Note to students: The following pages offer brief timelines and glossaries to supplement the course readings, especially the Hollitz text. You can cite information from these pages in your class papers. Information taken from these pages can be marked with parenthetical citations as (202B Text). For instance: (202B Text, p. 12).
Session 2. Reconstruction and the Jim Crow South
Session 3. Native Americans and the Dawes Act
Session 4. Industrialization
Session 5. Overseas Empire
Session 6. World War I
Session 7. Progressive Reform and Gender Change
Session 8. Immigration and Nativism
Session 10: The Great Depression and the New Deal
Sessions 11-13: World War II
Session 14: The Cold War
Session 15. The Civil Rights Movement
Session 16. The War in Vietnam
Session 18. Women’s Liberation and the 1970s
Session 19. Multiculturalism
These notes may be printed for personal, educational use.
Session 2: Reconstruction and the Jim Crow South Reconstruction refers to the period from 1865 to 1877. It began with the end of the Civil War, when the Union military occupied the South and ended in 1877 when the US military withdrew the South. During these twelve years, Americans debated how to “reconstruct”--economically and politically--the defeated South. As the chapter in Hollitz shows, Reconstruction has been the subject of very different historical interpretations. As you read, some big questions to keep in mind are: 1. Who competed for power in the South after the Civil War? 2. What kind of freedom did different Americans think that the former slaves should enjoy?, and 3. Which of the four textbook passages presented by Hollitz seems most persuasive to you today? Think of specific reasons why some passages seem more persuasive than others.
1860: Abraham Lincoln of Illinois won the presidential election. Lincoln’s Republican Party was critical of slavery and had popularity only in the northern states.
1861: The Civil War started when the South (led by Confederates or rebels) seceded from the Union and the North, led by Lincoln, decided to fight to preserve the Union.
1862: Emancipation Proclamation. Lincoln declared that slaves under Confederate rule will be free.
1865: Confederate states surrendered to the Union. Emancipation became a reality throughout the Confederacy.
1865: A Confederate sympathizer assassinated Abraham Lincoln. Republican Vice-President Andrew Johnson (a southerner who sided with the Union during the Civil War) became the new president.
1865: The year of Presidential Reconstruction, so called because it was led by new President Johnson. Johnson’s program was relatively lenient on the former rebels in the South and allowed them to form new state governments on their own terms. The result was the emergence of the black codes (see below).
1865: Thirteenth Amendment passed, barring slavery in the United States.
1867-1876: The era of Congressional Reconstruction, so called because it was led by Congress. Congress, which was led by Republican legislators from the North, took more interest in racial equality and in punishment of former Confederates.
1868: Fourteenth Amendment passed, declaring that any person born in the United States shall be a U.S. citizen and guaranteeing all citizens “the equal protection of the laws” in every state.
1870: Fifteenth Amendment passed, prohibiting states from denying the right to vote based on “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”
1876: The two main parties, Democrats and Republicans, came to a near-tie in the presidential election of 1876. Democrats agreed to let the Republican candidate Rutherford B. Hayes win the White House. In exchange, the Republicans promised to withdraw the last of the U.S. troops from the South. This became known as the Compromise of 1876.
1877: End of Reconstruction. The last federal troops left the South. The Republican Party’s influence in the South declined and white supremacists gained power in the region.
1890s-1910s: Rise of the segregation system in the South keeping blacks separate from whites in schools, railroads, and other public spaces. Also called the Jim Crow system, so called because “Jim Crow” was a fictional black character popular in nineteenth-century songs. During the Jim Crow era, most blacks also lost the ability to vote in the South. This Jim Crow era of segregation lasted until the 1950s and 1960s. 1896:
1896: Plessy vs. Ferguson case brought to the Supreme Court. Homer Plessy, an African American, sued a Louisiana train company for using whites-only and blacks-only train cars. Plessy lost, and the Court reaffirmed the system of Jim Crow segregation, using the notion that “separate but equal” facilities for different races did not violate the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection under the law.
Other characters or terms from the readings:
Black Codes (p. 18): Rules set up in 1865 and 1866 by racist whites in the South to restrict black political and economic freedom. In Mississippi, for instance, black codes prevented blacks from owning farmland.
Carpetbaggers (p. 11): Members of the Republican Party from the North who came South during Reconstruction.
Freedmen’s Bureau (p. 16): A bureaucracy created by the U.S. government to provide economic, legal, and other aid to former slaves in the South. It lasted from 1866 to 1872.
Ku Klux Klan (p. 13): A semi-secret organization created after the Civil War by white southerners who used violence and intimidation to keep blacks out of political power.
Radicals or Radical Republicans (p. 16) Members of the Republican Party in Congress who were eager to give political rights and even economic property to former slaves. By comparison, Presidents Lincoln and Johnson were more moderate Republicans and were less eager to do so.
Scalawags (p. 11): White southerners who joined the Republican Party during Reconstruction.
Suffrage: The right to vote. Also called the “franchise.”
Session 3: Western Borderlands and the Dawes Act The second half of the nineteenth century witnessed a dramatic shift in power not just in the South but also in the West. As we study the western borderlands, big questions to keep in focus are: 1. What assumptions did whites make about Native Americans? What were the consequences of those assumptions?; and 2. What different definitions of freedom can we see in the history of the Dawes Act?
Key Events and Terms:
1862: Congress passes the Homestead Act, encouraging settlers to move west into territory held by the Plains Indians (such as the Sioux). Although the government gave much of the best land (land next to the railroads) to the railroad companies, others citizens could purchase land for $1.25 an acre, or claim it for free if they farmed the land for five years. This Homestead Act facilitated white expansion into the West.
1869: The transcontinental railroad completed, making it possible to cross from Atlantic to Pacific by train. The rail line also encouraged the development of agriculture and ranching in the West by connecting farmers to a bigger market.
1871: Congress ended its policy of making treaties with Native Americans. This signaled a shift in U.S. policy, making relations with Native Americans more of a domestic issue rather than a foreign affairs issue.
1872-1874: In these few years alone, whites slaughtered nine million bison, a main source of food for Plains Indians. By 1883 the bison herds were almost gone.
1876: Battle of Little Big Horn, where the Sioux defeated George Custer and his U.S. troops. The Sioux won the battle but they would soon lose the war. Later that same year, Crazy Horse, a young Sioux war chief who was at Little Big Horn, surrendered to the U.S. government after a winter of starvation.
1887: Dawes Severalty Act. In addition to calling for an end to tribal land ownership (see Hollitz chapter), the Dawes Act declared that any surplus land (land remaining after each Native American household received its plot of land) would go on sale to the general public. As a result of this provision, much tribal land in the West went into white ownership. By one estimate, the act distributed 47 million acres to Native Americans and 90 million acres to whites.
1890: The Massacre at Wounded Knee, in South Dakota. U.S. troops, fearing an uprising of Sioux, killed about 150 Sioux men, women, and children. This event marked the last major use of force in U.S. continental expansion.
1934: Congress passed the Indian Reorganization Act, which reversed the Dawes Act by allowing a return to the tribal system of land ownership. In actuality, despite the powerful influence of the Dawes Act, the U.S. government never managed to get all Native Americans to abandon their tribal system after the Dawes Act.
Other characters or terms from the readings:
“The Indian Territory”: A reference to Oklahoma. Before the U.S. government opened the territory of Oklahoma to white settlement in 1899, the territory was largely set aside for Native American reservations.
“land in severalty”: Severalty refers to land own by individuals, as opposed to land held by a group.
Session 4: Industrialization In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, industrial production replaced agriculture as the heart of American economic and social life. As we examine this major transformation, some big questions to consider are: 1. How do you think a worker in the late nineteenth century would have defined “freedom”? Freedom from what? Freedom to do what?; and 2. Did workers benefit from industrialization?
Key Statistic: Percentage of Americans living in cities or towns:
1860 at 20%
1910 at 50%
1869: Creation of the Knights of Labor, one of the most successful early nationwide unions in the United States. Its leaders hoped for a society where workers, not industrialists, would control the economy, and it included all workers regardless of skill, sex or nationality.
1873: A major economic panic hits the United States.
1874: In an example of early social legislation, the State of Massachusetts created a ten-hour workday law for female workers.
1876: Invention of the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell, followed by Thomas Edison’s invention of the light bulb in 1879.
1886: Birth of the American Federation of Labor (AFL), a union largely for skilled, men. More moderate than the Knights of Labor, the AFL focused on legislative changes to labor laws. Very few women, minorities, and unskilled workers could join this union. The AFL was led by Samuel Gompers.
1886: After Chicago police killed several workers, a group of anarchists organized a rally in Chicago’s Haymarket Square. A bomb exploded, killing seven policemen. Police and protestors then opened fire on each other, killing four civilians. Although nobody could ever identify the bomber, eight anarchists were found guilty of conspiracy for promoting the protest. Seven were given the death sentence, thus making the so-called Haymarket Affair one of industrialization’s most dramatic and controversial moments.
1890s: Birth of the Progressive ideology: The progressives were a loosely-connected group of reformers who sought moderate reform of industrial society. Some wanted to create laws to regulate businesses or establish safety standards in food products. Some wanted government welfare programs to help the poor, especially women and children. Others operated their own private welfare programs. Progressives had great faith in the ability of efficiency and science to solve society’s problems. Progressivism was most prominent in the 1910s and 1920s.
1893: Another major panic hits the United States. This depression is even bigger than the 1873 panic and lasts several years.
1893: The state of Illinois created an eight-hour workday law for female workers.
1894: The Pullman Strike. In the 1880s, railroad car manufacturer George Pullman created a “model town” south of Chicago to house his employees. Pullman set the rules for the town, banned alcohol, and owned all the houses that his workers rented. After Pullman workers went on strike, the strike soon spread to twenty-seven states and over 50,000 workers and shut down much of the country’s rail traffic. President Grover Cleveland, a Democrat, ordered the use of force to end the strike on grounds that the strike disrupted mail delivery. In the violence that followed, twelve died and the strike failed.
1899: For the first time, manufactured goods surpassed agricultural production as the main source of value in the U.S. economy, marking a milestone in the decades-long process of industrialization.
1901: The AFL had over one million members, representing close to one-third of all skilled workers in the United States. Meanwhile, the more radical Knights of Labor was on the verge of disappearing.
1902: The State of Maryland passed the first workers’ compensation law, to help workers injured on the job.
Other characters or terms from the readings:
Amalgamated Association: Most likely a reference to the Amalgamated Iron and Steel Workers, a large union affiliated with the American Federation of Labor (AFL).
“Family temperate”: A family that did not drink alcohol. (temperance means not drinking)
Necrosis: Medical problem caused by the death of cells in the certain parts of the body.
Saltpetre: Also spelled saltpeter. A white crystal (potassium nitrate) used to pickle meat and create explosives or matches.
Sundries: Miscellaneous or various items.
Session 5: Overseas Empire In 1898 the United States took two important steps towards becoming a major world power. In 1898, the United States conquered territory and for the first time took no steps to make that territory a full part of the United States. Instead, the conquered territory and peoples (most notably Cubans and Filipinos) came under U.S. colonial rule. In class, our big question will be: What motivated Americans to expand in this fashion? As historians, how can we sort through different explanations and identify the most important motives behind this expansion?
Context on U.S. international affairs before World War I:
1500s: Spain colonized Cuba and the Philippines. By the 1890s, Cuba’s population consisted of some Europeans, many Africans brought over by the Spanish as rural labor after the death of Native Americans, and many peoples of mixed-race background. Cuba’s capital is Havana. Living on many islands, Filipinos in the 1890s were a diverse people, although a majority had converted to Catholicism after centuries of Spanish rule. The capital of the Philippines is Manila and its largest island is Luzon.
1867: The United States purchased Alaska from Russia.
1868-1878: A revolution in Cuba attempted but failed to overthrow Spanish rule.
1883: Congress passed an important Naval Bill that increased spending on the U.S. Navy. Over the next twenty years, the U.S. Navy grew into one of the world’s largest.
1893: American sugar planters (planters are businessmen who own very large farmlands) with land in Hawaii overthrew Queen Liliuokalani, who took the throne in 1891. The planters hoped that they could sell more sugar if they removed the local ruler and joined the United States.
1893-1896: A serious depression hurt the U.S. economy. Many industrialists and politicians believed that expanding foreign trade would be essential to an economic recovery.
1895: Another revolution begins in Cuba. By 1896, the rebels, led by José Marti, gained control of half the island. However, the Spanish waged a brutal war against rebel soldiers and civilians to try to stop the revolt.
1896: William McKinley, a Republican from Ohio, became President. Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican from New York, was his Secretary of the Navy, and then in 1900, his Vice-President.
1898 (February): The USS Maine mysteriously exploded and sank in the harbor of the Cuban capital, Havana, killing over 250 American sailors. Although an investigation years later found that the explosion was caused by an internal explosion, the vast majority of Americans at the time believed that the Spanish attacked the ship. The sinking of the Maine became a rallying cry in the U.S. public during the Spanish-American War of 1898.
1898 (April): Congress declared war on Spain and promised to recognize Cuban independence, saying the United States has no interest in annexing the island but only wants to free Cubans from Spanish rule.
1898 (May) Admiral George Dewey defeated the Spanish fleet in the Philippines.
1898 (June). Congress voted to annex Hawaii as a colony (but not a state).
1898 (July/August) Spanish forces surrendered in both Cuba and the Philippines. During the brief war, only 385 U.S. soldiers died in combat, although over 2,000 died from disease. In the Treaty of Paris that ended the war, the United States annexed several Spanish colonies: Puerto Rico in the Caribbean and the Philippines and Guam in the Pacific. Although Cuba became independent in theory, Congress passed the Platt Amendment in 1901, which allowed the United States to intervene in Cuba at any time and gave the United States a military base on Cuban territory.
1898-1902: The Philippine-American War broke out, when Philippine rebel leaders, who had helped defeat Spain, realized that the United States will not grant Filipinos independence. The war killed 5,000 U.S. soldiers, 25,000 rebel soldiers, and around 200,000 civilians. Although the U.S. troops captured Filipino rebel leader Emilio Aguinaldo in 1901, the war became increasingly unpopular in the United States as American casualties increased and as stories of U.S. atrocities committed in the Philippines began to make their way home to the United States.
1899-1900: The U.S. government issued two “Open Door Notes” to the world’s other powers. The notes declared that China, whose government was weak at the time, should not be partitioned by other powers. Instead, all nations should be able to trade freely with all parts of China (as if an “open door” existed to allow every nation’s trading ships to enter China).
1900: Boxer Rebellion in China, when Chinese nationalists attacked Europeans and Americans in their country. A multinational military force, including U.S. Marines, helped suppress the rebellion.
1901: President McKinley died after being shot by an anarchist in Buffalo, New York. Theodore Roosevelt replaced him.
1903: New President Theodore Roosevelt instructed the U.S. Navy to support a small revolt in Panama, then a province of Colombia. After the revolt succeeded, the United States quickly signed a treaty with the newly-independent country of Panama, giving the United States rights to a ten-mile zone to build a canal connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
1914: The Panama Canal was completed and began operation under U.S. control.
1946: The United States granted independence to the Philippines.
1959: Alaska and Hawaii became the forty-ninth and fiftieth states in the Union
1959: The Cuban Revolution, led by Fidel Castro, sought to give Cuba true independence from the United States.
Session 6: World War I In 1917, the United States joined World War I and became for the first time a major power in Europe. The war also brought about significant changes within U.S. society and culture as well, as the timeline below details.
1911: The Mexican Revolution overthrew the dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz and resulted in a civil war in Mexico.
1914-1917: Under President Woodrow Wilson (a Democrat from New Jersey, born in Virginia), the United States intervened politically and militarily in the Mexican Revolution to limit radical movements in Mexico.
1914 (June): Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the empire of Austria-Hungary, was assassinated in Sarajevo (now the capital of Bosnia). His assassin was a Serbian nationalist, seeking to take Bosnia from Austro-Hungarian rule and add it to the nation of Serbia.
1914 (July/August): Start of the war: Austria-Hungary attacked Serbia. Russia came to the defense of Serbia, a fellow Slavic nation. As part of its alliance with Austria-Hungary, Germany declared war on Russia and France. Soon Britain entered the war on the side of its allies, Russian and France.
1914 (August): President Wilson called on Americans to remain neutral during the war. At the time, almost nine million Americans came from German and Austrian descent. Another five million Americans had Irish roots. The Irish traditionally disliked Britain because of Britain’s colonial rule over Ireland. At the same time, larger numbers of Americans whose families had been living longer in the United States, like President Wilson, identified more strongly with Britain than with any other European nation.
1915: Britain established a naval blockade on Germany, restricting the ability of the United States and other neutral nations to trade with Germany. This blockade was a violation of international laws of the time. Germany responded by attacking British ships with submarines (U-Boats), violating international law when sinking civilian or neutral ships.
1915 (May): A German submarine sank the British civilian ship Lusitania. Over 1,100 died, including 128 U.S. passengers. Although a civilian ship, the Lusitania was carrying military supplies from New York to Britain.
1916: Wilson and Congress passed legislation to increase the U.S. Army, Navy, and National Guard. Congress passed a new income tax, affecting only wealthy citizens, and an estate tax, as well as new corporate taxes, to pay the bill.
1916: By this point in the war, U.S. bankers had loaned $2.5 billion to Allied Powers. In contrast, U.S. bankers had loaned only $250 million to the Central Powers, a difference of ten-to-one.
1916 (November): Wilson won reelection to the White House using the slogan “He Kept Us Out of War.”
1917 (17 January): The Zimmerman Telegram from Germany to the German Embassy in Mexico. After Britain intercepted this telegram, Wilson learned of it in February 1917. The telegram described German hopes that Mexico would enter the war on the side of Germany.
1917 (31 January): Suffering under the British blockade, Germany declared a policy of unrestricted submarine warfare that targets any armed vessel, whether neutral or enemy.
1917 (March): A U.S. merchant ship, the Algonquin, was attacked by a German submarine.
1917 (March): Czar Nicholas II of Russia was overthrown as the Russian Revolution began.
1917 (April): At Wilson’s urging, Congress declared war against Germany. The vote was 373 to 50 in the House and 82 to 6 in the Senate.
1917 (November): The Bolsheviks (Russian Communists) took control in the Russian Revolution. This new Bolshevik Revolution transformed Russia into the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). The Bolsheviks, weary of a war that is unpopular with the Russian people, negotiated a separate peace with Germany and pulled out of the Allied war effort in March 1918.
1917-1918: U.S. Military Action in World War I: U.S. troops fought in France from June 1917 until the end of the war in November 1918. U.S. battle deaths numbered 53,000. The battle deaths for other nations were much greater: Germany 1.8 million, Russia 1.7 million, France 1.4 million, Austria-Hungary 1.2 million, and Britain 1 million.
1918 (January) Wilson issued his Fourteen Points to Congress, outlining his vision for the postwar world.
1918-1920: Wilson sent U.S. troops into Russia to keep Allied military supplies out of the hands of the Bolsheviks. In some cases, U.S. troops allied with anti-Bolshevik Russians in who were fighting a civil war in Russia. U.S. deaths in this anti-Soviet intervention numbered 222.
1919: Wilson negotiated in France to help arrange the postwar settlement. The Treaty of Versailles he helped create was rejected by Congress in 1920.
Key Effects of World War I on American Society: The Army and Society: Two million U.S. soldiers landed in Europe. Three million more joined the military at home. At least 300,000 men evaded the military draft, and 4,000 declared themselves “conscientious objectors.” African-American men served in separate units that reflected the Jim Crow norms then common in the United States.
Home Front Labor: One million women joined the paid labor force. Around 100,000 Mexicans moved to the United States for war jobs, and over 400,000 African Americans left the rural south for industrial jobs in Northern cities.
Civil Liberties: Wilson established a Committee on Public Information (CPI) to build public support for the war. To further increase war loyalty, Congress passed the Espionage Act in 1917, which made it illegal to obstruct any military operation, including the recruiting of new soldiers. In 1918, Congress passed the Sedition Act which made it illegal to use “abusive” language against the U.S. government. In 1919, the Supreme Court reaffirmed these laws in the case of Schenck v. United States, a case over a Socialist Party member who advocated resistance to the military draft. Amidst a climate of fear that Communism might spread from Russia to the United States, Wilson’s Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer launched the Palmer Raids in 1919, arresting without warrants close to 2,000 alleged communists in the United States.