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  • UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT, Part Four
    departments Sixteen standing committees are grouped mainly around major policy areas each having staffs budgets and various subcommittees Among important standing committees are those on appropriations finance government operations and foreign relations At mark up sessions which may be open or closed the final language for a law is considered Select and special committees are also created to make studies or to conduct investigations and report to the Senate for example the Select Committee on Ethics and the Special Committee on Aging The smaller membership of the Senate permits more extended debate than is common in the House of Representatives To check a filibuster endless debate obstructing legislative action three fifths of the membership must vote for cloture if the legislation under debate would change the Senate s standing rules cloture may be invoked only on a vote of two thirds of those present There is a less elaborate structure of party control in the Senate the position taken by influential senators may be more significant than the position if any taken by the party The constitutional provisions regarding qualifications for membership of the Senate specify a minimum age of 30 citizenship of the United States for nine years and residence in the state from which elected The House of Representatives Is one of the two houses of the U S Congress established in 1789 by the Constitution The first Congress had 59 members in the House membership reached 435 in 1912 Two additional representatives were added after the admission of Alaska and Hawaii as states in 1959 but at the next reapportionment membership returned to 435 the number authorized by a law enacted in 1941 The allocation of seats is based on population within the states membership is reapportioned every 10 years following the decennial census House members are elected every two years from one member districts of approximately equal population created for this purpose The House of Representatives shares with the Senate equal responsibility for lawmaking within the United States As conceived by the Founding Fathers the House was to represent the popular will and its members were to be directly elected by the people rather than indirectly as originally provided for the Senate The Constitution vests certain exclusive powers in the House of Representatives among the most important of which are the right to initiate impeachment proceedings and the right to originate revenue bills The organization and character of the House of Representatives have evolved under the influence of political parties which provide a means of controlling proceedings and mobilizing the necessary majorities Party leaders such as the speaker and the majority and minority leaders came to play a central role in the operations of the House Party discipline is not always strong however in a body whose members stand for reelection every two years and who tend to look toward their districts rather than to parties for support A further dominating element of House organization is the committee system under which the membership is broken up

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  • History Of The United States Of America, Part Two
    Yorktown There he was besieged by George Washington s army and held in check by the French navy Unable to escape or to get help Cornwallis surrendered an entire British army His defeat effectively ended the war In the Treaty of Paris of 1783 the British recognized the independence of the United States and relinquished its territory from the Atlantic to the Mississippi The Revolution Winners and Losers Colonial elites large landholders and plantation masters benefited most from American independence They continued to rule at home without outside interference Below them property holding white men who became full citizens of the American republic enjoyed the life liberty and property for which they had fought White women remained excluded from public life as did most white men without property But the Americans for whom the legacy of revolution proved disastrous or at best ambiguous were Native Americans and African American slaves In 1760 the British defeated the French in North America and Native Americans lost the French alliance that had helped protect and strengthen them for 150 years In the Revolution they tended to side with the British or to remain neutral knowing that an independent republic of land hungry farmers posed a serious threat The six Iroquois nations divided on this question splitting a powerful confederacy that had lasted more than 200 years When some Iroquois raided colonial settlements Americans responded by invading and destroying the whole Iroquois homeland in 1779 Further south the Cherokee people sided with the British and lost heavily Up and down the frontier Native Americans and backcountry militia kept up unsettling and sporadic fighting throughout the war After the British ceded territory on both sides of the Appalachians to the Americans in 1783 Native Americans who had not been defeated ignored maps drawn by whites and continued to fight through the 1790s Native American military power east of the Mississippi was not broken until 1815 The key to that defeat was the fact that the independent American republic was now expanding without opposition from either France or Britain The results of the American Revolution for American slaves were ambiguous Early in the war the governor of Virginia Lord Dunmore had promised freedom to any Virginia slave who joined the British army Thousands took the offer and many more thousands seized wartime opportunities to disappear When Colonel Banastre Tarleton raided Charlottesville Virginia many of Thomas Jefferson s slaves cheered the British as liberators On the other hand thousands of blacks primarily in the North fought on the patriot side American independence also had differing effects on blacks On the one hand it created an independent nation in which slaveholders wielded real power something that slaves would remember in the 1830s when Parliament freed slaves in the British Caribbean without asking the planters On the other hand the ideology of natural rights that was fundamental to the Revolution was difficult to contain Many whites particularly in the North came to see emancipation as a logical outcome of the Revolution Vermont outlawed slavery in its constitution and in the 1780s and 1790s most Northern states took steps to emancipate their slaves Even Chesapeake planters flirted seriously with emancipation Perhaps most important slaves themselves absorbed revolutionary notions of natural rights Following the Revolution slave protests and slave rebellions were drenched in the rhetoric of revolutionary republicanism Thus American independence was a short term disaster for the slaves but at the same time it set in motion a chain of events that would destroy American slavery FORGING A NEW NATION State Constitutions In May 1776 even before declaring national independence the Second Continental Congress told the states to draw up constitutions to replace their colonial regimes A few ordered their legislatures to draw up constitutions By 1777 however the states had recognized the people as the originators of government power State constitutions were written by conventions elected by the voters generally white men who held a minimum amount of property and in a few states the finished constitutions were then submitted to voters for ratification The Americans white men who owned property that is were determined to create their own governments not simply to have them handed down by higher authorities Without exception the states rejected the unwritten constitution of Britain a jumble of precedents common law and statutes that Americans thought had led to arbitrary rule The new American states produced written constitutions that carefully specified the powers and limits of government They also wrote the natural rights philosophy of the Declaration of Independence into bills of rights that protected freedom of speech and of the press guaranteed trial by jury forbade searching without specific warrants and forbade taxation without consent Seven states appended these to their constitutions some of the other states guaranteed these rights through clauses within their constitutions These first state constitutions although all republican and all demonstrating distrust of government power particularly of the executive varied a great deal In Pennsylvania radicals wrote the most democratic constitution in 1776 It established a unicameral one house legislature to be chosen in annual secret ballot elections that were open to all male taxpayers the executive was a 12 man committee without real power Nearly all of the other states adopted constitutions with two house legislatures usually with longer terms and higher property qualifications for the upper house They had elective governors who could veto legislation but who lacked the arbitrary powers of prerevolutionary executives They could not dissolve the legislature they could not corrupt the legislature by appointing its members to executive office and the legislature could override their vetoes In these revolutionary constitutions drawn up hurriedly in the midst of war Americans were groping toward written constitutions with clearly specified powers These constitutions featured limits for legislatures executives and the courts with a clear separation of power among the three They also guaranteed the citizens certain inalienable rights and made them the constituent power On the whole state constitutions reflected fear of government and particularly executive tyranny more than they reflected the need to create forceful effective government The Articles of Confederation Americans began their revolution without a national government but the Continental Congress recognized the need for a government that could conduct the war form relations with other countries borrow money and regulate trade Eight days after the signing of the Declaration of Independence a committee headed by John Dickinson of Pennsylvania submitted a blueprint for a powerful national government Among other things Dickinson s plan gave all the states western land claims to the national government and it created a congress in which states were represented equally rather than by population The plan shocked delegates who considered the new nation a loose confederation of independent states and they rejected it The Articles of Confederation which included a strong affirmation of state sovereignty went into effect in March 1781 They created a unicameral legislature in which each state had one vote The articles gave the confederation jurisdiction in relations with other nations and in disputes between states and the articles won control of western lands for the national government In ordinances passed in 1784 1785 and 1787 the Confederation Congress organized the new federal lands east of the Mississippi and between the Ohio River and the Great Lakes as the Northwest Territory This legislation organized the land into townships six miles square provided land to support public schools and organized the sale of land to developers and settlers The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 guaranteed civil liberties in the territory and banned the importation of slaves north of the Ohio River The creation of the territory was among the solid accomplishments of the Confederation government Still the government lacked important powers It could not directly tax Americans and the articles could be amended only by a unanimous vote of the states Revolutionary fear of centralized tyranny had created a very weak national government The weakness of the national government made resolving questions of currency and finance particularly difficult Neither the national government nor the states dared to tax Americans To pay the minimal costs of government and the huge costs of fighting the war both simply printed paper money While this money was honored early in the war citizens learned to distrust it By 1780 it took 40 paper dollars to buy one silver dollar When the Confederation Congress requisitioned funds from the states the states were very slow in paying And when the Congress asked permission to establish a 5 percent tax on imports which would have required an amendment to the articles important states refused Under these circumstances the national government could neither strengthen the currency nor generate a stable income for itself The Confederation also had problems dealing with other countries In the Treaty of Paris that ended the Revolution for instance Americans agreed to pay prerevolutionary debts owed to British merchants and to restore confiscated property to colonists who had remained loyal to the king Loyalists States refused to enforce these provisions giving the British an excuse to occupy forts in what was now the Northwest Territory of the United States In 1784 Spain closed the port of New Orleans to Americans thus isolating farmers in the western settlements whose only access to the rest of the world was through the Mississippi River that ended at that port The Confederation Congress could do little about these developments These problems also extended to international trade In the 1780s Britain France and Spain all made it difficult for Americans to trade with their colonies at the same time the British flooded American ports with their goods Gold and silver flowed out of the country The result was a deep depression throughout most of the 1780s The Confederation Congress could do nothing about it The Confederation also had trouble dealing with Native Americans The Confederation Congress negotiated doubtful land cession treaties with the Iroquois in New York and with the Cherokee Choctaw and Chickasaw nations in the South The Creeks as well as many of the Native Americans supposedly represented at the negotiations resisted the onslaught of white settlers and the Confederation was powerless to do anything about the wars that resulted The Confederation had internal problems as well The economic disruptions of the Revolution and the 1780s left many farmers unable to keep up with their mortgages and other debts State governments had often met this problem by printing paper money and by passing stay laws that prevented creditors from seizing the property of their debtors In Massachusetts however the upper house of the legislature protected the investments of creditors by voting down debtor relief legislation In 1786 farmers in the western counties led by revolutionary veteran Daniel Shays held conventions to demand the abolition of the upper house They then mobbed county courthouses and destroyed the records of many of their debts They then marched on a federal arsenal at Springfield where they were repulsed and scattered by the militia see Shays Rebellion Yet Shays rebels retained enough support to elect a legislature that in the following year enacted a stay law The Constitutional Convention International troubles the postwar depression and the near war in Massachusetts as well as similar but less spectacular events in other states led to calls for stronger government at both the state and national levels Supporters wanted a government that could deal with other countries create a stable deflated currency and maintain order in a society that some thought was becoming too democratic Some historians call the citizens who felt this way cosmopolitans They tended to be wealthy with their fortunes tied to international trade They included seaport merchants and artisans southern planters and commercial farmers whose foreign markets had been closed Most of their leaders were former officers of the Continental national army and officials of the Confederation government men whose wartime experiences had given them a political vision that was national and not local In the 1780s cosmopolitans were outnumbered by so called locals who tended to be farmers living in isolated inland communities with only marginal ties to the market economy and who tended to be in debt to cosmopolitans In the Revolution most locals had served in militias rather than in the national army and they preserved a localist rather than nationalist view of politics They also preserved a distrust of any government not subject to direct oversight by citizens The new state governments had often reapportioned legislative districts to give new fast growing western counties greater representation Locals tended to control legislatures and as in Shays Massachusetts promote debtor relief low taxes and inactive government a situation that caused cosmopolitans to fear that the republic was degenerating into democracy and chaos In September 1786 delegates from several states met at Annapolis Maryland to discuss ways to improve American trade They decided instead with the backing of the Confederation Congress to call a national convention to discuss ways of strengthening the Union In May 1787 55 delegates representing every state but Rhode Island whose legislature had voted not to send a delegation convened in Philadelphia and drew up a new Constitution of the United States The delegates were cosmopolitans who wanted to strengthen national government but they had to compromise on a number of issues among themselves In addition the delegates realized that their Constitution would have to be ratified by the citizenry and they began compromising not only among themselves but also on their notions of what ordinary Americans would accept The result was a Constitution that was both conservative and revolutionary The biggest compromise was between large and small states States with large populations favored a Virginia Plan that would create a two house legislature in which population determined representation in both houses This legislature would then appoint the executive and the judiciary and it would have the power to veto state laws The small states countered with a plan for a one house legislature in which every state regardless of population would have one vote In the resulting compromise the Constitution mandated a two house legislature see Congress of the United States Representatives would be elected to the lower house based on population but in the upper house two senators would represent each state regardless of population Another compromise settled an argument over whether slaves would be counted as part of a state s population if they were counted Southern representation would increase The convention agreed to count each slave as three fifths of a person The president would be selected by an electoral college in which each state s number of votes equaled its congressional representation Once elected the president would have important powers The president appointed other officers of the executive department as well as federal judges Commander in chief of the military the president also directed foreign affairs and could veto laws passed by Congress These powers however were balanced by congressional oversight Congress or just the Senate had to ratify major appointments and treaties with foreign countries and only Congress could declare war Congress also had the power to impeach the president or federal judges and Congress could override a president s veto The Constitution also declared itself the supreme law of the land and listed powers that the states could not exercise See also United States Government Thus the Constitution carefully separated and defined the powers of the three branches of the national government and of the national and state governments It established checks and balances between the branches and put it all in writing The stated purpose of the document was to make a strong national government that could never become tyrannical Ratification The proceedings of the Constitutional Convention were kept secret until late September 1787 The Confederation Congress sent the completed Constitution out for ratification by state conventions elected for that purpose and not by state legislatures many of which were hostile to the new document Thus the Constitution which began We the people created a government with the people and not the state legislatures as the constituent power The Federalists as proponents of the Constitution called themselves were cosmopolitans who were better organized than their opponents Particularly in the beginning of the ratification effort they made greater use of pamphlets and newspapers In New York Federalist leaders Alexander Hamilton John Jay and James Madison composed the powerful and enduring Federalist papers to counter doubts about the proposed new government By January 1788 conventions in Delaware Pennsylvania New Jersey Georgia and Connecticut had ratified the Constitution Opponents of the Constitution who called themselves Anti Federalists were locals who feared a strong national government that would be run by educated and wealthy cosmopolitans who operated far away from most citizens They were particularly distrustful of a Constitution that lacked a bill of rights protecting citizens from government attacks on their liberties Ratification contests in the remaining states were close but by July 1788 11 states had ratified often with promises that the new government would enact a bill of rights North Carolina eventually ratified in 1789 The last state Rhode Island did not send delegates to the Constitutional Convention and did not ratify the Constitution until 1790 LAUNCHING THE NATION FEDERALISTS AND JEFFERSONIANS George Washington was unanimously elected the first president of the United States in 1789 He presided over a revolutionary republic that was overwhelmingly rural The country s 4 million people filled the nation s territory at only 1 7 per square km 4 5 per square mile the comparable figure for 1998 was 29 5 per square km or 76 4 per square mile Americans and their Government 1790 1815 Most Americans lived in rural self sufficient neighborhoods Farm families produced a variety of plants and animals consumed much of what they produced and traded much of the rest within their neighborhoods Since the mid 18th century Americans had been sending surpluses to Europe and to the slave islands of the Caribbean in return they received molasses rum crockery tea and coffee

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  • History Of The United States Of America, Part Three
    rejected the idea of removal and insisted that the national government live up to the treaties that guaranteed them what was left of their territory At the same time Southern state governments insisted that they and not the federal government had jurisdiction over Native American lands within their borders The claim reinforced southern notions of states rights it also held the promise of more Native American land for settlers The situation reached a crisis in Georgia where Governor George Troup extended state jurisdiction to Native American lands and began giving the lands to poor whites by means of a lottery in 1825 Troup also sent state surveyors onto Creek lands and warned President John Quincy Adams not to interfere with this exercise of state authority Faced with this threatening situation the Creek and the Cherokee reorganized themselves as political nations stripping local chiefs of power and giving it to national councils In 1827 the Cherokee nation declared itself a republic with its own government courts police and constitution By 1830 the situation had become a crisis New president Andrew Jackson a Tennessee plantation owner and a famous fighter of Native Americans refused to exercise federal jurisdiction over Native American affairs allowing southern states to find their own solutions The Cherokee took the state of Georgia to court and in 1832 in the case of Worcester v Georgia John Marshall chief justice of the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that Georgia s extension of its authority over Cherokee land was unconstitutional President Jackson simply refused to enforce the decision allowing southern states to continue to encroach on Native American lands In the Indian Removal Act of 1830 Congress with Jackson s blessing offered Native American peoples east of the Mississippi federal land to the west where the United States government had the authority to protect them Many of them accepted Then in 1838 Jackson s successor Martin Van Buren sent the U S Army to evict 18 000 to 20 000 Cherokee remaining in the South and move them to what is today Oklahoma In all 4 000 Native Americans died on the march that became known as the Trail of Tears Jackson who more than any other person was responsible for this removal policy argued What good man would prefer a country covered with forests and ranged by a few thousand savages to our extensive Republic studded with cities towns and prosperous farms embellished with all the improvements which art can devise or industry execute occupied by more than 12 000 000 happy people and filled with all the blessings of liberty civilization and religion Again the white empire of land and liberty came at the expense of other races See also Indian Wars Native American Removal Policy The Trans Mississippi West 1803 1840s In 1804 a year after the Louisiana Purchase President Jefferson sent an expedition under Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to explore the purchase and to continue on to the Pacific Ocean The Lewis and Clark Expedition traveled up the Missouri River spent the winter of 1804 to 1805 with the Mandan people and with the help of a Shoshone woman named Sacajawea traveled west along the Snake River to the Columbia River and on to the Pacific Even as they traveled mounted bands of Sioux were conquering the northern Great Plains The Sioux had already cut off the Pawnee Oto and other peoples of the lower Missouri from the western buffalo herds and were threatening the Mandan and other agricultural peoples on the upper reaches of the river Throughout the first half of the 19th century epidemics of European diseases traveled up the Missouri River The worst of them came in the 1830s when smallpox killed half the Native Americans along the river The Sioux who lived in small bands and moved constantly were not as badly hurt as others were They used that advantage to complete their conquest of the northern sections of Jefferson s great Empire of Liberty Further south white settlers were crossing the Mississippi onto the new lands Louisiana already the site of New Orleans and of Spanish and French plantations became the first state west of the Mississippi in 1812 Southerners were also moving into the Arkansas and Missouri territories Missouri entered the Union in 1821 Arkansas in 1836 Settlers also began moving into Texas in the northeastern reaches of the Republic of Mexico which won its independence from Spain in 1821 Mexico at first encouraged them but demanded that new settlers become Catholics and Mexican citizens Mexico also demanded that they respect the Mexican government s abolition of slavery within its territory Settlers tended to ignore these demands and they continued to stream into Texas even when the Mexican government tried to stop the migration By 1835 the 30 000 Americans in Texas outnumbered Mexicans six to one When the Mexican government tried to strengthen its authority in Texas the American settlers with the help of many of the Mexicans living in that province went into an armed revolt known as the Texas Revolution Volunteers from the southern United States crossed the border to help and in 1836 the Americans won They declared their land the independent Republic of Texas and asked that it be annexed to the United States The question of Texas annexation would stir national politics for the next ten years Americans considered the plains that formed most of the Louisiana Purchase the lands over which the Sioux had established control to be a desert unsuitable for farming Congress designated the area west of Arkansas Missouri and Iowa and north of Texas as Indian Territory in the 1840s But Americans were already crossing that ground to reach more fertile territory on the Pacific in California and Oregon which included present day Washington and much of present day British Columbia See also American Westward Movement Beyond the Mississippi These lands were formally owned by other countries and occupied by independent indigenous peoples California was part of Mexico The Oregon country was jointly occupied and hotly contested by Britain and the United States American settlers most of them from the Ohio Valley crossed the plains and poured into Oregon and the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys in California after 1841 As populations in those areas grew members of the new Mormon Church after violent troubles with their neighbors in Ohio Missouri and Illinois trekked across the plains and the Rocky Mountains in 1847 and settled on Mexican territory in the Salt Lake Valley The Monroe Doctrine The American government in these years was expansionist With the end of the second war between Britain and the United States the heated foreign policy debate that had divided Federalists and Jeffersonian Republicans since the 1790s quieted down In the years after 1815 most American politicians agreed on an aggressively nationalist and expansionist foreign policy John Quincy Adams who served as secretary of state under James Monroe did the most to articulate that policy In the Rush Bagot Convention of 1817 he worked out agreements with Britain to reduce naval forces on the Great Lakes and establish the U S Canadian border from Minnesota to the Rocky Mountains along the 49th parallel For the first time in their history Americans did not have to worry about an unfriendly Canada Americans turned their attention south and west and to Spain s crumbling empire in the New World In the Adams Onís Treaty of 1819 Spain ceded Florida to the United States The treaty also established the border between Louisiana and Spanish Texas a border that ran west along the Arkansas River over the Rocky Mountains and to the Pacific along the present southern borders of Idaho and Oregon Thus the treaty gave the United States its first claim to land bordering the Pacific Ocean though it shared that claim with Britain In part the Spanish were willing to give up territory because they had bigger things to worry about Their South American colonies were in revolt establishing themselves as independent republics Spain asked the European powers that had stopped Napoleon s France to help it stop revolutionary republicanism in Spanish America Britain however did not agree and instead proposed a joint British United States statement in which both nations would oppose European intervention in Latin America and would agree not to annex any of the former Spanish territories Secretary Adams answered with what became known as the Monroe Doctrine In it the United States independently declared that further European colonization in the Americas would be considered an unfriendly act which agreed with the British proposal The Monroe Doctrine did not however include the British clause that would have prevented annexation of former Spanish territory Although he had no immediate plans to annex them Adams believed that at least Texas and Cuba would eventually become American possessions At the same time the United States extended diplomatic recognition to the new Latin American republics In short the Monroe Doctrine declared the western hemisphere closed to European colonization while leaving open the possibility of United States expansion Manifest Destiny Few American migrants questioned their right to move into Texas Oregon and California By the mid 1840s expansion was supported by a well developed popular ideology that it was inevitable and good that the United States occupy the continent from sea to shining sea Some talked of expanding freedom to new areas Others talked of spreading the American ethic of hard work and economic progress Still others imagined a United States with Pacific ports that could open Asian markets Before long some were imagining a North America without what they considered the savagery of Native Americans the laziness and political instability of Mexicans or the corrupt and dying monarchism of the British God they said clearly wanted hard working American republicans to occupy North America In 1845 a New York City journalist named John L O Sullivan gave these ideas a name Manifest Destiny It is he wrote our manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our yearly multiplying millions Annexation Oregon and Texas The new Republic of Texas asked to be annexed to the United States as early as 1837 The governments of Presidents Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren took no action for two reasons First the question of Texas annexation divided the North and South Up to the 1840s trans Mississippi expansion had extended Southern society Louisiana Arkansas and Missouri were all slave states Texas would be another and Northerners who disliked slavery and Southern political power imagined that the Texas territory could become as many as 11 new slave states with 22 new proslavery senators Annexation of Texas was certain to arouse Northern and antislavery opposition President John Tyler who supported the South tried to annex Texas in 1844 but was defeated by congressional Northerners and by some Southern members of the anti Jacksonian Whig Party The second reason for avoiding annexation was that Mexico still considered Texas its own territory Annexation would create a diplomatic crisis and perhaps lead to war In the presidential election of 1844 the Whig Party nominated Henry Clay of Kentucky Clay refused to take a stand on the annexation of Texas The Democrats rejected former president Martin Van Buren who opposed annexation and nominated James K Polk of Tennessee Polk ran on a pro annexation platform He would annex Texas and he would assert American ownership of all of Oregon s territory disputed with Britain Polk s position on Oregon was intended to reassure Northerners that expansion would benefit them as well as the South This position on Oregon was however a radical change from earlier policies Previously Americans had not claimed land north of the 49th parallel the present day United States Canada border on the Pacific Polk claimed all the land up to 54 40 N the present southern boundary of Alaska which at the time was owned by Russia The British on the other hand claimed territory as far south as the Columbia River After Polk won the election both sides sought to avoid a serious dispute they backed down and accepted the boundary that exists today between Washington state and British Columbia The compromise avoided war but it convinced Northern expansionists that Polk and behind him the Democratic Party cared more about Southern expansion than about Northern expansion War with Mexico There was ample reason for that suspicion While Polk compromised with Britain on the Oregon boundary he stood adamant against Mexico on the question of Texas Mexico warned that it would consider the annexation of Texas by the United States a declaration of war A Texas convention voted to join the Union on July 4 1845 Polk and a Congress strongly favoring annexation not only offered to take Texas into the Union they also set the southern boundary of the new state at the Rio Grande 150 miles south of what most people had agreed was the Texas Mexico border The new boundary gave Texas far more Mexican land including much of present day New Mexico and Colorado than the Texas Revolution had given it Polk knew that the additional territory would provide a gateway to New Mexico and California territories of northern Mexico that he and other expansionists coveted along with Texas While annexing Texas Polk offered to buy New Mexico and California from Mexico for 30 million in late 1845 an offer that the Mexicans angrily refused Polk then provoked a war with Mexico in which he would win all that he had offered to buy As Mexico prepared for war Polk sent troops into the disputed area north of the Rio Grande Mexico sent troops north of the Rio Grande and in spring 1846 fought a skirmish in which the Americans suffered more than a dozen casualties Congress declared war on Mexico that May Near unanimous congressional support for the declaration hid the fact that most Whigs and many Northern Democrats were deeply suspicious of a Southern war to annex new territory for slavery In the war the Americans launched a three pronged offensive General Zachary Taylor invaded northern Mexico from Texas capturing the city of Monterrey in September 1846 A second American army under General Stephen Kearny occupied Santa Fe in August of that year Kearny then sent part of his force to join Taylor at Monterrey and marched the rest of his army west to California where American settlers had already established an independent Bear Flag Republic At the same time the U S Navy seized California ports Having lost Texas California New Mexico and large portions of Chihuahua and Sonora in northern Mexico the Mexicans marched toward Taylor s army near Monterrey Taylor held off determined attacks by a Mexican army about three times as large as his own and won the Battle of Buena Vista in February 1847 The next month the third prong of the U S offensive was launched when General Winfield Scott landed at Veracruz Five months later he had fought his way to Mexico City As happened in much of the war the Mexican army was larger and fought bravely but the Mexican government and high command were divided and often incompetent and the Americans were better armed and better led In particular the Mexicans had no answer to American artillery After a series of bloody battles in September 1847 Scott s army occupied Mexico City and the war was over The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848 ceded Texas with the Rio Grande boundary California and New Mexico to the United States which agreed to pay Mexico 15 million The Mexican Cession gave the United States present day west Texas New Mexico Arizona California Nevada Utah most of Colorado and part of Wyoming The northern third of Mexico had become the southwestern quarter of the United States The Mexican War was a straightforward land grab The ease with which the United States won and the arrogance with which it behaved created a distrustful and sometimes violent southern border area for the country More immediately the lands ceded by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo became the object of contest and resentment between the slave and free states a conflict that would widen into the American Civil War 13 years later SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT NORTH AND SOUTH The regions of the United States that argued about the Mexican War and its aftermath had grown in divergent ways since agreeing to be a nation in 1788 The North had experienced a market revolution based on commercial agriculture and the growth of cities and industry The South on the other hand remained tied to a plantation system that depended on slave labor and international markets The plantation system enslaved the one third of all Southerners who were black and excluded more and more poor whites The Market Revolution in the North By the 1820s farmers no longer produced mainly for themselves and their neighbors selling any excess production on international markets Most Northern farms had become business operations They specialized in a small range of marketable crops grain meat dairy products and sold the food they produced to an internal market made up of Americans who had moved to towns cities and industrial villages In turn these urbanized and industrialized Northerners provided farmers with finished goods hats shoes cotton cloth furniture tools that had previously been made in rural households and neighborhoods or imported from Europe With this self sustaining internal market the North stepped out of the old colonial relationship in which America produced food and raw materials for Europe primarily Britain in exchange for foreign finished goods The northern United States was no longer on the colonial periphery of the world market economy It was taking its place as part of the financial and industrial center See also Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution in the United States This internal market revolution would have been impossible without dramatic improvements in transportation After 1815 Congress repeatedly considered

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  • History Of The United States Of America, Part Four
    No less a figure than ex president John Quincy Adams who had returned to government as a congressman from Massachusetts led the fight against the gag rule It was a fight that convinced many Northerners that Southern slavery corrupted republican government and threatened Northern civil liberties Beginning as a tiny radical minority abolitionists had helped force the nation to confront the troublesome problem of slavery COMING OF THE CIVIL WAR AN OVERVIEW As early as the Constitutional Convention of 1787 American leaders had known that they could not settle the differences between the states committed to slavery and those that were not The three fifths rule the constitutional promise not to halt the international slave trade until 1808 and the banning of slavery in the Northwest Territory were all attempts to avoid confronting differences between the North and South Some Northerners thought Southerners would recognize the inefficiency of slavery and end it voluntarily a hope that was dashed by the cotton boom and the South s recommitment to slavery Many Southerners thought that an agrarian coalition uniting the South and West could keep Northeastern commercial interests from running the country They realized that hope when a South West coalition elected Thomas Jefferson president in 1800 But by the 1830s the market revolution had tied Northeastern factories and Northwestern farms into a roughly unified commercialized North Most Northerners were committed to free market capitalism individual opportunity and free labor and many contrasted what they believed to be the civilizing effects of hard work and commerce with the supposed laziness and barbarism of the slave South For their part white Southerners began to see themselves as a beleaguered minority Following the 1819 crisis over statehood for Missouri a national two party system developed and both parties worked to prevent sectional differences from becoming the focus of politics They were successful until the Mexican War gave the United States huge new territories Territorial questions had to be handled by Congress and the question of whether slavery would be allowed into lands ceded by Mexico immediately became the all consuming issue in national politics By the mid 1850s the old party system was in ruins An antislavery Republican Party became dominant in the North and elected Abraham Lincoln president in 1860 With an antislavery party in control of the White House slave states seceded beginning in December 1860 The Union refused to let them go and the Civil War began COMING OF THE CIVIL WAR A NARRATIVE A The Wilmot Proviso Both the North and the South saw the issue of slavery in the territories as a simple question of right and wrong but the issue traveled through elaborate twists and turns from 1846 through the beginning of the Civil War Many Northern Democrats in Congress were disappointed with President James K Polk 1845 1849 Some represented market oriented constituencies that supported a moderately protective tariff and federal internal improvements Polk was a Southerner and an old Jacksonian and he opposed both of those measures Northern Democrats also disliked Polk s willingness to compromise with the British on expansion into Oregon while he went to war with Mexico over Texas It looked to many Democratic Northerners as though the Democratic Party was less interested in the expansion of the agrarian republic than in the expansion of slavery Among these Democrats was Congressman David Wilmot of Pennsylvania In 1846 during the war with Mexico he proposed what became known as the Wilmot Proviso banning slavery from all territory taken from Mexico In subsequent years the proviso was repeatedly attached to territorial legislation In the House combinations of Northern Whigs and Democrats passed it several times but the proviso was always stopped in the Senate The Wilmot Proviso would become the principal plank in the platform of the Republican Party President Polk and his cabinet favored extending the Missouri Compromise line west to the Pacific a solution that would allow slavery in the New Mexico Territory and in Southern California but ban it from Colorado Utah Nevada and Northern California Neither the North nor the South favored Polk s solution In 1849 President Zachary Taylor proposed allowing the residents of individual territories to decide the question of slavery for themselves a solution that became known as popular sovereignty Again there was too little support While the Wilmot Proviso stood as the extreme Northern position John C Calhoun a senator for South Carolina staked out an extreme position for the South Slaves he said were property and masters could carry their slaves into any territory of the United States The Compromise of 1850 Although no proposed solution was acceptable to all sides the question of slavery in the territories could not be postponed In 1848 gold was discovered in California and thousands of Americans rushed to the region see Gold Rush of 1849 The previous year Brigham Young had led Mormon settlers to the Salt Lake Valley in what became the northeastern corner of the Mexican Cession in 1848 At the same time slaveholding Texas claimed half of New Mexico It was at this point that politicians proposed a series of measures that became known as the Compromise of 1850 California was admitted as a free state The remainder of the land taken from Mexico was divided into Utah and New Mexico territories and organized under popular sovereignty The Texas claims in New Mexico were denied The slave trade but not slavery was banned in the District of Columbia and a stronger fugitive slave law went into effect These measures resolved the question of slavery in the territories in ways that tended to favor the North then enacted additional measures important to both antislavery and proslavery forces The compromise was less a permanent solution than an answer to an immediate crisis It would satisfy neither section One historian has called it the Armistice of 1850 The Fugitive Slave Law The one element of the Compromise of 1850 that explicitly favored the South was the Fugitive Slave Law A federal law of 1793 required that slaves who escaped to a free state be returned if the master could offer proof of ownership to a state court The new law turned these cases over to federal commissioners and it denied a captured slave the right to testify in his or her own behalf or to be tried before a jury The law violated Northerners notions of states rights it infringed on civil liberties in the North and it turned Northerners into direct participants in Southern slavery Northern citizens even those who had not previously opposed slavery refused to support the law While some hid fugitives or helped spirit them into Canada nine Northern states passed personal liberty laws that forbade state officials from helping to enforce the Fugitive Slave Law In 1852 Harriet Beecher Stowe published a sentimental antislavery novel Uncle Tom s Cabin as a direct challenge to slavery in general and the Fugitive Slave Law in particular It sold 300 000 copies that year and 1 2 million by summer 1853 The Kansas Nebraska Act The Compromise of 1850 created a smoldering truce that lasted only a few years By 1853 settlers had moved west of Missouri into what is now Kansas Congress drew up legislation organizing the remaining federal lands in the Louisiana Purchase into the Kansas and Nebraska territories Under the Missouri Compromise none of this land was open to slavery But Southerners along with 15 of 20 Northern Democrats in the Senate organized the new territories under popular sovereignty The new states could decide for themselves whether or not to allow slavery The Kansas Nebraska Act thus abolished the Missouri Compromise line and enacted popular sovereignty a measure that was becoming the Democratic Party s answer to the question of slavery in the territories Northern Whigs in Congress all voted against the act leading Southern Whigs to leave the party and join the Democrats At the same time many Northern Democrats openly opposed the legislation Thus the Democratic Party shifted and became more overtly Southern while Northern Whigs and many Northern Democrats joined coalitions that in 1854 became the Republican Party exclusively Northern and antislavery Political parties were reorganizing along sectional lines Bleeding Kansas With the territory organized under popular sovereignty voters would decide the question of slavery in Kansas Antislavery settlers flooded the territory and in response proslavery Missourians moved in When elections were held for the territorial legislature in 1854 about 5 000 Missourians crossed the border to vote illegally for proslavery candidates The resulting legislature legalized slavery in Kansas Antislavery forces refused to accept these results They organized a convention that wrote an antislavery constitution and they elected their own legislature While this controversy raged in Kansas Charles Sumner an antislavery senator from Massachusetts gave an impassioned antislavery speech in which he insulted a number of Southern senators He said that one of them Andrew Butler had chosen a mistress to whom he has made his vows the harlot Slavery Congressman Preston Brooks of South Carolina was Butler s nephew He was determined to punish Sumner s attack upon his family s honor He walked onto the floor of the Senate found Sumner at his desk and beat him unconscious with a cane White Southerners almost unanimously applauded Brooks while Northerners ranted against Southern savagery At almost the same time as the attack on Sumner in May 1856 proslavery Kansans attacked an antislavery stronghold at Lawrence In retribution an antislavery fanatic named John Brown murdered five proslavery settlers in what became known as the Pottawatomie Massacre A small scale civil war was being fought in Kansas The Dred Scott Case At this point the Supreme Court with a Southern majority among the justices tried to settle the problem of slavery in the territories It chose the Dred Scott case to do so Scott was a slave owned by a U S Army doctor who had brought him to the free state of Illinois and the Territory of Wisconsin which was free under the Missouri Compromise Scott sued for his freedom on that basis The Supreme Court answered with a powerful proslavery decision in 1857 First the majority stated that blacks whether free or slaves could not be citizens of the United States As a result Dred Scott s case should never have entered the federal courts The court went on to declare that the Missouri Compromise was invalid because Congress had no right to exclude slaves who were legal property and therefore protected under the Constitution from any territory With that the Supreme Court had adopted the extreme Southern position on the question of slavery in the territories and declared the policy of the Republican Party and of a majority of Northerners unconstitutional Meanwhile Kansas submitted two constitutions in its application for statehood one that permitted slavery and one that did not President James Buchanan a Northern Democrat and a solid supporter of the South sent the Lecompton proslavery Constitution to Congress with a strong recommendation that it be accepted In a congressional debate that at one point broke into a fistfight enough Northern Democrats finally defected from their party to reject the Lecompton Constitution The controversy deeply divided the Democratic Party in the North and made the election of an antislavery Republican as president in 1860 very likely The Election of 1860 The breakup of the party system produced four presidential candidates in the election of 1860 The Democratic Party split angrily into Northern and Southern wings Southern Democrats nominated Buchanan s vice president John C Breckinridge of Kentucky while Northern Democrats chose Senator Stephen A Douglas of Illinois What remained of the Whigs renamed themselves Constitutional Unionists and nominated Senator John Bell of Tennessee see Constitutional Union Party Republicans passed over better known candidates and nominated Abraham Lincoln of Illinois Lincoln had become known nationally when he staked out the Republican position on slavery in the territories and held his own in a series of public debates in a Senate race with Douglas in 1858 He was also known for a speech in which he stated that the United States could not long endure as a house divided between Northern free labor capitalism and Southern slavery On the crucial question of slavery in the territories Lincoln assured the South that no president could constitutionally dismantle the institution in the states But he would preserve the territories for free labor thus putting slavery in the course of ultimate extinction The election results were starkly sectional Breckinridge carried 11 states in the Deep South Bell carried a few Upper South states Douglas while coming in second in the popular vote won only in Missouri and a part of New Jersey Lincoln carried every Northern state and thus won an overwhelming victory in the Electoral College and he did so without a single electoral vote from a slave state The Republican Party with an antislavery platform and an entirely Northern constituency had elected a president of the United States No possible new coalition would enable the South to keep that from happening repeatedly THE CIVIL WAR A The South Secedes White Southerners fully realized what had happened National politics now pitted the North against the South and the North had a solid and growing majority The South would never again control the federal government or see it controlled by friendly Northerners Many saw no alternative to seceding from the Union Southerners justified secession with what was called the compact theory This theory held that the Constitution had created not a perpetual union but a compact between independent states that retained their sovereignty The compact could be broken in the same way that it had been created with state conventions called for that purpose By this means South Carolina seceded from the Union in late December 1860 By February 1 before Lincoln s inauguration six more states from the Deep South had left the Union Northerners including President Buchanan Stephen Douglas and other Democrats denied the right of secession The more lawyerly among them reminded the South that the Constitution was written to form a more perfect Union than the Articles of Confederation The Constitution had stated that the union shall be perpetual Thus secession was a legal impossibility And in practical terms Northerners argued secession would be a fatal disaster to the American republic Republics had a history of splitting into smaller parts and descending into anarchy Secession Lincoln argued was revolution Many Southerners agreed and claimed that they were exercising their sacred right to revolt against oppressive government Congress tried to come up with compromise measures in early 1861 but there was no way of compromising in the argument over secession The seven states of the lower South South Carolina Mississippi Florida Alabama Georgia Louisiana and Texas formed themselves into the Confederate States of America Their Constitution was nearly identical to the Constitution of the United States though it affirmed state sovereignty guaranteed slavery and limited the president to a single six year term In his inaugural address Lincoln was conciliatory without compromising on secession He also hinted that the national government would use force to protect military garrisons in the Confederate states in particular Fort Moultrie in Charleston Harbor in South Carolina When he tried to resupply the garrison which had moved to the stronger Fort Sumter the South Carolina militia fired thousands of artillery rounds into the fort forcing its surrender With that the Civil War began With the beginning of the war Virginia North Carolina Tennessee and Arkansas seceded and joined the Confederacy Unionist legislative majorities kept the remaining slave states of Maryland Kentucky Delaware and Missouri from joining the rebel states Meanwhile the western counties of Virginia seceded from that state when Virginia seceded from the Union and became the new state of West Virginia Thousands of men from these border states however traveled south and joined the Confederate Army North vs South On paper the North possessed overwhelming military superiority over the South The North had a free population of about 22 million The South had a population of 9 million including almost 4 million slaves The North was a modern industrial power the South was overwhelmingly rural The North possessed nine tenths of the nation s industrial capacity four fifths of its bank capital and three fourths of its taxable wealth The North financed 60 percent of its war effort through the sale of bonds in its prosperous region Its paper currency inflated by only 80 percent during the whole war The South on the other hand had to finance the war by printing paper money that inflated 9 000 percent in four years Yet the South had advantages as well To succeed the South did not have to invade and conquer the North The South had only to prevent the North from invading and conquering the Confederacy In a similar situation during the American Revolution the British had far greater military superiority over the Americans than the Union possessed over the Confederacy but the British failed to subdue the American revolutionaries Many predicted that the Union would fail as well The South had only to prolong the war until the North gave up and went home In addition the South s economic backwardness was an advantage Northern armies had to operate in hostile territory in which transportation and communications were very difficult Finally improved weapons most notably rifled muskets that were accurate at more than 300 yards gave a lethal advantage to entrenched defenders over opponents who attacked them across open ground Union soldiers did most of the attacking Differing objectives of North and South and the topography of the contested ground helped determine the nature of the war In the west Northern armies used the Mississippi and Tennessee rivers navigable streams that ran into the South to capture Confederate territory and to control the river system By the spring of 1863 the Union controlled all of the Mississippi River except a Confederate stronghold

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  • History Of The United States Of America, Part Five
    the modern corporation became an important form of business organization For more information see Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution in the United States Corporations and Consolidation In the 19th century states reduced the requirements for businesses to incorporate A corporation is a form of business partnership it is a legal entity that is distinct from the individuals who control it The corporation not the individual partners is responsible for repaying the corporation s debts this is known as limited liability The corporate form of business organization made it possible for entrepreneurs to finance large scale enterprises because corporations issue stock certificates representing shares of ownership in a corporation By issuing stock a corporation can enable thousands of individuals to pool financial resources and invest in a new venture Businesses also grew by combining into trusts In a trust a small group of business people called trustees acquire enough shares in several competing firms to control those companies The trustees are then able to manage and direct a group of companies in a unified way in effect creating a single firm out of competing firms The trustees could prevent competition among the firms that were part of the trust A leading example was the Standard Oil Trust formed in Ohio in 1882 by John D Rockefeller and his associates Within a decade trusts dominated many industries States tried to regulate trusts but big businesses eluded state control Afraid that trusts would destroy competition Congress in 1890 passed the Sherman Antitrust Act The act banned businesses from joining together in ways that controlled markets as trusts had been doing It also outlawed monopoly in which only a single seller or producer supplies a commodity or a service But the law defined neither trust nor monopoly and was poorly enforced The courts threw out cases against the trusts and used the law mainly to declare unions illegal combinations in restraint of trade For instance the court declared unions that organized boycotts or strikes impeded the flow of commerce and thus violated federal law Standard Oil however continued without interference In 1892 to avoid Ohio laws Standard Oil incorporated in New Jersey as a holding company a corporation with only one purpose to buy out the stock of other companies Corporations introduced new styles of management or business organization The railroads which needed to manage crews fuel repairs and train schedules over large areas were the first to develop new management techniques The railroads also developed standard time which the United States adopted in 1883 Steel industry tycoon Andrew Carnegie who continually sought less costly ways to make steel also introduced new management techniques The Carnegie Steel Company used precise accounting systems to track the costs of all processes and materials involved in making steel To do this work Carnegie hired middle managers and encouraged them to compete with one another New business practices led to larger corporations Andrew Carnegie practiced vertical integration he bought companies that sold supplies to the steel industry including coal and iron mines and a railroad line Carnegie thereby controlled every stage of the productive process from raw materials to marketing Finally he engaged in horizontal consolidation by acquiring his competitors He priced his products so low that competitors could not compete and make a profit Then he bought them out By 1899 Carnegie s company was the world s biggest industrial corporation and produced one fourth of the nation s steel However vertical integration and horizontal consolidation helped concentrate power in a few giant corporations and limited competition According to business magnates such as Rockefeller and Carnegie their huge enterprises provided new products at lower costs and enriched the nation as well as themselves Stressing the value of competition captains of industry argued that it ensured the survival of the most competent Business leaders also endorsed a policy of laissez faire Government they believed should leave business alone In fact the federal government adopted policies to benefit big business Congress passed high tariffs taxes on imported products that impeded foreign competition federal subsidies to railroads enriched investors and courts penalized labor more often than business Labor The trend toward large scale production changed the structure of the labor force and the nature of work From 1870 to 1900 as the industrial work force expanded the unskilled worker replaced the artisan or autonomous craftsperson The typical workplace was more likely to be a large factory than a small workshop Striving for efficiency employers replaced skilled labor with machines and low paid workers Factory tasks became specialized repetitive and monotonous The need for unskilled labor drew women and children into the industrial work force Some performed piecework work paid for according to the amount produced rather than the hours worked in crowded tenements others operated machinery in textile mills and garment plants Industrial labor in the late 19th century was often hazardous Workers lacked protection against industrial accidents long hours wage cuts layoffs and sudden bouts of unemployment As the industrial work force grew tensions increased between labor and management They disagreed over issues such as wages length of the working day and working conditions Labor unions emerged to protect the rights of workers and to represent them in negotiations with management Most employers vigorously opposed trade union activity and struggles between workers and employers often became violent The first national labor organization the Knights of Labor organized in 1869 tried to include all workers The Knights reached their greatest strength between 1884 and 1885 when railroad strikes raged and then declined As the Knights of Labor faded a new federation of local and craft unions the American Federation of Labor AFL was organized in 1886 Led from 1886 to 1924 by Samuel Gompers an immigrant cigar maker from England the AFL welcomed skilled workers almost all of them men The AFL focused on hours wages working conditions and union recognition by management It also favored use of economic weapons such as strikes and boycotts Late 19th century unions attracted only a small portion perhaps 5 percent of the work force but strikes involved far more workers In the last quarter of the century thousands of strikes aroused public concern and several large violent events evoked fear The great railroad strike of 1877 was a wildcat strike a strike by a union local without consent of the national union to which it belongs set off by wage cuts on a single railroad line It became a nationwide protest that almost ended rail traffic and led to scores of deaths Only the arrival of federal troops ended the strike In the 1880s a decade of 10 000 strikes and lockouts workers often succeeded in averting wage reductions and winning shorter hours Most strikes concerned local grievances but some closed down entire industries and incurred reprisals The Haymarket Square Riot in Chicago in 1886 grew out of a strike against a company that built agricultural machinery Union leaders called a protest meeting at which police intervened and a bomb exploded causing many deaths Eight people were convicted of murder and four hanged Repelled by the violence the public blamed the labor movement for the casualties at Haymarket Square and the Knights of Labor lost influence At the end of the 19th century business often defeated workers demands In the 1890s at employers requests federal troops crushed strikes at Idaho silver mines Carnegie s steel plants and Pullman railway works The Pullman strike began when workers for the Pullman Palace Car Company protested wage cuts The protest led thousands of workers to join the American Railway Union led by Eugene V Debs But employers who united to break the union called for an injunction a court order for workers to return to work and attained it under the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 Federal troops arrived to enforce the injunction against the union riots ensued the strike was crushed and Debs was arrested convicted and imprisoned The injunction was a powerful tool for business to use against labor Besides the injunction union organizers faced other obstacles such as blacklists lists of union activists circulated among employers and attacks by Pinkerton detectives agents of a private detective firm that guarded factories protected railroads and battled labor In some instances employers forced workers to sign yellow dog contracts in which they promised not to join unions Management retained the upper hand Immigration Industrial workers of the late 19th century were often foreign born From 1865 to 1885 immigrants arrived mainly from northern and western Europe as they had before the Civil War the largest groups came from England Ireland Germany and Scandinavia From the mid 1880s until World War I began in 1914 the number of newcomers from southern eastern and central Europe increased Many new immigrants were Slavs Poles Czechs Russians Ukrainians Croatians and others including Jews from the Austro Hungarian and Russian empires Among the new immigrants were also Greeks Romanians and Italians mainly from southern Italy or Sicily Record numbers of immigrants arrived in the United States some 9 million from 1880 to 1900 and 13 million from 1900 to 1914 For more information see United States People Growth through Immigration and Immigration From 1840 to 1900 Late 19th century immigrants left their European homes to escape economic problems scarce land growing populations and the decline of subsistence farming They came to the United States in hope of economic gain Most settled in the United States permanently but others came only to amass some capital and then return home Immigration dropped off during depressions as in the 1870s and 1890s and again during World War I with smaller downturns in between Immigration was encouraged by new technology such as steamships which reduced the time needed to cross the Atlantic from three months to two weeks or less Where immigrants settled depended on their ethnicity and on when they arrived In the post Civil War decade for instance Scandinavian immigrants used the Homestead Act to start Midwestern farms Two decades later immigrants usually moved to industrial towns and cities where they became unskilled laborers in steel mills meatpacking plants and the garment trade In Milwaukee Wisconsin where population increased tenfold from 1850 to 1890 large numbers of Poles and Eastern Europeans found work in rolling mills and blast furnaces By 1910 immigrants and their families constituted over half the total population of 18 major cities in Chicago eight out of ten residents were immigrants or children of immigrants Immigrants lives changed dramatically after they arrived Uprooted usually from rural areas in Europe immigrants had to adjust to industrial labor unfamiliar languages and city life Clinging to their national identities and religions immigrants prepared ethnic foods read foreign language newspapers and celebrated ethnic holidays At the same time they patronized urban amusements found community support in local political machines and adapted to the new environment Men outnumbered women in new immigrant communities because men often preceded their wives and families Immigrants huge numbers high concentrations in cities and non Protestant faiths evoked nativist or anti immigrant sentiments To native born Americans the newcomers often seemed more alien and more transient less skilled and less literate than earlier groups of immigrants Some strains of nativism rested on belief in the superiority of Anglo Americans or Nordic peoples over all others Other types of nativism reflected economic self interest Native born workers feared competition for jobs from new immigrants they feared also that immigrants would work for lower wages which might mean less pay or even unemployment for them Both types of nativism arose on the West Coast where immigration from China had been heavy since the 1850s Responding to anti Chinese sentiment especially among California workers Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882 The law curbed Chinese immigration for ten years a period that was subsequently extended indefinitely A small number of immigrants from China continued to arrive but the number of Chinese entrants slowed to a trickle In the 1890s meanwhile Congress tightened immigration laws to exclude polygamists contract laborers and people with diseases Nativist groups such as the American Protective Association 1887 urged immigration restriction Growth of Cities As immigration exploded urban populations surged from 6 million in 1860 to 42 million in 1910 Big cities got bigger Chicago tripled in size in the 1880s and 1890s By 1900 three cities contained more than a million people New York 3 5 million Chicago 1 7 million and Philadelphia 1 3 million In the late 19th century industry invaded the cities Previously cities had served as commercial centers for rural hinterlands and were frequently located on rivers lakes or oceans Manufacturing occurred outside their limits usually near power sources such as streams or natural resources such as coal As industry grew cities changed Chicago for instance had been a railroad center that served the upper Midwest as a shipping hub for lumber meat and grain by 1870 it had taken the lead in steel production as well as meatpacking Post Civil War Atlanta another railroad hub and commercial center also developed a diverse manufacturing sector Cities quickly became identified with what they produced Troy New York made shirt collars Birmingham Alabama manufactured steel Minneapolis Minnesota produced lumber Paterson New Jersey wove silk Toledo Ohio made glass Tulsa Oklahoma harbored the oil industry and Houston Texas produced railroad cars Population changes also transformed the city Urban growth reflected the geographic mobility of the industrial age people moved from city to city as well as within them The new transience led to diverse populations Migrants from rural areas and newcomers from abroad mingled with wealthy long time residents and the middle class Immigrants constituted the fastest growing populations in big cities where industry offered work Urban political machines helped immigrant communities by providing services in exchange for votes For immigrants boss politics eased the way to jobs and citizenship Most but not all city machines were Democratic Just as industrialization and immigration transformed the city new technology reshaped it Taller buildings became possible with the introduction of elevators and construction using cast iron supports and later steel girders The first steel frame skyscraper ten stories high arose in Chicago in 1885 In 1913 New York s Woolworth tower soared to a height of 60 stories Taller buildings caused land values in city centers to increase New forms of transportation stretched cities out First trolleys veered over bumpy rails and steam powered cable cars lugged passengers around Then cities had electric streetcars powered by overhead wires Electric streetcars and elevated railroads enabled cities to expand absorbing nearby towns and linking central cities with once distant suburbs For intercity transport huge railroad terminals built like palaces with columns arches and towers arose near crowded business hubs Late 19th century cities were cauldrons of change In commerce they became centers of merchandising with large department stores which developed in the 1860s and 1870s As city populations grew the need for safe water sanitation fire control and crime control also grew These needs led to new urban services water reservoirs sewer systems fire and police departments Reformers attempted to enhance urban environments with parks and to improve poor neighborhoods with urban missions Urban religious leaders of the 1880s promoted the Social Gospel under which churches concerned themselves with social problems such as poverty vice and injustice The New South Industrialization and urbanization also affected the South Southern merchants manufacturers and newspaper editors of the 1880s led the campaign for a New South where Southern industrialism would break the cycle of rural poverty States provided special breaks for new businesses and promised cheap labor Birmingham Alabama became a railroad and steel center where mills hired black workers Southern textile mills opened in the 1880s in the Piedmont region from central Virginia to Alabama Mill owners depended on low skilled low paid white labor and their mills attracted workers from rural areas Workers settled in company towns where entire families worked for the mill The South replaced New England as the nation s leading locale for textile mills Overall however the campaign to industrialize the South faltered As late as 1900 only 5 percent of the Southern labor force most of it white worked in industry Furthermore Southern industry did not enrich the South Except for the American Tobacco Company located in North Carolina Southern industry was owned mainly by Northern financiers For African Americans the New South of the late 19th century meant increased oppression race relations deteriorated Black voting was not quickly extinguished in the 1880s some African Americans continued to vote in the upper South and in pockets elsewhere but black officeholders and voting majorities vanished fraud and intimidation were common and black votes often fell under conservative control Between 1890 and 1908 starting in Mississippi Southern states held constitutional conventions to impose new voting regulations such as literacy testing regulations that registrars could impose at will on blacks and not on whites Southern states also introduced a grandfather clause which exempted from literacy testing all those entitled to vote on January 1 1867 before Congress gave black men the right to vote and their male descendents This enabled most illiterate whites to go to the polls but stopped illiterate blacks from voting Some states imposed stringent property qualifications for voting or poll taxes which meant that each voter had to pay a tax in order to vote Increasingly Southern blacks the vast majority of the nation s African Americans were relegated to subordinate roles and segregated lives Segregation laws or Jim Crow laws as they were known kept blacks and whites apart in public places such as trains stations streetcars schools parks and cemeteries The Supreme Court confirmed the legitimacy of Jim Crow practices in Plessy v Ferguson 1896 which upheld segregation in railroad cars In the 1890s finally the number of lynchings of African Americans rose markedly Between 1890 and 1900 more than 1 200 lynchings occurred mainly in the Deep South At the end of

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  • History Of The United States Of America, Part Six
    pursued the battle in the states As late as 1909 women could vote in only four states Wyoming Utah Idaho and Colorado but momentum picked up Suffragists used more aggressive tactics such as parades rallies and marches and gained ground They won a key victory by gaining the right to vote in New York State in 1917 which helped empower them for their final push during World War I Foreign Affairs Progressive presidents sought to impose order on the world and especially to find markets for American products For example Roosevelt believed that a world power such as the United States was obliged to maintain global peace He brought Russia and Japan together to sign a treaty in 1905 that ended the Russo Japanese War and gave Japan rights in Korea Roosevelt also supported expansion of U S influence abroad Roosevelt intervened in Latin America to build a canal connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans the canal would link U S East Coast ports with East Asia The United States negotiated a treaty with Colombia for rights to build a canal in Panama at that time controlled by Colombia When the Colombian Congress rejected the treaty Roosevelt encouraged Panamanian desire for independence from Colombia This tactic succeeded and a revolution occurred The United States promptly recognized the new government of Panama and negotiated a treaty that enabled Americans to build the Panama Canal Latin Americans questioned Roosevelt s high handed maneuver They also objected to the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine The Monroe Doctrine announced in 1823 declared that the United States had the right to exclude foreign powers from expanding in the western hemisphere It had protected weak 19th century Latin American nations from powerful European nations The Roosevelt Corollary in contrast stated that chronic wrongdoing on the part of Latin American nations entitled the United States to intervene in the affairs of those nations Most Latin Americans saw Roosevelt s policy as a form of imperialism Roosevelt applied his corollary first to the Dominican Republic which had trouble paying its debts to other nations Roosevelt feared that a European power might occupy the country to force repayment of debts The United States therefore ran the Dominican Republic s custom service for two years and used money collected there to pay the nation s debts Relations with Japan also became an issue during Roosevelt s administration A conflict erupted in 1906 over Japanese immigration to the United States Prejudice against Japanese immigrants caused a crisis when San Francisco forced Asian children into a separate school The Japanese government protested In a gentlemen s agreement in 1907 both nations agreed to discourage immigration from Japan In the Root Takahira agreement of 1908 Japan and the United States agreed to respect the territorial integrity of China and the Open Door Policy Roosevelt s successor William Howard Taft adopted a policy that critics called dollar diplomacy he encouraged U S bankers and industrialists to invest abroad especially in Latin America He hoped they would replace European lenders and build American influence in the area The policy however led the United States into unpopular military ventures For instance the nation became involved in a civil war in Nicaragua where the United States in 1909 supported the overthrow of the country s leader and sustained a reactionary regime Woodrow Wilson an idealist and humanitarian disliked imperialism and rejected dollar diplomacy He hoped to establish benevolent relations with other nations and wanted the United States to serve as a force for good in the world However in 1913 the United States landed marines in Nicaragua to ensure that its choice for Nicaraguan president would remain in power The Wilson administration then drew up a treaty with Nicaragua that reduced the country to virtual dependency In addition U S troops occupied Haiti in 1915 and the Dominican Republic in 1916 American business interests continued to prevail in Latin America Finally Wilson came close to involving the United States in a war with Mexico In 1913 two years after the Mexican Revolution Mexico s new president was assassinated and a reactionary general Victoriano Huerta took control Wilson refused to recognize Huerta s unjust regime Many Mexicans who disliked Huerta however also resented Wilson s intervention in Mexican affairs Both sides were poised to fight in 1914 when a confrontation between American sailors and Huerta s forces broke out at Veracruz Wilson accepted the mediation of Argentina Chile and Brazil but then supported Francisco Pancho Villa a bandit until Villa crossed the border and massacred Americans Wilson sent U S troops to pursue Villa in 1916 The United States withdrew in 1917 which ended American involvement but left a legacy of distrust in Mexico and Latin America Historians debate the impact of progressivism at home and abroad Some criticize the progressives desire for order and control their reluctance to criticize capitalism and progressivism s coercive or restrictive side Big business critics contend eluded progressive regulations Other historians applaud progressive initiatives and find in them precedents for New Deal measures of the 1930s According to more favorable interpretations progressivism expanded democracy challenged the close alliance of government and business considered the public interest and protected some of the more vulnerable Americans Above all progressivism changed American attitudes toward the power of government In 1917 Americans turned their attention from domestic concerns to foreign affairs as the United States became involved in World War I AMERICA AND WORLD WAR I World War I broke out in Europe in the summer of 1914 The war set Germany and Austria Hungary the Central Powers against the United Kingdom France and Russia the Allied Powers and eventually involved many more nations The United States declared itself a neutral nation but neutrality proved elusive For three years as Europeans faced war on an unprecedented scale the neutrality so popular in the United States gradually slipped away At the outset Germany and Britain each sought to terminate U S trade with the other Exploiting its naval advantage Britain gained the upper hand and almost ended U S trade with Germany Americans protested this interference but when German submarines known as U boats began to torpedo American merchant ships American public opinion turned against Germany Then on May 7 1915 a German submarine attacked a British passenger liner the Lusitania killing more than a thousand people including 128 Americans Washington condemned the attacks which led to a brief respite in German attacks and in the presidential race of 1916 President Wilson won reelection on the campaign slogan He Kept Us Out of War In January 1917 however Germany declared a policy of unrestricted submarine warfare Ending diplomatic ties with Germany Wilson still tried to keep the United States out of the war But Germany continued its attacks and the United States found out about a secret message the Zimmerman telegram in which the German government proposed an alliance with Mexico and discussed the possibility of Mexico regaining territory lost to the United States Resentful that Germany was sinking American ships and making overtures to Mexico the United States declared war on Germany on April 6 1917 The United States entered World War I with divided sentiments Americans debated both whether to fight the war and which side to support Since the outbreak of war in Europe pacifists and reformers had deplored the drift toward conflict financiers and industrialists however promoted patriotism preparedness and arms buildup Some Americans felt affinities for France and England but millions of citizens were of German origin To many Americans finally the war in Europe seemed a distant conflict that reflected tangled European rivalries not U S concerns But German aggression steered public opinion from neutrality to engagement and the United States prepared for combat The Selective Service Act passed in May 1917 helped gradually increase the size of America s armed forces from 200 000 people to almost four million at the war s end Over There By the spring of 1917 World War I had become a deadly war of attrition Russia left the war that year and after the Bolsheviks assumed power in the Russian Revolution of 1917 Russia signed a separate peace treaty with Germany in March 1918 Allied prospects looked grim With Russia out of the picture Germany shifted its troops to the western front a north south line across France where a gruesome stalemate had developed Dug into trenches and shelled by artillery great armies bogged down in a form of siege warfare In June 1917 the American Expeditionary Force led by General John J Pershing began to arrive in France By March 1918 when Germany began a massive offensive much of the American force was in place Reluctantly the United States allowed American troops to be integrated into Allied units under British and French commanders These reinforcements bolstered a much weakened defense and the Allies stopped the German assault In September 1918 American troops participated in a counteroffensive in the area around Verdun The Saint Mihiel campaign succeeded as did the Allied Meuse Argonne offensive where both the Allies and the Germans suffered heavy casualties Facing what seemed to be a limitless influx of American troops Germany was forced to consider ending the war The Central Powers surrendered signing an armistice on November 11 1918 Only the challenge of a peace treaty remained American manpower tipped the scales in the Allies favor At war for only 19 months the United States suffered relatively light casualties The United States lost about 112 000 people many to disease including a treacherous influenza epidemic in 1918 that claimed 20 million lives worldwide European losses were far higher According to some estimates World War I killed close to 10 million military personnel Over Here World War I wrought significant changes on the American home front First the war created labor shortages Thousands of African Americans left the South for jobs in Northern steel mills munitions plants and stockyards The great migration of the World War I era established large black communities in Northern cities such as New York Philadelphia and Chicago The influx however provoked racial tensions and race riots in some cities including East Saint Louis Illinois in July 1917 and Chicago in July 1919 Labor shortages provided a variety of jobs for women who became streetcar conductors railroad workers and shipbuilders Women also volunteered for the war effort and sold war bonds Women mustered support for woman suffrage a cause that finally achieved its long sought goal The 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote triumphed in Congress in 1919 and was ratified by the states in 1920 The war greatly increased the responsibilities of the federal government New government agencies relied mainly on persuasion and voluntary compliance The War Industries Board urged manufacturers to use mass production techniques and increase efficiency The Railroad Administration regulated rail traffic the Fuel Administration monitored coal supplies and regulated gasoline The National War Labor Board sought to resolve thousands of disputes between management and labor that resulted from stagnant wages coupled with inflation The Food Administration urged families to observe meatless Mondays wheatless Wednesdays and other measures to help the war effort The Committee on Public Information organized thousands of public speakers four minute men to deliver patriotic addresses the organization also produced 75 million pamphlets promoting the war effort Finally to finance the war the United States developed new ways to generate revenue The federal government increased income and excise taxes instituted a war profit tax and sold war bonds War pressures evoked hostility and suspicion in the United States Antagonism toward immigrants especially those of German descent grew Schools stopped teaching German Hamburgers and sauerkraut became Salisbury steak and liberty cabbage Fear of sabotage spurred Congress to pass the Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918 The laws imposed fines jail sentences or both for interfering with the draft obstructing the sale of war bonds or saying anything disloyal profane or abusive about the government or the war effort These repressive laws upheld by the Supreme Court resulted in 6 000 arrests and 1 500 convictions for antiwar activities The laws targeted people on the left such as Socialist leader Eugene V Debs who was imprisoned and Emma Goldman who was jailed and deported The arrests of 1917 reflected wartime concerns about dissent as well as hostility toward the Russian Revolution of 1917 Treaty of Versailles Even before the war ended President Wilson offered a plan for world peace the Fourteen Points The plan announced to Congress on January 8 1918 would abolish secret diplomacy guarantee freedom of the seas remove international trade barriers wherever possible reduce arms and consider the interests of colonized peoples Eight more points addressed changes to specific boundaries based on the principle of self determination or the right of nations to shape their own destinies Finally Wilson s points called for a League of Nations to arbitrate disputes between nations and usher in an epoch of peace High hopes for the Fourteen Points prevailed at the time of the armistice but faded by June 1919 when emissaries of the Big Four the United States France Britain and Italy gathered at Versailles to determine the conditions of peace At Versailles the Allies ignored most of Wilson s goals During postwar negotiations including the Treaty of Versailles they redrew the map of Europe and established nine new nations including Poland Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia Boundaries of other nations were shifted and out of the Ottoman Empire which fought on the side of the Central Powers during the war four areas were carved Iraq Syria Lebanon and Palestine These areas were given to France and Britain as mandates or temporary colonies The Treaty of Versailles demilitarized Germany which lost its air force and much of its army and navy Germany also lost its colonies and had to return to France the Alsace Lorraine area which Germany had annexed in 1871 Finally forced to admit blame for the war Germany was burdened with high reparations for war damages A spirit of vindictiveness among the Allies invalidated Wilson s goals and led to a number of defects in the Treaty of Versailles First Germany s humiliation led to resentment which festered over the next decades Second the Big Four paid no attention to the interests of the new Bolshevik government in Russia which the treaty antagonized Third in some instances the treaty ignored the demands of colonized peoples to govern themselves The Treaty of Versailles did include a charter or covenant for the League of Nations a point that embodied Woodrow Wilson s highest goal for world peace However the U S Senate rejected the League of Nations and the entire treaty Republicans who favored isolation the irreconcilables spurned the treaty Conservative Republicans led by Senator Henry Cabot Lodge disliked the treaty s provisions for joint military actions against aggressors even though such action was voluntary They demanded modifications but Wilson refused to compromise Overestimating his prestige and refusing to consider Republican reservations Wilson remained adamant Uncompromising and exhausted the president campaigned for the treaty until he collapsed with a stroke The United States never joined the League of Nations started in 1919 and signed a separate peace treaty with Germany in 1921 Ironically after leading America to victory in the war President Wilson endured two significant disappointments First he compromised at Versailles for instance he agreed to the Allied diplomats desire for high reparations against Germany Second Wilson refused to compromise with the Senate and thus he was unable to accomplish his idealistic goals His vision of spreading democracy around the world and of ensuring world peace became a casualty of the peace process World War I left many legacies The American experience of the Great War albeit brief and distant from the nation s shores showed the United States how effectively it could mobilize its industrial might and hold its own in world affairs However the war left Germany shackled by the armistice and angered by the peace treaty Postwar Germany faced depression unemployment and desperate economic conditions which gave rise to fascist leadership in the 1930s In addition each of the areas carved out by the Treaty of Versailles proved in one way or another to be trouble spots in the decades ahead In the United States fears of radicalism horror at Soviet bolshevism and the impact of wartime hysteria led to a second blast of attacks on radicals In the Palmer Raids in January 1920 agents of Attorney General A Mitchell Palmer arrested 4 000 people in 33 cities The postwar Red Scare abated but suspicion of foreigners dissenters and nonconformists continued in the 1920s AMERICA IN A NEW AGE World War I made the United States a world power While European nations tried to recover from the war the United States had overseas territories access to markets and plentiful raw materials Formerly in debt to European investors the United States began to lend money abroad At home the economy expanded Assembly line production mass consumption easy credit and advertising characterized the 1920s As profits soared American zeal for reform waned and business and government resumed their long term affinity But not all Americans enjoyed the rewards of prosperity A mix of economic change political conservatism and cultural conflict made the 1920s a decade of contradictions Productivity and Prosperity As war production ended the economy dipped but only briefly by 1922 the nation began a spectacular spurt of growth Auto production symbolized the new potential of industry see Automobile Industry Annual car sales tripled from 1916 to 1929 9 million motorized vehicles on the road became 27 million by the end of the 1920s At his Michigan plant Henry Ford oversaw the making of the popular black Model T New modes of production changed car manufacture A moving assembly line brought interchangeable parts to workers who performed specific tasks again and again Assembly line techniques cut production costs which made

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  • History Of The United States Of America, Part Seven
    Supreme Court appointed mainly by Republicans was another staunch foe it struck down many pieces of New Deal legislation such as the NIRA farm mortgage relief and the minimum wage On the left critics believed that Roosevelt had not done enough and endorsed stronger measures In California senior citizens rallied behind the Townsend Plan which urged that everyone over the age of 65 receive 200 a month from the government provided that each recipient spend the entire amount to boost the economy The plan s popularity mobilized support for old age pensions In Louisiana Democratic Governor Huey Long campaigned for soak the rich tax schemes that would outlaw large incomes and inheritances and for social programs that would Share Our Wealth among all people The growing Communist Party finally urged people to repudiate capitalism and to allow the government to take over the means of production The Second New Deal In 1935 the New Deal veered left with further efforts to promote social welfare and exert federal control over business enterprise The Securities and Exchange Commission Act of 1934 enforced honesty in issuing corporate securities The Wagner Act of 1935 recognized employees bargaining rights and established a National Labor Relations Board to oversee relations between employers and employees Finally the Works Project Administration put unemployed people to work on short term public projects New Dealers also enacted a series of measures to regulate utilities to increase taxes on corporations and citizens with high incomes and to empower the Federal Reserve Board to regulate the economy Finally the administration proposed the Social Security Act of 1935 which established a system of unemployment insurance old age pensions and federal grants to the states to aid the aged the handicapped and families with dependent children Largely an insurance program Social Security was the keystone of welfare policy for decades to come In the election of 1936 Roosevelt defeated his Republican opponent Alf Landon in a landslide and carried every state but Maine and Vermont The election confirmed that many Americans accepted and supported the New Deal It also showed that the constituency of the Democratic Party had changed The vast Democratic majority reflected an amalgam of groups called the New Deal coalition which included organized labor farmers new immigrants city dwellers African Americans who switched their allegiance from the party of Lincoln and finally white Southern Democrats At the start of Roosevelt s second term in 1937 some progress had been made against the depression the gross output of goods and services reached their 1929 level But there were difficulties in store for the New Deal Republicans resented the administration s efforts to control the economy Unemployment was still high and per capita income was less than in 1929 The economy plunged again in the so called Roosevelt recession of 1937 caused by reduced government spending and the new social security taxes To battle the recession and to stimulate the economy Roosevelt initiated a spending program In 1938 New Dealers passed a Second Agricultural Adjustment Act to replace the first one that the Supreme Court had overturned and the Wagner Housing Act which funded construction of low cost housing Meanwhile the president battled the Supreme Court which had upset several New Deal measures and was ready to dismantle more Roosevelt attacked indirectly he asked Congress for power to appoint an additional justice for each sitting justice over the age of 70 The proposal threatened the Court s conservative majority In a blow to Roosevelt Congress rejected the so called court packing bill But the Supreme Court changed its stance and began to approve some New Deal measures such as the minimum wage in 1937 During Roosevelt s second term the labor movement made gains Industrial unionism unions that welcomed all the workers in an industry now challenged the older brand of craft unionism skilled workers in a particular trade represented by the American Federation of Labor AFL In 1936 John L Lewis head of the United Mine Workers of America UMWA left the AFL to organize a labor federation based on industrial unionism He founded the Committee for Industrial Organizations later known as the Congress of Industrial Organizations CIO Industrial unionism spurred a major sit down strike in the auto industry in 1937 Next violence erupted at a steelworkers strike in Chicago where police killed ten pickets The auto and steel industries however agreed to bargain collectively with workers and these labor victories led to a surge in union membership Finally in 1938 Congress passed another landmark law the Fair Labor Standards Act FLSA It established federal standards for maximum hours and minimum wages for workers in industries involved in interstate commerce At first the law affected only a minority of workers but gradually Congress extended it so that by 1970 it covered most employees In the 1930s however many New Deal measures such as labor laws had a limited impact African Americans for instance failed to benefit from FLSA because they were engaged mainly in nonindustrial jobs such as agricultural or domestic work which were not covered by the law New Deal relief programs also sometimes discriminated by race The New Deal never ended the Great Depression which continued until United States entry into World War II revived the economy As late as 1940 15 percent of the labor force was unemployed Nor did the New Deal redistribute wealth or challenge capitalism But in the short run the New Deal averted disaster and alleviated misery and its long term effects were profound One long term effect was an activist state that extended the powers of government in unprecedented ways particularly in the economy The state now moderated wild swings of the business cycle stood between the citizen and sudden destitution and recognized a level of subsistence beneath which citizens should not fall The New Deal also realigned political loyalties A major legacy was the Democratic coalition the diverse groups of voters including African Americans union members farmers and immigrants who backed Roosevelt and continued to vote Democratic The New Deal s most important legacy was a new political philosophy liberalism to which many Americans remained attached for decades to come By the end of the 1930s World War II had broken out in Europe and the country began to shift its focus from domestic reform to foreign policy and defense AMERICA AND WORLD WAR II The roots of World War II can be found in the debris of World War I which left legacies of anger and hardship After World War I the Treaty of Versailles imposed large reparations on Germany The reparations and wartime destruction caused severe economic problems in postwar Germany Other European nations grappled with war debts hunger homelessness and fear of economic collapse Under these circumstances totalitarianism spread From 1922 to 1953 dictator Joseph Stalin controlled the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics USSR which was formed after the Russian Revolution of 1917 The USSR became a police state that suppressed opponents and deprived citizens of rights Elsewhere militarism and expansionism gained ground In the 1930s the Japanese military won influence and Japan began to expand its territory In 1931 Japan attacked the Chinese province of Manchuria Condemned by the League of Nations for its attack Japan quit the league Italy turned to fascism a strong centralized government headed by a powerful dictator and rooted in nationalism Fascist leader Benito Mussolini seized power in Italy in 1922 In Germany the Nazi Party led by Adolf Hitler came to power see National Socialism Hitler believed that Aryans were a master race destined for world rule He sought to form a great German empire one that gave the German people in his words the land and the soil to which they are entitled on this earth Global depression in the 1930s helped bring the Nazis to power In 1932 with six million Germans out of work the Nazis won more votes than any other party and in 1933 just as Roosevelt took office Hitler became the German prime minister Like Japan Germany quit the League of Nations Germany soon revealed its expansionist goals In 1933 Hitler began to build up the German military in violation of the Treaty of Versailles In 1936 he sent troops into the Rhineland a demilitarized region in western Germany The same year Hitler and Mussolini signed an alliance the Rome Berlin Axis Pact In 1940 the alliance was extended to include Japan The three nations Germany Italy and Japan became the Axis Powers The start of World War II was near Isolationism vs Internationalism Most Americans of the 1930s recoiled from involvement in the European conflict they favored U S isolationism and many supported pacifism Some believed that merchants of death bankers and arms dealers had lured the United States into World War I The Roosevelt administration too tried to maintain friendly foreign relations Roosevelt recognized the USSR in 1933 and set up a Good Neighbor Policy with Latin America No state the United States said had the right to intervene in the affairs of another Roosevelt also made progress toward lower tariffs and free trade In 1935 and 1936 Congress passed a group of neutrality acts to keep the United States out of Europe s troubles The first two acts banned arms sales or loans to nations at war The third act a response to the Spanish Civil War 1936 1939 extended the ban to nations split by civil war But as conflict spread abroad Americans discarded their neutral stance Many opposed fascist forces in the civil war in Spain There democratic armies fell to dictator Francisco Franco who was supported by Hitler and Mussolini Japan launched a new attack on China in July 1937 to obtain more Chinese territory It quickly overran northern China Hitler marched through Europe Germany in 1938 annexed Austria and then seized Czechoslovakia without resistance In August 1939 Hitler and Stalin signed a nonaggression pact On September 1 1939 Hitler invaded Poland which led England and France to declare war on Germany Americans increasingly doubted that the United States could avoid becoming involved In September 1939 Roosevelt called Congress into special session to revise the neutrality acts The president offered a plan known as cash and carry which permitted Americans to sell munitions to nations able to pay for them in cash and able to carry them away in their own ships Isolationists objected but Congress passed the Neutrality Act of 1939 which legitimized cash and carry and allowed Britain and France to buy American arms The war in Europe meanwhile grew more dire for the Allies In June 1940 Germany conquered France and British troops that had been in France retreated across the English Channel Then German bombers began to pound Britain In June 1940 the United States started supplying Britain with all aid short of war to help the British defend themselves against Germany Roosevelt asked Congress for more funds for national defense Congress complied and began the first American peacetime military draft the Selective Training and Service Act under which more than 16 million men were registered After the 1940 election Roosevelt urged that the United States become the great arsenal of democracy In 1941 he and British prime minister Winston Churchill announced the Atlantic Charter which set forth Allied goals for World War II and the postwar period The two nations pledged to respect the right of all peoples to choose the form of government under which they will live and promised a free world without war after the final destruction of Nazi tyranny Isolationists criticized each move towards war however the United States was still not actually at war In 1941 the conflict worsened Despite the nonaggression pact German armies moved through the Baltics and into Russia Meanwhile as Japan continued to invade areas in Asia U S relations with Japan crumbled On December 7 1941 Japan attacked a U S naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii The next day it attacked the main American base in the Philippines In response the United States declared war on Japan though not on Germany Hitler acted first and declared war on the United States The United States committed itself to fighting the Axis powers as an ally of Britain and France The Nation at War Even before Pearl Harbor the American government had begun to mobilize for war After the attack the United States focused its attention on the war effort World War II greatly increased the power of the federal government which mushroomed in size and power The federal budget skyrocketed and the number of federal civilian employees tripled The war also made the United States a military and economic world power The armed forces expanded as volunteers and draftees enrolled growing to almost 12 million men and 260 000 women by 1945 Roosevelt formed the Joint Chiefs of Staff a military advisory group to manage the huge military effort New federal agencies multiplied The Office of Strategic Services gathered intelligence and conducted espionage the War Production Board distributed manufacturing contracts and curtailed manufacture of civilian goods and the War Manpower Commission supervised war industry agriculture and the military Other wartime agencies resolved disputes between workers and management battled inflation set price controls and imposed rations on scarce items turned out propaganda and oversaw broadcasting and publishing As the United States moved to a wartime economy the depression ended and the U S economy came to life Industry swiftly shifted to war production automakers began turning out tanks and planes and the United States became the world s largest weapons manufacturer New industries emerged such as synthetic rubber which compensated for the loss of rubber supplies when Japan seized the Dutch East Indies and Malaya The war economy brought new opportunities Americans experienced virtually full employment longer work weeks and despite wage controls higher earnings Unions gained members and negotiated unprecedented benefits Farmers prospered too Crop prices rose production increased and farm income tripled Labor scarcity drew women into the war economy During the depression the federal government had urged women to cede jobs to male breadwinners However when the war began it sought women to work in war production More than six million women entered the work force in wartime women s share of the labor force leaped from 25 percent in 1940 to 35 percent in 1945 Three quarters of the new women workers were married a majority were over 35 and over a third had children under 14 Many women held untraditional jobs in the well paid blue collar sector in shipyards and in airplane plants as welders and crane operators Women found new options in civilian vocations and professions too Despite women s gains in the workplace many people retained traditional convictions that women should not work outside the home Government propaganda promoted women s war work as only a temporary response to an emergency Members of minorities who had been out of jobs in the 1930s also found work in the war economy Hundreds of thousands of African Americans migrated from the South to Northern industrial cities to work in war industries More than one million black people served in the armed forces in segregated units the government ended its policy of excluding blacks from combat As Northern black urban populations grew racial violence sometimes erupted as in the Detroit race riots of June 1943 African Americans linked the battle against Nazis abroad with the fight for racial justice at home Membership in the NAACP increased tenfold and another civil rights organization the Congress of Racial Equality CORE began in 1942 Early in 1941 labor leader A Philip Randolph met with Roosevelt administration officials to demand equal employment for blacks in industries working under federal government defense contracts Randolph threatened to lead 100 000 African Americans in a march on Washington D C to protest job discrimination In response Roosevelt issued a directive banning racial discrimination in federal hiring practices and established the Fair Employment Practices Commission Like African Americans Mexican Americans and Native Americans had more job opportunities For all Americans war changed the quality of life World War II inspired hard work cooperation and patriotism Citizens bought war bonds saved scrap metal and planted victory gardens They coped with rationing and housing shortages The war also caused population movement Americans flocked to states with military bases and defense plants six million migrants left for cities many on the West Coast where the defense industry was concentrated School enrollment sank as teenagers took jobs or joined the armed services People became more concerned about family life especially about working mothers juvenile delinquency and unruly teenagers The United States began to receive reports of the Holocaust the Nazi effort to exterminate all of Europe s Jews in 1942 and the State Department recognized Hitler s genocide by the end of that year However the U S government gave precedence to other war matters and did not found a War Refugee Board until 1944 The board aided in the rescue and relocation of surviving Nazi victims but its effort was too weak and too late to help Europe s Jews approximately two thirds of the Jewish population in Europe was murdered during the war In the United States civil liberties were casualties of the war In February 1942 the president authorized the evacuation of all Japanese from the West Coast The U S government interned around 120 000 Japanese Americans two thirds of them native born U S citizens in relocation centers run by the War Relocation Authority The internment policy reflected anti Japanese sentiment on the West Coast that was rooted in economic rivalry racial prejudice and fear of Japanese sabotage after Pearl Harbor The policy affected only the mainland United States not Hawaii where more than 150 000 residents of Japanese descent lived and where the United States imposed martial law for almost three years Forced to sell their land and homes the West Coast internees ended up behind

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  • History Of The United States Of America, Part Eight
    invade mainland China which Truman rejected and then repeatedly assailed the president s decision In 1951 Truman fired him for insubordination By then the combatants had separated near the 38th parallel The Korean War did not officially end until 1953 when President Dwight Eisenhower imposed a precarious armistice Meanwhile the Korean War had brought about rearmament hiked the U S military budget and increased fears of Communist aggression abroad and at home Cold War at Home As the Cold War intensified it affected domestic affairs Many Americans feared not only Communism around the world but also disloyalty at home Suspicion about Communist infiltration of the government forced Truman to act In 1947 he sought to root out subversion through the Federal Employee Loyalty Program The program included a loyalty review board to investigate government workers and fire those found to be disloyal The government dismissed hundreds of employees and thousands more felt compelled to resign By the end of Truman s term 39 states had enacted antisubversion laws and loyalty programs In 1949 the Justice Department prosecuted 11 leaders of the Communist Party who were convicted and jailed under the Smith Act of 1940 The law prohibited groups from conspiring to advocate the violent overthrow of the government The Communist Party had reached the peak of its strength in the United States during World War II when it claimed 80 000 members Some of these had indeed worked for the government handled classified material or been part of spy networks Although Communist party membership had fallen to under 30 000 by the 1950s suspicion about disloyalty had grown Concerned about the Sino Soviet alliance and the USSR s possession of atomic weapons many Americans feared Communist spies and Soviet penetration of federal agencies Attention focused on two divisive trials In August 1948 Time magazine editor Whittaker Chambers a former Communist charged former State Department official Alger Hiss of being a member of the Communist Party and subsequently of espionage Hiss sued Chambers for slander but Hiss was convicted of perjury in 1950 and jailed see Hiss Case In 1951 Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were convicted of treason for stealing atomic secrets They were executed two years later Both of these trials and convictions provoked decades of controversy Half a century later the most recent evidence seems to support the convictions of Alger Hiss and Julius Rosenberg Meanwhile Congress began to investigate suspicions of disloyalty The House Un American Activities Committee HUAC sought to expose Communist influence in American life Beginning in the late 1940s the committee called witnesses and investigated the entertainment industry Prominent film directors and screenwriters who refused to cooperate were imprisoned on contempt charges As a result of the HUAC investigations the entertainment industry blacklisted or refused to hire artists and writers suspected of being Communists One of the most important figures of this period was Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin who gained power by accusing others of subversion In February 1950 a few months after the USSR detonated its first atomic device McCarthy claimed to have a list of Communists who worked in the State Department Although his accusations remained unsupported and a Senate committee labeled them a fraud and a hoax McCarthy won a national following Branding the Democrats as a party of treason he denounced his political foes as soft on Communism and called Truman s loyal secretary of state Dean Acheson the Red Dean McCarthyism came to mean false charges of disloyalty In September 1950 goaded by McCarthy Congress passed over Truman s veto the McCarran Internal Security Act which established a Subversive Activities Control Board to monitor Communist influence in the United States A second McCarran act the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 also became law over Truman s veto It kept the quota system based on national origin though it ended a ban on Asian immigration and required elaborate security checks for foreigners visiting the United States The Cold War played a role in the presidential contest of 1952 between Republican Dwight Eisenhower and Democrat Adlai Stevenson Many voters feared Soviet expansionism Soviet atomic explosions and more conflicts like Korea Eisenhower s running mate former HUAC member Richard M Nixon charged that a Democratic victory would bring more Alger Hisses more atomic spies Eisenhower s soaring popularity led to two terms as president McCarthy s influence continued until the Army McCarthy hearings of 1954 when the Senate investigated McCarthy s enquiry into the army The Senate censored him on December 2 1954 for abusing his colleagues and his career collapsed But fears of subversion continued Communities banned books teachers academics civil servants and entertainers lost jobs and unwarranted attacks ruined lives Communists again dwindled in number after 1956 when Stalin was revealed to have committed extensive crimes Meanwhile by the end of the decade new right wing organizations such as the John Birch Society condemned creeping socialism under Truman and Eisenhower McCarthyism left permanent scars The Cold War Under Eisenhower When Eisenhower took office in 1953 he moved to end the war in Korea where peace talks had been going on since 1951 Eisenhower s veiled threat to use nuclear weapons broke the stalemate An armistice signed in July 1953 set a boundary between the two Koreas near the 38th parallel Eisenhower then reduced the federal budget and cut defense spending Still he pursued the Cold War When Stalin died in 1953 the United States and the USSR had an opportunity to ease tensions However the USSR tested a nuclear bomb in 1954 and Eisenhower needed to appease Republicans who urged more forceful efforts to defeat Communism He relied on his secretary of state John Foster Dulles who called for liberation of the captive peoples of Eastern Europe and the end of Communism in China Dulles was willing to bring the world to the brink of war to intimidate the USSR With reduced conventional forces Dulles s diplomacy rested on threats of massive retaliation and brinksmanship a policy of never backing down in a crisis even at the risk of war In 1955 the United States and USSR met in Geneva Switzerland to address mounting fears about radioactive fallout from nuclear tests Discussions of peaceful coexistence led the two nations to suspend atmospheric tests of nuclear weapons Still the United States spent more on nuclear weapons and less on conventional forces Dulles meanwhile negotiated pacts around the world committing the United States to the defense of 43 nations The focus of the Cold War now shifted to the so called Third World where the Central Intelligence Agency CIA represented U S interests Established in 1947 to conduct espionage and assess information about foreign nations the CIA carried out covert operations against regimes believed to be Communist or supported by Communist nations In 1954 for example the CIA helped bring down a Guatemalan government that the United States believed was moving towards Communism Finally to stop the USSR from spreading Communism the United States became involved in Indochina and the Middle East In Vietnam Ho Chi Minh a nationalist and a Communist led a movement for independence from France The Truman administration had aided France but in 1954 the French were defeated An international peace conference in Geneva divided Vietnam at the 17th parallel The United States refused to sign the Geneva Accords which it believed conceded too much to the Communists Instead the United States sent economic aid and military advisers to South Vietnam from 1954 to 1961 Although Eisenhower feared further involvement in Vietnam he supported what was called the domino theory If Vietnam fell to Communism all of Southeast Asia might follow In the Middle East the United States promised a loan to Egypt s new ruler Gamal Abdul Nasser to build the Aswan High Dam on the Nile River But when Nassar bought arms from Communist Czechoslovakia the United States canceled the loan Nasser retaliated in July 1956 by nationalizing the Anglo French Suez Canal an artificial waterway across the Isthmus of Suez in northeastern Egypt Britain France and Israel formed in 1948 responded with force which the United States condemned The invaders of Egypt withdrew and the Suez crisis was defused In reaction to the Suez crisis the United States announced a new policy the Eisenhower Doctrine The United States would intervene in the Middle East if necessary to protect the area against Communism In July 1958 the United States sent 14 000 marines to Lebanon during a civil war that the United States feared would destabilize the region In the USSR Stalin s successor Nikita Khrushchev did his part to keep the Cold War alive He extended Soviet influence by establishing relations with India and with other nations that were not aligned with either side in the Cold War In 1955 Khrushchev created the Warsaw Pact a military alliance of seven European Communist nations to secure the Soviet position in Europe In 1956 he used force in Hungary and political pressure in Poland to ensure continued Soviet control of those countries He increased Soviet power by developing a hydrogen bomb and by launching the first earth satellite in 1957 Finally he formed an alliance with Cuba after Fidel Castro led a successful revolution there in 1959 At the end of Eisenhower s second term the Cold War still dominated American foreign policy United States efforts around the world to quell Communist inspired or nationalist insurgencies sometimes caused anger In 1958 angry crowds in Peru and Venezuela stoned Vice President Nixon s car On May 1 1960 the Soviets shot down a U 2 spy plane and plans for a second summit collapsed When Eisenhower left office he warned against unwarranted influence by the military industrial complex But the nuclear arms race had intensified and the Cold War seemed to be widening The Cold War brought divisiveness and discord in the United States Americans of the 1950s clashed on the extent of the threat posed by Communism at home and abroad Historians debate this question too as well as the origins of the Cold War Some contend that Soviet aggression in the postwar era reflected valid concerns for security and that a series of hostile acts by the United States provoked the USSR to take countermeasures Others argue variously that Communism was inherently expansionist that Soviet aggression was a natural outgrowth of Communism that with Stalin in power the Cold War was inevitable that the USSR was bent on establishing Communist regimes in every region where a power vacuum existed and that containment was a necessary and successful policy Starting in the early 1990s scholars have gained access to Soviet evidence that was previously unavailable New revelations from Russian archives as well as declassification in 1995 and 1996 of U S intelligence files on interception of Soviet spy cables known as the Venona decryptions has recently made possible new scholarship on the Cold War era For the moment debates about U S Cold War policy are likely to remain A WORLD OF PLENTY In the post World War II decade the United States was the richest nation in the world After a brief period of postwar adjustment the economy boomed Consumers demanded goods and services Businesses produced more to meet this demand and increased production led to new jobs Federal foreign aid programs such as the Marshall Plan provided overseas markets for U S businesses Finally the government spent large amounts of money by providing loans fighting the Cold War and funding social programs Government spending plus consumer demand led to an era of widespread prosperity rising living standards and social mobility The Postwar Administrations As the nation demobilized President Harry S Truman faced a political battle A one time courthouse politician who owed his political success to the Democratic political machine of Kansas City Truman had been a liberal senator and loyal New Dealer Assertive and self confident he capably assumed the presidency after Roosevelt s death at the end of World War II But in 1946 Truman encountered the Republican dominated 80th Congress the first time Republicans won control of both houses since 1928 In 1947 Congress passed the Labor Management Relations Act known as the Taft Hartley Act over Truman s veto The act was a restrictive labor law that handicapped labor and boosted employer power For instance it banned closed shops thereby enabling employers to hire nonunion workers it revived the labor injunction as a way to end strikes and boycotts and it allowed states to pass right to work laws that forbade making union membership a condition of hiring Congress also rejected Truman s efforts to improve civil rights for African Americans It refused to pass federal antilynching laws or to abolish the poll tax In 1948 however Truman integrated the armed forces by an executive order He also ordered an end to discrimination in the hiring of federal employees Southern Democrats never liked Truman At the Democratic convention of 1948 they withdrew from the party to form a states rights party the Dixiecrats Truman also faced a challenge from the left when Henry Wallace ran as the presidential candidate of the Progressive Party Both of these challenges took Democratic votes from Truman and most observers expected that his Republican opponent New York governor Thomas E Dewey would defeat him But the scrappy president won reelection The 81st Congress continued to reject his social and economic proposals known as the Fair Deal Legislators defeated for instance a measure for national compulsory health insurance Still Truman succeeded in raising the minimum wage extending social security coverage and building low income housing Elected president by big margins in 1952 and 1956 Dwight D Eisenhower enjoyed immense popularity A pragmatic centrist Republican Eisenhower believed in smaller government fiscal conservatism and a business like administration Eisenhower continued some New Deal policies He expanded social security raised the minimum wage and backed a huge public works program the Federal Highway Act of 1956 which provided funds for the Interstate Highway System He also cut defense spending and presided over an era of peace and prosperity In 1953 Eisenhower appointed Earl Warren as chief justice of the Supreme Court an appointment that began a new era in judicial history The Warren Court transformed the American legal system by expanding civil rights and civil liberties In the 1950s the Court broadened the rights of the accused and overturned the 1949 convictions of Communist leaders who had been tried under the Smith Act Most important in Brown v Board of Education of Topeka 1954 the Warren court declared that school segregation violated the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment Concluding that separate educational facilities are inherently unequal it declared segregated schools unconstitutional In 1955 the Court ordered the states to desegregate schools with all deliberate speed However many people resisted school integration In 1957 the governor of Arkansas Orval Faubus tried to block the enrollment of nine black students into Little Rock High School In response Eisenhower never a strong civil rights supporter reluctantly sent federal troops to desegregate the school The Brown decision began a new era in civil rights The Eisenhower administration also ushered in the age of modern space exploration In 1958 Congress formed the National Aeronautics and Space Administration NASA to oversee a civilian space program NASA s birth reflected the Cold War competition between the United States and the USSR for supremacy in space The Soviets launched Sputnik 1 an artificial satellite in October 1957 The United States followed with Explorer 1 in January 1958 In 1961 the Soviets hurled the first astronaut Yuri Gagarin into orbit The same year Alan Shepard one of seven American astronauts trained in Project Mercury went into space on a suborbital flight In 1962 John Glenn became the first American to orbit the earth The Prosperous Fifties Eisenhower oversaw a productive and prosperous era Government spending plus consumer demand boosted the gross national product GNP With 6 percent of the world s population the United States produced half the world s goods Technological advances many achieved with federal aid ushered in new industries and sped up the pace of production in old ones The nation s five largest industries autos oil aircraft chemicals and electronics illustrated a leap in productivity The auto industry the nation s largest lowered labor costs by using more automated machines Oil replaced coal as the nation s major energy source The aircraft industry profited from defense spending space research and commercial airlines shift to jet propulsion The chemical industry offered new consumer goods such as synthetic fibers chemical fertilizers and plastics Computers too began to have an effect in the business world By the mid 1960s more than 30 000 mainframe computers were in use As productivity rose the labor market changed Fewer people held blue collar jobs and more did white collar work Employment grew rapidly in the service sector which includes sales work office work and government jobs More American wage earners worked for large corporations or for state or federal agencies than in small enterprise Businesses expanded by swallowing weaker competitors as happened in the steel oil chemical and electrical machinery industries Corporations formed huge new conglomerates mergers of companies in unrelated industries In addition companies offering similar products or services in many locations known as franchises increased the first McDonald s franchise opened in 1955 Some big corporations established overseas operations and became multinational Producers in the United States depended on world markets to buy oil iron steel and food that they exported They also increased their overseas investments Standard Oil later Exxon for instance developed oil resources in Venezuela and the Middle East Coca Cola swept through Europe where it set up bottling factories New types of bureaucrats ran the big businesses of postwar America In The Organization Man 1956 sociologist William H Whyte wrote that employers sought managers who would adapt to corporate culture which rewarded teamwork and conformity The Middle Class Expands Many factors converged

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