I can describe and evaluate the causes, events, and impact of American imperialism.
While the US was pushing for reform at home, the country was also expanding abroad in the era of IMPERIALISM. Was American imperialism right or wrong? That’s our essential question! How will we answer it?
WITH A DEBATE!
To preview our discussion, you should spend 30 minutes (yup, it’s timed) watching America in the 20th Century: America Becomes a World Power (usmstudent, wildcats). As you watch, use the viewing guide to consider the reasons why the United States became an expansionist country in the late 1800s, and then consider each example of American imperialism – ESPECIALLY THE SPANISH AMERICAN WAR. Should the US have been an imperial nation? That’s your goal!
As you have seen from our investigation of the Gilded Age, there was great of progress in the American economy, industry, urbanization, and immigration during the late 1800s early 1900s. However, progress comes with a price. Politics were controlled by the wealthy, and political machines were challenging they ideals of democracy in many of the cities. The income gap between the wealthy and the rest of the nation was enormous. The environment was ignored for industrial growth, and pollution and destruction of resources became problematic. Cities were overcrowded, and tenement living was unhealthy at best, deadly at worst. People didn’t know what was going into their medicine or food. Monopolies were formed with large corporations controlling many of the major industries of the time, and workers’ worries were ignored or opposed by business and government. Women were second class citizens, lacing political, economic, and social equality. African Americans continued to face challenges in all parts of the country.
Who will respond to these problems?
The Progressive Movement emerged in the late 1800s and early 1900s to push for reforms in response to the excesses of the Gilded Age. We will examine what they did in their attempts to make America a better place on Monday – but you will definitely want to get some background. So, spend about 27 minutes and 48 seconds this weekend meeting the Progressives (before you watch the Super Bowl). How? Here you go …
The growth of industry and the rise of cities involved a third key component – the great wave of immigration that arrived in the United States in the late 1800s and early 1900s. You will investigate this HUGE change in American culture in class, but spend some time with the resources below to start thinking about immigration in the Gilded Age.
Check out some info on immigration and urbanization (they go hand in hand) from the good people at Crash Course!
We have seen the side of the rich guys making the big bucks … but what about the men (and women and children) that were toiling in the factories during the age of industrial growth? Let’s find out …
It’s the late 1800s, and you are an industrial worker in one of the major factories in the Upper Midwest. You have decided to become part of a union – an organized group of workers who unite to push for improved working conditions. A new worker has asked you a series of questions about organized labor in order to determine if he should also join the union. How would you respond?
What are your complaints about your status as a worker during the late 1800s?(Check out Organized Labor from US History)
Let’s go back in time, shall we? Imagine taking a stroll in one of the new big cities of the Northeast and upper Midwest in the late 1800s. You and a friend (maybe it’s an early Valentine … how romantic) spend an entire day in one of these new urban locations that is booming with technology, big business, leisure activities, social experiments, entertainment, and mass culture. There is a dark side to the city as well, one of political corruption, slums and tenements, child labor, and flight to the suburbs. What would you see as you waltz around the city?
Browse through Big City Life from Creating America and City Life in Industrial America from the LOC. As you do, jot down some of your observations as you read and watch – and get ready for a major tour of the big cities of the late 1800s in our next class meeting! This browse should only take you about 15-20 minutes – you have to get back to work in the factory! If you don’t get it all done, do not fret – management will come down on you if you spend too long!
In addition, check out John Green and Crash Course talking about political machines in the video below. You should have a decent understanding of political machines, and start thinking about why they matter!
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Though a century has passed since the heyday of the great industrialists and financiers of the Gilded Age, the debate continues: were these men captains of industry, without whom this country could not have taken its place as a great industrial power, or were they robber barons, limiting healthy competition and robbing from the poor to benefit the rich? Where do we draw the line between unfair business practices and competition that leads to innovation, investment, and improvement in the standard of living for everyone? Would the industrial economy have succeeded without entrepreneurs willing to take competition to its extremes?
Did you BREAKOUT OF THE WEST, young historian? If not, continue to work on the locks and post your pic on the Wild West Hall of Fame! Also, make sure you are adding to your GBU notes, as we will be debating this concept in our next class!
The West became popular in movies, so why not watch a little bit about the West? Grab some popcorn, a soda, and a comfy chair and check out these short clips from America A Story of Us. Spend as as much time as you desire over the weekend – especially if you are jammed up with NHD!
How does a nation rebuild after it is torn in two? Can it be rebuilt? That’s the challenge of the newly “reunited” United States after the Civil War … and the era of Reconstruction is not only a major chapter in America’s story, but still resonates today.
In order to begin examining the success and/or failure of Reconstruction, we need to get some idea of what happened in the time between 1865 and 1877. To do so, your task for next class is to watch the videos below and read “Comparing Reconstruction Plans” to get a general overview of the era. Start to consider the idea of Reconstruction being a success or a failure in bringing the nation back together and helping African Americans adjust to citizenship. Your task is to come to class on Friday/Monday with ONE WORD to describe Reconstruction, ONE COMMENT you have about what you watched, and ONE QUESTION you have about the Reconstruction Era. Post your WORD, COMMENT, and QUESTION on this form!
THE VIDEOS …
Reconstruction from the History Channel
Taft’s overview of the Recon Amendments, Common Craft style.
John Green and his Crash Course on Recon – he talks so fast, but he is way more entertaining than Taft
Why President Johnson was impeached – good to know … especially when you consider current events!
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