Proud or Ashamed: American Society

Kamrie Holms - Period 7

Populist Party (Political)

    The Populist movement was a revolt by farmers in the South and Midwest against the Democratic and Republican Parties for ignoring their interests and difficulties. For over a decade, farmers were suffering from crop failures, falling prices, poor marketing, and lack of credit facilities. I am not proud of this movement in America because it showed the lack of interest that the government had in the people of the South along their difficulties in farming.

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Invention of The Lightbulb (Economic)

Patented in 1880, this was the beginning of the expansion of electricity. This allowed people to work later. This also allowed manufacturers to locate where they wanted because they didn't have to search for power. (for example: a water mill) Edison and his team of researchers in Edison's laboratory in Menlo Park, N.J., tested more than 3,000 designs for bulbs between 1878 and 1880. In November 1879, Edison filed a patent for an electric lamp with a carbon filament. I am extremely proud of this invention because it allowed not only Americans but the entire world a pavement for electricity today. This invention began the movement towards electricity and many say it sparked the industrial revolution.
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The Eradication of Buffalo (Cultural)

The eradication of the buffalo was the most significant blow to tribal life on the plains. This was approved because it took away the Native American's main source of food, clothing, shelter, and fuel. Before white settlers began to push into the vast west in any great numbers, an estimated 50-60 million buffalo freely roamed upon the Great Plains. Because of this the Native Americans were forced onto reservations and the buffalo were put on reserves. I am nowhere near proud of this movement in the United States of America because it showed just how cruel and inhuman Americans became to achieve manifest destiny. I think that although the goal was approachable and okay, the use of killing to achieve it is gruesome and quite disgusting.

"Let them kill, skin, and sell until the buffalo is exterminated, as it is the only way to bring lasting peace and allow civilization to advance."

- General Philip Sheridan

Angel Island

Like people of other ethnicities, the Chinese immigrated to the United States for better lives. Before 1900, their work included farming, mining and building railroads. Men sent money home to their families in China. But American laborers resented the Chinese because the latter were willing to work for cheap wages. Americans accused the Chinese of monopolizing jobs. Angel Island was on the west coast in San Francisco Bay. About 50,000 chinese entered through Angel Island. There was harsh questioning and long detention. Most importantly, it was the island that held hundreds of thousands of immigrants, the majority from China. The detention facility was considered ideal because of its isolated location, making it very easy to control migrants, enforce the new immigration laws as well as any outbreaks of disease. I am not proud of this Island because it held people off from the opportunities that America promised at the beginning stages of this country. I think it is rather hypocritical to keep a race out of a country when we (more our ancestors but it is our heritage) were all immigrants once. I am glad that America got over this period of discrimination against one race and we have moved past this point in our country.

Angel Island's painful legacy

Political Machines

Political machines were an organized group that controlled the actions of a political party in a city. They offered services to voters and businesses in exchange for votes. The Encyclopædia Britannica defines "political machine" as, "in U.S. politics, a party organization, headed by a single boss or small autocratic group, that commands enough votes to maintain political and administrative control of a city, county, or state". William Safire, in his Safire's Political Dictionary, defines "machine politics" as "the election of officials and the passage of legislation through the power of an organization created for political action". I am on the fence about political machines because although they offered services for a very biased and wrong reason; they provided medication, clothing, shelter, food, and many other things to those in need. They helped tremendously with the poor. Although, I do not like how they controlled all political parties and the votes of people.

"The political machine triumphs because it is a united minority acting against a divided majority."

Will Durant


Americanization was designed to assimilate people of wide ranging cultures into the dominant culture. This was created by the government to control citizens. In countries outside of the United States, americanization is the influence American culture has on the culture of other countries, such as their popular culture, media, cuisine, technology, business practices, or political techniques. I am not proud of this movement in America. To me, I think that it is kind of sad that we, as Americans are trying to take people away from their maiden culture and change it so America can be all of the same. Wasn't the idea of america based on the fact that it's a melting pot and everyone is different?
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Chinese Exclusion Act

    The Chinese Exclusion Act was a United States federal law signed by President Chester A. Arthur on May 6, 1882. It was one of the most significant restrictions on free immigration in US history, prohibiting all immigration of Chinese laborers. Chinese Exclusion Act closed the door on Chinese immigration for ten years. This banned entry for all Chinese except students, teachers, merchants, tourists, and government officials. I am very ashamed of this act America created. I understand that it was to stop the excessive inflow of immigrants purely for work, but it seems harsh to keep a whole race of people (who are look for opportunities just as everyone else) because they need jobs. Although this act didn't last long it seems to have hit hard on the Chinese government because we still don't have a strong relationship with the Chinese.

Chinese Exclusion Act

Civil Service Reform

The Civil Service Reform was established in 1883 and it decided government jobs should be awarded on merit instead of political affiliation. he act provided selection of government employees by competitive exams rather than ties to politicians or political affiliation. It also made it illegal to fire or demote government officials for political reasons and prohibited soliciting campaign donations on Federal government property. I am proud of this change in America's policy because it made America's foundation a lot more fair and a lot more ideals and application based than the ideas and quotes of people. This made application a lot more fair and successful.

"At a purely practical level, history is important because it provides the basic skills needed for students to go further in sociology, politics, international relations and economics. History is also an ideal discipline for almost all careers in the law, the civil service and the private sector."

Antony Beevor

Rural to Urban Migration

Rural to Urban Migration was the the movement of people from the countryside to the city. Urbanization is relevant to a range of disciplines, including geography, sociology, economics urban planning, and public health. The phenomenon has been closely linked to modernization, and industrialization. This also caused urban growth and the invention of many tools that we still use today. I am very very proud of this migration in America. It paved the way to many new American innovations and new technologies founded by America. I think this was a great idea for America (whether it was knowing or not).
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Women's Suffrage

Women's Suffrage was a battle in the 1910s - 1920s to grant women the right to vote. It took activists and reformers nearly 100 years to win that right, and the campaign was not easy: Disagreements over strategy threatened to cripple the movement more than once. But on August 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was finally ratified, enfranchising all American women and declaring for the first time that they, like men, deserve all the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. I am very proud of this movement in America. Being a woman, I every day get to express my freedom to do the things I want. This empowered women to do many things. It opened the door to more freedoms, more jobs, more campaigns, and more opportunities for women to take on in their lives. Because of this movement in the early 20th century I can confidently ask a man out on a date. I think that is pretty spectacular.
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Social Problems in the early 20th Century

At the beginning of the 20th century there were a lot of social problems facing the path that America was taking. These concerned generally racial segregation, gender inequality, poverty, urbanization, and the working conditions. But more specifically these were exact questions America was asking:

  • Should or can Americans agree on what are
    American values, principles, and national priorities?

  • Should there be one common culture that all
    Americans are expected to share and identify with?

  • How can local, state, and federal governments support
    and protect the "public interest" from the selfish,
    greedy hands of special interest groups?

  • Can the federal government solve social and economic
    problems such as poverty, alcohol abuse, racism, crime
    and violence, and moral decline?

  • Should local, states, and federal governments be
    responsible for protecting and improving the social
    welfare of Americans, such as guaranteeing all
    Americans a decent education, a decent job, a moral
    society, and strong families?

I am really not proud of these problems in America because it pushed the problems of gender and racial inequality and made everyone think that these problems and standards were okay. Although they were being challenged they didn't meet the ideal of today. In fact - these problems are kind of embarrassing considering the fact that we based our country off the idea of freedom.

In a free society, government reflects the soul of its people. If people want change at the top, they will have to live in different ways. Our major social problems are not the cause of our decadence. They are a reflection of it.

Cal Thomas

Political Corruption

Political Corruption is the use of powers by government officials for illegitimate private gain. This was an illegal act by an office holder. Forms of corruptions vary, but include bribery, extortion, cronyism, nepotism, patronage, influence peddling, graft, and embezzlement. Corruption may facilitate criminal enterprise such as drug trafficking, money laundering, and human trafficking, though is not restricted to these activities. Misuse of government power for other purposes, such as repression of political opponents and general police brutality, is also considered political corruption. I am not proud of this event in America. It definitely showed our weaker side of the government proved that we are not as willing to work hard for want. Instead, we turn to the easy side. It is rather embarrassing that we turned to these matters but it was really inevitable because it seems as Americans we are kind of lazy and decide to take the easy route.

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Imperialism was a policy of extending a country's power and influence through colinization use of military force and other means. Imperialism occurs when a strong nation takes over a weaker nation or region and dominates its economic, political, and cultural life.

After the Industrial Revolution, this became a common practice of European nations seeking new sources of raw materials and markets to sell manufactured products. I am proud and ashamed of this idea in America because although it showed our use of power to use above someone, it gave us a lot of new recourses and countries that we used to our advantage which gave us a good influx of resources and production.

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US Economic Interests in the Spanish-American War

The Spanish-American War of 1898 ended Spain’s colonial empire in the Western Hemisphere and secured the position of the United States as a Pacific power. U.S. victory in the war produced a peace treaty that compelled the Spanish to relinquish claims on Cuba, and to cede sovereignty over Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines to the United States. The United States also annexed the independent state of Hawaii during the conflict. Thus, the war enabled the United States to establish its predominance in the Caribbean region and to pursue its strategic and economic interests in Asia. This was a conflict in 1898 which dealer with US intervention in Cuban Independence. It sparked US interests of Spain's Pacific Possesions. I am proud and ashamed of this movement in America because it gave the United States more territory to claim and call our own. It also showed that we were okay to get down and dirty with other countries to secure our economic and national interests. Which is okay, but we showed it excessively and it was almost inhumane the way we did it.

Yellow Journalism

    Yellow journalism, or the yellow press, is a type of journalism that presents little or no legitimate well-researched news and instead uses eye-catching headlines to sell more newspapers. Techniques may include exaggerations of news events, scandal-mongering, or sensationalism. It was used to lure and enrage readers to get them excited or more involved in the war. I am ashamed of this appeal in American Society because it practically appealed to lies and scandal in America. This is not what America should have been focused on especially at the time of World War I when war was still a very sensitive topic.

Yellow Journalism: Origins and Definition

Isolationism and Neutrality

Isolationism refers to America's longstanding reluctance to become involved in European alliances and wars. Isolationists held the view that America's perspective on the world was different from that of European societies and that America could advance the cause of freedom and democracy by means other than war.American isolationism did not mean disengagement from the world stage. Isolationists were not averse to the idea that the United States should be a world player and even further its territorial, ideological and economic interests, particularly in the Western Hemisphere. I am proud that America decided to out of WWI for as long as possible. It makes me happy that we tried to stay out of conflict while we sorted out our own personal national problems before trying to enter into other country's problems.
American Isolationism

US Entry Into World War I

On April 2, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson went before a joint session of Congress to request a declaration of war against Germany. Wilson cited Germany’s violation of its pledge to suspend unrestricted submarine warfare in the North Atlantic and the Mediterranean, as well as its attempts to entice Mexico into an alliance against the United States, as his reasons for declaring war. On April 4, 1917, the U.S. Senate voted in support of the measure to declare war on Germany. The House concurred two days later. The United States later declared war on German ally Austria-Hungary on December 7, 1917. I am proud and ashamed of America's entry into WWI. I am happy we took matters into our own hands and figured out who our allies were. Although I am not happy we had to take drastic matters onto another country and cause problems for ourselves.

“The 1930s taught us a clear lesson; aggressive conduct, if allowed to go unchecked and unchallenged, ultimately leads to war.”
John F. Kennedy

Modern Warfare

Technology during World War I reflected a trend toward industrialismand the application of mass production methods to weapons and to the technology of warfare in general. This trend began fifty years prior to World War I during the U.S. Civil War, and continued through many smaller conflicts in which new weapons were tested. WWI brought the development of machine guns, poison gas, submarines, airplanes, trench systems, blockades, and total war. I am not proud that America took place in this. Although it brought a lot of new technologies into the world, it showed the inhumanity in many many countries and the fact that countries were willing to turn all too gruesome to win a war. It was too deadly for anyone to handle and it made it hard for anyone to win the war.