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Who/what: a British liner that was sunk by a German submarine. 1,198 passengers died, including 124 Americans.
When: May 1915
Where: off the coast of Ireland
Why: Before this event, President Wilson had proclaimed the US neutral in World War I. But, the sinking of the Lusitania swayed Wilson’s, and public, opinion. The sinking outraged Americans, and the pro-war argument was strengthened by this event. Wilson wrote a strong note of protest in the immediate aftermath of the sinking, and decided against just warning Americans not to travel on the ships of those involved in the war, because he felt that this would retreat from the principle of freedom of the seas. By late 1915, Wilson had declared his policy of “preparedness,” meaning an expansion of the American army and navy. This resulted in Germany announcing a suspension of submarine warfare against noncombatants in early 1916.
Who/what: a telegram sent by German foreign secretary Arthur Zimmerman to the Mexican government, calling on Mexico to join in a coming war against the US. In the telegram, Germany also promised to help Mexico recover territory it had lost to US in the Mexican-American War. This telegram was intercepted by British spies, and made public.
When: March 1917
Where: Germany Mexico
Why: this telegram being made public, combined with Russia establishing a constitutional government, pushed the US into World War I. Roughly a month after the telegram was intercepted, President Wilson asked Congress for a declaration of war against Germany, and his resolution was passed.
Who/what: a statement of American war aims and a vision of a new international order issued by Woodrow Wilson. Key principles include: self determination for all nations, freedom of the seas, free trade, open diplomacy, giving colonial peoples equal weight in deciding their future, and creating a “general association of nations”
When: January 1918
Why: the 14 Points is important for several reasons. For one, Wilson issued it partly in order to assure Americans that the war was being fought for a moral cause. Secondly, the “general association of nations” Wilson outlined lead to the formation of the League of Nations post war. And lastly, although this was just an American program, it because the main agenda at the peace conference post war.
Soldiers badly armed/poorly trained
But help stopped German advance into Paris
After Germans defeated —> signaled end of war
Nov 1918: Germans surrendered
Soldiers came home to shrinking economy
End of the Progressive Era: end of the era’s type of hope/idealism
**Government taking on more power: manifestation of the Progressive Era**
Who/what: an act that required 24 million men to register with the draft during World War I.
When: May 1917
Why: the Selective Service Act is an example of how WWI created a temporary national state with huge power and presence in American’s everyday lives
Who/what: a board, headed by Bernard Baruch, which presided over all elements of war production during World War I.
Why: the War Industries Board managed a broad range of things, from the distribution of raw materials to the prices of manufactured goods, and even established standardized specifications for everyday items in order to spur efficiency. The War Industries Board is important because it shows how WWI allowed a Nationalist state to come into being in the US during the war, to the joy of many progressives.
Who/what: a government agency created by the Wilson administration in order to promote patriotism and pro-war sentiment during World War I. The CPI used a multitude of mediums, including posters, newspapers ads, motion pictures, and Four-Minute Men, to spread their propaganda.
When: April 1917
Why: the CPI was the first federal government agency that attempted to consciously “manipulate” public opinion in the US. Because of its success, it not only influenced advertisers post-war in the 1920s, but also set a precedent for the government to make an effort to shape public opinion in international conflicts.
Who/what: a federal act that prohibited spying and interfering with the draft, and also “false statements” that could interfere with military success. Victims of this act included the socialist press and foreign-language publications.
Why: this was the first time since the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 that the federal government used a law to restrict the freedom of speech. It shows how civil liberties can come under pressure during war. Also, it shows how patriotism had come to be equated with support for the government and the war during WWI.
Allowed government to accomplish: Selective Service Act, War Industries Board, Prohibition
Who/what: a federal act that made it a crime to speak/make printed statements that would cast “contempt, scorn, or disrepute” on the government, or that would promote interference with the war effort.
Why: this is another example of how civil liberties can come under pressure during war, and how the very things that the US claimed to be fighting for overseas, such as democracy and freedom, were being interfered with at home. Also, it shows how patriotism had come to be equated with support for the government and the war during WWI.
Who/what: a league whose members help the Justice Department identify radicals and critics of the war by spying on their neighbors and stopping men on the street and forcing them to produce their draft registration cards.
Why: the APL is important because it shows how during WWI, patriotism was equated with support for the government and the war, and antiwar sentiment was equated with being un-American. It shows the extreme repression that took place in the US during WWI.
Allowed for by: the women vote (had been behind the movement for a long time), German-produced beer, imposing American values on immigrants
Targeted radical groups that met in saloons/bars
Exemplary Progressive Era: government, based on scientific knowledge, intervening to make efficient
Who/what: when a group of black soldiers shot off their guns and killed a resident of Brownsville.
Where: Brownsville, Texas
Why: when none of their peers would name the group who shot their guns, Roosevelt dishonorably discharged three black companies from the military. This is a clear example of Roosevelt’s ingrained racism, even if he did appoint blacks to federal office and dine with Booker T. Washington. This racist sentiment was echoed by most of the other progressive presidents.
Who/what: the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, founded by W.E. B. Du Bois and a group of mostly white reformers, including Jane Addams.
Why: the NAACP was created mostly in reaction to three men lynched in Springfield, Illinois. The NAACP aimed to enforce the 14th and 15th Amendments, and indeed won a few victories in Supreme Court cases, such as Bailey v. Alabama, which overturned a law making it a crime for sharecroppers to break their contracts, and a Supreme Court case that made unconstitutional a Louisville zoning regulation that excluded blacks from certain parts of the city.
Opposite philosophy of Booker T. Washington
1905 Niagra Falls Convention: calls for retention of all rights for African-Americans
Obtained more rights for blacks via legal work
Who/what: followers of Marcus Gravey, a recent immigrant from Jamaica, who started the Universal Negro Improvement Association, a movement for African independence and black self-reliance.
When: late 1910s/early 1920s (aftermath of WWI)
Where: US, especially the North
Why: for Garveyites, freedom meant national self-determination, and therefore they argued that blacks should be an internationally recognized identity, just like other peoples enjoyed after WWI. Also Du Bois and other black leaders dismissed Garvey and his movement, Garveyites are important because they show the sense of betrayal felt by African-Americans during and after WWI.
Mass movement to Americanize immigrants (ironic, no real American culture)
European immigrants thought capable of Americanization, but not Asian immigrants or blacks
Ex: change of 4th of July to “Loyalty Day,” immigrants had to participate
Ex: Ford sociology department: went to immigrant workers houses to see if “sufficiently American”
Enlisted in military: hoped that this would help them with integration, but still discriminated against
Great Migration: looking for rights, better wages, still encountered violent discrimination
Who/what: a case in which Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, two Italian immigrants who were also anarchists, were accused of participating in a robbery in which a security guard was killed.
When: May 1920
Why: Although very little actual evidence linked these two men to the crime, they were still convicted, and sentenced to death. The appeals of the case drew much attention, both from an international audience (mass protests in Europe), and an audience of American intellectuals. This case is important because it is a clear example of the divisions in American society during the 1920s, and shows the cultural battles that came with the so-called Roaring Twenties.
Exemplifies Red Scare
Decreased tolerance for radicalism/unionism
Brought negative view of America to the world
Exemplifies 20s as conservative era
Who/what: a new style of management implemented by corporations as a way to stave off labor unions and preserve “industrial freedom.” This new model provided employees with pensions, insurance plans, job security, and greater workplace safety, as well as leisure-time activities.
Why: this type of business leadership was promoted as more socially conscious and more attuned to the “human factor” in employment. It is one reason for the decline of labor unions in the 1920s, the other being the American Plan.
Who/what: an amendment promoted by Alice Paul and the National Women’s Party that proposed to eliminate all legal distinctions on the account of sex. The reasoning behind this proposed amendment was that as women had gained political equality, with the right to vote, they no longer required special legal protection.
Why: this amendment is important because it shows clearly the divide between the two conceptions of feminism at the time; one focused on motherhood, and one focused on individual autonomy and the right to work. All groups apart from the National Women’s Party saw this amendment as a step backward, as it would remove mother’s pensions and laws limiting women’s labor hours. Ultimately, the ERA campaign failed, but it is important because it shows that after women gained the right to vote, women’s activists became un-unified as they sought for different next-steps.
Fear among many Americans after World War I of Communists in particular and non-citizens in general, a reaction to the Russian Revolution, mail bombs, strikes, and riots.
Who/what: a scandal involving Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall. Fall accepted almost $500,000 from private businessmen in exchange for leasing them out government oil reserves.
Where: Teapot Dome, Wyoming.
Why: this scandal reflects the extremely corrupt nature of President Warren G. Harding’s cabinet. It also shows the strong connection between government and business that extended into the 1920s. It is further important because Albert Fall became the first cabinet member ever to be convicted of a felony.
Who/what: a bill that was twice vetoed by Calvin Coolidge. This bill was a top priority of congressmen from farm states, and sought to have “the government purchase agricultural products for sale overseas in order to raise farm prices.”
Where: US (farm states)
Why: Coolidge vetoed the bill because of its supposedly interfering nature with the free market. This attitude exemplifies the return of a laissez faire government economic policy in the 1920s.
Who/what: this code was adopted by the film industry, and set out guidelines for Hollywood films. The code prohibited movies from showing nudity, long kisses, adultery, clergymen in a negative light, or criminals in a positive light.
Why: this code was adopted in response to Hollywood scandals, as the film industry believed that these scandals would reinforce the ideas that movies promoted immorality, and the film industry wanted to avoid government censorship by self-censoring first. This shows just how present and all encompassing government censorship during the 1920s, and how the trend of government censorship extended post-war.
Who/what: wording used by Supreme Court justice Oliver Wendell Holmes in presenting the verdict of the case of Charles T. Schenck. In their decision, the Supreme Court upheld the Espionage Act and the conviction of Schenck, a socialist who had distributed anti-draft leaflets.
Why: Justice Holmes reasoned that the 1st Amendment didn’t prevent Congress from prohibiting speech that presented a “clear and present danger” of inciting illegal actions. Further, he reasoned that free speech “would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic.” The Supreme Court’s decision, and Holmes’ wording, is extremely important, as it would set a precedent for a basic standard for First Amendment cases for the next 50 years. But because the term “dangerous” is so subjective, this wording would not actually provide a stable basis for the defense of free speech.
Who/what: the trial of public school teacher John Scopes, who was arrested for violating state laws prohibiting the teaching of Darwin’s evolution. The trial became a huge deal, and was followed throughout the US. Key players were Clarence Darrow, Scopes lawyer, and William Jennings Bryan, on the opposite side.
Why: this trial shows in plain the sharp division between traditional and modern values in the 1920s. Further, it shows the division between the two American definitions of freedom; one based on the traditional idea of moral liberty, the other based on independent thought and individualism. Scopes was found guilty, but this verdict was later overturned on a technicality.
Who/what: the sentiment that immigrants should be Americanized, forcing them to abandon their home-country traditions. This idea started during the war and continued into the 1920s.
Where: throughout US
Why: manifestations of “100 percent Americanism” included citizenship education programs in public schools, visits to immigrants’ homes to investigate their household situations, and efforts by employers to instill American values in their employees. A further manifestation was the KKK, who believed that immigrants, as well as blacks, threatened American civilization. Overall, “100 percent Americanism” reflected lack of tolerance that led to limitations of freedom in the 1920s.
Who/what: a term used during the Harlem Renaissance that meant to reject established stereotypes about blacks, and replace them with roots of the black experience.
Why: the new Negro took the roots of the black experience (Africa, rural South traditions, life of the urban ghetto) to establish new black values and create a new black identity. This new identity allowed for Harlem to become a vibrant black community during the 1920s.
Harlem Ren. at time exploited by whites as exotic experience for them
Didn’t like Darwin’s teachings because he went against the bible
Respond against modernists
Prohibition: way to force Protestant morality on everyone
Different in 1920s than before
Spread geographically: midwest & west as well as south
Targeted Jews, blacks, immigrants, Catholics
Beginning of border control, restrictions, concept of illegal aliens
Issue of public school laws
Meyer was preaching in German
Decision: Meyer has right to preach in German, students have right to go to private school
Who/what: marches held by unemployed World War I veterans who wanted early payment of a bonus due in 1945.
Where: Washington, D.C.
Why: this march was an example of a response to the Great Depression in the form of spontaneous/uncoordinated protests due to the lack of groups that provided protest leadership in the 1920s. Further, in response to the marchers, President Hoover sent federal troops lead by army chief-of-staff Douglas MacArthur to drive them away, showing how the government was inadequate in meeting the needs of the people during this time.
Who/what: a law signed into action by Herbert Hoover that increased already high taxes on imported goods.
Why: the result of this tariff was that foreign countries enacted similar laws, overall reducing international trade and making the economic situation of the Great Depression worse. As a result of this failure, and a few other failed policies, by 1932 Hoover was forced to sign laws that had more direct government intervention in the Great Depression.
People started using lots of credit to buy consumer goods
Average people got into stock market, didn’t know what they were doing
Little regulation from government
Banks selling worthless bonds
Speculative mindset (Florida speculation crash)
People had no idea what would happen after massive economic growth: unprecedented
Shady practices: Ponzi Scheme, executives got out early and told people to keep buying
Move back to cities from farms
Hoovervilles: shantytowns for people who lost their homes to Great Depression (people had bought homes who shouldn’t have…)
At first doesn’t do much: thinks it’s natural ebb & flow
Policy = “belt-tightening” for all Americans
Not open to direct government aid
Finally in 1932 starts bailing outs businesses, gives jobs through public works, but refuses to move towards welfare state
Who/what: a “holiday” declared by FDR that stopped all bank operations and called Congress into special session.
Where: throughout US
Why: before the Bank Holiday, the banking system was collapsing, with banking suspended in the majority of states, so people could not access their money. During the Bank Holiday, Congress passed the Emergency Baking Act, one of the first measures put in place under FDR, which provided funds to help threatened banks.
Who/what: a three-month period at the beginning of FDR’s presidency in which an “unprecedented flurry” of legislation was passed, addressing the Great Depression.
Why: during The Hundred Days, Roosevelt’s administration seized on the sense of crisis and the momentum of his recent presidential victory in order to pass law after law hoping to promote economic recovery. Up until this point in history, never had a president exercised this much power, nor so quickly expanded the powers of the federal government.
Who/what: an act authorizing the federal government to raise farm prices by setting production quotas for crops, and paying farmers not to plant more. As a result, many crops already planted were destroyed.
Where: American Farms
Why: this act was an attempt to address the plight of American farms during the Great Depression, and while it did raise farm prices and incomes for some farmers, not all farmers benefitted. For the most part, land-owning farmers benefitted, while tenants and sharecroppers were often evicted, because the AAA paid land-owning farmers for not growing crops.
Who/what: areas of the West and Midwest where strong winds blew away soil eroded by mechanized agriculture, causing crops to fail and animals to die.
When: 1930-1940 (most severe 1935-1938)
Where: Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Colorado
Why: because of unusually dry weather and dust storms in the Dust Bowl, the Depression’s impact worsened for farmers in rural America. The combination of drought and dust storms cause more than 1 million farmers to move, often farther west.
Barred commercial banks from becoming involved in buying/selling stocks
These types of practices had contributed to crash in first place
Also established the FDIC
Government system that insured accounts of individual depositors (before ran risk of loosing money if bank failed)
Modeled after the War Industries Board
Set standards for output, prices, and working conditions
Shows the changing definition of freedom
Section 7a recognized right to unionized, but didn’t end up helping because of influence of large corporations
Part of National Housing Act of 1934
Insured millions of mortgages to provide cheap housing
However, also enforced racial discrimination within housing plots (South…)
1933 US goes off gold standard (currency backed by gold)
To increase Federal Reserve’s power to inflate money supply
Large scale public works construction
Includes schools, bridges, hospitals
Goal was to spend 6 billion of construction
Government providing jobs to young unemployed unmarried men
Unskilled manual labor: forrest, wildlife, natural park jobs
Wages = about $30 a month
To economically develop Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina
Model for modernizing agrarian society
Uses science & electricity
Used community leaders, but displaced 15000 families
Administration providing temporary jobs on federal payroll to unskilled workers
Built roads, airports, bridges, pipelines
Subunit of FERA
Continuation of ERA by Hoover
Gave loans to states to operate local relief programs
Main goal: alleviating household poverty
Regulates stock and bond markets
Securities Act of 1933
Increase public trust in capital markets by requiring disclosure of information of public offerings (risks)
Securities Act of 1934
Regulates secondary trading between individuals/companies
Oversee national broadcasting airways and telephone communication
Ensure communications are available during emergencies and crises
Enforce fairness of competition between communication services and availability of communications for Americans
Who/what: a strike tactic used by the United Auto Workers, a CIO union, in which strikers halted production but remained inside the plant, instead of walking out and enabling strikebreakers to come in.
Where: first in GM plant in Cleveland, then in other GM plants in Michigan
Why: this strike tactic proved very effective, and the result was that General Motors agreed to negotiate with the United Auto Workers. During this type of strike, it was notable the unity among strikers, with a mini-society emerging in the plant. This new strike tactic shows the reemergence of the power of unions in the 1930s, after having been suppressed throughout the 1920s.
Who/what: a movement lead by Louisiana governor and senator Huey Long.
Why: this movement called for the confiscation of wealth from the richest Americans, and this money to be given in $5000 grants to all citizens, as well as a job and annual income. This shows an example of a movement questioning economic justice during the Great Depression. It also is one of the signs of popular discontent that helped to lead to the Second New Deal.
Who/what: a plan of Dr. Francis Townsend, a California physician.
Why: this plan called for the government to make a monthly payment of $200 to older Americans with the requirement that they spend it immediately, with the purpose of boosting the economy. This plan was popular, with 2 million members in Townsend Clubs. This was another sign of popular discontent that helped to lead to the Second New Deal.
Who/what: one of the main initiatives under the Second New Deal. Created by FDR, the WPA hired 3 million Americans to construct buildings, bridges, roads, airports etc. It also hired artists to decorate public buildings, and writers to produce guidebooks and record the recollections of ordinary Americans. Its Federal Theater Project put on plays, its Federal Music Project established orchestras, and its Federal Dance Project sponsored ballet.
Where: throughout US
Why: the WPA created millions of government jobs for unemployed Americans, even unemployed white-collar workers, unlike previous programs. Further, it is important because it expanded the reach of the federal government into almost every aspect of American daily life.
Who/what: an initiative under the Second New Deal that created a system of unemployment insurance, old age pensions, and aid to the disabled, elderly poor, and families with dependent children.
Where: throughout US
Why: this act embodied Roosevelt’s ideas that the national government had a responsibility to ensure the material well being of regular Americans. It is important because for the first time, the American government had created a permanent system of social insurance in the name of economic security. The act made an American version of a welfare state, and while this was something completely new in the US, it was actually more decentralized than similar programs in Europe.
Who/what: a plan of FDR’s after having been reelected president. His plan was to allow the president to appoint a new Supreme Court justice for each one who remained on the Court past age 70. FDR’s goal with this plan was to change the balance of power on the Court, as he feared the current one might strike down parts of the Second New Deal.
Where: Washington, D.C.
Why: Congress rejected this plan, as many saw this was a step too far for the power of the president. But, it is important because in the end, FDR got what he wanted. The Supreme Court, starting in 1937, was newly willing to support economic regulation by federal and state governments. This marked a permanent change in judicial policy, and an extreme departure from the past. Unlike before the Great Depression, since 1937, the Court has rarely declared economic laws unconstitutional.
Who/what: a law setting a 40 cent hourly minimum wage under the Fair Labor Standards, an initiative of the Second New Deal.
Where: throughout the US
Why: the last major piece of the Second New Deal, the Fair Labor Standards for the first time federally regulated the minimum wage. This is something that would have been unthinkable pre-Depression, and shows just how much power and influence the government had gained in the economic lives of Americans because of the New Deal.
“Freedom of contract”
Labor unions all but nonexistent
Labor doesn’t feel FDR is moving fast enough with First New Deal
“Most dangerous man in America”
Had large following
Had potential to become dictator
Assassinated before could run for president
Popular preacher, has “fire” brand
Starts out on radio with populist message, gathers following
Becomes pro-fascist & anti-Semitic —> dangerous
Trying to make stronger consumer middle class (lack-of thought to have caused Great Depression)
Brought electricity to rural areas: boost appliance consumerism
Paid for by taxes: influence of Huey Long
Before FDR: limited government, laissez faire
FDR: strong federal government to ensure all citizens (common man) are secure in their rights
Stopped putting money into programs (WPA) —> downturn in economy
Start of Keynesian economics: going into debt is necessary to stimulate economy
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