6 January 2013
Identify the sources and significance of Populism:
Populists or people’s party members were part of this era’s greatest political insurgency. It evolved from the Farmers’ Alliance, where farmers across forty-three states banded together to remedy their condition. The people’s party not only attracted farmers but also included all the “producing classes.” Their lasting legacy comes from the populist platform of 1892 and also from the fact that populism came close to replacing the two already existing parties.
Explain how a system of racial segregation was established in the South: Since populism failed in the south, it was open to the induction of a new racial order. As much of Reconstruction was undone as possible by the Redeemers, so called because they believed they saved the region from alleged misgovernment and impending “black rule.” New laws were created that jailed anyone without a job, and the punishment for petty crimes was increased tenfold. Of course, the black population suffered the greatest after this. Then, convict laboring became popular which basically put blacks right back into slavery. Blacks continued to be denied high paying jobs, but a black middle class began to arise in the urban communities consisting of people with professions such as teachers and professors. Blacks in politics declined also, though not abruptly. They eventually lost their right to vote. In Plessy v. Ferguson it was made legal to segregate public places. Lynching also rose in popularity again.
Describe what ways the boundaries of American freedom grew narrower in this period: At the end of the 19th century, the thought process of Americans changed quite a bit, towards the idea that freedom should not be offered equally, only to the right and supposed deserving people. An Ohio newspaper stated that the influx of immigrants was overrunning cities, and that they “have no appreciation of the true meaning of liberty.” Most of the immigrants in this period came from Italy, Russia, Austro-Hungarian empires, and other countries in Southern and eastern Europe. Immigrants were looked down upon as horrible excuses for people who are inclined to steal and commit crime from birth. People started to look for a way to limit the rights of these people, and also prevent more from entering. In Boston, the immigration restriction league was formed and proposed that literacy would be required to enter the country. This was adopted by many states. Blacks also continued to see less and less rights in the South, as well as disenfranchisement. Suffrage was becoming more of a privilege in America, instead of a right.
Explain how the United States emerged as an imperial power in the 1890’s: America started out slow as government officials and business owners decided the land and resources they had weren’t enough. At first, proposals to annex other countries were vetoed and over-sea focus remained mostly on trade. Then, a group of late nineteenth century thinkers proposed an idea of updated manifest destiny, and that the most beneficial thing to do for the world was to impose the Anglo-Saxon traditions on uncivilized societies and turn them into consumers of American goods. This was outlined in the book Our Country by Josiah Strong. Alfred T. Mahan took advantage of the time at which western expansion ended, as all land was finally claimed by a state. He published a book that urged American expansion to move outward because we could no longer capitalize on our own land. This book influenced James Blaine, secretary of state during the presidency of Harrison. Harrison requested the construction of four new battleships, while Blaine encouraged the president to push for Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Cuba to be set up as naval bases. The depression further exacerbated these ideas and plunged the country into a period of aggressive nationalism, where newspapers containing sentiments of nationalism views sold like hotcakes....
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