Historical Analysis

a. Sourcing
1.Who wrote the source?
2.When was it written?
3.Where was it written?
4.Is the author in a position to know first-hand, or is the account based on hearsay?
5.Can the source be believed? Is the author trustworthy. What will he stand to gain or lose?

b. Contextualization
1. What else was happening at the time this was written? (The burning issues of the day).
2. What was different back then? What was the same?
3. What would it look like through the eyes of someone who lived back then?

c. Corroboration
1. What are the real facts?
2. Comparing different accounts
3. What is common to the various accounts?
4. When do they disagree?
5. What might explain these discrepancies?
6. How might the accounts be reconciled?

American Eyes Abroad

1. In 1890, the US census declared the frontier "closed."

2. Many in America began to believe we had to expand abroad.

3. Great powers measured their greatness by the colonies they acquired.

4. Britain, Germany, and France divided up Africa. They wanted to carve up Asia as well.

Alfred Thayer Mahan

Mahan's The Influence of Sea Power upon History (Historian of the State Department)

Mahan was for many years the President of the Naval War College.

Mahan's argument ran as follows:

~National greatness and prosperity depended on naval power.
~Mahan urged the Navy to shift from wood construction to steel
~Overproduction: In the US, more produced than domestic market could absorb.
~Hence, overseas markets needed to dispose of surplus
~Overseas markets implied distant ports
~Reaching distant ports required large merchant marine
~Merchant marine needed protection of powerful navy
~Ships needed coaling stations and repair yards
~Coaling stations implied secure stops: colonies
~Canal across Panama needed to link East coast with Pacific Ocean


1. In 1820, the first American missionaries arrived.

2. Their offspring became powerful sugar planters in Hawaii.

3. By 1875, a treaty between the U.S. and Hawaii tightened the links between the two:

a. Allowed Hawaiian sugar to enter the U.S. free of customs duties;
b. Required Hawaiian monarchy to make no territorial or economic concessions to other countries.

4. In 1890 McKinley Tariff ended special status given to Hawaiian sugar.

5. By this time, Caucasian Americans owned three–quarters of the islands' wealth, though they represented a mere 2.1 percent of the population.

6. In 1891, a strongly nationalistic Queen Liliuokalani ascended to the throne and tried to restore greater power to Hawaiian natives.

7. In 1893, Americans overthrew Queen Liliuokalani, set up a provisional government, and asked to become an American state—so that their sugar would be classified as domestic and would avoid tariffs.

8. Annexation of Hawaii to the United States took place in 1898 during the Spanish–American War

Spanish–American War (1898)

Spanish-American war

Motives for war:

[Underlying versus immediate] [How does this compare to today?]

U.S. had sizable economic interests in Cuba and a lobbying group of 100,000 Cubans who lived in the U.S.

1. Humanitarians. Believed Spain was too cruel in fighting rebels.

2. Hawks (jingoes). Believed America should chastise Spain.

3. "Yellow journalism." Circulation war: Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst.

US Diplomacy and Yellow Journalism

4. De Lome letter—Spanish Ambassador to U.S. criticized McKinley

5. Sinking of the U.S. battleship Maine.
Blown up in Havana harbor. Probably an internal explosion.

The War Itself

Teller Amendment. U.S. had no intention of taking possession of Cuba.

1. Short and glorious—"a splendid little war."

2. Major battles:

a. Manila. George Dewey defeated Spanish fleet in Manila.

b. San Juan Hill. Theodore Roosevelt and his Rough Riders.

3. U.S. defeated Spain.

4. Beginning of a U.S. empire.

Treaty of Paris (1898)

1. Guam: to the U.S.

2. Puerto Rico: to the U.S.

3. Cuba: granted independence by Spain

4. Platt Amendment permited U.S. intervention in Cuba's internal affairs

5. Philippines: U.S. paid $20 million to Spain.

Philippines: take it or not take it

The proposed treaty with Spain sparked an important debate in America: Should we acquire the Philippines?

1. Those in favor of acquiring Philippines: imperialist case. Advocated an empire.

Appealed to motives of
Manifest destiny

2. Those against acquiring Philippines: anti–imperialist case.

Many felt imperialism counter to U.S. principles.
Others felt U.S. could expand markets without ruling other countries.
Labor unions felt they would be undercut by importation of low–wage contract workers.

3. Result: we paid $20 million and acquired the Philippines as an American possession

Philippine–American war (1898–1902)

1. Emiliano Aguinaldo's army had helped U.S. against the Spanish.

2. Aguinaldo expected to be president of an independent Philippines.

3. U.S. decided not to permit him to be President.

4. Aguinaldo led a guerrilla war against the occupying U.S. military.

5. War foreshadowed tactics and atrocities of Vietnam.

6. Aguinaldo finally captured. The revolt ended.


Video (44 minutes)
The Century: America's Time - 1914-1919: Shell Shock

War Beginnings

1. Large armies (web of alliances) dominated European continent

2. In Sarajevo, Archduke Ferdinand, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, was assassinated.

3. America's initial reaction: Wilson urged "impartiality in thought and action

4. America not sure whom to root for: we had immigrants from many places

War Lineup:

Allies: Britain, France, Russia, Japan, and Italy

Central Powers: Germany, Austria–Hungary, Turkey

Initially, the United States attempted to remain neutral

American financial assistance to the Allies

1. England and France bought huge amounts of arms, grain, and clothing

2. American bankers helped finance purchases:

3. Loans to Allies exceeded $2 billion; Loans to Germany: only $27 million

4. U.S. was not exactly neutral

German submarine (U-boat) warfare

1. A real threat to freedom of the seas came from German submarines

2. (Feb 1915) Germans declared the waters around British Isles a war zone
Threatened to sink any ship there

3. (May 1915) Germans sank passenger liner Lusitania

Among 1,198 dead were 128 Americans

PR impact: comparable to Maine in Havana harbor

But this time, America just protested through diplomatic notes.

4. Major German miscalculation

(1 Feb 1917). Germans decided on unrestricted submarine warfare

Germany hoped to defeat Allies before American troops reached Europe

Zimmermann telegram (25 Feb 1917)

1. Germany asked Mexico to be their ally—and perhaps even invade a part of the U.S.—if U.S. entered the war against Germany.

2. In return, Germany would help Mexico get back territory U.S. received from the Treaty of Guadalupe (1848) ending the Mexican War.

Wilson's War Message (2 April 1917)

U.S. Entry into World War I, 1917

1. Wilson wanted to make the world "safe for democracy."

Idealism, progressivism, "city on a hill"

2. America: a special sense of mission—to reform world politics

3. Wilson believed taking part in the war necessary to guarantee U.S. a seat—and an insider's voice—at the peace table.

Mobilizing and Managing the home front

Mobilization of the nation for war altered American life

War cost $32 billion—U.S. yearly budget only $1 billion

Centralized planning boards: New Deal and World War II precedents

(1) War Industries Board

Key name: Bernard Baruch

Coordinated the national economy

(2) Food Administration

Key name: Herbert Hoover

a. Victory gardens

b. Meatless and wheatless days

(3) Fuel Administration

a. Daylight savings time

b. Gasless days

(4) Committee on Public Opinion

Key name: George Creel
Propaganda agency to get America behind the war effort

75,000 four-minute speakers

Anti-German sentiment became pronounced in U.S.
Schools stopped teaching the German language
Sauerkraut became "liberty cabbage"
Saloons removed pretzels
German composers were not played

Espionage and Sedition Acts:

Stopped people from speaking out

Espionage Act (1917)—limited First Amendment rights

Sedition Acts (1918)—further limited free speech


American Expeditionary Force (AEF)

1. Name given to the American armies in France

2. Commanded by General John "Black Jack" Pershing

3. U.S. came in on the side of the Allies: Britain and France

When the Americans turned the tide

A soldier's life

First World War.com -Life in the Trenches

Major battles (all in 1918) involving Americans:

1. Arrival of U.S. forces was just in time

2. As a result of Bolshevik Revolution, Russia had gotten out of the war.

Germans shifted their troops from Russia to France.

Germans launched a major offensive in March 1918.

3. Americans fought at

Belleau Wood and Chateau-Thierry
Saint Mihiel

4. By November 1918, Germany was retreating all along the front

Fighting ceased on 11 November 1918: our current Veterans' Day


American dead totaled 118,000


Influenza epidemic killed some 20 million people world–wide (700,000 Americans)


Bolshevik Revolution (1917)

1. Bolsheviks (Communists under Lenin) overthrew the Czar

2. March 1918: Treaty of Brest Litovsk—Russia pulled out of the World War

3. Civil war erupted between Bolsheviks (Red Russians) and their internal enemies (White Russians)

U.S. Intervention in Russia (1918-1920)

1. Wilson sent 15,000 U.S. troops to Soviet Union
2. American aim was to defeat Bolsheviks (Red Russians) in civil war against White Russians
3. American troops remained in Russia until 1920
4. Created bad blood between U.S. and Soviets

Red Scare in America

Provoked by fear of Bolshevik influence
Remember: Russian Revolution in 1917
Fear in America of a similar social revolution
Much labor violence in America; many saw it as Bolshevism

Palmer raids

Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer coordinated raids on alleged Communists, whose civil liberties were denied.

Seeds of McCarthyism planted during these years

Rise of J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI

American Legion. War veteran organization stood for 100% Americanism, social conformity, and anticommunism.


The Paris Peace Conference and the Treaty of Versailles

1. British and French demanded harsh approach to defeated Germany
2. Wanted defeated Germany disarmed
3. Wanted Germany's colonies: Africa, Asia
4. Wanted monetary payback (reparations) of Allied war costs
5. Hoped reparations would cripple Germany forever ($33 billion)
6. Severity of reparations a main cause of World War II

Wilson's program (Fourteen Points)

Wilson’s Fourteen Points, 1918

Wilson hoped for world peace. Based on American principles. Highly idealistic.

Some of his 14 points were as follows:

Open diplomacy
Freedom of the seas
Removal of trade barriers
Reduction of armaments
Impartial adjustment of colonial claims
Evacuation of occupied lands
National self-determination
League of Nations

Woodrow Wilson, World War I, and American idealism

League of Nations

The League of Nations, 1920

League of Nations was the most important point of the 14 points to Wilson.

League of Nations was intended to police the world: forerunner of United Nations.

Article 10: required major power intervention against aggressors.

U.S. unwilling to commit to such potential intervention abroad.

U.S. Senate rejection of the peace treaty

1. Senate has to approve any treaty by 2/3 vote
Wilson was a Democrat
Senate had 96 members: 49 Republicans, 47 Democrats
Most Republicans were opposed the treaty as written

2. Wilson stubbornly refused to work with his Republican opponents to achieve a compromise.

Instead, he took his case to the American people: tiring speaking tour.

Wilson suffered a stroke.

3. Senate ultimately rejected the peace treaty

4. America did not join the League of Nations

U.S. Post-World War I Foreign Policy

1. Major foreign policy debate
2. Collective security versus unilateralism
3. Most Americans preferred historical tradition of nonalignment
4. Willing to act unilaterally in world to achieve national interests
5. Reluctant to take on binding commitments to collective action


Social workers: Settlement Houses

Key name: Jane Addams

Hull House in Chicago (1889).

Located in center–city, immigrant neighborhoods.
Staffers: young; middle–class; college–educated; white women.

Emphasis placed on:
English language classes
Courses in cooking, sewing, and household skills
Infant welfare clinics

Settlement House Movement (National Women's History Museum)

Hull House (National Women's History Museum)


Roman Catholics and Immigration in Nineteenth-Century America (National Humanities Center)

Chinese Exclusion Acts (Historian of the State Department)

The Immigration Act of 1924 (The Johnson-Reed Act)

Push factors:

Food shortages
Anti–Semitism (Poland and Russia).

Pull factors:

America as a land of opportunity. Was it for everyone or did some people choose to stay home?

Role of chain migration.

Role of return migration.

U.S. has always had immigration:

Asylum of liberty.

Source of immigration changed from roughly 1890-1900

Prior immigrants: northern and western Europe and the British Isles
Newer immigrants: eastern and southern Europe.

Characteristics of newer immigrants (1890-1900)

Generally poor
Often illiterate
Jewish or Catholic
Had very different customs.
Most settled in eastern cities.
Few settled in South.

Immigrant cultures

Role of ethnic enclaves: to preserve their culture

Ethnic associations
Schools (tied to religion: parochial and rabbinical)

How to strike a balance between assimilation and ethnic identity
Melting pot or salad bowl as appropriate metaphor?

Generational divide

First generation: not speak English
Second generation: not speak native tongue
Third generation: aware of heritage

Nativist response

Distrust of foreigners by "natives" a consistent theme in U.S. history.

New immigrants were particularly seen as utterly alien
Threaten "American" values based on their language, religion, and culture.



Dilemma for many: How does one anchor oneself in a world of rampant materialism and social change?

1. Many people felt threatened by change.
2. Some reacted defensively by looking for scapegoats.
3. An increase in nativism,
4. Fear of radicalism
5. Strengthened religious fundamentalism

"New" morality

The 1920s saw an acceleration of the tempo of American life.

Crime/Prohibition of Alcohol

Temperance and Prohibition (Today in History, Library of Congress)
[scroll half-way down the screen)

Ku Klux Klan

1. Result of increase in nativism.
2. Revived (1915) to insure "native, white, Protestant supremacy."
3. Drew its membership from villages and small towns untouched by immigration, industrialization, and illiberal thought.
4. Unlike its predecessor: which was mostly against blacks, New Klan devoted to 100% Americanism
5. New Klan was anti–Catholic, anti–Semitic, anti–foreigner.
6. Peak publicity: 30,000 down Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington, D.C.
Google Images: http://bit.ly/ywtk3T
7. Not just in the South. Klan controlled much of the state of Indiana.
8. Klan declined by 1930s.
9. Today's Klan is third wave.

Sacco and Vanzetti (1921)

1. Two Italian immigrants were accused of murder in a payroll robbery
2. Both were anarchists (want to destroy all government)
3. It is not clear they were really guilty, but both executed
4. Fear of radicalism: antiforeign, antianarchist sentimen

Scopes trial (1925)

Fundamentalism and the Social Gospel

1. Held in Dayton, Tennessee

2. John Scopes, a high school Biology teacher, had apparently taught evolution, a violation of Tennessee law.

3. Clarence Darrow, noted trial lawyer and non-religious, defended Scopes.

4. William Jennings Bryan, an evangelical, argued against evolution.

5. Evolution undermines Biblical account of creation

6. The issues at stake:

Faith v. reason
Science v. creationism
Rural v. urban values.

The Drugstore in America

Sister Aimee Semple McPherson (1920s)

The Angelus Temple, Echo Park, Los Angeles

God or Gorilla?
1. A Crisis of Faith
2. The Fight for Genesis
3. McPherson on Trial

Charles A. Lindbergh

1. First solo transatlantic flight: New York to Paris (1927)

2. Combination of radio and talking movies (used for newsreels) gave him a world–wide attention that would previously have been impossible.

3. Later kidnapping and murder of the Lindbergh baby