Should We Be Proud or Ashamed?
Industrialization: Edison and the Lightbulb - ECO
Edison invented the lightbulb in 1880. It harnessed electricity changing the business world by making the production process more efficient. Thus affecting the economy and increasing profit by allowing workers to work into the night The use of the light-bulb made work environments safer, but also made a work day longer because the employers could keep the employees before sunrise and after sunset. While the light bulb might have made the work day longer, the lightbulb was a major step forward in technology and has drastically affected our daily life today. Can you imagine a life without electricity? Because of it's major influence on our daily lives, I am proud of this accomplishment of America.
Industrialization: Sherman and the Anti-Trust Act (1890) - POL
The Sherman Anti-Trust Act outlawed trusts that hindered trade as monopolies or activities that stopped competition. At this time in industry huge trusts were taking out the competition, and monopolies were taking over production vertically and horizontally. It gave the government power to intervene and dissolve these kinds of trusts. While this act went against the laissez-faire policy of the government, it started to close economic and social gaps. In fact, this trust gives more liberty to the citizens of the Unites States because it allows for anyone to own some type of production rather that one huge trust or monopolies taking over industry. For this reason this Act is a reason to be proud of the United States.
Industrialization: Credit Mobilier - ECO
The Credit Mobilier was a railroad construction company in 1872 founded by Thomas Durant. It's shareholders pocketed profits from laying the Transcontinental railroad at a higher price than the actual cost. They got this money from the government, therefore committing fraud against the United States of America. This scandal is one reason to be ashamed of American society because these stockholders went against their own government for the monetary benefits. At this time there was no regulation concerning stockholders and corruption so we should also be ashamed of the American government in that respect.
Immigration: Angel Island - POL
Through the years of 1910-1940 there was an immigration established by the government in the San Francisco Bay in California that screened immigrants, mostly Chinese at this time. Unlike Ellis Island, the experience was terrible for most immigrants. They were often detained for months on end in cramped spaces with poor accommodations. Many scratched poetry describing the terrors into the walls of the cells. Because the racism and terrible experiences these immigrants experienced, I am ashamed of the American government to allow this kind of discrimination and prejudice in the "land of the free."
Angel Island Poetry
Immigration: Coining of the term Melting Pot - CUL
The term melting pot was coined during the influx of immigrants during this era. As new people came in and were assimilated, many people began to call America a "melting pot" of different ethnicities and a mixing of many sub-cultures into "Americanism." The coinage of this term was a positive one in determining whether or not to be ashamed of America. This is one reason to be proud because it promoted equality and created a cultured and united nation that we call the United States of America.
Schoolhouse Rock- The Great American Melting Pot
Immigration: Rise of Navitism - CUL
Also during this immigration period there was a growing favoritism toward native-born Americans. Many immigrants were discriminated against just because they weren't born in the U.S. This was extreme hypocrisy because the founding fathers of the U.S immigrated as well. So, to discriminate on this fact is extremely hypocritical and for this reason I am ashamed of American society. Many businesses would not even hire immigrants under the premise that they were stealing American jobs at this time, an idea that still comes up in society today.
Urbanization: Tenements - POL
When these immigrants would migrate to the U.S they needed to find housing. Often they settled in slum neighborhoods in a tenement. These houses were unsanitary and often held more than one family in the one room space. I am ashamed of the American government because they failed to improve the conditions in which these immigrants lived. They tried to improve them but utterly failed every time. For example, they tried to vent the houses and have windows in every room, but people stuffed things into the vents because of the lack of space and lack of government services such as taking care of the city garbage.
Urbanization: Jane Addams establishes Hull House - CUL
In order to help those stuck in slum neighborhoods. Jane Addams established the Hull House in 1889, a kind of community center for the people living in the slum neighborhoods of Chicago. The house provided assistance such as providing education for certain job opportunities, building skill-sets for each person, and offering many other social and educational programs to help the mostly poor immigrants living in shabby housing. For Jane Addam's determination to help those around her, I can say that I am proud of American society for this accomplishment and her perseverance to help those in need.
Urbanization: The development of mass-transit networks - ECO
In 1897, subways were developed in Boston. This innovation allowed for transit to and from one's workplace, markets, and neighborhood to be faster and more efficient. This opened up a lot of job opportunities for the poor if their work was far from home. This development is something to be proud of because we still use subways today and without them, life would be a lot harder for a lot of our citizens.
Progressivism: National Child Labor Committee - CUL
In 1904 the National Child Labor Committee was formed to protect and provide for the interests of working children. These kids often worked in dangerous factories with little to no pay with extremely long hours disrupting their education. This committee pushed for the elimination of child labor and promoted child education. This was a progressive idea at the time because child labor had been instituted with no regulations or restrictions for a very long time. The committee had a lot of resistance from factory owners and others because child labor was cheap labor and it was harder for adults to do the small handiwork the children often did. This committee is something to be proud of and is one of the reasons I am an educated student and not an uneducated and overworked child in this day and age.
Progressivism: Nineteenth Amendment - POL
The nineteenth amendment granted women's suffrage after a long battle with the government and society itself. Groups like the National Women's Party pushed for this amendment even during the war which was very progressive. These women were chastised and even arrested for their actions as so called traitors against the war effort and their nation as a whole. The ratification of this amendment is a huge reason to be proud of America because these women fought for what they believed in, and ultimately changed the minds of men around the world after it's ratification. However, the government treated these women with a lot of disrespect. They were force-fed during a hunger strike to oppose their arrest. Even so, overall I am proud because without this amendment there would be no social equality among the sexes and the United States would be something no one could be proud of today.
Iron Jawed Angels Speech (Movie) with subtitles
Progressivism: Sixteenth Amendment - ECO
Established in 1913, the Sixteenth Amendment was ratified setting a federal income tax on American citizens. This progressive idea was often shut down by the rich and powerful because they did not want to lose money or power. At this time there was a large income gap and this amendment was a major step in closing that economic gap between the social classes. This is a reason to be proud of America because it started a movement for not only equality between races and sex, but it introduced a new cause, equality between the rich and the poor. Even today there is a movement fighting against the 1% overpowering the lower and middle classes with their greed and power.
Imperialism: Roosevelt Corollary - ECO
This amendment to the Monroe Doctrine allowed for U.S to become an international police power allowing the use of force when protecting the economic interests of the United States abroad. This was added by president Roosevelt during foreign disputes such as the building of the panama canal where the United States went over the heads of the leaders of Columbia to build the canal without their permission. This Corollary is something to be ashamed of because in my opinion force should never be used for the sole purpose of protecting economic interest for it's monetary value.
Imperialism: Boxer Rebellion - ECO
The Boxer Rebellion occurred in 1900 when a large group of Chinese fought against foreign nations in their country. At the time a lot of foreigners were Christian and imposing their religion on the Chinese. The Chinese rebelled violently against the foreigners. The United States intervened and in the end the foreign nations killed many more chinese rebels and citizens than they killed foreigners. So, once again I am ashamed of America for producing so much violence on a group of people for the economic interests of the United States.
Imperialism: The Platt Amendment - POL
Before the Platt Amendment was ratified, the United States had helped Cuba gain their independence. While the Cuban government made their new constitution the United States insisted on benefits for helping them during the war. The United States would not let up and threatened Cuba to sign the Platt Amendment which ultimately made Cuba a protectorate of the United States, exactly what the Cubans didn't want. They wanted independence. For this reason again I am ashamed that the United States put our greed over the interests of Cuba. Cuba just wanted independence, but we badgered them into giving us benefits and control over their nation in exchange for our help.
World War I: Espionage and Sedition Acts - POL
World War I was a total war where propaganda was displayed across the nation to empower nationalism in the citizens. The propaganda often called for liberty bonds to be bought, men to go into service and leave their families, and for workers to build ships and weapons for the war. The Espionage and Sedition Act of 1918 turned the government on it's citizens by punishing anyone who spoke against the war effort during World War I. Some were imprisoned or fined for their unspeakable act of terrorism that the government believed it to be. This suppressed the freedom of speech our constitution entitles to each and every citizen of the United States. For this reason, I am ashamed of America for going against it's ideals that were established when the country was established.
World War I: The Selective Service Act - POL
Per the Selective Service Act in 1917 men were required to register with the government for the draft. Men in their twenties had to register to fight in this arduous war where they might die. Many men left their wives and families behind to go fight in the war. While this might have been needed in order to win the war, it does not seem fair to make men fight in a war some don't believe in. For this reason I cannot be proud, but I am a little ashamed that we forced men into battle.
World War I: The Treaty of Versailles - POL
The Treaty of Versailles ended World War I. It called for Germany to accept blame for the war and to drastically reduce their armaments. However, there was a lot of dispute over the terms of this treaty. Every country wanted different things, and Germany was extremely unhappy with the punishment they received. The League of Nations was shot down by the American people, and Wilson allowed for the harsh punishment on Germany causing even more unrest and tension between the nations. I am ashamed of America for signing this treaty because this treaty caused such an uproar that it eventually caused Adolf Hitler's rise to power because of Germany's already present hatred towards the European powers in World War One that was easily converted to his cause.