Issues in America during 1880-1920


Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) : 27,000 workers were killed on the job and discrimination against women, minorities, and unskilled laborers by other unions, particularly the AFL.

Racial Prejudice: A negative attitude towards a group of people based on their race, The "Know-Nothings": They believed that native-born Americans were more superior to German and Irish immigrants because they were poorer and Catholic.

The financial Panic of 1893 heightened the tension of this debate. Bank failures abounded in the South and Midwest; unemployment soared and crop prices fell badly. The crisis, and President Cleveland's inability to solve it, nearly broke the Democratic Party.

Political machines started as grass roots organizations to gain the patronage needed to win the modern election. Having strong patronage, these "clubs" were the main driving force in gaining and getting out the "straight party vote" in the election districts.

Patronage and limited suffrage was a huge political deal during Progressivism.

The grand political issue during Imperialism was communism involving Europe and Asia.

WW1 had issues, as well: isolation, the Red Scare, and the Red Summer.


Economic depressions = low prices for farm goods and heavy unemployment in factories and mines. Layoffs and wage cuts were also part of the depressions. Immigrants suffered from cheap labor, in mining and manufacturing.

Tenements: An apartment house with poor sanitation, poor safety, and poor comfort conditions. Slums: Very poor neighborhoods filled with immigrants who shared their language, religion, and culture. Crime was an issue in the slums as well.

Tammany Hall: Served as an engine for graft and political corruption, perhaps most notoriously under William M. "Boss" Tweed.

Corporate Trusts: Big businesses formed trusts and destroyed competition by raising prices to make unfair profits that hurt customers. Other issues included child labor and high rates of unemployment.

Taxation increase: 6% - 25% AND management: War Industries Board attempted to create a "priorities system" for determining the order in which producer would fill government contracts for industrial goods.


First Transcontinental Railroad: Irish and Chinese labor, white men were credited to building the roads and laborers were abusive (verbally and physically) to Irish and Chinese men.

Americanization: The process of an immigrant being changed to live, like, or share values, beliefs, and/or customs like and American, and is assimilated into society. This also includes racial prejudice, slums, tenements, and great opportunities.

White Slavery: enslavement of Europeans by non-Europeans, as a part of Arab, Barbary, and Ottoman slave trade. Unemployment and unfair wages led to homelessness, crime, and alcohol abuse led to poverty.

Some issues caused a breakdown of previous cultures and lifestyles that the natives had followed.

Yellow Journalism: Encouraged a Spanish mine to blow up the USS Maine on February 15, 1898. Britain: social change = BANKRUPTCY after WW1

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