Monday, July 30, 2018

Early American History.

America is based on diverse peoples representing their cultures. During the era after the Civil War, massive urbanization (or the rapid growth of cities) developed along with industrialization (or the growth of factories and railroads). There was an expansion of farming as well. This was facilitated by increased high levels of immigration. From 1865 to 1918, there was a historic, unprecedented plus diverse amount of immigrants who came into the United States of America. They came into America in the number of 27.5 million people. 89% of these immigrants or 24.4 million people came from Europe, 2.9 million from Britain, 2.2 million from Ireland, 2.1 million from Scandinavia, 3.8 million from Germany, 4.1 million from Italy, 7.8 million from Russia and other parts of eastern and central Europe. Another 1.7 million came from Canada. Many came from Africa and the Caribbean too. Most of these human beings came through the port of New York City, and from 1892, through the immigration station on Ellis Island. Many ethnic groups settled in different locations. New York City and other large cities of the East Coast became home to large Jewish, Irish, and Italian populations. Many Germans and Central Europeans moved into the Midwest. Some of them had jobs in industry and mining. At the same time, about one million French Canadians migrated from Quebec into New England. Immigrants came into America because of poverty, religious threats. They saw America as the “Promised Land” of milk and honey. Many wanted jobs, farmland, and had kin connections to those in America too. Many of them worked at factories, mines, and construction sites. Some found farming opportunities in the Plains states. Many immigrants were welcomed (other European immigrants weren't for a time) while Asian people experienced massive racism and discrimination. Many Chinese Americans constructed railroads in the West Coast, but were treated in a dismissive fashion unlike Western European immigrants. After massively racist, intense anti-Chinese agitation in the West, Congress passed the evil Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. It was signed into law by President Chester A. Arthur. It suspended Chinese immigration for 10 years and then it was renewed in 1892 and made banning Chinese immigration permanent in 1902. It was the first evil American law to prevent a specific ethnic group from immigrating into America. It was repealed by the Magnuson Act of December 17, 1943. Yet, even that law allowed for the continuation of the ban against ownership of property and businesses by the ethnic Chinese.  In many states, Chinese Americans (including US citizens) were denied property-ownership rights either by law or de facto until the Magnuson Act itself was fully repealed in 1965. Some immigrants stayed temporarily in the U.S. then returned home, often with savings that made them relatively prosperous. Most, however, permanently left their native lands and stayed in hope of finding a better life in the New World. This desire for freedom and prosperity led to the famous term, the American Dream.

In terms of the religion, the Third Great Awakening existed from the late 1850’s to the early 1900’s. It saw the growth of evangelical Protestantism from the late 1850’s to the early 1900’s. During this time, this movement promoted social activism and affected pietistic Protestant denominations. Many followers of this Awakening believed in the postmillennial theology that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ would come after humankind had reformed the whole earth. A major component was the Social Gospel Movement, which applied Christianity to social issues and gained its force from the Awakening, as did the worldwide missionary movement. New groupings emerged, such as the Holiness movement and Nazarene movements, and Christian Science. At the same time, the Catholic Church grew rapidly, with a base in the German, Irish, Polish, and Italian immigrant communities, and a leadership drawn from the Irish. The Catholics were largely working class and concentrated in the industrial cities and mining towns, where they built churches, parochial schools, and charitable institutions, as well as colleges. The Jewish community grew rapidly, especially from the new arrivals from Eastern Europe who settled chiefly in New York City. They avoided the Reform synagogues of the older German Jewish people and instead formed Orthodox and Conservative synagogues.

Race relations between 1877 and 1918 were horrible. Black Americans during this time lost many of their civil rights obtained via Reconstruction. Many African Americans suffered racial discrimination, racist lynching, violence, and anti-black racial riots. This led to many problems in the living conditions of many African Americans. The South expanded Jim Crow laws. These laws didn’t just deal with restricting voting (literacy tests, poll taxes, and grandfather clauses were used to deprive black people in the South to vote). Grandfather clauses didn’t want people to vote if their grandfathers didn’t vote before 1866. Since, many black people in the South were slaves before 1866, many black people weren’t allowed to vote. It meant separate, unequal restaurants, trains, pools, cemeteries, schools, and other facets of society. Many white people formed all white primaries to only allow whites to have a voice in elections. In 1896, Homer Plessy, an African American, was denied of his rights via the Supreme Court’s Plessy v. Ferguson decision. That decision upheld racial segregation via its sick “separate but equal” doctrine. The case came after Homer Plessy sat in a white section of a Louisiana train car. By the end of World War II, only 3 percent of African Americans had the right to vote. Black people in Louisiana went from 130,000 people voting in 1894 to only 1,300 people voting in 1904. Black Americans fought back too. Frederick Douglass lived during racial oppression, but told his allies to continue to agitate and fight for freedom by the late 1800’s. Black Americans created civil rights groups, women’s clubs, fraternal organizations, schools, colleges, and political organizations in fighting for our human rights back then. Many black people had diverse views on how to achieve equality (like Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois), but they agreed with the same goal (which is equality and justice for black people). Booker T. Washington was born a slave and became free. His legacy was part of educational opportunities for those of black African descent. He was right to advance education and vocational work for African Americans. He was right to promote land ownership. He was wrong to advance the principle that true equal rights must be based on previous preparation for it. Freedom is not based on a clock, but should be given immediate irrespectively of anything. He was also wrong to believe in a capitalist extremism and to promote the Atlanta Compromise since justice is not compromise, but liberation. You don’t compromise with your oppressor, but you defeat your oppression. Later in his life, Booker T. Washington would support efforts to end Jim Crow.  W.E. B. DuBois believed that political agitation and embracing a liberal arts education would cause equality for black people. DuBois is right that no accommodating of southern white racists is needed and he was right that black people should demand for immediate equality via political agitation. DuBois was wrong to advance the Talented Tenth principle or a select of bourgeois black people being made leaders of the black community. Leadership is egalitarian not possessed on a very few amount of people. We can all be leaders. DuBois is right to promote many progressive positions on housing, the economy, and on being anti-imperialist. Ida B. Wells also opposed lynching and racism. She was raised in Holly Springs, Mississippi. She knew both Frederick Douglass and WEB DuBois. She was one founder of the NAACP which started in 1909. D. W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation (1915), the first blockbuster American film, made heroes of the KKK in Reconstruction. It was a very racist film while black people protested it including members of the NAACP. Saum Song Bo opposed racism against Chinese people during this time. Many California cities banned employing Chinese people. Segregated Asian schools were in San Francisco during the 1880’s. In 1886, the Supreme Court case of Yick Wo v. Hopkins ruled that a Chinese immigrant could own a laundry. By 1868, the Supreme Court ruled that Chinese people born in America maintained their citizenship rights, but it didn’t end the Chinese Exclusion Act. Mexican Americans fought for the rights when many whites stole their lands after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. PLM or the Partido Liberal Mexicano helped Mexican Americans to receive job and housing services in their desire for equality and justice. The group of the Las Gorras Blancas fought back to maintain Mexican American land rights. The Society of American Indians was created in 1911 in order to help Native American to preserve their cultures and fight for their rights. The Anti-Defamation League was created by Jewish people in order to help Jewish families and fight anti-Semitism.

The Populism movement existed by the late 19th century. The Southern ruling class after Reconstruction mostly were made up of Democrats. They expanded their hegemony. The Populist movement was about resistance to the oppression which came against farmers. It started as a class rebellion. Many populists said that Wall Street with its monopolistic interests dominated the lives of the common people and this reality must change. Many Southern Populists called for revolution beyond just reform. By 1880, the Granger movement began to decline and was replaced by the Farmers' Alliance. From the beginning, the Farmers' Alliance was a political organization with elaborate economic programs. According to one early platform, its purpose was to "unite the farmers of America for their protection against class legislation and the encroachments of concentrated capital." Their program also called for the regulation—if not the outright nationalization—of the railroads; currency inflation to provide debt relief; the lowering of the tariff; and the establishment of government-owned storehouses and low-interest lending facilities. These were known as the Ocala Demands.  During the late 1880's, a series of droughts devastated the West. Western Kansas lost half its population during a four-year span. By 1890, the level of agrarian distress was at an all-time high. Mary Elizabeth Lease, a noted populist writer and agitator, told farmers that they needed to "raise less corn and more hell". Working with sympathetic Democrats in the South and small third parties in the West, the Farmer's Alliance made a push for political power. From these elements, a new political party, known as the Populist Party, emerged. The elections of 1890 brought the new party into coalitions that controlled parts of state government in a dozen Southern and Western states and sent a score of Populist senators and representatives to Congress.

Its first convention was in 1892, when delegates from farm, labor and reform organizations met in Omaha, Nebraska, determined at last to make their mark on a U.S. political system that they viewed as hopelessly corrupted by the monied interests of the industrial and commercial trusts.
The pragmatic portion of the Populist platform focused on issues of land, railroads and money, including the unlimited coinage of silver. The Populists showed impressive strength in the West and South in the 1892 elections, and their candidate for President polled more than a million votes. It was the currency question, however, pitting advocates of silver against those who favored gold that soon overshadowed all other issues. Agrarian spokesmen in the West and South demanded a return to the unlimited coinage of silver. Convinced that their troubles stemmed from a shortage of money in circulation, they argued that increasing the volume of money would indirectly raise prices for farm products and drive up industrial wages, thus allowing debts to be paid with inflated dollars.

Conservative groups and the financial classes, on the other hand, believed that such a policy would be disastrous, and they insisted that inflation, once begun, could not be stopped. Railroad bonds, the most important financial instrument of the time, were payable in gold. If fares and freight rates were set in half-price silver dollars, railroads would go bankrupt in weeks, throwing hundreds of thousands of men out of work and destroying the industrial economy. Only the gold standard, they said, offered stability. The financial Panic of 1893 heightened the tension of this debate. Bank failures abounded in the South and Midwest; unemployment soared and crop prices fell badly. The crisis, and President Cleveland's inability to solve it, nearly broke the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party, which supported silver and free trade, absorbed the remnants of the Populist movement as the presidential elections of 1896 neared. The Democratic convention that year was witness to one of the most famous speeches in U.S. political history. Pleading with the convention not to "crucify mankind on a cross of gold", William Jennings Bryan, the young Nebraskan champion of silver, won the Democrats' presidential nomination. The remaining Populists also endorsed Bryan, hoping to retain some influence by having a voice inside the Bryan movement. Bryan wanted Populist votes, but didn’t agree with Populism philosophically. Despite carrying the South and all the West except California and Oregon, Bryan lost the more populated, industrial North and East—and the election—to the Republican William McKinley with his campaign slogan "A Full Dinner Pail.” Many in the populist movement included white and black people together. Many Populists wanted to fight for the rights of both black and white farmers. One famous Black Populist was Reverend R. S. Doyle. The Colored Farmers’ Alliance had more than 1.25 million black members by 1890. Yet, racists infiltrated the Populist movement at the end which contributed to its total end. Tom Watson was a racist and anti-Semitic Populist member before he died. In 1897, the economy began to improve, mostly from restored business confidence. Silverites—who did not realize that most transactions were handled by bank checks, not sacks of gold—believed the new prosperity was spurred by the discovery of gold in the Yukon. In 1898, the Spanish–American War drew the nation's attention further away from Populist issues. If the movement was dead, however, its ideas were not. Once the Populists supported an idea, it became so tainted that the vast majority of American politicians rejected it; only years later, after the taint had been forgotten, was it possible to achieve Populist reforms, such as the direct popular election of Senators in 1914. The end of the Populist movement expanded white racism in the South. Ironically, the Populist movement's views would inspire the later Progressive movement. New leaders would emerge to fight against racism too.

The women’s suffrage movement started at the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention. Many of these activists supported the abolitionist movement too. It was reorganized after the Civil War too. In 1869, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton formed the National Woman Suffrage Association to fight for a constitutional amendment that would give women the right to vote. Anthony in 1872 voted in an election in Rochester, New York. She was tried and convicted in federal court since women were banned from voting in New York State back then.  Only Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, and Idaho granted women the right to vote in 1906 (which was the year of Anthony’s passing). Some suffragists were for prohibition in groups like the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. By the end of the 19th century, a few western states gave women the right to vote. Many women won victories like gaining rights in property and child custody, but full equality didn’t exist back then. During the early 1900’s, women experienced long hours, dangerous conditions, and sexism. By 1912, the movement reawakened into a higher level. The movement demanded equality and fought for ending corruption in American politics. Protests became increasingly common as suffragette Alice Paul led parades through the capitol and major cities. Paul led the National Woman’s Party of NWP to fight for women’s equality. Paul split from the large National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), which favored a more moderate approach and supported the Democratic Party and Woodrow Wilson, led by Carrie Chapman Catt, and formed the more militant National Woman's Party. Also, suffragists were diverse. Catt had supporters of women who were Jewish immigrants, African Americans, and Mexican Americans. Many suffragists opposed racism and some were overt white supremacist racists. Suffragists were arrested during their "Silent Sentinels" pickets at the White House, the first time such a tactic was used, and were taken as political prisoners. Finally, the suffragettes were ordered released from prison, and Wilson urged Congress to pass a Constitutional amendment enfranchising women. The old anti-suffragist argument that only men could fight a war, and therefore only men deserved the franchise, was refuted by the enthusiastic participation of tens of thousands of American women on the home front in World War I. Across the world, grateful nations gave women the right to vote. Furthermore, most of the Western states had already given women the right to vote in state and national elections, and the representatives from those states, including the first voting woman Jeannette Rankin of Montana, demonstrated that Women's Suffrage was a success. The main resistance came from the south, where white leaders were worried about the threat of black women voting. The truth is that black women have the right to vote just like anyone else and black women should always be respected and cherished as equal human beings period.  Congress passed the Nineteenth Amendment in 1919. Carrie Catt and Florence Kelley led the NAWSA by this time after they supported the war effort.  The moderate NAWSA and the more progressive National Women’s Party contributed to the passage of the 19th Amendment.  It became constitutional law on August 26, 1920, after ratification by the 36th required state.   First the first time, millions of American women nationwide would be allowed to vote for anyone in the United States of America.

By Timothy

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