Shame and Pride

What dominates in American history?


Political: Dawes act

A significant political Act in the era of Industrialization is the Dawes Act. This was an act introduced by Henry Dawes and got passed by Congress in 1887. The Dawes Act had the purpose of breaking up the Native American tribes to assimilate them to Western culture. It was designed to destroy the idea of tribes so the Native Americans would be treated as individuals rather than as members of a tribe. The Dawes Act broke up their land into smaller pieces (allotments) for individual families to live on. The Native Americans lived on significantly less land and the rest of the land they previously lived on got sold to white settlers.
I think that the Dawes Act was a very unfair and cruel act and shows part of the very part treatment the white Americans showed to the Native Americans. Not only did it suppress and break apart their culture and beliefs, it also led to the Indian wars which caused a lot of deaths. This is a part of the American culture we wish to forget but that we truly have to remember because nothing like this should ever happen again.
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Economic: bessemer process

The Bessemer Process was the main economic event in the era of Industrialization that I chose because it had a very big impact on American society. The Bessemer Process made the production easy and inexpensive in comparison to how steel got produced before. It allowed the inexpensive mass production of steel and allowed the building of skyscrapers and bridges. It also replaced iron (which was the major metal used before the Bessemer Process) in the American railway system which made the railways much safer.
The introduction of the Bessemer Process was a very positive thing since it allowed progress and truly transformed America's architecture and way of life by allowing so many good changes to happen.
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Social/Cultural: kill the indian, save the child

The way the Native Americans got treated is one of the main concerns when talking about the Industrialization and assimilation takes a big part in that. "Kill the Indian; Save the child" clearly shows the main purpose of assimilation: making the Native Americans behave and be like a white westernized person. They tried to achieve this by setting up boarding schools they forced the Indian children to go to. They were Christian boarding schools that served the purpose of killing the Indian culture and spirit inside the children and westernize them. When they came out of these schools they were meant to take part in the Western culture and act like a "new" white American.
Again, the assimilation of Native Americans is not something to be proud of. It destroyed their culture and forced the Western way of life upon them.
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Kill the Indian, Save the Child


Political: chinese exclusion act

The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 is the political component I chose for immigration. It was a United States federal law signed by president Chester A. Arthur and restricted free immigration significantly. It prohibited the immigration of all Chinese workers. The Americans didn't want more Chinese workers to come into their country and wanted to maintain white "racial purity".
I don't think that the Chinese Exclusion Act was a positive thing in American history. It was a racial exclusion since it only prohibited Chinese workers from immigrated which was racist and in my opinion doesn't make any sense since the Chinese workers where the ones who helped to build the railroads. It was an unfair act and the way the Chinese immigrants got treated at Angel Island were unfair and inhuman.
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Economic: New Immigrants

The new immigrants which came over to the United States from Southern and Eastern Europe and Asia didn't have money, didn't speak the English language and were unskilled workers. They didn't assimilate to the American culture but rather stayed with their own people and created their own communities in American cities. There they basically lived like they had in their own country, practicing their own culture and speaking their own language. This created places like Chinatown or Little Italy which still exist in American cities today.
I think that assimilation has its purpose and if you come to another country you should expect that people want you to learn the language and take place in the culture of the country you are in. But it is normal for people to want to hang on to what they are used to wand what they know as home. I think that not forgetting about where you are from and your culture is very important but it shouldn't keep you from learning the language of the country you are in so you can find work.
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Social/Cultural: Immigrants

The American culture got influenced by the immigrants coming into the culture. It made the culture a lot more diverse and created how the American society is compounded today. This diverse society with many different people who have different ethnicities is very interesting and a big part of why America is the way it is today. I think that this is a very positive thing since it creates diversity and makes the culture and society more interesting. But it is not always easy to deal with different people who choose to assimilate or choose not to and that can lead to a lot of problems in society. Therefore I see immigration as both a positive and negative thing.
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Political: tammany hall

Tammany Hall was the biggest political machine that dominated politics in New York City. It was a Democratic organization and its leader was William M "Boss" Tweed. Tammany Hall was popular and known for helping the poor and immigrant populations. But does it end there? Of course not. It was also known for being corrupt and gaining control over most of New York City's politics through unethical methods.
I think that Tammany Hall and similar political organizations are something to be both proud and ashamed of. Like we can see when talking about Tammany Hall, such political organizations have the power to do very good things and change the world for the better but often times act badly and unethically in order to gain more power and control how the people voted.
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Economic: Infrastrucutre

The new infrastructure transformed American cities during the era of Urbanization. Infrastructure are the basic facilities, services, and installations needed to make a city or community function properly. Roads and rails, communication systems, water and power lines, and public institutions such as schools and prisons are examples of infrastructure.
This new infrastructure in American cities was made able through the Bessemer Process and Electricity which allowed for things such as tracks for Trolleys and Street Cars, bridges and many other things to get developed.
I am proud of the development of the infrastructure in American cities because it made the life in those cities a lot better and easier.
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Social/cultural: tenements

Housing in the cities wasn't glamorous for many people. In fact, the immigrant and poor population had to live under very bad conditions. They lived in tenements which were very small, run-down apartment houses that were often times very overcrowded. The drastic growth of the population created lack of room for people to live in which resulted in them living in tenements. A lot of tenements existed in New York City at the time. Living in such a small place with so many people was very dangerous since diseases spread very easily.
The tenement housing was a very bad and difficult situation and it was very hard for the people who had to live in these places. I don't think I can speak of shame in this situation but rather of sadness and helplessness when learning about it. It makes me think that problems like this still exist today and that there has to be a way to help these people, we need to do something about it although it is not easy.
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Political: Nawsa

The NAWSA, or National American Woman Suffrage Association, was an organization that fought for the right for women to vote. It got formed by Elizabeth Candy and Susan B. Anthony in 1890. The NAWSA played a big role in the passing of the 19th amendment which allowed women to vote but it took 30 years to get there (and the NAWSA wasn't the first organization that fought for women's suffrage). It was the largest voluntary organization at its time with 2 million members at its best.
The NAWSA was undoubtedly an amazing organization with a great goal. The United States where one of the earlier countries that gave women the right to vote but it took a very long time to get there which is the only bad thing to say about it. Overall I would say that the passing of the 19th amendment was an amazing progress but it shouldn't have been such a long and difficult fight.
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Economic: 16th amendment

The 16th amendment to the Constitution of the United States got passed in 1913 and allowed for the federal government to levy an income tax. It got signed by president Woodrow Wilson and determined that the more money you make, the more taxes you have to pay. If you make a lot of money there is a higher percentage of your income going to the government. This is what we mean when we talk about a graduated income tax.
In my opinion the graduated income tax was a good thing. People who make more money can pay a little more without it hurting them. And if taxes get used the right way they should help the whole population of a country (unfortunately we don't have any power over what politicians actually use our taxes for).
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Social/Cultural: jane addams

Jane Addams was a settlement social worker and confounder of Hull House in Chicago who was part of the Muckraker movement during the era of Progressivism. After seeing the bad conditions poor children had to live in, Jane Addams decided that she wanted to change something about it. She confounded Hull House which was the first settlement house in Chicago. Settlement houses provided services for the immigrant and poor population in cities who had to live under very bad conditions. Settlement houses provided them with child care, educational services, a public kitchen, and other social programs.
I think that Jane Addams is someone we can all be very proud of since she improved the lives of the poor children and therefore did something to change our world for the better!
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The Life and Work of Jane Addams


Political: Big stick diplomacy

The Big Stick Diplomacy was Theodore Roosevelt's foreign policy and addition to the Monroe Doctrine. Roosevelt said to "speak softly, and carry a big stick." He wanted to strive for peace without letting other nations forget that the United States had a very strong military.
One example of Roosevelt using his policy was during the Venezuela crisis when he added to the Monroe Doctrine that The United states would get involved in conflicts between European and Latin American nations and carry out claims of the European powers instead of them passing their claims directly.
I think that Theodore Roosevelt's Big Stick policy had good and bad aspects to it. It is a good policy when using it for the right things but that isn't necessarily always the case.
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Economic: Building of the panama canal

The United States wanted to build a canal through Panama because it would shorten the time and distance that ships would have to travel from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. They wouldn't have to travel around South America anymore which would make it a lot easier for them in war time and for trade. To accomplish the building of the Panama canal, the United States supported the Panama rebellion to break free from Colombian rule for their own benefit.
I am both proud and ashamed of this because the United States did good in helping Panama to break free of the Colombian rule but they did it only because it would help themselves to accomplish their goals. In that way they exploited Panama for their own benefit which in my opinion is not a positive and justifiable way of acting.
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Social/cultural: Hawaii

The annexation of Hawaii by the United States opened the doors to Hawaii's many resources and its very fertile soil. The Americans didn't care about the people of Hawaii or their culture. This created problems since the Americans were at best ignoring and at worst suppressing the Hawaiian culture. There simply came to Hawaii to use it for their own benefit without thinking of the population of Hawaii and their needs. This is exactly the way a lot of countries who practiced imperialism treated a lot of their colonies but that doesn't mean that this kind of treatment was acceptable.
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World war 1

Political: The zimmerman telegram

The Zimmerman telegram was a telegram sent from Germany to Mexico. The German foreign secretary Arthur Zimmerman sent it to the German ambassador to Mexico. It suggested for Mexico to join the Central powers and fight alongside Germany against the Allies. If Mexico would agree to the alliance, Germany promised to give Arizona, Texas and New Mexico to Mexico.
You can see the Zimmerman telegram as a positive or negative event. Depending on wether you think that it was a good thing for the United States to join the war or not determines your opinion about the Zimmerman telegram. The U.S. joining the war decided the war in favor of the Allies. It ended the war and I think that that was good for everyone. But if you concentrate on the bigger picture the Zimmerman telegram led to World War Two because of the reparations Germany had to pay and if you see it in that aspect, the Zimmerman telegram had negative effects.
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Economic: War bonds

There is absolutely no doubt that war is expensive. Weapons, tanks, ships, uniforms, and medicine are only a few examples of all the think a country needs in a war to make its military function properly. World War One was expensive for the United States and all the other nations involved. The government couldn't afford to pay for everything so they turned to the ordinary Americans: they sold war bounds to the Americans in order to get money to pay for the war efforts. But why would people buy war bounds? Firstly, war bounds counted on the American people being patriotic and nationalistic. The propaganda poster suggested that buying war bounds would help the country win the war, everyone could help even if they weren't able to fight for their country in the military. Secondly, war bounds were also a way of investing money. If you bought a war bound the government promised you that you would get more money back than you had invested.
I don't necessarily think that war bounds are a very good thing since they helped the war to go on for a longer time but they were the norm back then and almost every country did it both during World War One and Two. It was definitely a very smart way for the government to get money to fund the war while also strengthening the feeling of unity.
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Social/cultural: Hate the Hun

The Allies practiced propaganda against Germany by referring to the Germans as the Huns during World War One. This had the purpose of stirring up hate against the Germans as it displayed the Germans as cruel people who crushed neutral nations and ruled brutally over countries they had conquered. Propaganda posters displayed slogans such as "Hate the Hun" or "Beat back the Hun" to indicate that the Allies had to fight these barbarous people. It was a way of dehumanizing the enemy, make them seem different so it was easier to hate them. It is a lot easier to hate people referred to as barbarous and cruel than seeing them as what they are: individuals just like everyone else.
This was of course a very smart way of using propaganda in the war effort and the Allies weren't the only ones who used propaganda in that way. The Germans weren't innocent and used the exact same methods to spread hate of the "enemies". I think that propaganda got used very smartly during World War One. But dehumanizing the enemy and making winning the war the ultimate goal and something to be proud of ignores the harsh reality of the war which is that people who are all the same are slaughtering each other in the belief of gaining something when they win. And in the end, no country gained anything from World War One. It rather led to greater evils and problems.
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