America's Journey (1880-1920)

By: Maddy Kemper

Industrialization: John D. Rockerfeller and Oil (Proud and Shame)

John D. Rockefeller was one of the most wealthiest men and a philanthropist. He was the founder of standard oil. By the 1880's, Rockefeller owned nearly 90% of most refineries and was accused by muckrakers of unethical practices such as predatory pricing and colluding with railroads to destroy his competitors just to gain a monopoly in the oil industry. Finally in 1911, the U.S. Supreme Court realized the extent of the Standard Oil violations of the anti-trust laws and dissolved the industry. I am proud that the Supreme Court finally came to their senses and dissolved that company, yet ashamed because it took them so long to realize what Rockefeller was doing was morally wrong. I used this image of Standard Oil to show the Muckrakers and the public's point of view of John Rockefeller.

Industrialization: Pullman Strike (Proud and Shame)

In 1893, a wave of economic depression began that affected many companies including the Pullman Palace Car Company. Their response the the depression was cutting the already extremely low wages by 25%. On top of that, Pullman did not lower the rent in the companies housing and if they went into debt, it would come out of their paycheck. Many workers and their families faced starvation. The American Railway Union (ARU) had previously led a strike against the Great Northern Railway Company the year before. They were not technically involved with the strike, they gathered for a meeting and the Pullman strike was an issue on the delegate's minds. The Governments response to the unrest marked the first time that an injunction was used to break a strike. Amid the crisis, Labor Day came from this as a conciliatory gesture toward the American Labour Movement. I am proud that Congress decided to give Labor Day to these hardworkers. I am ashamed that this company (as well as many others) risk the lives of their workers in order to save their own. I used this cartoon of Pullman crushing his workers.
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Industrialization: Completion of the Transcontinental Railroad (Proud)

Two rival companies--Union Pacific and Central Pacific-- where given the task of connecting a railroad track that would link the united states from east to west. Over the next seven years, the companies would race towards each other beginning in California in the west and Nebraska in the east. It was one of the greatest American technological inventions of the 19th century. I am proud because this eliminated traffic on the Oregon and California trail. It made travel fast, safe, and cheap. I chose this picture to show the two companies coming together basking in their amazing accomplishments.
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Immigration: Chinese Exclusion Act (Shame)

This was the first really significant law restricting immigration into the United States. Chinese composed a very small percentage of the population yet Congress passed the act to placate worker demands. They were concerned about maintaining white racial purity. In 1902, Chinese immigration was made permanently illegal. The Legislation proved effective and the Chinese population in the United States declined very rapidly. Shame again for the same reasons. We promise freedom yet it comes with so many prices to the point where it isn't worth it.
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Immigration: Ellis Island (Proud)

Ellis Island became a place for the ultimate new beginning. Jews escaping from political and economic oppression in czarist Russia and Eastern Europe and itlians escaping poverty. There were also Poles, Hungarians, Czechs, Serbs, Slovaks and Greeks. All leaving their home to come to the new world to leave behind war, drought, famine and religious persecution. 5,000-10,000 people were coming through each day to start a new life in America. I am proud that we opened up our new home so they could escape their old, haunted pasts.
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Immigration: Americanization Movement (Shame)

Americanization is the assimilation of the incoming immigrants. Forcing them to conform to the culture, values, beliefs, and customs of the American ways. The Americanization Movement Caused for around 30 states to pass laws requiring assimilation programs. I am ashamed of this movement because these people have come from all over the world to experience freedom. They have given up everything to come over to American and now we are making them give up more. I chose this article because the quote "Keep America Great" stood out to me. It takes the assimilation of a human in order to keep America great.
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Urbanization: California Gold Rush (Proud)

The California Gold Rush was responsible for the largest migration bringing in nearly 300,000 people to California. It all started when James Marshall found a small piece of gold on his land at Stutter's Mill. News of the find quickly spread around and the first of the arrivals were known as the "forty-niners." It resulted in the many new developments of roads, churches, schools, and towns. The gold also helped speed up the admission of California into the US as a state. I am proud that we didn't just use the gold on just industries but put it towards the education and housing for Americans.
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Urbanization: Overcrowding of Tenements (Shame)

In the 19th century, more people started crowding into the cities of America such as thousands of newly arrived immigrants seeking a better life. Buildings that had once been single-family buildings were soon divided into many living spaces to accommodate the growing population. Many of the consisted of cramped spacing, poor lighting, poor ventilation, and lack of indoor plumbing. By 1900, 2.3 million people were living in tenement housing. I am more embarrassed than I am ashamed. We promise them a life greater than were they came from and we give them overcrowded run down houses. This picture was taken of a family living in one of New York's Tenement houses.
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Progressivism: Square Deal (Proud)

Teddy Roosevelt's Square Deal was a domestic program that was based on conservation of natural resources, control of corporations, and consumer protection. It helped to attack plutocracy and bad trusts while protecting businesses from the most extreme demands of organized labor. I am very proud of Roosevelt for working on defrauding the public and making monopolies the primary target of the Square Deal.
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Progressivism: Pure Food and Drug Act (Proud)

The Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 was one of the first consumer protection laws. It led to the creation of the Food and Drug Administration. The purpose of the Act was to ban any mislabeled food products that could possibly harm or even kill consumers. It required that ingredients be placed on the label of the packaging and that it could not fall below the newly issued purity standards. Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle," was an inspirational piece that kept the attention on the important issues of unsanitary meat processing plants. I believe this was a huge step for America because citizens and soldiers now know what is in the food they eat. They don't have to worry about possibly getting sick or even end up dying.
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Progressivism: Social Gospel Movement (Proud)

This was a religious movement that began to tie salvation and good works together. In their minds, to honor God people must put aside their desires and help others, especially the poor. The ideas of this movement heavily influenced the progressive movement. One of their most important contributions was the creation of settlement houses. They provided numerous opportunities for the less-fortunate people, including education, free or low-cost health care, free or low-cost housing, and other benefits. This is a huge proud moment in American history because they are working towards a better future for our not as wealthy citizens.
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Imperialism: Platt Amendment (Proud and Ashamed)

This amendment was an add-on to the U.S. army appropriations bill. Established the terms under which the U.S. would end its military occupation of Cuba. Although, it laid down eight conditions to which the Cuban Government had to agree before the withdrawal of U.S. forces and the transfer of sovereignty would begin. America improved the sanitary conditions of the island. The United States also pressured the Cubans to incorporate the Terms into the Cuban Constitution. I am proud because we changed another countries lives by cleaning up their act. But also ashamed because we pressured them into it more things they bargained for.
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Imperialism: Open Door Policy (Proud)

The Open Door Policy literally opened doors for the Chinese, as well as the American, trading companies. The Principle that all nations should have equal access to any of the ports open to trade in China. The policy was received with universal approval in the United States, for more than 40 years it was a cornerstone of American foreign policy. I am proud that we set aside our differences to come together and deliver goods for our people.
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World War 1: Wilson's Fourteen Points (Proud)

Woodrow Wilson issued a public explanation of what they hoped to accomplish though a victory over the Central Powers. The Fourteen Points were presented in a speech before both houses of congress and were intended to push support for Wilson's vision of the postwar-world. Not only to just push support, but to also push for the hopes of peace for the nations; to generate momentum for ending the war. Open Diplomacy, Freedom of seas, removal of economic barriers, and so forth. All working together to push the world towards a place of peace. I am very proud of Wilson for taking the risk to push these points out in hoping that it would open up the world's eyes.
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World War 1: Economic Rivalries (Shame)

The origins of the First World War lay in the fact that the nineteenth century industrial, military and naval predominance of British and French capitalism was being challenged by the rapid expansion of Germany. As German industry grew, German production and exports were catching up with the British and the French. Constant competition and the trying to "one-up" one another was a huge cause for WWI and that is what shames me.
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World War 1: Zimmerman Telegram (Proud and Shame)

The German Foreign Office sent a telegram that proposed a military alliance between Germany and Mexico (as well as Japan) in the event of the United States entering WW1 against Germany. While sending the telegram, Britain was decoding it and intercepted the message. Germany thought that Britain could be quickly taken put if its supply lines to North America were severed. On April 2, Wilson officially asked to declare war on Germany. I am proud of Britain for being the noble one and came to us with the decoded message. I am ashamed that we immediatly took them to war instead of handling the situation rationally.
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