The Moments of Disgrace and Pride

America 1880-1920



The Populist Movement

Populism was the participation of the common people in political life. The Populist party also became known as the People's Party. Created in 1892, the populist party convention in Nebraska demanded reforms to lift the debt of farmers and to give people a greater voice. Overall, the Populism movement had an acknowledgeable effort to engage people in politics, but only achieved half of what it's original purpose was. But, it is still a noticeable and prideful moment in politics.

Oil Drilling and Refining

Oil became an important resource in the late 1880s. It wasn't until 1859 when the settlers actually began using oil when Edwin Drake but the steam engine to drill oil. Several states began transforming oil into kerosene. The byproduct of the refining process, gasoline, grew a stronger demand once automobiles were invented. Oil was and is an essential part of the American economy. The discovery of oil is a very important memory of in American history.

Alexander Graham Bell and the Telephone

Along with the lightbulb, the telephone was the next dramatic invention unveiled by Bell and Thomas Watson. Invented in 1876, the telephone opened the doors to nationwide and worldwide communications. Today without the telephone, our society in America, and across the globe would not be imaginable. This invention during the Industrialization age is a proud moment in American history.



A negative response to immigration was Nativism. Nativism was overt favors forward native born Americans. This behavior led to anti-immigration groups who demanded immigrant restriction laws. Many of the Americans who practiced Nativism believed Anglo Saxons were superior to all other ethnic groups. This is most certainly a disgraceful moment in American history. It was shameful the way some of the Americans reacted to new immigrants moving here. America's image is the melting pot, and without diversity of America, the country wouldn't be what it was supposed to be.

Mass Transit

As the immigration population grew, the need of transportation was in higher demand. The designs of mass transit needed to improve to equip moving larger amounts of people. Finally, mass transit was improved, and included new technologies such as the trolly, to move people faster and easier on new routes to get them to jobs. This opened more doors to more jobs to people who thought they couldn't work, but finally can. This was a very innovative moment of history, and if it didn't happen, America would be at a stand-still today.


The Americanization movement's purpose was to forcefully assimilate the immigrants and divert them from all their traditions and religions. The campaign was sponsored by the government and by Americans who were worried about immigration overwhelming America. For Americanization, schools began programs that taught immigrant children English literacy and forced them to learn American history and to forget about their culture's history. This is a disgraceful time in immigration era, it was very similar to the Nativism behavior. It took America too long to accept that the country needed diversity, and soon its reputation would be based on the diversity of many cultures.


Boss Tweed

Boss Tweed was most famously known as being the head of Tammany Hall in New York City. Tammany Hall was a large democratic political machine in 1868. Between 1869-1871, he led the Tweed Ring. The Tweed Ring was a group of corrupt politicians who used the immigrants wrongfully for financial gain. This is a disgraceful period in American history when we used our fellow Americans for corruption and greed.

Settlement Houses

Created in 1884, settlement houses were community centers in slum areas for locals and especially for immigrants. They provided aid to the poverty stricken. Settlement houses taught immigrants important work skills and provided nurses for the sick. This is one of the best moments from the urbanization era, it also showed the other side of Americans that truly cared about the immigrants.


As more people immigrated to America, cities grew. It started to become very difficult to keep cities clean. Locals would walk on the street and see horse manure, sewage, and would look up an the entire sky would be covered in foul smoke. Sometimes, there would even be dead horses left on the street. This was disgraceful of time of America, it took us too long to find a solution to the sanitation problem which caused disease among fellow Americans.


The Trust Buster

Theodore Roosevelt, became later known as the Trust Buster. One of the more memorable actions he took in office, was purging America of any of the unfair trusts. Roosevelt soon adopted the motto, he wanted a "Square Deal" for all Americans. Roosevelt focused on attacking the trusts that were guilty of monopolies. Roosevelt is a notorious president and his memory is only based on the good he did for the Americans, and he only wanted Square Deals for all.

Meat Inspection Act

The Meat Inspection Act was inspired by Upton Sinclair's book, "The Jungle", which analyzed the meat packing industry and described how disgusting it was. Roosevelt was appalled when he read it and immediately took action. He began to push the meat industry to be investigated and targeted. In 1906, Roosevelt issued the act which dictated strict cleanliness requirements for meat packers. Roosevelt also created the Federal Meat inspection program. It did take to long for the government to realize what was behind the meat packing industry, but thanks to "The Jungle" and Roosevelt taking action, our food laws greatly improved food and prevented illnesses which saved the American people.

Alice Paul

This suffragist used aggressive and forceful actions of protest including picketing in front of the White House, going on hunger strikes while in jail, and using very strong statements against president Wilson. She refused to protest peacefully and slowly wait for women's rights, she wanted to be noticed by the president, and she definitely was. She created the National Women's Party, which became a programs of hundreds of women who were on her side. Finally, the 19th amendment was passed in 1920, which granted women to vote. It took Wilson too long to pass this amendment and made women, like Alice Paul, suffer too long for their rights. Alice Paul is a very notable progressive figure who went beyond the limits anyone else wanted to go.


Treaty of Paris

The Treaty of Paris created a great debate among Americans. One side, favored annexation and believed the United States had an obligation to fulfill: to spread America's values overseas. Many Americans wanted the Philippines economic and strategic value. Located on the route of China, the Philippines would be useful as a place to refuel and resupply ships. As a result, many expansionists wanted to annex the Philippines before Germany or Japan took the country. The other side of the debate was to not annex and argued using political, moral, and economic reasoning. Some oven felt that the treaty went against the Declaration of Independence by denying self-government to newly acquired territories. On February 6, 1899, the Senate approved the Treaty of Paris. The U.S now gained Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines. Gaining these territories became vital assets then, and now. Without gaining these territories, America would be very different.

Open Door Policy

America began to worry that China would be divided into colonies and American traders would no longer be able to trade with China. To protect American trading, U.S secretary of state, John Hay, released in 1899, a series of policy statements called the Open Door Notes. The notes were addressed to the leaders of all the Imperialist nations proposing that all the nations share their trading rights with the U.S. In other words, no single nation would have a monopoly trade with China. The Imperialist powers reluctantly agreed to the policy. This policy is a prideful moment in American history. Without it, America today might not be able to trade with China, or even trade with the past Imperialist countries.

Yellow Journalism

Yellow Journalism during the age of Imperialism overwhelmed the facts, and turned them into an unbelievable reality. Exaggerated brutal stories were released in the news papers that turned the truth upside down. This style of writing greatly lured readers and engaged them during this era. Yellow Journalism was disgraceful and wasn't necessary during this era. The American people shouldn't have been lied to and to be terrified by scary, propaganda lies.


League of Nations

The League of Nations, (which no longer exists today), was a group of representatives from different countries who strived to protect all countries of the world. They looked for potential threats around the world, and would prevent them. Wilson proposed it, but Henry Cabot Lodge opposed it. Later, the senate rejected America being associated with the League of Nations. Countries continued to participate, but America was the only one who didn't. It was disappointing that America didn't accept the League of Nations, if we did accept, it might have made America different of what it is today. The League of Nations was definitely an impactful idea, even thought America didn't participate.

Espionage and Sedition Act

In 1917 and 1918, Congress passed both acts. Both acts stated that Americans must keep their mouth shut about any details about the U.S in WWI. The government granted these acts due to their concern of foreign spies watching Americans. An American could be fined up to $10,000 and sentenced up to 20 years in prison for interfering in this effort. Modern America looks back at this and probably thinks it was a bit of a overreaction to spies. However, it is a prideful moment because America did everything they could to keep America safe during WWI.

Women on the Homefront

Women contributed to the war effort by taking on jobs such as being nurses, clerks and teachers. Many women worked as volunteers, especially in the Red Cross. The need for socks for the soldiers grew higher in demand and women stepped-up and constantly knitted socks for soldiers so they wouldn't get trench foot. This is a very proud moment of women's history in America. Women displayed they were capable of doing whatever needed for our soldiers overseas.