History of the United States > Growth and Transformation
Introduction | Early America | The Colonial Period | Revolutionary Period and New Nation |
Slavery, Civil War and Westward Expansion | War and Prosperity |
The Great Depression and the New Deal | World War II | Postwar America |
Decades of Change | Towards the 21st Century | The 21st Century
· Age of Imperialism (Small Planet.com)
· American Experience: America 1900 (PBS)
· A Coal Miners Work (OSU College of Humanities)
· Basic Readings in U.S. Democracy: Industrial America CD
· Basic Readings in U.S. Democracy: The Crisis of the Union CD
· Historians on American History: The Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890 (IIP)
· History of Jim Crow (1870s to 1950s) (JimCrowHistory.org)
· Immigrants joining the Mainstream (E-Journa America.govl)
· Outline of American History: Growth & Transformation CD
· Outline of American Literature: The Rise of Realism: 1860-1914 CD
· Railroad History (California State Railroad Museum)
· Timetable U.S. Diplomatic History: Diplomacy and the Rise to Power (U.S. State Department)
· US-Geschichte CD
· U.S. Population in Transition CD
· Zahlen & Fakten U.S. Geschichte CD
· Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy (Avalon Project, Yale University): 19th Century Documents
· Railroad Maps 1828 - 2000 (Library of Congress)
· The Annexation of Hawaii: A Collection of Documents (University of Hawaii)
· The History Place: Child Labor Photographs
Exhibits - Digital Images
· Between a Rock and a Hard Place: A History of American Sweatshop from 1820 - Present (Smithsonian National Museum of American History)
· The 19th Century in Print (Library of Congress)
· Theodore Roosevelt: Icon of a Century (National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution)
For High School Students
· Ellis Island Immigration Museum
· Ellis Island Records
· Academic Info: The Gilded Age & Progressive Era
· National Archives: Teaching with Documents: The Development of the Industrial United States (1870 to 1900)
· Documentary History of the American Working Class (University of Maryland)
· 19th Century America (TeacherOz.com)
1885-1889 | 1893-1897
At the end of the war, the South was a region devastated by war, burdened by debt and demoralized by racial warfare. As time passed, it became obvious that the problems of the South were not being solved by radical reconstruction, harsh laws and continuing rancor against former Confederates. In May 1872, Congress passed a general Amnesty Act, restoring full political rights to all but about 500 Confederate sympathizers.
Between the Civil War and the First World War the United States of America was transformed from a rural republic to an urban state. The country became a leading industrial power. Great factories and steel mills, flourishing cities and vast agricultural holdings marked the land. The first transcontinental railroad was completed in 1869, and by 1900, the United States had more rail mileage than all of Europe. The petroleum, steel and textile industries prospered. An electrical industry flourished as Americans made use of a series of inventions: the telephone, the light bulb, the phonograph.
The South, however, remained even thirty years after the Civil War largely poor, overwhelmingly agrarian and economically dependent. Its society enforced a rigid social segregation of blacks from whites, and tolerated recurrent racial violence.
By 1890 the frontier had disappeared. Government policy had been to move the Indians beyond the reach of the white frontier but the reservations had become smaller and more crowded and tribal treaty rights were often abused. The last decades of the 19th century were a period of imperial expansion for the United States, as it extended its influence, and at times its domain, over widely scattered areas in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and into Central America. In 1867, America purchased Alaska from Russia. Within a few years after the end of the Spanish-American War in 1898, the United States was exercising control or influence over islands in the Caribbean Sea, the mid-Pacific and close to the Asian mainland. When the Hawaiian royal government announced its intention to end foreign influence in 1893, American businessmen joined with influential Hawaiians to install a new government, and in July 1898 the islands were annexed.
With economic growth and affluence came corresponding problems. Nationwide, businesses came to dominate whole industries, either independently or in combination with others. Trusts - huge combinations of corporations - tried to establish monopoly control over some industries. The Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 banned trusts, mergers, and business agreements "in restraint of trade." Industrialization also brought with it the rise of organized labor. Working conditions were often poor and even in good times wages were low, hours long and working conditions hazardous. Periodic economic crises swept the nation, further eroding industrial wages and producing high levels of unemployment. At the same time, the technological improvements, which added so much to the nation's productivity, continually reduced the demand for skilled labor. Yet the unskilled labor pool was constantly growing, as unprecedented numbers of immigrants -- 18 million between 1880 and 1910 -- entered the country. Cities grew so quickly they could not properly house or govern their growing populations.
Texts are abridged from U.S. State Department IIP publications and other U.S. government materials. What kind of information materials are available?
CD: These documents are available in fulltext format on the About the USA CD-ROM. Teachers: Request a copy for classroom use.
L: Selected documents are available in German as well as other languages, including Arabic, Chinese, French, Spanish, Persian and Turkish.
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