3.7 – Second World War, Part I

WWII overview

World War II in the Pacific

Operation Torch

National World War II museum, ‘America goes to war‘ 

PBS, The War, Japanese Internment and Japanese-American soldiers

Discussion Questions

What caused World War II, as a whole?

What arguments did FDR use to convince Americans that Nazi Germany represented a powerful threat to the United States?

Prior to Pearl Harbor, why did many Americans support an isolationist foreign policy? What are some examples of the strength of that isolationist sentiment?

How bleak did the Allies fortunes appear to be in early 1942?

What were some of the major contributions that the United States made to the Allied war effort from 1940 through 1943?

What were some of the ways the war influenced life on the homefront in the United States?

Why did Japanese internment occur? What are your thoughts on the decision of many Japanese Americans to serve in the U.S. military?

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3.2 – The Great Depression & New Deal

Great Depression overview

Letters from Children to the Roosevelts

Great Depression photographs

The Great Depression Hits Farms

FDR’s fireside chats

Miler Center, FDR and Domestic Affairs

FDR, Second Inaugural

Discussion questions

What caused the Great Depression?

What are some of the most emotionally powerful examples of human suffering during the Depression?

How did FDR attempt to solve the Depression in his first term? What were some of the most noteworthy laws he advocated?

What are some of the major themes from FDR’s Second Inaugural?

How successful was the New Deal in achieving its aims?

2.28 – The Roaring Twenties

Readings

J. Zeitz, Fitzgerald and the 1920s

History.com, Harlem Renaissance

American in Class, Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s

History.com, Prohibition

Smithsonian Magazine, Flappers

Discussion questions

What was the condition of the American economy in the 1920s?

What were some of the modern technological advances that changed the ways Americans lived in the 1920s?

What were some of the major challenges to traditional American values that emerged during the 1920s? How did new attitudes towards music, sex, and fashion change American life in the 1920s?

How did more conservative groups in U.S. life respond to those challenges?

In your view, is the ‘Roaring Twenties’ a good title for this decade?

 

2.21 – Women’s Suffrage

Readings

History.com, 19th Amendment Adopted

History.net, Women‘s Suffrage Movement

National Women‘s History Museum, Rights for Women (sections I-XVIII)

Opposition to Women‘s Suffrage

I encourage you to conduct additional research to answer the discussion questions.

Discussion Questions

Who were some of the most important suffragettes?

What strategies did suffragettes use to achieve their aim?

What did opponents of Women’s suffrage argue?

In your view, why did suffragettes succeed in gaining the vote?

2.16 – The Great War

Jennifer Keene, World War I
“I didn’t raise my boy to be a soldier” (1915)
Michael E. Hanlon, “America’s Turn from Neutrality to Intervention, 1914-1917″
Senator George Norris Opposes U.S. Entry into WWI (April 1917)
Miller Center, Woodrow Wilson and Foreign Affairs
National Archives, The 14 Points (read the brief introduction and then the actual text)
Michael O’Malley, “Free Speech, World War I, and the Problem of Dissent”

Discussion questions

What caused the First World War?

Were Americans united in their support for going to war?

Why did the United States declare war on Germany?

In what ways did Woodrow Wilson’s plans for the United States’ post-war role in global politics represent a break from prior U.S. foreign policy?

How much support was there in the United States for Wilson’s approach to foreign policy? What did Wilson and his supporters argue to further their efforts to have the United States join the League of Nations?

Who were some of the major politicians that opposed Wilson’s post-war plans? What arguments did they use to defeat U.S. membership in the League of Nations?

Optional extra credit essay question:

Why did Wilson and his supporters lose the fight over ratification of the Treaty of Versailles?

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2.14 – An American Empire

Readings

Digital History, “The United States Becomes a World Power” (& read next 4 sections)
Platform of the Anti-Imperialist League (1899)
Rudyard Kipling, “The White Man’s Burden” (1899)
Senator Ben Tillman, “The White Man’s Burden as Prophecy” (1899)
Senator Albert J. Beveridge, “In Support of an American Empire” (1900)
Colored Citizens of Boston (1899)
American Anti-Imperialist League, “Soldiers’ Letters” pamphlet (1899)

Discussion questions

Why did the debate over imperialism become so important in the United States in the 1890s?

What changes in global politics influenced the debate over imperialism in the United States?

Why did the United States go to war against Spain?

What arguments did imperialists make in favor of annexing the newly conquered territories as American colonies?

What arguments did anti-imperialists make?

How did ideas of race shape the arguments made by both sides in the debate over imperialism?

Optional extra credit essay question:

Was the establishment of an American Empire in 1899 an aberration, or in keeping with the broader traditions of U.S. foreign policy?

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2.9 – The Progressives

Readings

PBS, The Progressive Movement

Primary sources on the Progressive Era

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The Nation, Famous Progressives

Racial Divisions in the Progressive Era

Discussion questions

Who were the progressives? In which parts of the country did they tend to live? What was their general social and economic background?

What did progressives want? What were some of their various aims?

How did progressives view the expansion of government power in American life?

What role did concern for racial justice play in the progressive movement? What was the relationship between African Americans and the progressive movement?

Identify three male and three female progressives and briefly explain their historical significance.

Optional extra credit essay question:

Who accomplished more in terms of progressive reform during his presidency: Teddy Roosevelt or Woodrow Wilson?

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2.7 – The Gilded Age, Unions, and Populists

In the first section of class, I will lecture on the Gilded Age, income inequality, and corruption in American politics and economic life. There are no assigned readings for that section. Instead, focus on the rise of Labor Unions and the Populists and consider the ways that wealthy capitalists sought to defeat reform efforts.

Readings

PBS, The Gilded Age and Millionaires’ row
“Politics in the Gilded Age”
Learn NC, Rise of Labor Unions
Carnegie and Homestead (video) or Homestead Strike
History Matters, Broken Spirits: Letters from the Pullman Strike
Populism and Agrarian Discontent
Omaha Platform
William Jennings Bryan, “Cross of Gold” speech (1896)

Discussion questions

What are some of the most conspicuous examples of “conspicuous consumption” by wealthy Americans in the late 19th century?

What were conditions like for factory workers in the United States in the late 19th century?

For those factory workers who sought to improve their conditions, what reforms did they promote and what strategies did they use to attempt to achieve those goals?

Identify three major Labor Unions from the late 19th century and early 20th century. 

Identify three major examples of violent clashes between Labor Unions and capitalists.

Section II

What were conditions like for farmers in the United States in the late 19th century?

For those farmers who sought to improve their conditions, what reforms did they promote and what strategies did they use to attempt to achieve those goals? 

How much political success did Populists (and sympathetic Democrats such as William Jennings Bryan) have?

What strategies did wealthy capitalists use to attempt to defeat reform efforts by Unions and Populists?

Optional extra credit essay question (see syllabus for details):

In your view, should the Populists be seen as a more successful political movement than Labor Unions? Why or why not?

2.2 – Factories, Cities, and Immigrants

Readings

Ryan Engelman, “The Second Industrial Revolution”

Library of Congress, “City Life in the Late 19th Century”

Ted Brackemyre, “Immigrants, Cities, and Disease”

PBS, “The First Measured Century”

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Newberry Library, Immigration and Citizenship

Use these sources to answer the discussion questions. You are also welcome to conduct additional research.

Discussion questions

Section I – Industrialization

Identify five major inventions or technological developments that reshaped the American economy during the 19th century.

Identify at least two major capitalists and the corporations they led. What strategies did they use to advance their business interests?

Section II – Urbanization

What were some of the major characteristics of city life in this era?

Section III – Immigration

What were some of the countries of origin of the ‘old’ immigrants and ‘new’ immigrants to the United States?

What were some of the “push” factors that led immigrants to leave their home countries and the “pull” factors that made the United States appealing to immigrants?

How did supposedly scientific ideas contribute to racism in the United States in this era?

What were some of the most significant contributions made by immigrant groups to American life in the late 19th and early 20th centuries?

What were some of the reasons that some Americans opposed immigration in the late 19th and early 20th century, and which groups did the ‘nativists’ believe should not be allowed to enter the United States?

Why did some Americans support immigration?

Optional extra credit essay question (see syllabus for details):

What similarities do you see between debates over immigration in the late 19th and early 20th century and debates over immigration today?