., as Richard Hofstadter says, is the history of a movement to the cities. The nation did move west into scarcely populated areas, but throughout U.S. history, the percentage of the population in the cities has grown. Urban areas offered as much or more opportunity as rural areas and for more people. Cities were also sites of suffering, discrimination, exploitation, and the division of society into the wealthy few and the many poor. The urban population grew from 5% of the population in the 1780s, to 10% in 1800, to 33% in 1900, to 50% in 1920, to 70% in 1960. This urban growth has created an ambiguity in the national consciousness because the nation is an urban society while its professed value system largely stems from the frontier and rural life.
determined by becoming a member of the “leisure class.” Membership is marked by two characteristics. First, one receives income not by working and producing oneself but by manipulating the production of others—for which the manipulator receives more money than the producer. Second, merit and monetary worth are confused so that a person reveals his merit (gains admiration and prestige) by accumulating possessions and flaunting them—what Veblen calls “conspicuous consumption.” Hence, Veblen denounces the get-rich-quick, fast-buck, anything goes mentality in business as contrary to the real basis for prosperity--hard work and efficiency. Society should reject, in Veblen’s view, measuring the worth of an individual by how much money he makes (because it demeans humanity and because individual fortunes can cost society in terms of waste, inefficiency, and corruption) and by how much the individual can afford to spend lavishly on luxury items (because such items often have limited value for society).An economist, sociologist, and social critic, Veblen wrote several books, the first and most famous of which is The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899). In it, Veblen criticizes the new industrial elite (the nouveaux riche) for establishing in the late 19th century a wasteful, hollow idea of how to live and measure merit, and he criticizes Americans generally for adopting this idea as the social ideal. The idea is that success is
The case of Wabash, St. Louis & Pacific RR Co. v. Illinois decided by the Supreme Court in 1886, a decision which reversed Munn v. Illinois (1877) and declared unconstitutional state laws regulating the railroads (Granger Laws). Using a narrow interpretation of the Constitution, the court drew a distinction between interstate and intrastate commerce and noted that only the federal government could control interstate commerce in which railroads are engaged. This tended to create an area of ambiguity in the law, allowing the railroads to operate more freely. The decision also reflected the conservative view that property rights are a kind of natural right which precede government as opposed to the view that property is a construct of society and can be regulated if the property involves a public interest (as Munn v. Illinois says). In 1887 Congress created the Interstate Commerce Commission, the first federal agency designed to regulate economic activity in the public interest and prevent fraudulent, exploitive activity by business. The case is also significant as one of several Supreme Court decisions in the mid-1880s benefiting business and reflecting conservative interpretations of the Constitution, a trend which lasted until 1937.
General "Butcher" Weyler: Valeriano Weyler y Nicolau, Spanish general who as governor of Cuba (February 1896 to October 1897) used repressive and brutal measures to fight Cuban rebels thereby gaining the epithet "Butcher" in the U.S. yellow press which exaggerated events (overstated the atrocities) and aroused the U.S. public's humanitarian concerns--a major factor in promoting the Spanish-American War. To fight the Cuban rebels and their guerrilla tactics and to prevent the general population from aiding them, Weyler established reconcentration camps or detention centers and put the rural population in them.
Malnutrition and disease soon afflicted these camps, but the U.S. press accused the Spanish of murdering prisoners, shooting the sick, and molesting young women. McKinley, taking office in March 1897, used diplomacy to try to resolve the situation, and Spain recalled Weyler, ended the reconcentrado program, and offered the rebels autonomy within the Spanish empire (but they refused). Weyler is significant because he reveals the difficulty in dealing with guerrilla warfare and the effect of creating moral outrage in the U.S. public. War became justifiable on moral grounds--to stop the inhumanity to man and to promote liberty through Cuban independence.
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