Main Idea/Thesis: The 1870’s to the 1890’s, also known as the Gilded Age, appeared as though it contained much promise for social and political change/advance (through the Second industrial revolution and the West’s transformation), it was full of broken promises and the advancement of only the upper class (as shown through the idea of Social Darwinism and corrupted politics).
Populism was introduced in the early 1890s and it was considered to be the peoples party which assisted farmers when their businesses spiraled downward into poverty. It sought to speak for all people in the producing class like farmers and sharecroppers. Populists made the effort to unite white and African American farmers and appealed to industrial workers in1894. Democrats and Populists joined to support William Jennings Bryan who won the democratic nomination. The election of 1896 was considered to be the first modern election and it was between William Jennings Bryan and William McKinley in which McKinley won. The southern states were incredibly segregated and the segregation dominated the southern politics after 1877. African American farmers suffered the most and some southern cities offered some opportunities. In 1879 and 18880 roughly 60,000 African Americans migrated to Kansas in the Kansas Exodus searching for political equality, freedom from violence and the right to education. Political opportunities became more restricted for African Americans with the attempt of voting elimination and introduction of things like poll tax, literacy tests and Grandfather Clauses. There was the issue of heavy segregation and in the case of Plessey v. Ferguson in which Homer Plessey refused orders to be moved due to him being “colored” and it went up to court where it was decided that “separate but equal” was the right thing, so many states went on and passed segregation laws. There was a great increase in the amount of African American lynching’s, upwards of about 50 a year. In 1890 there was a major influx of 3.5 million immigrants mostly from south and Eastern Europe, and they were willing to work in the worst conditions for a very small amount of pay. Between 1850-1870 Chinese families began to immigrate and congress tried to exclude the Chinese and keep them from entering. Booker T. Washington was born a slave in 1866 and was freed where he studied at Hampton Institute in Virginia and he became the head of Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, a center for vocational training. In this time period America began to expand and soon rivaled Europe as a world power in the age of imperialism, and with that came an updated idea of Manifest destiny. There were many revolts and wars such as Cuba and the Philippines that involved tactics such as guerilla warfare.
Coxey’s Army- band of several hindered unemployed men who were angry about the job market led by Jacob Coxey
Kansas Exodus- mass amount of African Americans migrated to Kansas about 60,000 people did in search of things like political equality, freedom from violence and economic success
Civil Rights Cases- the civil rights act had outlawed all racial discrimination in railroads hotels and theaters they believed that the fourteenth amendment prohibited unequal treatment
Lynching- when African American men were murdered by a racist mob often by means of hanging
Emilio Aguinaldo- after Dewey’s victory in manila Bay the leader of the Philippines established a government that was with a provisional constitution in model of the U.S.
“Some white leaders presented disenfranchisement as a “good government” measure – a means of purifying politics by ending the fraud violence and manipulation of voting returns regularly used against republicans and populists.” (692)
“The movement continued to argue for women’s equality in employment, education, and politics.” (702)
“When Chinese nationalists in the 1900 Boxer Rebellion killed thousands of Christian Chinese and besieged foreign embassies in Beijing, the United States contributed over 3,000 soldiers to the international force that helped to suppress the rebellion.” (710)
“The Strike collapsed when the union’s leaders, including Eugene V. Debs were jailed for contempt of court for violating judicial order.” (685)
“Building on the Farmers Alliance network of local institutions, the Populists embarked on a remarkable effort of community organization and education.” (680)
Main Idea/ Thesis
Although America was developing well as a united nation, it often encountered unsettling issues such as the awful divide of the south with segregation, issues rising with populism and farmers, and the wars with island nations like Cuba and the Philippines.
Chapter 18 Summary
This chapter focuses on the progressive era and the reforms/changes that took place within the time period. Immigrants gained better treatment with places such as settlement houses that helped them. Women reached an awakening in which feminism was born. Things such as birth control and sex were talked about more openly. Farmers, immigrants, and workers of the new era continued to face problems and organizations such as the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) attempted to give a voice to those dealing with the terrible conditions and harsh lives. Lastly, as women and more immigrants continued to join the workforce the workforce grew which resulted in a rise of consumer rates and production. Fordism was born in this era and continues to this day.
5 Key Terms:
Bohemia-A social circle of artists, writers, and others who reject conventional rules and practices.
Fordism- The economic system based on mass production and mass consumption which was based on the factory production and consumer rates of Henry Ford’s cars.
Muckrakers-Journalists who expose the underside, or the lesser known conditions, of American life through images, exposes, and other methods.
Progressivism-The support/advocacy of (social) reform
Settlement house-An organization/group/building whose purpose is to improve the lives of the immigrant poor by offering assistance such as child care, health clinics, and legal protection.
5 Important Quotes:
“The word ‘Progressive’ came into common use around 1910 as a way of describing a broad, loosely defined political movement of individuals and groups who hoped to bring about significant change in American social and political life. Progressives included forward looking businessmen who realized that workers must be accorded a voice in economic decision making, and labor activists bent on empowering industrial workers. Other major contributions to Progressivism were members of female organizations who hoped to protect women and children from exploitation, social scientists who believed that academic research would help to solve social problems, and members of tan anxious middle class who feared that their status was threatened by the rise of big business.” (725)
“Like their nineteenth century predecessors, the new immigrants arrived imagining the United States as a land of freedom, where all persons enjoyed equality before the law, could worship as they pleased, enjoyed economic opportunity, and had been emancipated from the oppressive social hierarchies of their homelands.” (731)
“The new visibility of women in urban public places--at work, as shoppers, and in new places of entertainment like cinemas and dance halls--indicated that traditional gender roles were changing dramatically in Progressive America.” (734)
“The desire to participate in the consumer society produced remarkably similar battles within immigrant families of all nationalities between parents and their self consciously ‘free’ children, especially daughters. Contemporaries, native and immigrant, noted how ‘the novelties and frivolities of fashion’ appealed to young working women, who spent part of their meager wages on clothing and makeup and at places of entertainment.” (735).
“In Progressive America, complaints of a loss of freedom came not only from the most poorly paid factory workers but from better off employers as well. Large firms in the automobile, electrical, steel, and other industries sought to implement greater control over the work process.” (738)
I believe that the main idea within chapter 18 is that although this era was named the Progressive era it doesn’t necessarily mean that a lot changed during this time or that is was without struggle. Laws were passed, but just because a law is passed doesn’t mean it is followed. People spoke up but just that doesn’t mean they were heard, in fact they were often ignored. However, it was still progressive despite these problems and this era was critical in America becoming the great country that it is today.