A Trip Through Time

Proud or Shame in America

Edison's Lightbulb

In 1876, Thomas Alva Edison invented the first incandescent light bulb in Menlo Park, New Jersey and patented it in 1880. This made a massive improvement in industry by allowing people to work both during the day and at night. He soon invented an entire system to produce and distribute electricity. He didn't give up in the making of the light bulb and that's something that we as Americans can be proud of.
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The conditions of Labor

The large percentage of people had jobs in factories, even kids as early as age 5. This fact in itself is bad enough, but even worse when you look at the amount of injuries and deaths happen per week. For the most part, workers worked for at least 12 hours a day, for 6 days a week, without vacation, sick days, or medical coverage for injuries on the job, all for very little money. On average, 675 laborers were killed in the work place in 1882. I think of this as a shame like any other humane person would, that anyone could do this to another human being, especially a kid.
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A Jump into Communication

In 1867, Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Watson invented the telephone. In doing this, He revolutionized how we communicate and made it into a world wide network. This affected the work force and opened up many jobs, along with other inventions. We should be proud as Bell's telephone was the starting point of what has lead to how we communicate today.
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Ellis and Angel Island

Ellis Island and Angel Island are where immigrants arrive in the U.S. and go through the process to get approved to be allowed into the States. Ellis Island is located in the New York Harbor on the east coast, which mostly European immigrants came to. Only 2% of the immigrants were denied entry to the States and 20% were detained for a few days before inspection. Approximately 17 million immigrants came through Ellis Island. Angel Island is located in the San Francisco Bay on the west coast, which mostly the Asian immigrants came to. Unlike Ellis Island, Angel Island is closer associated with a prison, where the immigrants were held longer and the questioning is harsh. Approximately 50,000 Chinese came to Angel Island between 1910-1940. The concept of allowing people in with open arms is something to be proud of, but the way they did it, especially at Angel Island, is something to be ashamed of.
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Pull factors

Pull Factors are what leads immigrants to America. Stuff like freedom, job opportunity, and other rights that America had achieved over the years. The fact that people chose to leave their home to come here for a new start is pretty awesome. And over the years, it caused our culture to diversify and become better, which is something to be proud of.
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Chinese Exclusion Act

In 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act was passed by Congress, stopping the Chinese immigrants (except students, teachers, merchants, tourists, and government officials) from coming to the States for the next ten years. After the ten years were up, Congress banned them for ten more years, then eventually decided the ban was permanent. The ban was finally removed in 1943, but it is a shame that America did that in the first place because of the issue of jobs being hard to come by.


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Mass Transit

Put simply, mass transit was a way of moving big groups of people places like jobs and homes faster and more efficiently. In 1873, a system of trolley cars were set up in San Francisco and Boston had electric subways in 1897. Pretty soon, there were transit systems set up in urban areas that linked up neighborhoods to communities and the cities. The problem was that the expanding population made it hard to cope with the demand for more transit systems and fixing the old ones.
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Skyscrapers

The concept of skyscrapers was to use the most of small amounts of ground permitted for the buildings. Instead of spreading out and covering more land or making multiple buildings, the idea of building up instead of out was created. This allowed people to put more in one building and didn’t have to pay for more land. The skyscraper was America’s greatest contribution to architecture, which is definitely something to be proud of.

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Political Machines

The political machines control the political parties and what they do in the cities, and basically bribe the voters and businesses with favors in order to get their political and financial support. They even gained control of the local governments of major cities in the decades after the civil war. The hierarchy of the political machine “pyramid” from bottom to top is ordered, the local officers and captains who gained the voter’s support in neighborhoods. They reported to the ward bosses, who helped the poor, through services and favors, in exchange for votes. They reported to the city boss, at the top of the pyramid, who managed the activities of the party throughout the city. But, naturally, there were the cases where this party of politics was corrupt and some political machines such as the “Tweed Ring” that abused their power, which is a shame that such an act is still common in politics today.
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The 17th Amendment

In 1912-1913, the 17th amendment was passed, making it so the people vote for their senators, rather than each state’s legislature. This was a good change because it gave the people more power to chose who represented them. Congress approved it in 1912 and it was ratified in 1913. This is something to be proud of because it gave the people more power and choice in who represented them.

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Eugene Debs and the American Socialist Party

Eugene Debs helped organize the American Socialist Party in 1901, calling out how unbalanced the government and businesses are and stuff. Debs believed that capitalism was the root of social problems and the evils of society and that we didn’t need reform, we needed revolution. For the most part, progressivists stayed away from socialism, but many agreed with Debs opinions about society and business being corrupt.


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The 19th Amendment

The 19th amendment was passed in 1919 by Congress, granting women the right to vote. It was ratified in August 1920. This was a major milestone in America, and women had worked so hard for it, enduring so much from the people who were against women’s suffrage. It’s the kind of thing that is an inspiration even today, because they never gave up and in the end, the women won their right to vote.
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Panama Canal

The Panama Canal was a vision of Americans who felt that they needed a canal through Central America for military and trade ships to get through from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. When America wanted to build the canal, Columbia said no, which didn’t make America too happy. So, we sent down troops to help the Panamanian rebels overthrow Columbia. The U.S. signed a treaty with Panama that gave them permission to build the canal, which was open for use in August 1914.
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Platt Amendment

Cuba, finally free from Spain after the U.S. stepped in and helped, wrote their constitution of their independence. The Platt amendment was added to it, by the U.S., basically saying that Cuba couldn’t make treaties with anyone else, that the U.S. could use their land for naval and refueling stations and other stuff. After we freed them from Spain’s control, we pretty much replaced them and controlled Cuba ourselves. It is kind of hypocritical that we did that.


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Roosevelt Corollary

Roosevelt added the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine in 1904. The Monroe Doctrine warned the European powers to stay out of Latin America. The Roosevelt Corollary added that if anything happened to disturb peace in Latin America, America would act as an international police power and that we would use force if necessary to protect our economic interests in Latin America.


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Treaty of Versailles

After the 1st World War was over, the Treaty of Versailles was a peace treaty hoping to restore peace throughout Europe. The treaty established 9 new nations and demanded Germany pay reparation and take full responsibility for the war. There were a bunch of concerns with the treaty from the Americans and in the end, we didn’t join the League of Nations and signed a separate treaty with Germany.


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Selective Service Act

The Selective Service Act was passed in May of 1917. It required men to enlist with the gov. to get picked randomly to serve in the military to fight in WW1. Before 1918 ended, 24 million men had enlisted because of this act, but only 2 million actually reached Europe and only 3/4ths of them fought.


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Zimmerman Note

The Zimmerman Note was a telegram sent to Mexico from Germany trying to form an alliance. Germany did this as a precaution for if the U.S. entered the war and supported the Allies. Germany offered Mexico the territory they lost to the U.S. in exchange for an alliance, but Mexico said no. Ironically, when they sent the telegram, the States intercepted it and this lead to them joining WW1, doing exactly what Germany was trying to protect against.


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