United States History Essay, Research Paper
Chief Joseph: When he became chief of the Nez Perce Indian tribe in the American Northwest in 1871, Joseph led his people in an unsuccessful resistance to white settlers who were confiscating land. The tribe was ordered to move. Joseph agreed, but when three of his tribe killed a group of settlers, he attempted to escape to Canada with his followers.
Safety Valve Thesis: This assertion stated that as immigrants came to the eastern United States during the late nineteenth century and “polluted” American culture, citizens of the U.S. would have the West as a “safety valve” to which they could go in order to revitalize their pure Americanism.
Homestead Act, 1862: This act cut up Western public lands into many small holdings for the free farmers. It was originally started by Andrew Johnson as the first homestead bill but met strong opposition by Southern Representatives and therefore could not be passed until the secession of the Southern States during the Civil War.
Dawes Severality Act, 1887: It was proposed by Henry L. Dawes, and was passed in 1887. It was designed to reform what well-meaning but ignorant whites perceived to be the weaknesses of Indian life– the lack of private property, the absence of a Christian based religion, the nomadic traditions of the Indians, and the general instability in their way of life — by turning Indians into farmers. The main point of the law was to emphasize treating Indians as individuals as opposed to members in a tribe, or severalty.
Helen Hunt Jackson, A Century of Dishonor: This book, by Jackson, was a discourse concerning the plight of American Indians published in 1881. She gathered information regarding American Indians and their lives while serving on a federal commission investigating the treatment of Indians. Jackson also wrote Ramona concerning the same topic.
TheGrange: During the decade of the 1870s, U.S. farmers were beset with problems of high costs, debts, and small profits. the farmers made their grievances known through the Granger Movement. Membership peaked in the mid-1870s. There was little the farmers could do concerning prices. Only in 1877 did the Supreme Court rule that states could regulate businesses of a public nature. To counteract unjust business practices, the farmers were urged to start cooperatives such as grain elevators, creameries, and stores.
Farmers Alliance: This alliance was a political organization created to help fight railroad abuses and to lower interest rates. It called for government regulation of the economy in order to redress their greivanes. It was founded in New York in 1873, and consisted of the Northwest Farmers’ Alliance in the north and the National Farmers’ Alliance and Independent Union in the south. They failed to unite, however, and in 1892 gave way to the Populist party.
Billion-Dollar Congress: The first in peacetime to appropriate approximately this sum-gave birth to a bumper crop of expensive legislative babiews. When the Democrats won control of the House two years later, they paid Reed the compliment of adopting some of his reforms for speedier action.
Pension Act: Began by the Billion-Dollar Congress, it showered pensions on all Union Civil War veterans who had served for ninety days and who were now unable to do manual labor. Between 1891 and 1895 the host of pensioners was thus rasied from 676,000 to 970,000, and by the time Harrison left office in 1893, the annual bill had shot up from $81 million to $135 million. Thus was faintly foreshadowed the government-financed welfare state of the twentieth century. Populist Party, 1892: The Populist party, or people’s party, was a party that represented the “common man.” It was created towards the end of the nineteenth century. Some of their goals included creating postal savings banks, enacting immigration restriction, setting a graduated income tax and limiting the presidency to a single six-year term. The Populist platform represented views of farmers in the West. The Omaha platform of 1892 nominated James Weaver of Iowa for president.
James B. Weaver: An United States legislator and prominent figure during the Populist movement, he served as a congressman from 1879 to 1781 and 1885 to 1889. He was the presidential candidate of the Greenback and People s parties in 1892. Weaver was also a former civil war general.
William Jennings Bryan: Despite the fact that he was defeated three times for the presidency of the United States, William Jennings Bryan, the principal figure of the Populist party, molded public opinion as few leaders have done. A surprise to the public, he polled many votes during the 1896 election, which may have been a direct result of his “Cross of Gold Speech.” For many years he was the leader of the Democratic party, and it was his influence that won the Democratic presidential nomination for Wilson in 1912.
Marcus Hanna: He was an industrialist who became convinced that the welfare of industry, and therefore the nation, was bound by the fortunes of the Republican party. To further his goals he waged the most expensive political campaign the nation had ever seen to get William McKinley elected president in 1896. He also served in the Senate.
Muckrakers: Those American writers who early in the 20th century wrote both fiction and nonfiction to expose corruption in business and politics were called the muckrakers. Muckraker was a term first used by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906. They were given this name because of their tendency to “spread the muck around.”
Lincoln Steffens, The Shame of the Cities: An eminent American reformer and journalist, Joseph Lincoln Steffens, was a leader of the muckrakers. He wrote a series of articles that documented corruption in American cities, asserting that some cities were run by political bosses who remained in power with the help of powerful businessmen.
Square Deal: Roosevelt, on a speaking tour against the Northern Securities Company, called for a “square deal.” This progressive concept denounced special treatment for the large capitalists and is the essential element to his trustbusting attitude. This deal embodied the belief that all corporations must serve the general public good.
Upton Sinclair, The Jungle: Sinclair was an American writer and reformer who wrote The Jungle. This book exposed the unsanitary working conditions in the stockyards of Chicago, eventually leading to an investigation of both working conditions and the conditions of food. It eventually led to the enactment of the Pure Food Act.
Newlands Reclamation Act, 1902: Roosevelt drafted the Newlands Reclamation Act when he noticed that decades of rapid industrial growth had destroyed much of the limited natural resources of the land. It insured that all natural resources would be managed by experts. Funding came from public-land sales and was used to build irrigation projects.
Hepburn Act, 1906: The Hepburn Act, in conjunction with the Elkins Act, granted the Interstate Commerce Commission enough power to regulate the economy. It allowed the ICC to set freight rates and, in an attempt to reduce the corruption in the railroad industry, to require a uniform system of accounting by regulated transportation companies.
Meat Inspection Act: The Meat Inspection Act was passed by Roosevelt as a strong response to Sinclair’s book describing the conditions of food as well as wartime scandals in 1898 concerning spoiled canned meats. It created strict sanitary requirements for meat, began a quality rating system, and provisioned for a federal department to inspect meat.
New Freedom – The Democratic Party, to which Wilson belonged, had a past history of 45 ballots without a nomination. To overcome this stumbling block the Democrats united with the Progressives, running under a compromise platform. Wilson s “New Freedom” campaign was concerned with progressive programs similar to both parties. He did not, however, support trustbusting in the same way that Roosevelt did. To him, all big business was morally evil and should be broken up.
Sixteenth Amendment: The Sixteenth Amendment, ratified in 1913, is an obvious indicator to the Progressive era in which it was passed. It authorized the income tax thereby allowing the Underwood-Simmons Tariff of 1913 to lower many tariffs. This amendment invalidated an earlier Supreme Court decision calling the income tax was unconstitutional.
Federal Reserve Act: The Federal Reserve Act was a compromise designed to stabilize the currency in the US. It split the US into 12 regions with one Federal bank in each region. Commercial banks bought stock from this bank. The discount rate at which the federal bank lent the money determined the interest rate.
Clayton Antitrust Act: The Clayton Act was designed to clarify the Sherman Antitrust Act in terms of new economic issues that had arisen. Practices such as local price-cutting and price discrimination were made illegal. The right of unions to strike, boycott, and picket was also confirmed. This act would have been labor s Magna Carta had it been followed, but unfavorable court interpretations rendered many of its pro-labor sections powerless without further legislation.
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