Questions 1. Discuss the changing role of American women in the first decade of the 20th century. Include in your discussion the changing perceptions of marriage, the impact of birth control, migration to the city, and technology, on the daily life of women. 2. Discuss how the American family changed in the first decade of the 20th century. 3. A major early twentieth century trend in the United States was the movement to the cities from the farm. How did this move affect American children and teenagers? 4.
Explain the role the saloon played in the daily life of men prior to World War I. 5. Who were the Progressives? 6. What does the popularity of Kipling’s poem “White Man’s Burden” and Msgr. O’D onnell’s letter to Archbishop John Ireland tell you about American attitudes toward foreign policy in the early 20th century? 7. Discuss Theodore Roosevelt’s major accomplishments. Why do you think Roosevelt remains on many historian’s top five list. Would you include him in yours? Why? Why not? 8. Discuss Wilson’s Mexican policy. How does his attitude toward Mexico anticipate his actions in World War I? . Discuss the major events that drew America into World War I. Do you think the United States should have or could have avoided this conflict ? Why? Why not? 10. Discuss U. S. domestic policy during the war some historians think that the Progressive movement died with the war,others say it marked Progressivism’ s premier moment. What do you think? Why? Answers. 1. The role of American women in the first decade of the 20th century changed dramatically as families migrated from the rural to the urban centers of the nation. Primarily, women encountered more labor.
Though many worked in factories along with men, the majority pursued jobs as secretaries and even certain bureaucracy jobs. This was possible since many business owners along with many state agencies discovered that women had a more organizational approach than most men. They acquired a new sense of individuality and independence as the family unit became less patriarchal than in the countryside. They started a sexual revolution where women appearance became more boyish and desexualized. The idealized women changed as well as the clothes. Less fabric was used in the creation of women’s attire.
Sex also became an important aspect of her emotional expression. Instead of considering sex a “marital duty”; marriage became sexual. Technology also had a great repercussion in the household. Known as the Kitchen Revolution, electrical appliances facilitated women’s domestic chores as well as gave them more leisure time. Regarding natality, birth control information became prevalent and natality decreased within the middle class. The old fashioned rural notion that families needed to have as many children as possible changed with the migration to the big cities.
Not only having more children represented more expenses, but also spatial arrangements since urban centers were densely populated. Many of them were educated in many fields academically though most (if not all) prestigious colleges were still for males only. 2. As far as the family is concerned, the number of children per family decayed considerably. The Progressive movement supported changes in social policy that created more nuclear families. They promoted better housing so that families could have a comfortable environment.
Wages for men rose, thus being able to provide more amenities to the household. Also, Mandatory education laws were implanted for the youngsters. The innovative idea of social workers was also introduced during this Era by the progressives. These social workers intervened when the family nucleus was being threatened by alcoholism, abuse, or abandonment. 3. As with women, the industrial revolution caused children to enjoy electrical toys that were not possible to find previously. Many of these didactic toys provided knowledge and stimulated reading.
The social life of the youth was centered outside of the family and the city, since many organizations such as the boy scouts and the YMCA were created. The number of high school graduates increased due to the social nature of this institution. The migration from the rural to the city made mascots a common feature of the American family. However, cats propagated massively and it was necessary to kill them, since the cities were being overpopulated by these felines. As a result, The ASPCA was created to humanely kill these animals. 4.
The saloon was the center for political organization, voting, and meeting political candidates. They also served as models of manhood for little boys. They were gambling centers where alcohol was served and the only women one would encounter in these places were prostitutes. Political proselytizers would provide free meals to men in saloons in exchange of votes. Saloons also provided homeless immigrant workers with a postal address, and in main urban centers they provided room for workers. Sports scores where transmitted through the tickertape device at the saloons. 5.
The progressives were a middle class movement that sought reforms during the first decade of the 20th century. It included capitalists, women, and most of its members were part of the middle class. Its philosophy was shaped by William James and is known as Pragmatism. As Darwinists, progressives believed in the survival of the ideas. Whatever idea suited better the general population should be applied, whereas all others should be discarded. Their basic allegation was that laissez faire capitalism didn’t work and that the federal government had to intervene in order to make a better society.
They supported behaviorism, which is the idea of shaping the environment in order to make people behave better. In other words, they were moral crusaders who insisted that there should be uniformity in the way that people think and act. Many of these progressives were xenophobes who argued that part of the decadence that society was experiencing came from abroad. They were successful in implementing reforms such as promoting patriotism in schools and establishing health classes. They stopped monopolies by controlling supply and demand. They reformed local governments where ward healers were ruling entire cities.
Perhaps the progressive by excellence is Theodore Roosevelt. As a progressive, he battled corporate owners such as JP Morgan and created the first laws limiting children and women’s labor. During his presidency the first food and drug act was passed. This would become in the future the Food and Drug Administration. 6. These two writings leave the United States global perception during this age very clear. Being of European descent, obviously America’s perception is euro centrist, but at the same time it’s deeper and thoroughly into what seems to be a fascist or protofascist discernment.
Considering these writings, we can conclude that for the United States its sole mission as a Christian nation is to promote democracy in the world by dominating their markets. Immigrants are seen as inferior beings within the nation and the entire world is nothing without the United States. The diplomatic tendency that we can imply according to these writings is the one of interventionism. Interventionism to promote the benefits of American companies in poor nations in order to obtain the raw materials cheaply. Pitifully, America’s foreign policy never got out of this facet and is stagnant.
This policy still goes on in the Middle East and South America and it is very detrimental for developing countries. 7. Theodore Roosevelt is considered by many historians the most important president in the history of the United States. Roosevelt, of imperialistic vision, converted the United States into the dominant force of the Americas. As president, he successfully passed several reforms. He considered himself as a steward of the people and believed that the government had the obligation to help the individual, since there were many forces between the well-being of the individual and the government.
His major accomplishment was the acquisition of the Panama Canal after inciting an insurrection against the Colombian government. Roosevelt was also interested in the natural resources and designated certain zones as federal lands and natural parks. Roosevelt also fought against monopolies and was even able to dissolve the northern trust companies which were property of JP Morgan. He created the first food and drug act that regulated agriculture and the food industry. He made a strong emphasis on public education and patriotism.
It is easy to see why this man is considered one of the most important personages of American history. In my personal opinion, Roosevelt was an evil and imperialistic character. Under His corollary and his interventionist policy, the Latin American countries were put at the mercy of the United States. Their resources were usurped and their workers exploited. To the same extent, the US army occupied the majority of the Latin-American countries ultimately ending in bloodshed in many occasions.
The countries that were not occupied by the army generally were under the rule of American backed dictatorships. In conclusion, perhaps in the American spectrum Roosevelt secured valuable reforms for the American people, but in the world-wide spectrum he prevented the development of the Latin American nations. 8. After a coup was staged in Mexico by the forces of Huerta; Wilson under his moralist policy of self-determination decided that this was not a legitimate government. He turned against this government and ended in the American occupation of Mexico’s main port.
In fact, Wilson took part in this subject because there were many American interests in Mexico. The majority of oil and cattle in Mexico was American owned. Therefore, the revenue o Mexican American enterprises in Mexico were a large income for the United States government. The differences provoked between both nations ended in two armed interventions in Mexico: the taking of the port of Veracruz in April of 1914 and the military force deployment of General Pershing in March of 1916 with the purpose of defeating Francisco Villa by its attack to the North American city of Columbus.
We can conclude that the attitude of President Wilson happened, due its moral character and his mission of being the illuminated nation that should spread democracy. Mexico for a long time continued being the target of the glances of the European powers, because it meant a strategically important point of contact with the United States, as well as an inexhaustible supplier of raw materials. Finally, just like in Mexico, Woodrow Wilson appealing to humanitarian rules got involved in World War I, which ended the North American isolationism definitively. . There are several reasons why America entered World War I. At the beginning there was no Anti German sentiment and there was actually some sympathy towards Germany due to the large concentration of German nationals in America. The page turned slowly when Germany violated its neutrality. Due to Britain’s blockade, Germany developed the u-boat and started attacking any fleet going towards England. In March of 1915 the Falaba ship was sunk. During this incident one American on board died.
This incident was followed by the sinking of the Lussitania, in which 128 US nationals were killed. The ship was sunk by one torpedo, but exploded because there was ammunition and weapons that the US was selling clandestinely to the English. The first response of Wilson was to stay out of the conflict. He sent advisors and diplomacy letters to Germany that stated to advise passengers before being attacked. This was not followed by the Germans, and another passenger ship was sunk: one person died. After these incidents, a German spy was found on a NY subway.
This elevated the security level and concerned the highest American officials including Wilson. However, what concerned the most Americans was the finding of the Ziermermann note. This proposed a pact between Mexico and Germany in which Mexicans would let German troops on their ports and bases. Following many pledges, Wilson finally asked the congress about war and there was little objection. There were also financial reasons to enter the war. The stock market had closed and the largest investments were British.
I don’t think that America could have avoided this conflict. Firstly, because of their recent altercation with Mexico. Secondly, because going to war might have signified a risk, but this small risk wasn’t comparable to the profit that they could make if the war was won. 10. During World War I the government incessantly controlled the life of its citizens. All the labor fronts especially those of mining were called to work double shifts without any excuse. There was food rationing because the food had to be taken to the troops in Europe.
In conclusion, we can say that the government controlled during this period all the aspects of the life of its citizens. I believe that this period was the climax of the Progressive movement, but at the same time it sentenced its death. Behaviorism got to such an extreme point that citizens did not resist this senseless morality and decided to rebel against the establishment. We can see vestiges of this in all the labor insurrections across the nation. All the labor fronts were in strike after the war was over.