Lecture Notes From Summer Institutes

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Dr. Robert Dallek,

Professor @ UCLA & Boston University

Honorary Harmsworth Professor at Oxford University (England)
Session One: A Case Study in Presidential Leadership—FDR
Overview: Success of a presidency may be a result of historical happenstance (great crisis), and personal attributes. Of the two, attributes are the key as evidenced by the treatment of depression under Hoover (unsuccessful) and the FDR (relatively successful).

Since History is an argument without end, the ranking of presidents is subjective. And yet, most people agree, that our three greatest crises (the formation of the New Nation) under George Washington, (the Civil War) under Lincoln, and (the Great Depression & WW II) of FDR produced our three greatest presidents. Here are some valuable points of consideration to make when assessing greatness. These points will all take into account: time, place, and conditions under which the presidents worked.

I. Vision:

A. Larger ideas(s), a clear design, and desire to achieve

B. G.W. aspired to develop a functioning democracy with conspicuous and contrasting views that represented majority and minority interests peacefully!

C. A. Lincoln aspiration was to preserve the Union, free the slaves, and allow national expansion with sensitivity toward Native Americans, Hispanics, and immigrants.

D. TR: contrived the rise of liberal progressivism or “square deal of government meditation/regulation of business, labor, agriculture, and commerce to mitigate excesses of industrialization.

E. Woodrow Wilson: sought “world democracy, as peace without victory” another view of utopian idealism in a harsh and real world of conflict and war.

F. FDR—wanted a “New Deal” to cope with the economic, social, political, and cultural deficiencies of the Great Depression and then forced upon him, the management of a world war on colossal scale never before known to human kind.

G. HST: advocated the “Fair Deal” to cope with labor, race, poor, and international conflict[the cold war!]

H. JFK: sought for a “New Frontier” in space, Asian conflict, peace corps, and race.

I. LBJ: wanted a “Great Society”. He was another utopian thinker on a grand scale of desire, but was deflected by a War he did not want, race riots he abominated, and reluctant legislators unwilling to legislate the economics of a nation who was nearly 40% in poverty and victimized by exploitation.

J. Ronald Reagan: a revolutionist of reductionism, simplistic, but showered with political intelligence!
II. Evangelical politics:

  1. Element of national inspiration. The appeal to “we the people” mentality.

  2. Opposition to dictatorship and control of states over the people.

  3. The right of the one (citizen) to think, speak, believe, and live his mind and will—so long as it does not impose upon anyone else.

  4. Optimism, mastery, leadership, government control and submissiveness must mean something.

III. Pragmatism—“Realpolitik” the Americanization of Bismarck

  1. Grand vision, larger purpose (get elected again! Threat of personal or political control)

  2. Flexible within that vision

  3. Effective: very successful presidents have been effective pragmatist.

    1. Lincoln: Had South fire the first shot at Ft. Sumter.

    2. TR: Russo-Japanese War-mediated, won the Nobel Peace Prize. Showed US power and kept its isolationist stance and balance of power in Asia.

    3. TR provided for the Open Door Policy – US influence in China

    4. TR controlled Japan’s attack on Russian holdings in Manchuria

    5. TR feared loss of Russian holdings, he would loose the balance of Power

    6. 1905, both sides were wearing down.

    7. TR: arranges for mediation in Portsmouth, NH site of giant US Naval base and shipyard – shows military might and American power politics.

  4. W.W. Vision – was the New Freedom

  5. Wilson was opposed to TR “New Nationalism:”

  6. 1916 Presidential Election WW takes on TR’s New Nationalism and adopts in more centrist form.

  7. John Kennedy:

    1. Dealt with issues of Civil Rights-SCLC creates a moral upsurge-June 1963

    2. Proposed Civil Rights Legislation-senses public ready to embrace changes

  8. LBJ-saw politics as the art of the possible;

    1. Nixon trip to Latin America (a disaster) LBJ him upon return in PR coup.

    2. LBJ was brilliant legislator-24 years as Representative, kept tabs on everyone-names, wives, telephone numbers and policy shifts.

    3. LBJ deals with voting rights struggle of 1965: outsmarts George Wallace, makes tapes to record what people “really” said.

    4. 1964 election—Daisy Field ad-withdrawn after one day.

  9. RR-rhetoric conservative, yet raised withholding tax, allowed abortion right law pass in CA courted Gorbachev

  10. Nixon conservative who open talks with China, SU.

  11. WW: too wedded to ideology, strokes inhibited his thinking.

IV. Charisma:

  1. Presidents must love people, be approachable

    1. TR – loved by American people, model for young men.

    2. Herbert Hoover was like “death in the White House”

    3. John Kennedy – JFK Jr,- Kathleen Kennedy Townsend could be first female President.

    4. Bill Clinton – like LBJ:

      1. Affinity for people, touchy/feely narcissistic character, empty inside

      2. Shattered his moral authority

      3. Failed to understand the mission of the media

      4. When showing poor judgment, media would jump on it

    5. Bush misunderstood the media-showed some poor judgment, too

    6. FDR - fireside chats, didn’t want to overuse

    7. HST – “near great” President: 1948 election, “whistle stop” tour- & “give ‘em hell, Harry!” Very plain spoke, sincere, honest to a fault, and dogmatic.

    8. Ronnie Reagan: when he was shot - “Honey, I forgot do duck” To his surgeon he said, “I hope you are Republican!”

  1. Media, television – means presidential vulnerability.

  2. Media didn’t report the philandering of FDR, Ike, and JFK

  1. Trust, Creditability – How to lose it…

    1. Promise more than you can deliver

    2. WW I: was a war to end all war – a philosophic and empty idealistic promise

    3. LBJ: lost “War on Poverty” because of Vietnam engagement.

    4. LBJ should have been more honest about the Gulf of Tonkin and US Commitment.

    5. Nixon: “I am not a crook” – Watergate

    6. Bill Clinton: “I did not have sex with that woman, [Monica Lewinsky]

  2. Consensus – build a stable commitment to the American People.

    1. LBJ didn’t build a consensus on Vietnam: Lady Bird said he didn’t know what to do about it. (Probably didn’t get out because of his ego.)

    2. FDR, in contrast – wouldn’t push US into WW II, even after the Greer incident. He waited for Pearl Harbor.

    3. Vision for the country – renewed hope

SESSION TWO: The New Deal In American History

  1. FDR the greatest 20th Century President. One of three “greatest” Presidents. There seemed to be one in each century, 18th, 19th, & 20th. All were presidents with wars to manage.

    1. We have lost great “statesman” such as FDR-Lincoln at the presidential level. We have dumbed down politics, diplomacy, and statecraft!

    2. FDR was an extraordinary person, highly integrated personality.

    3. He had a vision for the country—a renewed hope.

      1. “He proposed the New Deal” couldn’t quite put your finger on what it was

      2. I it has been difficult to understand what “Lend Lease: really meant.

      3. Collapse of American banking: fireside chat—

        1. “bank holiday” put optimistic face on grim circumstances

        2. Campaign song, gave hope; “Happy Days Are Here Again”

        3. Walter Lippmann proclaimed a “whole new spirit”

      4. FDR humanized the American industrial system

        1. average people would have a better life, bigger middle class

        2. Government cared, we would intervene if they lost their job, protect the common people’s savings, provide a safety net-old age insurance.

        3. 1936: Better government that lives in a spirit of charity than one frozen in the ice of its own indifference (HH) FDR at the 1936 Democratic Convention. People said, “FDR spoke to me about MY Government.”

        4. January of 1944 – FDR proposes an Economic Bill of Rights – new surge in Domestic vision. The single greatest part of that was the GI Bill of Rights.

    4. FDR was the epitome of pragmatism and experimentation.

      1. He got LBJ’s support for “Court Packing” scheme

      2. But he over-reached his consensus – second term was somewhat of a failure. He lost his political capital.

    5. New Deal at a very general level.

      1. 1937 Protective Tariff debate: he ordered two speeches written one FOR and the second one AGAINST it.

      2. Quarantine speech on Japan’s invasion of China – test of the waters of isolationism.

      3. Like a quarterback on a football team- try one thing, if it didn’t work then try something else until something responded with the people. He was bent on serving the mass society.

    6. Charisma: most attractive political figure in the 20th Century.

      1. Fireside chats proved to be his best device

      2. Polio in the 1920’s millions knew, but did not know how permanent the damage was or could be. How limiting it was. How painful it was.

      3. This gave him extraordinary connection with the people, especially those who “down and out” during the Depression. This is portrayed in both the sensational plays by Arthur Miller Death of Salesman, and Neil Simon’s, Brighten Beach Memoirs!

      4. If he could back, the country could also!

      5. Private: integrity, public dignity, and moral accountability!

      6. FDR knew that you couldn’t antagonize the press.

    7. Consensus:

      1. For the first time FDR shifted power to the Democratic Party

      2. The 1920’s were an age of modernism vs fundamentalism (traditionalists).

      3. National Origins Act. Scopes Trial with Clarence Darrow, WJ Bryan conflict. The divide between the two was fierce.

      4. There was a significant rural vs urban shift in which the national population numbers shifted from majority to minority & vice versa.

      5. The New Deal closed the divide:

        1. FDR was from :rural upstate New York family.

        2. Brought ethnic groups into mainstream politics. (Joe Kennedy) the Irishman appointed as Ambassador to UK Court of St. James.

        3. Cautious support of African Americans (Mary Bethune) and he worked with Philip Randolph.

      6. Got the US through both the depression and WW II. It was WW II that enabled the US to put the depression out of reach. Cost in lives and money was astronomical.


A. Relief: most successful-direct to the people-FERA, CCC, WPA, PWA, & NYA

B. Recovery: NRA, AAA, Keynesian Economics-deficit spending. In 1937-38 tried to balance the budget. Did not succeed

C. Reform: create basic change in role of government

1. 1933: TVA, Glass-Steagall Act (Banking Regulation, FDIC

2. 1934: Economy was stuck The country became more radical

--More liberal Congress, protests from the right and left

3. 1935: Second New Deal

a) Wagner Act – National Labor Relations Board

b) Social Security Act

c) Utility Holding Company Act-government regulation of monopolies:

(gas, electricity, water, and railroads)

d) Rural Electrification Act.

D. 1936: Al Landon got Maine and Vermont only.

1. Landslide made him stumble – 1937 “hubris”

2. Court Packing had mixed results

a) People were frightened of his power because of Hitler and Mussolini.

b) Although he lost political capital, his scheme actually edged the Court to the left: FDR lost the battle and won the war

c) This conflict coupled with the coming of the war, sapped FDR’s strength.

E. 1938 Purged Southern Conservatives—acted like a Dictator and takes a beating the in the Press.

F. Reorganization of the Executive Branch:

1. Actually was warranted, because government had grown too much.

2. But it looked like a gathering of excessive power on his part where the President would be the central authority.

3. 2nd Term is barren of accomplishment compared to first and third terms.

4. Clinton was only the 12th President to serve two full terms.

5. There were 15 elected to , but Lincoln and McKinley were assassinated and Nixon resigned.

G. International Crisis:

1. September 1939, WW II begins with Germany invading Poland.

2. War kills New Deal Reforms-can’t have “guns and butter” many tried but failed to achieve it. LBJ’s “War on Poverty” fell victim to Vietnam.

3. World War II actually saved FDR’s Presidency

H. American People are a conservative country and like competing parties:

1. People like a centrist approach (Steve Gillon’s Vital Center Thesis)

2. People prefer a divided government as check and balance in operation

3. Arthur Schlesinger’s “Cycles of History focuses on years of reform followed by years of self-interest.”

IV. Greatest/Worst Presidents:

  1. In times of peace America has had bland, poor Presidents: Grant, Taft, Hoover, Carter.

  2. Compromise Presidents come in times of contention short of war: JQ Adams, JK Polk

Pierce, Buchanan, Garfield, Arthur, and Harrison.

  1. Ten Greatest (Rank & order are always controversial)

    1. Abraham Lincoln 6. James Monroe

    2. George Washington 7. Theodore Roosevelt

    3. Franklin D. Roosevelt 8. Woodrow Wilson

    4. Jefferson 9. Harry Truman

    5. Madison 10. Andrew Jackson


Dr. Michael McGerr,

Professor & Associate Dean (School of Arts & Sciences), University of Indiana

Honorary Harmsworth Professor at Oxford University (England)
SESSION ONE: Industrialism of Late 19th Century
The consequences of the rise of industrialism are best evaluated by examining the ways in which each class-rich—working, middle—coped with the changes brought on by work and wealth. Both rich and poor seemed the most helpless in addressing negative effects upon society – leaving the middle class as the catalyst for change during the Progressive Age.
1. Rich people profited most in terms of wealth—over 25 millionaires-a new phenomenon in American life. J.D. Rockefeller accumulated $1 billion dollars—Bill Gates is just now equaling this in today’s dollars.

2. The Bradley-Martin Ball 1897:

  • Cornelia Bradley-Martin, and Bradley Bradley-Martin (they added to their last names to sound “British”) had more money than they knew what to do with. Even thought the country was still recovering from the disastrous Panic and Depression of 1893, they still wanted to hold the “grandest ball in American history.” An event fit for the Ginuesses World Record Book! Cornelia – who was simply a public accompaniment to her husband” wanted this part to be a “public” occasion. She was trying to outdo Alva Vanderbilt who had the greatest part so far in 1883.

  • Background: Cornelia’s father was a millionaire, but had made his money through hard work and a conservative, frugal, home-oriented lifestyle. He never flaunted his wealth, Cornelia and Bradley married in 1869, and was unsure of how they live their life with so much money. They rejected the frugal, reserved lifestyle of their parents for one of the leisure and opulence. Instead of a focus on the home and children, as their parents had done, they chose to party, travel, and spend.

  • Cornelia chose to have a gala costume ball at the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan. They spent $500,000for the party and over 600 people were invited. However, as plans for the blatant display of wealth leaked to the press, a huge controversy ensued.

  • This was a time of economic recovery, many were still devastated from the Panic of 1893,,,, and this was too costly—too much an open manifestation of wealth and plutocracy!

  • Many feared that this would set off a revolution amongst the working-class in America. [Socialists were gaining political influence-Eugene Debs and Big Bill Haywood]/

  • Many prominent people chose NOT to attend! [Some for practical reasons].

3. In spite of the controversy, Cornelia went ahead with her ball and 600 people did attend in costume. Theodore Roosevelt was the Police Commissioner of New York and worked on crowd control that night. (even though he was invited to attend.) His wife chose to attend the ball! Cornelia attended dressed as Mary Queen of Scotts and wore a necklace that been owned by Marie Antoinette of France. Bradley was dressed as Louis XV. Many others were dressed as royalty. There was only one George Washington. After the ball, their property taxes were raised, and none of her friends would speak to her. As a result, she and her husband, Bradley Bradley-Martin move to London, where their daughter had married and English Lord. They lived in exile until just before World War I.

4. The culture of the American businessman was grounded in middle-class (Victorian) values, deny yourself, work hard, create a home-family was the focus of your life.

A. “Victorianism” succeeded too well as it made them extraordinarily wealthy. If they saved, they would still earn more money on their investments. If they kept on working, they just made more money than they knew what to do with.

B. Since “work” was what life was supposed to be about, they were literally cut loose from their moorings.

5. The result of this dilemma was that many people focused on buying things and used their money for pleasure.

A. Rich couples, worried about the lack of values (hard-work, frugality) that their children were seeing, sent their children away to strict boarding schools so they could learn the value of hard work. (artificial poverty). This backfired though, because now the “home” was not the center of family life.

B. Andrew Carnegie retired at age 35-but approached the dilemma in a different way – The Gospel of Wealth!

6. The Cult of Domesticity was forever altered!

A. It has been get married, have children, make a home, and women were “angels of the home”. Middle class women “worked” in the home, and children were educated in the home [Home schooled!] Now they were sent off to boarding school rich women had nannies, cooks, and maids to take care of the housework!

B. J.P. Morgan had a yacht on which he kept his mistress!

C. Children had no models at home—only the impersonal boarding school.

D. Suicide rate, alcoholism, nervous breakdowns among children of the rich, were common and frequent among the upper class.

E. Some (like the Bush family) felt that lavish sending would result in disaster, they should conceal their wealth, not flaunt it. Moral liberalization would be dangerous to their children.

7. Philanthropy - Carnegie

A. Would buy loyalty of workers. Vertical consolidation

B. Helped family life: excess wealth would spoil children: Carnegie recommended giving it away before death to protect children of upper class from loss of traditional Victorian values.

1. Carnegie was an immigrant from Scotland.

2. He came from a poor background

3. His rise to fame, fortune, and influence was spectacular!

8. Philanthropy—Rockefeller—Horizontal consolidation

A. Poor in pleasure, didn’t flaunt wealth

B. Devoted it to service,

C. Favored a trust fund to supply wealth and grants to worthy needy people.

D. 1900 There was no agreement among the rich on how to live!

E. In 1900:

--Class difference were wider than even in American life

--Middle class looked at both extreme ends with disgust

--Mass segregation, race, class, immigrants, & Indian reservations, ethnicity, values, work, family, children.

--Broad-based problems = rich had difficulty coping.

SESSION TWO: Labor in the Late 19th Century
Working Class Americans: urban wage-earners

1. Story of Rahel Cohen-from her memoirs, Out of the Shadows

A. Rahel Cohen, Jewish religion, immigrant from Russia, lived in lower Manhattan, not far from the Bradley-Martins. In 1892, her father who had immigrated from Russian, sent for her to help him in his tailoring business. They would save money in order to bring the rest of the family to America. They joined a rally for the Garment Workers Union, joined the Union, but it died soon after. They had a hope for a better life. With no union protection, they joined a Jewish mutual aide society to ensure that members would at least have a burial plot, and other necessities. They lived in a ghetto, and if young men strayed from neighborhood, they would risk being attacked, particularly by the Irish.

Rahel worked as a piece worker in a “sweat shop” sewing pockets flaps, she was so motivated to make as much money as she could in order to bring her mother and brothers, sisters, and grandparents that she made more than the other women. They criticized her as not being one of the team and jeopardizing their work environment by raising the bosses expectations for them. Rahel quit working so hard so as not to betray the group.

All along, she struggled with feelings of independence, wanting to keep just a little of her money for herself. When she asked her for one penny, he made her feel so guilty, that she never asked again.

In a year, they had the $30 necessary for tickets for all their family except the grandparents. The family arrived at Castle Island in 1893, and they moved into a 2 room apartment. Soon after, because of the great Panic of 1893 they moved into a larger apartment and took in single male boarders in order to make ends meet.

Rahel lost her job at the tailors and became a domestic servant, ruining her health. She could never work full-time again, and therefore, it was essential that she marry well. Her older sister had to quit school to work. Rahel, then 15 years old, had the chance to marry the grocer, Israel, and move in with him and his mother. Her continuing feelings of independence overcame her devotion to loyalty to family and she gave into the Victorian value of marrying for love-she refused to marry Israel.

2. Diverse Working Class in the two largest industrial cities of Philadelphia and NYC.

A. Irish, Jews, Italians, Catholics, Protestants, African-American

B. Mostly small sweat shops in 1900

C. 1900-16,000,000 over the age of 14 working for wages

3. Commonalities:

A. Hard work 46 hours /week until ill.

B. Worker class man could not get by on his own-he needed wife and children to work: mutuality.

1) Having children was an asset, not a burden

2) notions about “domesticity” unknown

3) schooling was sacrificed for work: but immigrants did value reading and learning.

C. Unsteady employment: factories closed down to retool, and Depression of 1893-1897

D. Clash between “individuality” and “mutuality” – Unions and Mutual Aide Societies went against the American “individualism”.

E Working class drinking patterns:

1) only in saloons (apartments were too crowded)

2) clear rituals of treatment of each other: “standing around” of drinks.

F. Middle class men (boys) were taught to on their own-be individualistic, to make it in an harsh and difficult world; to learn self-denial and self-control; to cope with movement from farm to city or from small town to the city.

G. Working class boys: girls taught they would never survive only with the “group.”

H. Unions were a basic impulse for workers.

3. Class differences –

A. Rich, middle class - “I” working class – “we” Saw unions as unmanly, not going it on your own.

B. Working class saw strength in mutuality and the “group”

4. Conflicts between Management and Workers

A. Values of your life: individual vs group

B. Racial and ethnic differences: rich, middle class mostly Protestant, few Catholics.

C. Scientific Management—(Taylorism)—assumed that laborers were dumb—dehumanized them.

5. Conflicts Within the Labor Movement:

A. Ethnic distrust—ignorance of each other

B. Religious diversity

C. Anthracite Coal Strike—sympathy in the N.E. was with laborers

1) government should play a role

2) legitimacy of unions

3) valueless rich were disunited over this issue

6. Made middle class money, aspired to m.c. could organize more readily

A. Elite 10-15% of high skilled, high wage, machinists, gun makers etc.

B. Tailor—assembled coats etc…

C. Samuel Gompers was a cigar maker—long way from Irish ditch diggers.

D. RR industry: complicated diverse work, hard to unionize

7. Corrosive Power of “American Values.”

A. Eugene Debs tried to organize American Railway Union – attempt at whole industry unionization.

B. Mutualism seen as un-American

C. Danbury Hatters Case: against mutuality as Supreme Court invalidated the Employers Liabilities Act of 1906 and curbed the power of labor unions in the Danbury Hatters Case—1908

D. Took a generation of skilled workers to understand that they had more power if they unionized industry-wide.

E. Walter Reuther of the UAW in late 1940’s got best deal he could based on membership’s attitudes and realities of the times.

F. Mutualism is undermined by American Individualism

1. Exclusive unions hurt movement

2. Childhood attitudes were hard to get beyond – took 2-3 generations to see the need for labor unions industry-wide, nation-wide
SESSION THREE: The Middle Class Were Left to Facilitate Reform
I. Middle Class Reforms:

  • Rich didn’t handle their problems very well and the working class lacked money, power, and suffered from ethnic divisions.

  • This created a space for other groups of the middle class

  • Decline of the farmer took place towards the end of the 19th century due to efficiency and European competition; increasingly fewer numbers were running larger farms producing more.

  • Farmers were a blend of middle and working class values: individual land owners, but organized mutual groups (Grange, Alliances, Populists) for their collective needs.

  1. Values: broad range of issues/problems addressed.

1. What reforms worked or didn’t work shaped the 20th Century

2. Reformers had an impact far beyond their numbers.

3. Lived the Victorian Code of domesticity, hard work, and individuality – this was a national success.

4. Incomes of $3,000 - $5,000 better than 94% of all people in the world in 1900.

5. Crisis of identity: Their values produced the rich and all their excesses, but the Middle Class also abhorred the working class and their “mis-treatment” of children by sending them to work. They just didn’t see that a working man could not provide for his family on his own. The Middle Class caught between the rich and the working class. They saw their place in society disappearing. 1) with a bigger working class, and 2) Wealthy were performing more economic functions.

B. 1900 Middle Class men obessed with the fact that they can’t work alone to reform society. Loss of identity of “the man” is threatening the independence of the middle class.

C. Women’s role were changing:

1. Household appliances, technology freed up their time.

2. Great increase in prostitution – new birth control methods from Margaret Sanger – sexual activity, syphilis, and ills spread.

3. Growing tensions between middle-class men and women.

  • Breakdown in “cult of domesticity” value of women at home.

  • Increase in divorces between 1890-1900. Probably depression related.

D. Jane Addams Story:

In 1866 – she adored her father, John Addams, admired his work ethic. After the Civil War, millionaires like Carnegie, overshadowed men like her father—his way of life was disappearing.

During the Pullman Palace Car Strike in 1894, Jane tried to get to Milwaukee, Wis. To be with her dying sister and couldn’t make it. She saw that the “rich people” and the “workers” fighting had kept her from her family. The owner, George Pullman, infuriated her—thought he could do anything he liked (ironically, just like her father). In this case, “individualism” is seen by Jane as destroying the American dream/family.

Jane sees that the values the she grew up with are inadequate for a changing society and that kind of freedom (i.e. George Pullman’s complete disregard for his workers) was wrong.

Earlier, her father had let her go to school (unusual for a woman) and in 1881 she graduated with a BA from Rockford Women’s Seminary-one of the first women! She planned on going on to Smith College for a higher degree but didn’t. At this point, she entered a medical center for an operation on her spine and recuperation. After that, she went on a “grand tour of Europe” (1883-1885). This was a remarkable experience because for the first time, she noticed the incredible poverty in London. She also spent time at Toynbee Hall in London for poor and saw the value in running such a house: being in touch with the working class, and “learning of life from life itself!”

In Chicago in 1899, she and her friend from College, Ellen Gates Starr established the Hull House (name of the family who lived in the house) in between a saloon and an undertaker. There Corinthian Pillars in the front signifying culture (even for the poor). Russian, Jewish, Italian, Greek, Bohemian immigrants were all educated and found jobs here. Her goal was to make the working class more like the middle class. (She wavered between sympathy and a condescending attitude. Hull House not only let her contribute, but solved the problem regarding her life’s purpose since she didn’t want to marry or have children. (The immigrants were convinced that they two women were Protestant nuns. She and Ellen were increasingly convinced that they could not truly “fix” the neighborhood without government assistance. Trash piled up, transportation was a problem, prostitution blatantly apparent etc.

Florence Kelly worked at Hull House, and as a result, supported the first legislation for working conditions.

E. Only government could effect real change.

1. Prostitution – city government cracked down and enforced the laws.

2. Prohibition: a coalition of employers (first leaders of the movement), nativists-anti-immigrant, and women who wanted to control the violent behavior of drunken men

3. DuPont opposed it as a violation of individual freedom.

4. Then came the Anthracite Coal Strike- government arbitration (TR)

F. Wealthy and Regulation of Business: Didn’t want it, but Federal Regulations was better than State.

G. Middle Class: wanted regulation because other classes were not behaving.

H. No aspect of American life was left unregulated.

I. WWI: was the epitome of regulation

1. American Plan: arrested any woman within 5 miles of a military base.

2. Censoring people who dissented: Propaganda was an abrogation of free speech.

3. Progressives felt limits on individual freedom were necessary- you could trust the government.

4. Wilson’s government did all the Progressives wanted during the war, but he offended all groups.

a) Wilson promised to control disease, yet the great flu epidemic still occurred during his administration.

b) in 1919, after the war, the Red Scare, strikes, epidemic occurred.

J. FDR was Secretary of the Navy during WW I: watched administration and thought he and Progressives went too far! He was nominated for Vice President in 1920 and lost.

1. Thought the US needed more economic regulation

2. But we ought to preserve private individuality: private behavior, speech, thought, etc.

3. He observed Harding’s behavior:

  • Tan, telegenic, and immoral (affair with Carrie Philips, best friend’s wife – in the closet!)

  • Harding had no economic regulation – economics gone amuck!

  • Eugene Debs had been put in jail for criticizing the WW I and Harding, while playing cards with a reporter who questioned him about Debs, is quoted as saying, “Just deal the cards, I’ll pardon him in the morning.”

  1. Hoover continued “American Individualism” right up until the Stock Market Crash of 1929 – and even then, did not recognize the need for government regulation or a social safety net!

  2. FDR is taking this all in…

a) need for economic regulation

b) consumer society won’t work if individuals don’t have control over their own lives.

6. Today smoking and gun control are classic Progressive issues.

K. Theodore Roosevelt:

1. From childhood, TR built himself up, both physically and mentally

  • He was an asthmatic who became vigorous and healthy!

  • His father was a rich merchant who spent most of his time with the poor in New York.

  • When he lost his mother and then his 1st wife in child-birth, he stated, “I have to be strong” for years, he thought that to remarry was a sign of weakness. So he ranched in the West to prove he could make it without his money—he thought businessmen were dull!

  • He lived a life of self-control: no gluttony, drinking, or gambling.

  1. Issues for TR

    • Business conduct was despicable

    • He needed to save his friends from themselves—if not there would be a revolution in the US from the working class.

  2. He attended Harvard, but was elected from a working class district. Rich wouldn’t help him so he turned to the middle class.

  3. TR A Coalition builder:

a) TR was not a true Progressive

b) believed in “individualism” until the end

c) he scared the middle class people because they and the working didn’t believe in that old individualism.

d) He believed in the power of a very active government.

e) He possessed the fold fashioned “Victorian” values.

f) He says all major issues are interrelated: women’s rights, race, imperialism, nationalism, and fanaticism.

K. The Lost Generation was a reaction to Progressive’s control of private freedom: Franl Lloyd Wright, Margaret Sanger, etc. were those who stayed in the US and came out against the excesses of Progressivism in the 1920’s.
Notes from the Lectures of
Dr. Robert V. Remini

University of Illinois-Chicago, & Historian for US House of Representatives

PhD from Columbia University

Introductory Note to readers:
In 1988, I first conceived the idea of holding summer institutes for teachers of American History—not just an AP seminar—but for all teachers in the discipline. So I invited David Kennedy (Stanford), Irv Alquist (Long Beach State), Gary Nash (UCLA), and Thomas Alexander (BYU) to come as the original presenters. Because of the success of those sessions, David Kennedy suggested I get in touch with Robert V. Remini, Alden Vaughn, Robert Dallek, and John Niven for presenters for the second summer. I did. They all came. Remini and Dallek would come several more times over the years. Bob Remini has been here 5 times in 20 years to discuss Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, and then given lengthy lectures on the “Age of Jackson” and “2nd Great Awakening in America.” I have listened to the tapes and read his books. I have decided to take these notes from the book summaries because they are better organized and development. In making this decision, for the sake of presentation, coherence, meaning, and narrative, I have had to sacrifice one of Bob Remini’s greatest skills, his story-telling ability! One cannot duplicate his vibrant oral presentations—because Bob is the Toscanini of History! He has conducted a whole life of learning, scholarship, and he has produced more on Andrew Jackson than anyone else I know. So for the sake of those of you who never had a chance to hear him or watch him teach, I have decided to make this outline which I now extract from his books, but as I read, I hear him talking and teaching all over again. In sum, Robert Remini is the master teacher, scholar, and intellectual guru of early 19th Century United States History. He is a national treasure as a teacher, scholar, and dear friend. He now finds himself in retirement as the official historian of the U.S. House of Representatives.

John A. Braithwaite
The Boy from the Waxhaw District:

  • Andrew Jackson’s father and mother emigrate to America with the two older brothers Hugh & Robert

  • They settled in the Waxhaw district of North and South Carolina.

  • Father Jackson built a log house and produced crops to feed his family

  • March 15, 1767 Elizabeth Crawford Jackson would give birth to her 3rd son—in memory of her late husband at the home Jane Crawford working as housekeeper.

  • Jackson’s father died suddenly before he was born

  • The first dozen years of his life, young Andrew lived at the Crawford’s

  • Enrolled at the Humphries Academy where he studied, “dead languages” (Latin and Greek!)

  • His historical and political experience came from experience not from study

  • As a youth, he gained a reputation as “wild, frolicsome, willful, mischievous, daring, and reckless!

  • Remini said, “No boy ever lived who like fun better than he—AJ was a hedonist. He was tall, slender, weighed around 145 lbs most of his life. He was sinewy and very agile.

  • Andrew Jackson’s education took a radical turn with the outbreak of the Revolution.. He was 9 yrs old when the Declaration of Independence was signed.

  • Jackson and his brother Robert were taken prisoner in the Revolution and carried to Camden

  • They became critically ill, Robert died and Andrew survived.

  • The American Revolution was one long agony and ordeal for Andrew Jackson.

  • Elizabeth died as the Revolution ended. He sound company among several socially prominent “young bucks” of Charleston—he fell into their wild ways, drinking, cockfighting, & gambling!

  • In Charleston, he led a life of almost total abandonment

  • Jackson had a crazy sense of humor, inviting prostitutes to Christmas ball for which he received was known as tongue lashing.

  • They smashed glasses they had used to drink, then tables were wrected and the hall was set ablaze

  • Later, when he ran for President, “If Andrew Jackson can be president, then anybody can!”

  • Because of his wild rampage and practical joke he was relative popular in Salisbury thereafter!

  • For a year after his admission to the bar, Jackson drifted around North Carolina

  • Andrew Jackson would reach far beyond this place to alter the course of American History.

Frontiersman and Lawyer:

  • Upon arriving in Jonesboro he got caught up in a conflict that resulted in a duel

  • Obviously AJ was a hothead and sensitive about his honor

  • Anxious for recognition and acceptance

  • Later, he and some friends, headed for Nashville

  • Rachel married Lewis Robards, Jackson chose the best he could—the widow Donelson—whose daughter Rachel D. Robards came back to live with the family

  • The marriage of Rachel to Robards was a mistake from the beginning

  • It was at this momentous juncture that the frolicking, rollicking, girl-chasing Andrew Jackson came on the scene. He was chivalrous and gallant. Rachel was frisky brimming with gaiety, all living together made for an explosive domestic quarrel. It came soon enough. Jackson was arrested for threat to Robards. The complainant failed to appear and the warrant dismissed.

  • In Nashville, Jackson discovered a mountain of work for a prosecutor.

  • Early Davidson Country records show that AJ handled half the cases alone.

  • In addition, Jackson was to protect the community from Indian attack. On this posse attack he impressed everyone

  • AJ was appointed attorney general in 1791 by Blount.

  • Jackson marries Rachel and becomes involved in the charge of adultery and bigamy

  • Jackson takes Rachel to Natchez. Who performed the marriage is unknown. This clearly shows Overton’s dates are off by a year.

  • Andrew and Rachel handled the problem badly. But they finally returned to Nashville from Natchez. His marriage automatically promoted his social standing. He loved her and thought of her the rest of his life.

Congressman Jackson:

  • The Indian menace continued and Jackson became a fire-breathing frontiersman obsessed with the Indian presence and the need to obliterate it.

  • Blount, too, was aware of murderous conduct of the Indians killing innocent civilians

  • Tennessee became a state and would manage the Indian affairs any way it saw fit—including annihilation, Blount knew that the he could strengthen his position. Moving with speed the constitutional convention was held. Jackson and McNairy were choose from Davidson Country. On matters of properity rights and slavery, he was conservative; however, on the question Indians he took the opposite view and demanded full elimination of the Indian presence.

  • In Remini’s words, “Here is the wild, threatening, super-nationalist Jackson, slamming around the frontier in hot temper, glibly invoking the menace of civil war, shouting impeachment. Jackson fearlessly and some times recklessly demanded action on the frontier.

  • For Jackson, it was an issue of states vs national control—hence, then and later, he would advocate Indian removal as a means of saving the Indians from annhilitation.

  • Jackson had great connections with the settlers of the Cumberland River.

  • 1796 Jackson headed to Philadelphia to take up his durties as Congressman

  • I t was a rare opportunity to spend time in this elegant civilized city. He was tall, lank, uncouth

  • Jackson was elected to the Senate. Jackson gets into a vicious quarrel with Cocke that almost resulted in a duel.—the Senate was post unsuited for Jackson. In Philadelphia Jackson was walking wounded. He had woes—financial and his inactivity in the Senate. His senatorial record is nearly blank. He was too young, too inexperience, and failed completely as a senator. He resigned his seat and returned to Nashville. He nearly made a fool of himself. It was the low point in his life.

The Duel:

  • The Russell Bean Affair, “Jackson roared, “surrender you infernal villain, this instant or I’ll blow you through”

  • Bean surrendered meekly.

  • Jackson had a habit of administering stern justice. Why he was a judge he helped to organize the Order of Freemason in Tennessee.

  • Jackson feud with Gov. John Sevier, Here was judge and governor who would end up shooting one another. But Jackson would eventually win the governors position. Sevier would challenge Jackson and Jackson accused him of fraud. Later, Jackson stammered about his services to the state.

  • “Services” Sevier laughed. “I know of no great service you have rendered , except taking a trip to Natchez with another man’s wife.” Jackson went wild “Great God!” he screamed…

  • “Draw!” roared Sevier, the crowd scattered and shots rang out. As soon as he could lay his hands to paper, he scrawled out a challenge. Sevier accepted the challenge.

  • Sevier shot right back “you conduct…shows you to be a pitiful poltroon…I deem you to be a coward!” This quarrel marked the beginning of sectionalism in Tennessee

  • Later, Jackson tended the store and the land was cultivated by slaves supervised by Rachel.

  • For the most part, Jackson treated his slaves decently and tried to make sure that they weren’t punished by the overseers.

  • May 30th at Harrison’s Mill in Kentucky Dickinson and Jackson dueled. Jackson was injured but Dickinson was killed (pg. 53-54 of Remini’s book on AJ).

  • Many men said the duel was a scandal, a brutal, cold-blooded killing. Coming after the quarrel with Sevier, the duel did Jackson great harm. AJ then became a social outcast.

Old Hickory:

  • For years after the Dickinson duel, Jackson took pains to recoup his losses.

  • Opened his home to Aaron Burr the former VP who assassinated Alexander Hamilton came to visit

  • Burr came to Nashville to expel the Spanish from the Southwest

  • Burr fully aware of Jackson’s nationalism and dislike of the Spanish, drew AJ in the scheme Burr was plotting. Jackson was an accomplice to the Burr conspiracy.

  • How was this to be done? 1) the bank captured, 2) port to be closed, 3) Mexico to be conquered, and 4) the creation of great Southwest Union.

  • AJ then testified at the Burr Conspiracy trial and that he might injure Burr’s case.

  • Jackson wrote that the President should shake of this viper.

  • Jackson’s public pillorying of the Administration not only offended Jefferson but his Secretary of State James Madison too. His hope of military glory extinguished Jackson retired but maintained close ties to his militia.

  • There was another reason, almost as important and far more pragmatic was American expansion where Americans dreamed of taking Canada from England.

  • Within Congress there were a contingent of young militarists who actively urged a declaration of war against Great Britain. These War Hawks included John C. Calhoun, Henry Clay, Peter Porter, Felix Grundy.. This second generation were anxious to prove their mettle.

  • Duty to his country and its republican government. That, more anything else, bespeaks the quintessential Jackson at the outset of his military career.

  • Andrew Jackson was NOT a great general. He was better than most of the commanders in 1812.

  • His men said he was “tough”, tougher than most anything imaginable. Tough as hickory, thereby giving his everlasting nickname Old Hickory!

The Creek War:

  • Although Jackson character flaws—the savage hatred and readiness to violence seemed to subside on his way back to Natchez.

  • The origin of the affair (Creek War) was a conflict between Littleton Johnson and Billy Carrol, which ended in yet another duel crisis.

  • Jackson hoped to talk the men out of the duel. Finally the duel too place on June 14, 1813 at six o’clock in the morning.

  • When Col. Thomas Hart Benton heard that AJ had been a party to his brother’s humiliation he exploded in rage.

  • Bentons’ accusation were bad enough, but they were repeated in public places.

  • The gun fight occurred that resulted in Jackson wound to the arm that caused him to almost bleed to death. “Thank, you I will keep my arm” as slipped into unconsciousness. The Benton’s remained in the street denouncing AJ.

  • Thomas Benton and Jackson never saw each other again 1823. Benton headed west to Missouri.

  • Then came the Creek country conflict. Slaughtered the slaughtered the warriors, “We shot them like dogs”

  • The Indian baby rescued by Jackson.

  • The fight with Red Sticks nearly 300 Indians lay dead. While Jackson lost only 15 men.

  • See map of the affair. (below)

  • Then followed the battle of Horseshoe Bend. It was one of the major engagements of the War of 1812. It crushed the Indian will to resist the British. Jackson sank his dead soldiers in the river. The famous confrontation of Red Eagle when Jackson marveled at the heroic Indian. Jackson made it clear that Creeks could find safety only in submitting to Jackson.

  • The chief withdrew to council. On August 14, 1814, the chief surrendered themselves to his vengeance.

  • Jackson converted the Creek civil war into an enormous land grab. He insured the ultimate destruction of Creek Nation. All other Southern tribes would experience the same melancholy fate at the hand of General Andrew Jackson.

The Battle of New Orleans:

  • General Jackson’s distinction at this stage of the War of 1812 was his proven ability to command an army, maintain it in the field, and deploy it effectively to pacify the frontier. He was not a great tactician, nor were his battles brilliantly executed; but he commanded the confidence of his officers and the obedience of his men. Even uner terrible adversity. When necessary he move his army rapidly, and he understood and could evaluate the importance of intelligence reports. And welding all of this together was his titanic determination, his stupendous will to overcome the enemy and achieve total victory.

  • Here follows Remin’s description of what happened:

--Meanwhile, Jackson strengthened his own defenses extending the line to the swamp.

--On New Year’s morning, 1815, having complete his preparation for bombarding and assaulting the Americans.

--“Don’t mind these rockets,” cried Jackson to his men, “they are mere toys to amuse children

--For two hours the bombardment was continuous, the entire delta shaking from the impact of the explosions. “Too much praise…cannot be bestowed on those who manage my artillery.”

  • Hours earlier the battle in front of the Rodriguez Canal had ended. The entire assault had taken hardly more than two hours, the principal attack lasting only thirty minutes. When the grim business of counting the dead was done, the figures showed 13 Americans dead, 39 wounded, and 19 missing in action on January 8. British casualties amounted to 2,037 of which 291 were killed, 1,263 were wounded, and 484 captured or missing.

  • It was an incredible victory. A magnificent victory. Never again would American feel that they had to prove by force of arms that they could defend themselves

  • The victory was shaped by the many advantages Jackson enjoyed in fighting the battle where he did.

  • The expert marksmanship of the defenders, especially the riflemen, was another factor in determining the magnitude of the victory. Jackson always said he was lucky. The luck of the Scotch-Irish.


Indian Removal, The Seminole War, Governor Jackson, & Reform

Dr. Remini shocked the entire congregation of teachers with his opening remark of this second session. He said, “Indian Removal was a God-send for the Indians and it was good thing rather than a bad one” The teachers groaned with agony at Remini’s remark, how would he justify his statement in light of the fact that Indian Removal was looked upon as one of the darkest moments in U.S. History. Well, Remini, the scholar and realist simply said, “If the Indians had not been removed, the alternative action for them was annihilation!” He then referred the teachers to read the chapter #8 from his biography of Andrew Jackson.

The following two hour session then became a discussion of history like I had never heard since my days in graduate school. If Indian Removal was the least of evils, in a removal vs annihilation proposition, then maybe Remini was correct in his interpretation—that removal was the best of the Indian alternatives! The discussion then centered on morality vs idealism and how government policy has to face the real world not the moral world.
One of Jackson principal duties during this period was visiting the various Indian tribes [Creeks, Cherokees, Chickasaws, and Choctaws] holding ceremonial talks with them, arranging settlements in accordance with the several treaties that had been agreed upon. For one thing he was directed by the administration to execute Article IX of the Treaty of Ghent. This article stated that all possessions taken from the Indians subsequent to 1811 must be returned. Automatically, this required Jackson to return approximately 23 million acres of land he tore from the Creek Nation at the conclusion of the Creek War. But Sharpe Knife had no intention of returning the land. He just ignored Article IX. Nobody stopped him, and nobody dared.
Naturally, the Cherokees contested the white man’s version of what happened in 1808. They insisted that no exchange had been authorized by the Nation. All of which infuriated Jackson. He accused the chiefs…of calling him a liar. But then Andrew Jackson never liked to be contradicted—certainly not by Indians. So he resorted to threats, “Look around and recollect what had happened to our brothers the Creeks,” he warned. A similar fate awaited the Cherokees, he predicted, if they persisted in their “unfriendly & hostile” attitude.
Justifiable frightened of what Sharp Knife might do, the eastern Cherokees signed the treaty for them on July 8, 1817. Those who removed—approximately 6,000 Cherokees over the next two years—received a rifle and ammunition, one blanket, and one brass kettle and a beaver trap. In addition the US agreed to provide flat-bottom boats and provisions to assist in the removal.
The Chickasaws proved a bit more difficult to convince, since Jackson insisted that they cede all their land on the north and south side of the Tennessee River and down the west bank to the Choctaw boundary in Mississippi.
He met the Choctaws at a place called Doak’s Stand in Mississippi and there he told them that they must remove if they wished to remain Indians. If not, he said, “you must cultivate the earth like your white brothers. You must also, in time, become citizens of the United States and subject to its laws.”
The Choctaws tried to resist Jackson’s arguments, but he was determined to make them yield. Eventually, he threatened—“If you refuse…the nation wil be destroyed’—and they reluctantly capitulated. It was, they said, impossible to resist him. They ceded some of the finest land in the United States. It was the heart of the Delta.
The Treaty of Doak’s Stand was a model of Indian removal. It also marked the continuing destruction of the southern tribes as a presence within the boundaries of the sovereign states.

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