Europeans Colonize North America (1600 – 1640)
*English Interest in Colonization*
– By the sixteenth century, many countries, including Spain, France, and the Netherlands, had established colonies in the New World. Until the foundation of Jamestown, however, the English didn’t have any successful permanent colonies in North America.
– Prior to Jamestown, Sir Walter Raleigh of the Sea Dogs formed a joint stock company and received a charter to found a colony on Roanoke Island in 1584. It failed, and he tried again in 1585 and 1587. Both were failures, and the fate of the 1587 colony remains a mystery (all colonists disappeared).
– Anyhow, several factors encouraged the English to try again with Jamestown even after their earlier failures, and motivated people to join the expeditions. These reasons include…
- “Overcrowding” – England had experienced a dramatic population boom, resulting in social and economic upheaval (inflation, falling wages, peasants losing their land b/c of the enclosure movement, many homeless people, rapidly growing cities).
- Competition – The English government was concerned about losing ground in the competition with the Spanish for overall power and with the Dutch for trading. Since they had colonies, it was only natural that England would want them as well.
- Religion – This applies more to the prospective colonists than to the government. Anyhow, after Henry VIII split from the church in 1533, he established the Anglican Church, which was subsequently taken over by Queen Elizabeth, who swung it more towards the Protestant side. This led to the formation of many English Calvinist [Puritan] groups, who felt that reform should go further. But under the Stuarts [the absolutists], the church went back towards Catholicism w/o the Pope, and many of the Puritans were forced to flee in the 1620s to avoid persecution.
*The Founding of Virginia*
– In 1606 the Virginia Company was founded by a group of merchants and gentry who felt they could reap great profits from colonizing America [it could allow them to find precious metals and new trade routes]. The Virginia Company was a joint-stock venture [it was funded by contributions from many small investors].
– Although joint-stock companies had worked well to finance voyages, which quickly resulted in $, they wouldn’t work as well for colonies b/c colonies required enormous amounts of funding and usually failed, or at least took a long time, to return profits. Consequently, colonies funded by these companies were always short of capital b/c nobody wanted to risk much $.
– Anyhow, James I decided to go ahead and charter the company in 1606, which resulted in Jamestown being founded in Virginia [after a failure to start a colony in Maine] in May 1607 by 104 Englishmen.
*Jamestown’s Struggle for Survival*
– The most concise way to express the first years would be absolutely terrible luck. The colonists faced a myriad of problems, most of which they were not responsible for. For instance…
- They just happened to arrive during a severe drought.
- They had major problems with diseases like typhus and dysentery caused by a lack of sanitation (they washed clothes in the James river, then drank the water, and so on).
- They settled in the worst place possible
- They (this was their fault) were lazy. As the colonists were mainly gentlemen expecting to somehow magically discover gold and get rich, they were totally unprepared for the notion of *gasp* manual labor.
– Not surprisingly, they had a 90% mortality rate on the first wave of colonists.
*Jamestown and the Powhatan Confederacy*
– So why wasn’t this another failure? Well, b/c of the Native Americans in the area [6 Algonquian tribes – the Powhatan Confederacy]. Since Powhatan [their leader] thought that the new arrivals could help him consolidate his power over the neighboring tribes, he was receptive and friendly towards them and agreed to trade food for items such as knives and guns.
– Soon enough, however, the relationship broke down. One cause of this was the kidnapping of Pocahontas, Powhatan’s daughter, by colonists who wanted to use her as a hostage to get settlers back. After that, they maintained an uneasy peace and nothing more.
– Additionally, frequent cultural misunderstandings contributed to the failure of the friendship. For instance…
- In the Indian culture, leaders were not autocratic. B/c the English were accustomed to dealing w/absolutist figures, they consistently overestimated the power of the Indian leaders.
- Another problem was conceptions of property ownership. For the Indians, land was communal and couldn’t be bought/sold. Also, the English thought land ownership implied it was farmed.
- Most significantly, the English had a big time superiority complex, and did not give a crap about Indian traditions and culture.
– So, due to the factors listed above, it was exceedingly difficult for the two groups to maintain the harmonious relationship they had developed at the beginning. Before long, the settlers began to follow a pattern that would occur time and again: they took advantage of their allies, then turned against them (using their internal politics to divide and conquer) and then stole their land.
– Anyhow, with the support of the Indians the Jamestown colonists managed to survive for the first few years. Their first taste of independent government came a while down the road, though, with the introduction of the House of Burgesses by the Virginia Company established the House of Burgesses in 1619. Although the governor could veto their laws, they controlled his salary.
*The Expansion of the Chesapeake Colonies*
– But what actually saved the colonists in the long term? One word: tobacco. In 1611, the first crop was planted and the Virginians finally found the commodity crop they had been searching for. There was a huge boom in tobacco exports throughout the 1620s (it became like currency).
– Consequently, the colony grew into a full sized settlement that included men, women, and children. Also, since tobacco exhausted the soil quickly the colony expanded space-wise as well.
– The expansion caused Powhatan’s successor, who felt the colonists were encroaching on his lands, to launch coordinated attacks along the James River on March 22, 1622 in which ¼ of the colonists were killed. But after reinforcements arrived, the settlers counterattacked and a peace was reached.
– Indian control of the region was further broken in April 1644 when they made a last attempt, failed, and were forced to sign a treaty that subjugated them to the English.
– The one thing the 1622 attack did do was destroy the Virginia Company, which wasn’t making $ and had its charter revoked by James I in 1624. Virginia was then made a royal colony. James quickly attempted to remove the House of Burgesses but was met by so much resistance that he was forced to give up.
– Additional expansion occurred in 1634 when Charles I gave G. Calvert land on the Chesapeake as personal property. Calvert named the area Maryland and decided to use the colony as a haven for Roman Catholics. In fact, C. Calvert [son] was the first colonizer to offer religious freedom to all Christians.
– Besides religion [Jamestown was mostly composed of Anglicans], however, Maryland was identical to Virginia – they both relied on the tobacco crop and had plantations spread out down the river and therefore didn’t need towns to exchange goods [b/c they could just send it on down the river].
*The Headright System and Indentured Servitude*
– The major problem the colonists faced even from the beginning of the tobacco cultivation was a labor shortage, as tobacco was a very labor-intensive crop. This problem resulted in the introduction of the headright system in 1617 by the Virginia Company.
– The headright system stated that every new arrival paying their way could get 50 acres of land. Although this in itself encouraged wealthier people to move to the colonies, it also allowed the already established planters to get labor and land at once.
– Essentially, wealthy planters would pay other peoples’ passages in return for several years of what became called indentured servitude. So the planters would get free labor (for a while) and land, and, after they worked their quota of years, the servants would get their freedom and their own plots.
– Indentured servants, who were generally lower-class people who came over in hopes of advancement, had tough lives, even though they would, if they managed to survive the first years [many epidemic diseases made this easier said than done], receive “freedom dues” and be permitted to live as independent farmers.
– But overall, also b/c courts protected against excessive abuse, until the 1670s [when tobacco prices began to decline] America provided real opportunities. After 1670 land became harder to acquire and correspondingly in 1681 Maryland dropped the requirement that servants get land afterwards.
*The Founding of New England*
– Two separate groups contributed to the founding of New England:
- Separatists (Pilgrims) – The Pilgrims were even stricter than the Puritans, and felt that they had to split from the Anglican Church b/c it was too corrupt to ever be reformed.
- Congregationalists (Puritans) – The Puritans simply believed that the Anglican Church was too Catholic and needed to be purified. The Puritans were also essentially Calvinists.
– Eventually the area filled out with many other people, who were not necessarily Pilgrims or Puritans and simply came for economic reasons, and so on. Nevertheless, the leaders of the initial colonists left an indelible imprint on the region – their idealism persisted for decades at the very least.
– The colonization of New England began when in 1609 a Separatist congregation moved to the Netherlands, where they could practice freely. They disliked the Netherlands, however, b/c toleration also meant that many other religious sects unacceptable to the Separatists were about.
– Consequently, they obtained permission from the Virginia Company to colonize New England and left in September 1620 on the Mayflower with a whole bunch of non-Separatists. To make sure that they would still be in command when they landed, the Separatist leaders drafted the Mayflower Compact.
– The Mayflower Compact established a “Civil Body Politic” and basic legal system. It also described the belief that the Pilgrims had made a covenant w/God, which meant that they had to create a new utopian society – they were egalitarians [only for church members] and believed in communalism.
– Anyhow, the Pilgrims finally landed on November 21, 1620. They named their town Plymouth. But, once again, they had a tough time at the beginning [as they were poorly prepared for the climate].
– They were only saved when the Pokanokets [led by Massasoit], a local Indian tribe that had lost many people in an epidemic and were threatened by their neighbors, decided they would be useful allies.
– As the Pilgrims struggled to survive and create their small town community, though, another group arrived and established colonies that would eventually come to dominate New England and absorb Plymouth in 1691. This second group was headed by Congregationalists, who were threatened by Charles I, who had begun trying to wipe out Puritan practices in the country.
– Subsequently, a group of Congregationalist merchants obtained a royal charter in 1629 and formed the Massachusetts Bay Company, which soon attracted middle-class Puritans who were concerned about the deteriorating situation in England. Although they remained committed to reforming the Anglican Church, they felt they would be better able to continue in America.
– Therefore, the merchants decided to transfer their headquarters to America. Led by John Winthrop, who was elected governor in October 1629, the Puritans set off towards New England in 1630 on the Arbella. On the way, Winthrop explained his vision for the colony in a sermon, “The Model of Christian Charity.”
– Like the Pilgrims, he also stressed community, equality, and their covenant w/God, which required them to create a model “city upon a hill.” Later on, more formal institutions echoed the ideals expressed in the speech, for the General Court, which originally governed the Company, was changed into a colonial legislature. Soon enough, the system was complete w/a governor and full two-house legislature.
*The Expansion of the New England Colonies*
– Three types of towns developed in New England: agricultural towns that attempted to sustain Winthrop’s communalist ideas, seaports/trading centers, and commercialized agriculture towns.
– Furthermore, the colonists spread out over the years, founding Connecticut (1636), New Haven (1638), and New Hampshire (1638). But migration inevitably led to conflicts with the Indians. For instance, the first colonists to move to Connecticut under Thomas Hooker faced the Pequots, who realized that the arrival of the colonists would threaten their role as middlemen between other Indian groups and the Europeans.
– The Pequot War began with the death of two English traders [not by Pequots], which caused an English raid on a Pequot village. The Pequots then attacked in April 1637, and a Massachusetts Bay expedition responded by burning the main Pequot town and pretty much wiping them out.
– For the next 30 years the Indians allowed the Europeans to spread over their territory, although they never blended into European society and most colonist didn’t bother trying to convert them, with the exception of John Eliot [who wasn’t really successful anyhow b/c he demanded the Indians totally reject their roots].
*Contrasting Lifestyles in the Chesapeake and in New England*
– Not surprisingly, due to climactic and cultural reasons, life was very different in the two sections of the country. The most significant differences include…
- The importance of religion – It was not until the 1690s that the Church of England really took root in Virginia, and even then it was never an essential part of society. In New England, though, religion was central to all aspects of life; strict moral codes prevailed and anyone who disagreed with the established religious orthodoxy could be kicked out – ex. Roger Williams, who founded Providence, Rhode Island (1637) b/c he was exiled for promoting separation of church and state, and Anne Hutchinson.
- Land distribution – In the Chesapeake, land was unevenly distributed. In New England, however, a few people would apply together for grants of land and would then plan villages in which everyone would get land. So, New England was much more egalitarian in that respect.
- Plantations vs. small towns – While the Chesapeake was composed of sprawling plantations New England mainly consisted of small towns.
- Family life – In the Chesapeake, the predominance of males, the high mortality rate, and the incidence of servitude led to few, small, short-lived families. In New England, by contrast, people moved to the colonies already in family units and there was consequently a more even male: female ratio, which led to numerous, large [it was healthier there] and longer-lived [they created grandparents] families. Parents had far more impact on their children’s lives, as they actually lived to see them grow up.
– Clearly, the two regions developed very contrasting lifestyles over the years.
American Societies Take Shape (1640 – 1720)
*The Restoration Colonies*
– In 1642 the English Parliament, led by Oliver Cromwell, rebelled against Charles I [the absolutist monarch wannabe]. They finally won in 1646, and Charles was subsequently executed; Cromwell assumed control of the gov’t until his death in 1660. After the bad experience w/Cromwell [the Interregnum] the English decided to restore the monarchy, so Charles II arrived [The Restoration].
– All the events back in England had major consequences for the colonies. For one, since Puritans controlled the gov’t from the War until the Restoration, their migration to New England slowed down a lot. Additionally, after 1660 six new colonies were formed [The Restoration Colonies] but this time as proprietorships.
– The founding of the restoration colonies is as follows…
- New York was originally a Dutch colony, but in 1664 Charles II gave the area to his brother James, the Duke of York [pretending the Dutch weren’t there, I guess]. So James organized an invasion fleet, and the Dutch surrendered w/o resistance [the merchants thought it would be bad for business]. In 1672 the Dutch briefly retook the colony, but in 1674 they permanently ceded it as a result of their loss. New York was a very diverse colony and had a relatively high % of slaves as well, so the Duke was careful as he moved to establish his authority. For instance, in 1665 he passed The Duke’s Laws [first applied only to English settlements on Long Island and then later to the whole area], which maintained Dutch forms of local gov’t and (!) allowed religious toleration [each town could pick which church to support]. But it took until 1683 for an elected legislature to be formed. So basically, until the 18th century New York remained a relatively depopulated colony [grew slowly] w/few changes from Dutch rule.
- New Jersey was formed b/c the Duke of York regranted part of his land in 1664 to his friends Sir George Carteret and John Lord Berkeley [this actually deprived N.Y. of much needed fertile land and was one of the reasons the colony grew so slowly]. New Jersey, however, partially b/c its owners used land grants, limited toleration and the promise of an assembly to attract colonists, grew rapidly. W/in 20 years Carteret and Berkeley sold their sections to investors. All of Carteret’s part and some of Berkeley’s went to the Quakers, who were seeking to escape persecution.
- Pennsylvania itself was actually founded by Quakers when in 1681 Charles II gave the region to his friend William Penn, who then held it as a personal proprietorship. Penn used his colony as a haven for fellow Quakers [who were radical egalitarians and denied the need for clergy] but also promised toleration, guaranteed English liberties to all, and established an assembly. His publicity efforts caused massive migration to the area. Some of the migrants were even Native Americans, b/c Penn promised to treat them fairly as well. But his toleration was a double-edged sword for the Indians, as many of the people he allowed in were not respectful of them [the Scots, Irish, Germans and Swiss clashed w/them over land].
- Carolina was granted by Charles II in 1663 in a lucrative semitropical area [could produce many valuable commodities]. The proprietors had John Locke draft the “Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina” for them, which (!) laid out a semi-feudal hierarchical society [it really was Locke, not kidding here]. Still, Carolina ended up splitting into two separate centers, which split into separate colonies in 1729. Virginia planters settled North Carolina, establishing a society very similar to their own; wealthy planters from Barbados settled South Carolina, and, after a few difficult years in which they depended on trade w/the Indians, began using large amounts of slaves to cultivate rice and indigo.
– So the Restoration Colonies, formed after Charles II was crowned in 1660, varied in composition but were all basically proprietorships.
*Problems Faced by the Existing Colonies in the 1670s and 1680s*
– In the 1670s and 80s, the original French, Spanish and English colonies faced numerous crises, mainly caused by their relationships w/the Native Americans in their respective areas.
– For instance, in New France, the governor decided to expand into the south and west in the 1670s [wanted to gain direct control over the fur trade]. This brought them into conflict w/the Iroquois Confederacy, which had had skirmished w/the Europeans over the fur trade [the Beaver Wars] as early as 1633. So in the 1670s, the French began attacking Iroquois villages and in 1701 a neutrality treaty was negotiated by the exhausted Confederacy. The French also expanded by settling up outposts in the Mississippi region, where travelers and traders could stop between Quebec and Louisiana.
– New Mexico also experienced significant problems. B/c the Franciscans had been increasingly harsh on the subjugated Pueblo peoples in efforts to try to totally erase their native religion and culture [also colonists demanded heavy labor tributes] the natives rebelled in 1680 under Popé. Although Spain regained control in 1692 the governors changed tactics and became more cooperative. Spain also expanded their territory by establishing military outposts and missions to the east and north.
– In the English colonies [both New England and the Chesapeake], however, problems didn’t start b/c of trade [New France] or religion [New Mexico] but simply b/c of land issues.
*New England – King Phillip’s War*
– In New England, the expanding population resulted mainly from natural increase, rather than from immigration, which slowed down greatly after the outbreak of the Civil War in 1642. But b/c of the good conditions and large families, the population had tripled by the 1670s through natural increase alone.
– The increase created a need for land, and settlement began to spread farther into Massachusetts and Connecticut, and even north to New Hampshire and Maine. Other families gave up on agriculture altogether and took up skills like blacksmithing or carpentry.
– Nevertheless, settlements gradually came to surround the lands of the Pokanokets, whose chief, King Phillip, was the son of Massasoit [welcomed the Pilgrims]. Concerned by the loss of land and the impact of Christianity, King Phillip began attacking settlements in June 1675. Other Algonquians joined, and even the more well established villages began to face attacks in 1676 [Plymouth and Providence].
– But the tide turned in the summer of 1676, when the Indians began to lack supplies and the colonists began using Christian Indians as guides. After the Mohawks [enemies of the Algonquians] helped by attacking a major Wampanoag camp on June 12 and King Phillip died in August, the colonists emerged victorious and started selling the captured Indians into slavery. The power of the coastal tribes was broken.
– It’s important to note that the victory came w/a cost – 1/10th of the male population was killed or wounded, towns were devastated, and the economy didn’t reach pre-1675 levels until the American Revolution.
*The Chesapeake – Bacon’s Rebellion*
– Around the same time, Virginians also experienced conflict w/the Indians b/c of land, although the conflict played out slightly differently. After land-hungry Virginians attacked two Indians tribes, Indians raided outlying farms in retaliation in the winter of 1676.
– Governor William Berkeley, however, was reluctant to strike back b/c: (1) he had trade agreements w/the Indians and didn’t want to disrupt them and (2) he already had land and didn’t want competition anyway.
– So the angry colonists [many former indentured servants] rallied around recent immigrant Nathaniel Bacon, who held members of the House of Burgesses until they authorized him to attack the Indians and was consequently declared to be in rebellion by Berkeley.
– Throughout the summer of 1676, then, Bacon fought both Indians and supporters of the gov’t, even burning Jamestown itself to the ground. Even though the rebellion died w/Bacon in October, the point was made and a new treaty in 1677 allowed more territory to be settled.
– Besides being a turning point in relations w/the Indians, Bacon’s rebellion had another very important consequence. As landowners realized that there wasn’t much land left to give to indentured servants, the custom stopped and they began looking for slave labor instead.
*The Introduction of African Slavery*
– As a consequence of Bacon’s rebellion and the reluctance of indentured servants to go to the Chesapeake [no more land] planters turned to slavery as a labor source.
– They had no real moral qualms about this b/c slavery had been practiced in Europe for centuries and European Christians believed that it was OK to enslave “heathen” people. Racism against Africans, which viewed them as inferior b/c of their skin color, had also been developing in England since the 1500s.
– Even though there was a slave system in the West Indies by the 1650s, it didn’t spread to the mainland colonies until the 70s. Anyhow, when slavery did start in the colonies, what was it like?
- Slavery in the South – after 1677 slaves were imported incredibly rapidly into the Chesapeake region, and the existing slaves multiplied even faster. As the slave population increased, laws against them became stricter [whites were scared]. The new slaves were generally assigned more remote posts until they learned local customs, etc. An important thing to remember about slavery in the South is that most yeomen farmers couldn’t afford slaves – it was only the big planters that had them. So slavery also caused increased stratification in Southern society. In the Carolinas there had been more slaves from the start, but they only started importing them directly in 1700, when rice was introduced [the slaves helped them learn to cultivate it]. Indigo was later added as a crop there. Carolinians also enslaved Indians, which contributed to the outbreak of the Yamasee War in 1715.
- Slavery in the North – in the North there were fewer slaves, most of who were concentrated in New York and New Jersey. Most slaves were also already assimilated Creoles, especially early on. When some slaves did begin to come from Africa, the Creoles didn’t like it and looked down on them b/c they had difficulty adapting. Though some slaves were house slaves or worked in cities, overall, like in the South, most Northern slaves lived in the countryside.
*Atlantic Trade Patterns – “Triangular Trade”*
– The complex Atlantic trading system that developed as a result of the slave trade during the colonial period is often referred to as Triangular Trade – but it really wasn’t a triangle at all. One thing is for sure, though: the whole thing really did depend on slavery – the sale and transport of slaves, the exchange of stuff they made, and the food required to feed them.
– Here is the classic triangular pattern, which developed in the mid 17th century…
- New England only had one thing England wanted – trees. So, to get more stuff from England, the colonists sold food to the English islands, which needed to feed their slaves. So by the 1640s, New England was already indirectly dependent on slave consumption.
- The islands would consume products from New England and then ship molasses, fruit, spices and slaves back to colonial ports, where the molasses would be distilled into rum and sent to…
- Africa, which would provide slaves, who would be sold by coastal rulers and bought by European slavers, in exchange for the rum and manufactured goods.
– Anyhow, in addition to the relationships above, there was a whole bunch of confusing stuff going on, but it is really not that big a deal so who cares?
*Effects of the Slave Trade*
– First of all, slavery definitely stunk for the slaves, who had horrible conditions on the boat ride, etc. But it also had major political and economic consequences for Africa and for Europe, where it sparked big time rivalries between the powers. This, of course, caused changes in the Americas. So here goes…
– In West Africa, where the coastal rulers served as the essential link between the Europeans and the slaves, slavery caused increased centralization b/c the trade created powerful kingdoms. Slavery also consequently destroyed existing trading patterns and hurt local manufacturing.
– But the slave trade really benefited the Europeans, though it did help out some African rulers – so the powers fought to control it. The Dutch replaced the Portuguese in the 1630s, and the Dutch then lost out to the English, who took over through the Royal African Company in 1672. Even the English monopoly didn’t really last though, b/c by the 1700s most trading was carried out by independent traders.
– B/c of the competition over the slave trade, the English also looked for new sources of revenue, especially b/c of the Civil War. And they looked to – yup, you got it – the colonies.
*Mercantilism and the Navigation Acts*
– The mercantilist system of thought arose in the early 1600s, when it was believed that there was a finite amount of wealth [if they win, you lose] in the world and that governments had to control production and competition in order to gain the upper hand.
– By the late 1600s the concept developed that colonies could actually extend the amount of wealth available and that countries should exploit [I mean, use] their colonies to provide cheap labor and raw materials, which could be processed and then sold back to the colonies at a profit.
– So in England, where they were looking for new sources of revenue, this sort of thinking was applied, resulting in the Navigation Acts, which were passed from 1651 to 1673, and stated that…
- All goods had to stop in England to check that [initially] ½ the crew was British [later the quota was raised to ¾, and the ships became taxed as well].
- Foreign trading was banned between colonial ports, and colonists weren’t allowed to serve on competitors’ ships.
- Later on lists of enumerated goods [goods that could only be sold to England] were made.
– The purpose was to make England benefit from both colonial imports and exports. But, officials soon found out that enforcing the laws was much easier than passing them, b/c there was lots of smuggling. As a result, Admiralty Courts were established and a Board of Trade and Plantations was formed in 1696 to supervise the governors [but it didn’t have any direct powers of enforcement either].
*Colonial Political Development and Imperial Reorganization*
– After the crises of the 1670s, English officials began paying more attention tot the colonies. It was a real mess, administratively – the specifics were all different. Overall, though, the colonies all had governors [councils helped the governors] and legislatures [some of which were two-house].
– So, even though the local institutions varied, colonists everywhere were used to some political autonomy. But, after James II became king, officials decided to clean up the mess and consolidate the colonies under British rule. Massachusetts (1691), New Jersey (1702) and the Carolinas (1729) were made royal colonies.
– Some charters were temporarily suspended and then restored in that area as well. But the big changes were made in Puritan New England, which was considered a smuggling hotbed and was changed into the Dominion of New England in 1686 [New Jersey to Maine]. The Dominion was run by Sir Edmund Andros, who had immense power, until the Glorious Revolution in 1688.
– After the GR, colonists thought – hey, let’s rebel too – so they jailed Andros and declared their loyalty to William and Mary. But W&M also wanted tighter control, so they didn’t give the rebellions their sanction and instead issued new charters, which destroyed many New England traditions.
– To make it worse for New England, they had to fight King William’s War against the French and their Indian allies [really a European war – The War of the League of Augsburg – in which France declared war on England b/c of the GR] from 1689 to 1697.
– All the upheaval contributed to the famous 1692 Witchcraft Trials, where people were executed b/c of accusations of practicing witchcraft. These ended b/c: (1) ministers started to disapprove (2) the royal charter was implemented and (3) people in high places were accused.
– After the Witchcraft thing people settled down w/the new administration, though many resented the new order. Another war, the War of Spanish Succession [Queen Anne’s War in the colonies] was fought, and colonists were encouraged to help out through promises of land grants and offices.
Colonial Development in the Eighteenth Century (1720 –1770)
*Trends in Colonial Development in the Eighteenth Century*
– Colonial development in the 18th century had several key aspects – population growth [mainly due to natural increase], ethnic diversity, the increasing importance of cities, the creation an urban elite, rising levels of consumption and the growth of a stronger internal economy.
– So, by the second half of the century, social and economic stratification had increased significantly. Additionally, by that time, much of North America had fallen under European control. These changes, along with new trends in thought such as the Enlightenment and the Great Awakening, transformed the colonies.
*Intellectual Trends: The Enlightenment*
– Throughout the 18th century a new colonial elite was developing, and one of the things that began separating them from most other people was education, their use of “leisure” time, and their knowledge of the European intellectual movement known as The Enlightenment, which stressed a belief in rationality and peoples’ ability to understand the universe through mathematical or natural laws.
– The Enlightenment also gave the elite a common vocabulary and subjects to discuss, and it also encouraged colleges in the Americas to broaden their curriculums to include subjects like science, law and medicine, which allowed more people to join the educated circles.
– Enlightenment ideals about government, illustrated by John Locke’s Two Treatises of Government (1691), which stated that men had power over their governments and attacked the theory of divine right, were also discussed by the upper classes and did have an effect on American political life.
– To most people, however, the Enlightenment had its greatest effect though the advances in medicine it stimulated, such as the treatment of smallpox through inoculation.
*Religious Trends: The Great Awakening*
– From the mid-1730s to the 1760s waves of religious revivalism swept through America. These revivalists were almost a counterpoint to the Enlightenment b/c they stressed feeling over rationalism.
– The Great Awakening began in New England when in 1734 and 1735 Reverend Jonathan Edwards noted that his youthful members reacted to a Calvinist based message [people can only attain salvation by surrendering completely to God’s will] which created intense emotion and release from sin.
– The Great Awakening spread big time when George Whitefield [“the first modern celebrity”] from the Church of England arrived and began touring the colonies and preaching to large audiences. He helped unify the colonies, but he also created a split in religion between the “Old Lights” [traditionalists] and “New Lights” [revivalists]. This eventually led to increased toleration, though.
– The reason for the resistance to the message of the Great Awakening was that it undermined the dependence on the clergy and was also radically egalitarian [which attracted many ordinary people].
*Cultural Trends: Public Rituals*
– Instead of reading about the Enlightenment, though, most people simply communicated orally, as many were poorly educated or illiterate. Therefore, the common cultures of North America were mainly oral, communal and very local, since information traveled slowly and usually stayed w/in confined regions.
– So, since the colonists couldn’t form a common culture through other means, religious and civic rituals served to unite them. For example, attendance at church was perhaps the most important ritual as it was central to community life and was handled in different ways depending on the region. For instance, in Puritan churches and in Virginia, people were seated w/respect to their positions in society; but in Quaker meetinghouses the seating was egalitarian.
– Civic rituals also varied. In New England, colonial governments proclaimed official thanksgiving days and days of fasting and prayer. Also, militia-training days served to bring the community together.
– In the Chesapeake, however, important rituals occurred on court and election days, where people came from miles to observe the events.
– In all areas of colonial America, punishment of criminals in public also served to unite the community and also to remind everybody of the proper behavior by totally humiliating the criminal.
– A new ritual at the time was the ritual of consumption, which is a fancy term for going shopping. This was actually a new activity back then, since commercial goods were only starting to become available for most people. It became [and still is] customary, though, to buy cool stuff and then show it off. Among the rituals of consumption, though, the tea-drinking ritual was perhaps the most important.
– Additionally, rituals developed for communication and negotiation between settlers and Indians – gift giving, etc. Unfortunately for the Indians the settlers soon realized that rum was a useful gift.
– Families constituted the basic units of colonial society, but their forms and structures varied widely during the 18th century. The types of families included…
- Indian – dramatic changes for the Indians caused led to bands being reduced in numbers by disease and the creation of new units. Old customs were often changed under pressure from European authorities and new circumstances, and extended families became more important b/c of the high mortality rates.
- Mixed-Race – wherever the population contained a small number of European women, mixed race families would appear [most frequently in the backcountry]. These families often resided in Indian villages, and their acceptance in mainstream society varied from area to area.
- European – in the 18th century most families were larger than families today, and they included all the inhabitants of the house. Households worked together to produce goods for use or sale, and the head of the household represented it to the outside world. Most families maintained themselves through agriculture, and specific tasks were assigned to men and women. There was so much work that if there weren’t kids slaves or servants were needed.
- African-American – usually African-American families existed as parts of their European households; most were slaves by the 18th century. Family links depended on the region: families were scarce in the North b/c there were so few blacks, and in the Chesapeake families were often dispersed [though wide kinship networks formed]. Sometimes these groups united against excessive punishment of members.
– Besides differences in family life based on the type of the family, life in the cities was significantly different from life in the country. City dwellers went to marketplaces [unlike their country counterparts, many of who made it all themselves] and had more contact w/the outside world [newspapers, ports].
*Colonial Politics 1700-1750: Relative Calm*
– In the first decades of the century politics reached a new stability b/c of the creation of a new elite, which dominated politics and kept things under control. In some areas, the elite worked together (Virginia), but in others there was stiff competition for office (New York). *1733 (NY) John Peter Zenger tried for criticizing gov’t actions; lawyer said truth could not be defamatory; he was released, setting a precedent for free press.
– An important trend during the period was an increase in the power of the assemblies relative to the power of the governors [“the power of the purse”]. Still, 18th century assemblies were very different from ones today: they rarely passed new measures, but just saw themselves as acting defensively to prevent the people’s rights from being usurped by the governors.
– By mid-century, many colonists had also begun linking their system w/the British one [governor=monarch, assemblies=House of Commons] and viewing the assemblies as the people’s protectors [even though the assemblies didn’t pay attention to the concerns of the poor and were not reapportioned for pop. changes].
*Colonial Politics Continued: Internal Crises At Mid-Century*
– So up to 1850ish things were going pretty well, politics-wise. But after that a series of crises demonstrated the tensions that had been building [ethnic, racial, economic] that had been building in American society and illustrated that the accommodations reached after the Glorious Revolution were no longer adequate.
– One of the earlier crises, the Stono Rebellion, occurred in South Carolina in 1739. One morning, twenty slaves gathered south of Charlestown and stole guns and ammunition from a store and then killed the storekeepers and nearby families before heading towards Florida, where they hoped to find refuge. Although the slaves were soon captured, this shocked the colonists and laws against blacks were made harsher.
– The hysteria generated by the Stono Rebellion, combined w/fears of Spain b/c of King George’s War, manifested itself most strongly in New York in 1741 when whites suspecting that a biracial gang was conspiring to start a slave uprising [the New York Conspiracy] began a reign of terror. This showed that the assemblies were really unable to prevent serious disorder.
– The land riots in New Jersey and New York certainly seemed to confirm that – for instance, the most serious riots, which occurred in 1765/1766 around the Hudson River, occurred b/c in the 1740s New Englanders had arrived in the area and had started illegally squatting on the lands rented out to tenants by large landowners. After a family sued and the courts supported them, the farmers rebelled for a year.
– Additionally, in the Carolinas the Regulator Movements occurred, in which backcountry farmers [mainly Scottish and Irish immigrants] rebelled against the provincial gov’ts b/c they felt they lacked influence and that the gov’ts were unfair.
Prelude to a Revolution (1754 – 1774)
*Changes in Colonial Outlook*
– So how was it that the happy colonists changed their minds and, after over a century of peaceful subordination to Britain, began fighting for independence in 1776?
– Many factors affected their change of opinion. It was in the 1750s that the colonists first began looking away from their internal politics and paying attention to British policies, and the story of the 1760s and early 1700s is really a series of events that, one by one, widened the split.
– But it really all began with the Seven Years War [a.k.a. King George’s War, the French and Indian War], which ended in 1763 and left North America transformed.
*The Seven Years War*
– Anyhow, the Seven Years War informally began in July 1754 in the Ohio Valley when an inexperienced George Washington attacked the French, who were building a fort. The French kicked his sorry butt, so he surrendered, but the incident still managed to eventually spark a major war in Europe and in America.
– Right before the war actually started, in June 1754, delegates from several colonies had met for the Albany Congress, which had the goals of (1) convincing the Iroquois [who had always used their neutrality as a diplomatic weapon against all the sides involved] to join them and (2) coordinating colonial defenses. Neither goal was met b/c the governors of the individual colonies feared losing their autonomy.
– So Washington had screwed up big time, and throughout 1755 the British [under Gen. Braddock], who decided to attempt to kick the French out of N. America, continued to get beaten by French & Indian forces. Their only success was the deportation of the French from Nova Scotia [they sent them to Louisiana].
– After news of one particularly disastrous battle in 1756 the British and French formally declared war in Europe as well. Things still went badly in America, partially b/c the British and colonial forces just didn’t get along. But in 1757 the new secretary of state, William Pitt, managed to encourage the colonial forces to enlist by offering a compromise [Brits. would supposedly refund assemblies for their losses].
– Consequently [and also b/c of events in Europe] things improved until finally in 1763 France surrendered. According to the Treaty of Paris, France lost all her N. American possessions.
*British-Colonial Tensions During the Seven Years War*
– Both the Seven Years War itself and its aftermath increased British-colonial tensions. During the actual war, these factors contributed to initial anti-British feeling in the colonies:
- The colonials favored Indian-style guerilla tactics; the British marched in formation.
- Colonial militias served under their own captains but the Brits. wanted to take charge.
- The colonials had no military protocols; the British were big on all that stuff.
- The colonials didn’t want higher taxes to help pay for the war but the Brits. felt the colonials should pay for their own defense.
- The colonial officers were casual but the Brits. wanted servants w/them, etc.
– Clearly, different styles of fighting led to significant resentment on both sides.
*1763: A Turning Point*
– Both the British and colonists were strongly affected by the end of the war. For Britain, its conclusion meant that (1) they had a much larger and safer colonial empire, (2) they had a much larger debt, and (3) they felt even more contempt for the colonists.
– For the colonies, the war had (1) united them against a common enemy for the first time and (2) created anger against the British, who were viewed as overly harsh commanders who had distain for the colonists.
– The end of the war also led to another key event. In Pontiac’s Rebellion (1763) Indian leader Pontiac united an unprecedented amount of tribes due to of concern about the spread of colonists and their culture.
– Although the colonists eventually triumphed, the British issued the Proclamation Line of 1763, which was a line that the colonists couldn’t settle past, to prevent further conflicts.
*English Attempts to Reorganize their Empire*
– Anyhow, due partially to their increasing debt and experiences in America, following 1763 the Brits. decided to reorganize [again]. *Their 1st reorganization, the Dominion of New England, had only lasted from the late 17th century until the Glorious Revolution.
– In 1761, even before the end of the war, the Brits. allowed for Writs of Assistance [officers allowed to board and inspect ships and confiscate goods not taxed] to be used in the colonies. James Otis brought a case against this [protection of property over parliamentary law] but he lost.
– Then, from 1763 to 1765 four very irritating pieces of legislation were passed by George Grenville…
- Sugar Act (1764) – existing customs regulations were revised, new duties were placed on some foreign imports, and stronger measures were taken against smuggling. Seems just like Navigation Acts, which were accepted by the colonists, but this time the measures were explicitly designed to raise revenue [as opposed to channeling trade through Britain].
- Currency Act (1764) – colonial paper $ was banned for trade [by 1769 it was decided col. $ would have no value at all]. This was passed b/c British officials felt they were being ripped off b/c colonial $ had such erratic values, but it greatly irritated colonial merchants, who lost out b/c their money was made useless.
- Quartering Act (1765) – required a raise in colonial taxes to provide for housing of soldiers in barracks near colonial centers.
- STAMP ACT (1765) – this was the biggie. It affected almost every colonist b/c it required tax stamps on all printed materials, and it was the worst on merchants and the elite [who used more paper]. The act also asked that stamps be paid w/sterling and that violators be tried in vice-admiralty courts, which alarmed colonists.
– Though the acts were a natural consequence of the war, which created a large debt for Britain, they greatly annoyed the colonists and led to ever increasing resistance…
*Different Theories of Representation*
– Grenville’s acts illustrate the different theories of representation. While Grenville and the English believed that Parliament represented all British subjects by definition regardless of where they lived [Virtual Representation], colonists believed that they needed members that specifically represented their regions.
– Another ideology that was beginning to become popular in the colonies was that of the Real Whigs, who stated that a good government mainly left people alone and that government should not be allowed to encroach on people’s liberties and on their property.
– Although at first not many people interpreted British actions according to the Real Whig ideology, over time this point of view affected increasing numbers of colonists.
*Colonial Response to the Sugar and Currency Acts*
– The Sugar and Currency Acts could not have been implemented at a worse time, b/c the economy was already in the midst of a depression following the shift of the war to Europe. So merchants were all the more annoyed by the new taxes.
– Nevertheless, while individual colonists protested the new policies, lacking any precedent for a unified campaign Americans were uncoordinated and unsure of themselves in 1764. Eight colonial legislatures sent separate petitions to Parliament [all ignored], but that was it.
– The most important individual pamphlet relating to the Sugar Act was The Rights of the British Colonies Asserted and Proved by James Otis Jr., which discussed the main ideological dilemma of the time – how could the colonists justify their opposition to certain acts w/o challenging Parliament’s authority over them?
*1765: The Stamp Act Crisis*
– Initially, when the Stamp Act was passed, the response was pretty underwhelming as well. It seemed hopeless to resist. But Patrick Henry, a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses, was not prepared to give up easily and instead wrote the Virginia Stamp Act Resolves.
– The resolves were passed [though some of the most radical sections were taken out]. The parts that were adopted essentially reasserted that the colonists had never given up the rights of British subjects, which included consent to taxation. This position was that of most colonists throughout the 1760s – they wanted some measure of independence and their rights, but not independence.
– Ideologically, during this time, America’s leaders were searching for some way to maintain self-government but still remain British subjects. But b/c of Brit. unwillingness to surrender on the issue of Parliamentary power this simply wasn’t going to work.
– But resistance to the Stamp Act was soon more than ideological arguments about Parliamentary power. Organizations began forming to resist the taxes, such as…
- Loyal Nine – in August 1765 this Boston social club organized a demonstration that also included the lower classes. They also hung an effigy of the province’s stamp distributor, which caused him to publicly promise not to do what he was supposed to. Another demonstration, however, occurred shortly after that – but this time it was aimed at Governor Thomas Hutchinson, and concerned the elites [this illustrates the internal divisions between the demonstrators – for the elite it was political; for the laborers it was economic].
- Sons of Liberty – so, to attempt to channel resistance into acceptable forms an intercolonial association, the Sons of Liberty, was formed. Although they could influence events, however, they couldn’t control them totally.
– Anyhow, by 1766 resistance was occurring on three different fronts: the Sons of Liberty [mass meetings, public support], a non-importation agreement organized by the merchants, and the Stamp Act Congress, which met in New York to draft the Stamp Act Resolves.
*1767: The Townshend Acts*
– Then, in March 1766 Parliament repealed the Stamp Act, partially b/c of the non-importation agreements, which turned London merchants against the Act. But the main reason for its repeal was the appointment of Lord Rockingham as prime minister instead of Grenville.
– Rockingham felt the law was a bad idea, but he still believed Parliament had the rights to tax the colonies and consequently passed the Declaratory Act [we can tax you if we want to], which was pretty much ignored in the midst of the celebrations of the Stamp Act’s repeal.
– The fragility of the Stamp Act victory was exposed by another change in the ministry. When William Pitt got sick, Charles Townshend became the dominant force and decided to impose some more taxes.
– The Townshend Acts (1767) were on trade goods [paper, glass, tea, etc.] but were different from the Navigation acts b/c they (1) applied to items imported from Britain and (2) were designed to raise money to pay for the salaries of royal officials [this is no good…remember, the power of the purse].
– Additionally, the acts established an American Board of Customs Commissioners and vice-admiralty courts at several colonial cities.
*Colonial Response to the Townshend Acts*
– This time there was no hesitation. Many essays were written, but John Dickinson’s Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania best expressed colonial sentiments – Parliament could regulate colonial trade but not use that power to raise revenue.
– The Massachusetts Assembly called for unity in the face of the Acts and circulated a joint petition of protest, which the ministry ordered them to recall, giving the other assemblies the incentive to join forces against it. Recall was rejected, and the governor dissolved the assembly.
– Another important aspect of colonial resistance was the second non-importation movement, which was led by the Daughters of Liberty, who encouraged home spinning bees, etc. Although the boycotts were not complete [some merchants, who were now in the midst of a boom, broke the agreements] they still had a significant effect, and in April 1770 the Townshend duties were repealed except for the tea tax.
– Even though the rest of the Townshend Acts [just not the taxes] were still there, it didn’t seem like such a big deal since the bulk of the taxes had been removed.
*1770: The Boston Massacre*
– On the same day Lord North [the new prime minister] proposed repealing the Townshend duties, the rather misnamed Boston Massacre occurred in which five civilians were killed. The source of the problem was the decision to base the Board of Customs Commissioners in Boston.
– Ever since the customs people came, mobs targeted them – consequently, two regiments of troops were assigned to Boston. They constantly reminded people of British power and also took jobs from Boston laborers, which really annoyed them.
– So on March 5, 1770 laborers began throwing snowballs at soldiers, which led to shooting [even though it was not allowed]. This was a tremendous political weapon for the patriots [nevertheless they didn’t approve of the crowd action that generated the problem and consequently tried the soldiers fairly].
*1770 – 1772: The Calm Before the Storm*
– From 1770 to 1772 superficial calm prevailed in the colonies. Still, some newspapers began publishing essays that used Real Whig ideology to accuse Britain of scheming to oppress the colonies. It was a conspiracy! But nobody really advocated independence [yet].
– So patriots continued to view themselves as British subjects. They devised systems in which they would have their own legislatures but remain loyal to the king, but this was directly contradictory to British conceptions of Parliament’s power.
– But the calm ended in Fall 1772, when the Brits. began implementing the part of the Townshend Act about governors being paid from customs revenues. In response to this, a Committee of Correspondence [led by Samuel Adams] was created in Boston to gather publicity for the patriot cause.
*1773: The Tea Act and Boston Tea Party*
– By 1773 the only Townshend duty still in effect was the tea tax. Though some colonists were still boycotting it, many had given up. But then, in May 1773 Parliament passed the Tea Act, which was designed to save the East India Co. from bankruptcy.
– The Tea Act made EIC’s tea the only legal tea in America and enabled the company to sell directly to the colonies, which would allow them to price tea competitively w/smugglers. Though this would result in cheaper tea, it was seen as another attempt to make them admit that Parliament could tax them by leaders.
– This act led to the famous Boston Tea Party on December 16, 1773, where aprox. 10,000 pounds [money] of tea were dumped into the water.
*1774: The Coercive “Intolerable” and Quebec Acts*
– In response to the Tea Party, the Coercive Acts included the…
- Port Bill – the port of Boston was shut down until the tea was paid in full [enforced by Massachusetts Gov. Thomas Gage]. Purpose was to set example for other colonies.
- Government Act – annulled what was left of the Massachusetts Charter [had already gone through several incarnations] and destroyed all colonial power in the legislature. Limited town meetings as well.
- [new] Quartering Act – this now forced colonial assemblies to either build barracks or have citizens house the soldiers themselves.
- Administration of Justice Act – soldiers who killed colonists were to be tried in British courts [i.e. allowed to get away w/it]. “Extraterritoriality.”
– The Quebec Acts were passed around the same time – they annoyed colonists b/c they allowed Catholicism in formerly French territories and also allowed the French colonists to go past the Declaration Line and into the Ohio River Valley.
– The colonists felt as though all their worst fears about the British plot had been confirmed, and the colonies agreed to send delegates to Philadelphia in September 1774 for the Continental Congress. There was no turning back…
The Revolutionary War (1774 – 1783)
*1774 – 1775: The Collapse of British Authority and the Development of New Government Structures*
– The Coercive “Intolerable” Acts had proven to be just what their name implied, so the colonies agreed to send delegates to a Continental Congress in September 1774 in order to discuss measures to protest the acts. The delegates were elected in extralegal provincial committees that were, incidentally, not allowed.
– Anyhow, when the congressmen met on September 5, 1774 they had three goals:
- To define American grievances.
- To develop a resistance plan.
- And…the tricky one: to define their constitutional relationship w/Britain.
– After several intense debates, John Adams worked out a compromise position on the constitutional relationship thing. It was declared that Americans would obey Parliament only when they thought that doing so was best for both countries.
– They also decided that they wanted the Coercive Acts repealed and that they would start an economic boycott and petition the king at the same time. The Continental Association [non-importation of British goods, non-consumption of British products and non-exportation of American goods to Britain] was implemented throughout late 1774 and early 1775.
– To back them up the Continental Congress recommended that elected committees of observation and inspection be established throughout America. The committeemen became leaders of the revolution on the local level and gained increasing power as time went on [they spied on people and attacked dissenters in addition to overseeing the boycott].
– Also during this time the regular colonial governments were collapsing due to patriot challenges to their authority through popularly elected provincial conventions, which usurped the former legislatures’ powers. Through late 1774 and early 1775 these provincial conventions approved the CA, elected delegates for the Second Continental Congress, organized militia and gathered arms.
– This stunk for royal officials, who were basically in the position of having to drive a car after other people pushed them out from behind the steering wheel [stupid analogy, but I tried]. Courts would hold sessions, taxes weren’t paid, etc. – “independence was being won at the local level but w/o formal acknowledgement.”
*April 19, 1775: The War Begins*
– The actual fighting part of the independence movement was sparked when General Thomas Gage in Boston send an expedition to confiscate provincial military supplies at Concord. Paul Revere heard about this, yeah we all know the story. Anyhow there was a skirmish at Lexington [en route] on April 19, 1775.
– Then at Concord the British were met w/even more resistance [at Lexington it had just been a bunch of local militiamen called up at the last minute]. For the year following Concord, the Americans besieged Boston, where the British had retreated.
– The British only broke away from the siege at the Battle of Bunker Hill [which marked a turning pt. for them strategically from containment of a radical movement in New England to more of a focus on the Middle Colonies] but they suffered heavy losses in doing so.
*British Strategy [or lack of it]*
– Lord North made three assumptions [and you know what happens when you assume] about the war:
- Patriot forces can’t win against British regulars.
- War in America is the same as war in Europe.
- A military victory will automatically make the colonies come back to mommy Britain.
– Wrong, wrong, and wrong again. They greatly underestimated American commitment to resistance and also didn’t see that military victories would just not be enough to bring an area as big as the colonies back under control [loss of cities didn’t hurt the cause]. Finally, they just didn’t get it that even if they did win militarily and gained control it wouldn’t last b/c what they had to do was to win the colonies over politically. They tried the political angle in 1778 but by then it was too late.
*American Advantages/Disadvantages in the War*
– Britain’s less-than-brilliant [to say the least] strategy brings us to…American advantages in the war:
- They were fighting on home soil [makes big difference b/c people fight w/more conviction if they are fighting for their land AND they also knew the area as a result].
- The colonists also had easier access to supplies and better tactics.
- Lastly, they didn’t have inanely stupid generals who were only in it for their own personal glory and consequently didn’t work together like the British did.
– On the other hand…
- They didn’t really have a bureaucracy to organize the war effort like Britain did – they only had the Second Continental Congress, which was planned as a brief meeting to talk about the CA but ended up having to be the main intercolonial gov’t. But even though this task was initially daunting it worked out after a while – the big accomplishment being their creation of the Continental Army [they chose Washington to lead it] and their management of it.
- The British had more, better-trained troops and [initially] control of the seas.
– In the end France was a big help for the colonists [no kidding huh].
*1776: Moving Towards Independence*
– Remember that, initially, even when Britain and the Americans were fighting, independence had not been decided upon yet [not everyone agreed w/that radical course of action].
– In January 1776, a huge step towards the decision to declare independence was taken when Thomas Paine released his book, Common Sense, which was an instant bestseller and had an enormous impact b/c of its challenge of colonial assumptions about the colonies’ relationship to Britain.
– Largely b/c of Common Sense, by late spring in 1776 independence had become inevitable. On May 10 the Second Continental Congress proposed that individual colonies start forming state constitutions, and all the loyalists dropped out of the CC.
– On June 7 some congressmen introduced a motion towards independence. While the vote was postponed until July a five-man semi-committee was established to draft a declaration. Of course, Thomas Jefferson was the guy who ended up writing it – and it was adopted on July 4.
– The chief importance of the Declaration was its statement of principle [the life, liberty and happiness thing] and the explanation of gov’t being based on the consent of the people. After the Declaration was signed, there really was no turning back – b/c the delegates had committed treason.
*The War: A Quick Overview*
– Now, we don’t really need to know the specifics on the war, so this is just going to be the basics. The war had three phases b/c of changes in British strategy. They were as follows:
- [1776 – late 1777] Containment in New England – the British initially believed that the revolution was basically a radical minority movement centered in New England so they concentrated their forces there. But then came The Battle of Bunker Hill and…
- [late 1777 – early 1778] Middle Colonies – the British realized it was not going to be that easy, so they shifted down into the middle colonies in an attempt to divide the colonies by gaining control of the Hudson River and Mohawk Valley. Then after the debacle at Saratoga (1778), which also caused the French to join the colonists b/c they realized they actually had a chance, they gave up on that and made a last ditch effort in…
- [early 1778 – 1781] The South – they hoped to get loyalist support and use supplies from the West Indies to win in the South. They took Charlestown, but since the French were there to back the colonists up in the sea it didn’t help them much. The very last stages of the war were very bloody and desperate, culminating in Yorktown (1781) where a trapped Cornwallis surrendered and the war ended.
– There’s a lot more specific stuff on this but since we don’t need to know it, who cares?
*1782: The Treaty of Paris*
– The Americans soon disregarded their instructions from their leaders to follow the French b/c they [correctly] realized that the French were not so much their allies as they were Britain’s enemies, if you know what I mean.
– The gamble paid off, though, b/c with Ben Franklin leading the negotiations the treaty, which was signed on September 3, 1783 included their two must-have goals: (1) recognition as an independent nation and (2) firm national boundaries from the Mississippi to the Atlantic and from Canada to Florida.
– Of their non-essential goals, they didn’t get the one about (!) annexing Canada [you think] but did gain access to the fisheries in Newfoundland [they had requested access to all British fisheries in Canada].
– So, by 1782, what had seemed to be a distant dream a few years earlier had become reality [I had to end this with one of those corny type sayings, just like the textbook – sorry].
From the Articles of Confederation to the Constitution (1776 – 1789)
*Varieties of Republicanism*
– Although most Americans after the war felt that their country should be a republic, and that its citizens should be virtuous to maintain the republic’s stability, there were three different interpretations of the concept of republicanism…
- One was mainly held by the educated elite [ex. the Adams family] and emphasized the necessity of a small, homogenous republic in which the citizens would be willing to sacrifice their own private interests for the good of the whole. In return for sacrifices equality of opportunity would prevail, eventually creating a merit-based “natural aristocracy.”
- Another was held by other members of the elite and some skilled craftsman [ex. Alexander Hamilton] and was more about economics, drawing on Adam Smith’s theories about individual self-interest leading for the best for the community. It stated that if everyone followed their private interests republican virtue would be achieved.
- Yet another was held by less educated people and some radicals [ex. Thomas Paine] and emphasized widening participation in gov’t in order to give ordinary people more of a say (the egalitarian approach).
– All three approaches still shared the concept of the contrast between corrupt Britain and industrious America and felt that the republic could only succeed through hard work and virtue.
*Creating a Virtuous Republic*
– Since pretty much everyone was sure that America could only work if the citizens were virtuous, artists, educators, and politicians began trying to inculcate values into people. For instance…
– In art they had a tough time b/c to many Americans art was an example of corruption and luxury. Nevertheless, artists tried to show virtue and nat’lism in their work.
– For example: William Hill Brown wrote The Power of Sympathy (1789) to warn women about seduction; Royall Tyler wrote The Contrast (1787) about good vs. bad behavior; and the most popular book of the time was Mason Locke Weem’s Life of Washington (1800) w/the cherry tree myth, etc.; Gilbert Stuart and Charles Willson Peale painted portraits of good republican citizens; John Trumbull painted history battle scenes; Thomas Jefferson set the standard for American architecture by suggesting imitation Roman buildings w/simplicity of line, harmonious proportions and a feeling of grandeur.
– In education two major changes reflected the new concern for raising good citizens: (1) some northern states began using tax money to support public elementary schools and (2) schooling for girls was improved. Judith Sargent Murray was the big theorist on women’s education – she claimed that men and women were equally intelligent and that it was only the difference in education that made women appear stupider. So, she concluded, girls should receive the same education as boys.
– There was also a rethinking of women’s roles in general due to their contributions in the war. The new POV on women in a republic society is best expressed by Abigail Adams’ letter to her husband stating women deserved equal rights (remember the ladies). Overall, however, Americans still saw women as housewives and as (b/c of their selflessness) the embodiment of republican virtue and sacrifice.
*The First Emancipation*
– Naturally, there was that other contradiction…slavery. Everybody saw this, including the slaves, some of who created petitions (which were ignored).
– So in the North the “gradual emancipation” began: in 1777 Vermont abolished slavery, in the 1780s Massachusetts courts decided their constitution prohibited it as well, in 1780 and 1804 respectively Pennsylvania and New Jersey adopted gradual emancipation laws.
– In the South, however, slavery was the backbone of the economy and was consequently not affected by Revolutionary ideology. Even in the North there was a concern for property, which was why it was gradual, not immediate…but in the South, it was out of the question.
– Nevertheless, the number of free blacks grew a lot after the Revolution due to escapes during the war, slaves serving in the army, or slaves being freed by their owners (in the Chesapeake this was due to economic changes such as the shift from tobacco to grain, which was less labor intensive).
– The freed slaves mostly migrated towards Northern cities, but even there emancipation didn’t bring equality, as laws discriminated against blacks. So blacks formed their own institutions (schools, churches, etc.) and joined together in semi-separate communities.
*The Development of Racist Theory*
– The post-revolutionary years also saw the development of a formal racist theory, as Southerners needed an excuse for not including African Americans in the whole “all men are created equal” deal.
– So instead of (as they had before) stating slaves were inferior b/c of environmental factors, they now decided they were inherently inferior b/c Africans were somehow less than fully human.
– The concept of “race” consequently became applied to skin color for the first time. This not only unified whites and blurred class distinctions between them, but also led to the creation of a certain set of characteristics (laziness, dishonesty, sexual promiscuity) that became associated with all blacks.
– From the start, then, the republic was seen as a white male enterprise – some historians have even stated that subjugation of other groups was necessary for the creation of white solidarity, others have contended that drawing the racial lines lessened the danger of poor white men joining w/slaves in questioning the elite.
*The Creation of Republican State Governments*
– In May 1776 the Second Continental Congress ordered states to create republican gov’ts to replace the provincial congresses that had been in power since 1774. So began the process of forming the first state constitutions…
– The first thing most states decided was that constitutions would be written by special conventions, which were elected throughout the early 1780s. After the constitutions were written they were submitted to voters for ratification.
– The state constitutions concentrated on the distribution and limitation of gov’t power – American’s experiences w/Britain determined this in a big way as, back in the colony days, Americans had learned to have a phobia of centralized authority [governor].
– So, they gave the governor little independent authority, limited his term of office and the # of times he could serve and expanded the powers of the legislature. Overall, they focused a lot more on protecting the citizens than on making the gov’t effective. In fact, the gov’ts turned out so weak most of them had to be rewritten during the war [governor got more power, legislature got less].
– Through the process of revising the constitutions many politicians began developing the good ol’ theory of checks and balances, which was later embodied in the 1787 Constitution.
*The Articles of Confederation*
– Unfortunately, the principles that were developed on the state level were not implemented on the nat’l level for a while. First, during the war, the powers of the Continental Congress simply evolved by default – it wasn’t until 177 that Congress sent the Articles of Confederation (which was just a written out version of the makeshift arrangements of the CC) to the states for ratification.
– So what was the Articles of Confederation gov’t anyhow?
- It provided for a unicameral legislature where states could send a certain number of delegates that would then vote as a unit.
- The legislature could: declare war, make peace, sign treaties, borrow $, organize a post office, establish an army and navy, issue bonds and manage Western lands.
- The legislature couldn’t: draft soldiers, regulate interstate commerce, enforce treaties, and collect taxes.
- A 2/3rds majority was required to pass legislation and a unanimous vote was need for amendment.
- There was no executive and no national judiciary. The national government also had no power over the state governments. States could deal directly w/other countries if Congress allowed it.
- There was no national currency or system of measurement.
– Some historians (John Fisk) call the period from 1781 to 1788 the “Critical Period” b/c the AOC wasn’t strong enough and the country consequently almost failed. Others disagree (Charles Beard) and claim that it was a time of recovery and progress and that only the elite were hurt, which led to the creation of the Constitution to protect their interests.
– Regardless of the side one takes it’s pretty clear they had some major issues under the AOC…
*Problems under the Articles of Confederation*
– Finance was the biggest problem faced by both the state and nat’l gov’ts. First they just tried printing currency, which worked at first b/c there was high demand for supplies and goods during the war. But when the army suffered losses in late 1776 and Americans lost faith in the gov’t inflation began. Although states made efforts to stop inflation, it was pretty much a lost cause and by 1780 American $ was worthless. Also on the economic side, since the gov’t couldn’t implement uniform commercial policies there was economic warfare between the states, which was the last thing merchants needed.
– The weakness of the nat’l gov’t also affected foreign trade, as the AOC denied Congress the power to establish a nat’l commercial policy. Right after the war Britain, France and Spain restricted American trade w/their colonies, but Congress could do nothing but watch as cheap British goods flood US markets (causing a severe drop in domestic prices, which hurt debtors, esp. farmers).
– In foreign affairs, Congress was unable to deal w/the Spanish presence on the nation’s Southern and Western borders b/c Congress, which opened negotiations in 1785, was unable to make progress and had to end the talks altogether when Congress split on what they would exchange for the opening of the Mississippi River (which Spain closed in 1784).
– Another big problem related to the fact that under the AOC Congress couldn’t enforce treaties. Consequently, state gov’ts didn’t enforce the part of the Treaty of Paris about paying prewar debts, which gave the British the perfect excuse for not removing their forts on the Western frontier.
*Management of the Western Territories*
– Speaking of the Western frontier…after the Treaty of Paris the US assumed that all the land East of the Mississippi (ex. for the land held by the Spanish) was theirs. Nevertheless, they realized they would have to negotiate w/local tribes.
– At Fort Stanwix, N.Y. in 1784 American diplomats negotiated a treaty w/chiefs claiming to be representing the Iroquois, and in 1785/1786 they did the same for the Choctaw, Chickasaw and Cherokee in Hopewell, South Carolina. Although in 1786 the Iroquois said the treaty had been made by imposters and threatened to attack, the US called their bluff, realizing the treaty stood by default. By 1790, New York State had, by purchasing land from individual Iroquois nations, reduced the Confederacy to scattered reservations.
– In the Southwest the US also regarded the treaties as license to send settlers into Indian lands, but this provoked the Creeks [hadn’t signed Hopewell treaty] into declaring a war that didn’t end until 1790.
– Also, after the collapse of Iroquois power, tribes that had previously allowed the Confederacy to speak for them began demanding direct negotiations with the US At first they were ignored, as they couldn’t use their old diplomatic strategy of pitting powers against e/o [only the US was left].
– So anyhow the US went ahead and planned out an organization for the Northwest Territories (Mississippi River, Great Lakes, Ohio River boundaries) in a series of ordinances:
- Land Ordinances of 1784/1785 – these laws described the process by which land would pass from public to private hands…
- The area would be divided into more than 4 but less than 7 states.
- The area would also be surveyed in to townships of 36 sq. mi. each, each of which would be divided into 36 towns.
- The ownership of the territories would be transferred to the federal government, which would then make $ by selling the lands to individuals.
- Revenue from one out of every 36 squares would be used for public schools.
- Northwest Ordinance of 1787 – these laws described the process by which territories would become states…
- Every new state was to have the same rights as the original states.
- Slavery could not be established in the area.
- 3 Phases to get in: (1) AOC appoints a governor and 3 judges, (2) if there are 5000 adult male landowners then a territorial legislature can be created to manage local issues, and (3) if the population exceeds 60000 people then delegates can be elected to write a state constitution, if Congress approves of the constitution then it is a state.
– Ordinances or no ordinances, though, in 1787 the US still hadn’t formed an agreement w/several Indian tribes, who attacked pioneers. Consequently, in 1789 the Northwest Territory’s first governor, Arthur St. Clair, attempted to negotiate a treaty, but failed, setting off a war with a western confederacy of tribes.
– The US suffered some initial defeats but in August 1794 the confederacy was defeated at the Battle of Fallen Timbers. The Treaty of Greenville subsequently gave the US the right to settle much of Ohio but also (finally) recognized the principle of Indian sovereignty. But this, of course, was after the AOC was replaced by the Constitution…
*The Constitutional Convention Meets*
– So what spurred the change from the AOC to the Constitution? One element was that Americans in trade, finance, and foreign affairs soon realized the AOC was crap b/c Congress couldn’t levy taxes, establish a uniform commercial policy, or enforce treaties. Also, the economy, partially b/c of the AOC, fell into a depression after the end of the war (restrictions on exporting to Br./Fr./Sp. colonies).
– Recognizing the economic issues, representatives of Virginia and Maryland met independently at Mt. Vernon in March 1785 to discuss an agreement over trade on the Potomac. It was a success, which led to a call for a general meeting of the states in Annapolis in September 1786 to discuss trade policies. Only 5 delegations ended up coming, but they issued a call for another convention in Philadelphia.
– The other states didn’t respond until Shays’ Rebellion gave them a wake-up call. In January 27, 1787 Shays led a set of angry western farmers against a federal armory in Springfield. They declared the gov’t tyrannical, using language reminiscent of the Declaration of Independence.
– This was the last straw in convincing many a strong central gov’t was necessary, so in May 1787 every state ex. Rhode Island sent delegates to a Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.
*Debates and Compromises at the Constitutional Convention*
– Although most of the delegates to the CC were men of property who favored reforms that would give the nat’l gov’t more authority over taxation and foreign trade, and many were also involved in the creation of their state constitutions, they still had some differences in opinion…
– For instance, after James Madison proposed the Virginia Plan, delegates from smaller states came up with the New Jersey Plan. The plans were as follows:
- Virginia Plan – embodied Madison’s idea of a strong nat’l gov’t and provided for a bicameral legislature (lower house elected by people, upper elected by lower) with representation proportional to population, an executive elected by Congress, a nat’l judiciary, and a Congressional veto over state laws.
- New Jersey Plan – was a response to the VP, especially by the small states (didn’t like the representation proportional to population deal) who felt the AOC shouldn’t be totally thrown out, just strengthened a little (unicameral legislature w/each state having an equal vote, only difference is Congress gets new powers of taxation and trade regulation.)
– The eventual compromise involved the creation of a bicameral legislature in which one house was to be directly elected by the people and the other house was to be elected by the state legislatures. Proportional representation was allowed for the lower house, but the upper house was eventually declared to be equal representation (2 senators, but they would vote as individuals, not as a block).
– On the whole, congressional powers were more limited than in the VP but more flexible than in the NJP. The executive was given primary responsibility for foreign affairs and was designated the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. A key element was separation of powers and checks and balances.
– Then there was the whole should we count slaves dilemma…naturally Southern states wanted them counted for representation purposes and Northern states only wanted them counted for taxation purposes. In the end a slave was declared to be 3/5th of a person. Also, inherent protections of slavery were worked in to the Constitution (slave trade couldn’t end for 20 years, fugitive slave laws, etc.)
– Anyhow, the CC had its last session on September 17, 1787 and only then was the Constitution made public. All that was left was ratification…
*Opposition and Ratification*
– Later in September the CC submitted the Constitution to the states but didn’t formally recommend its approval. The ratification clause of the Constitution stated that it would be approved by special conventions in at least 9 states (delegates were to be qualified voters – so it was directly based on popular authority.)
– As states began electing delegates, two distinct camps formed:
- Federalists – the Federalists supported the Constitution and stuck by the virtuous, self-sacrificing republic led by a merit-based aristocracy idea. Since leaders were to be virtuous, there was no need to fear a strong central gov’t. Besides, there was the separation of powers.
- Antifederalists – the Antifederalists felt that weakening the states would lead to the onset of arbitrary and oppressive gov’t power (based on Real Whig ideology.) Antifederalists were generally old hard core revolutionaries (Tom Paine, Sam Adams, etc.) and small farmers.
– One thing that was big on the Antis agenda was the idea of a Bill of Rights (why doesn’t the Constitution have one?), best expressed in the major Anti pamphlet, Letters of a Federal Farmer.
– Anyhow, the Federalists won out (duh), partially b/c of the publication of The Federalist and partially b/c of the promise to add a bill of rights. Ratification was (prematurely, it turns out) celebrated on July 4, 1788.
The Early Republic (1789 – 1800)
*Creating a Workable Government Structure*
– The First Congress, which first met in April 1789, was mostly controlled by the Federalists [i.e. people who supported the Constitution and a strong national gov’t].
– Anyway, Congress had several questions about the structure of the new government to deal with…
- Revenue – Madison took the here lead by convincing Congress to pass the Revenue Bill of 1789, which put a 5% tariff on some imports.
- Bill of Rights – Madison also took the initiative here and wrote 19 Amendments for the Constitution, 10 of which were ratified on December 15, 1791 and became known as the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights helped rally support for the new gov’t and mitigate AF opposition.
- Organization of the executive – in the end, Congress agreed to keep the departments established under the AOC [War, Foreign Affairs/State, Treasury] and just add the attorney general and postmaster general. They also decided that only the President could remove heads of executive departments [since he picked them w/Congress approval].
- Organization of the judiciary – this was taken care of by the Judiciary Act of 1789, which defined the jurisdiction of the fed. judiciary and established a 6 member SC, 13 district courts and 3 courts of appeal. It also allowed appeals from state to federal courts w/con. issues.
– Only a few important cases concerning the arrangements passed through the SC in the first 10 years: there was only Ware v. Hylton (1796) where the SC declared a state law unconstitutional for the first time, Hylton v. US (1796) where the SC review the constitutionality of an act of Congress for the first time, and, most importantly, Chisholm v. Georgia (1793) which established [though overruled by the Eleventh Amendment] that states could be sued in federal courts by cit. of other states.
*Domestic Policy under Washington*
– After the gov’t was all set up, Washington was elected to be the first President. He was cautious, knowing he was setting precedents for the future [ex. the Cabinet, the State of the Union Address, no big title for President, President not using veto power often].
– One of the first things he did was choose the heads of the executive departments: Alexander Hamilton (Treasury), Thomas Jefferson (State), Henry Knox (War), and Edmund Randolph (Attorney). He also established the Cabinet by using the heads of the executive departments collectively as the chief advisers.
– Perhaps Hamilton’s appointment had the biggest impact, as Hamilton had several traits that separated him from his contemporaries: (1) he was an all out Federalist [who gives a crap about the states – let’s consolidate power in the nat’l gov’t], (2) he was very cynical and saw people as being motivated by economic self-interest alone [no virtuous common good for him].
– With Hamilton’s outlook in mind, it is not surprising that, when Congress asked him to assess the public debt and come up with a plan to fix it in 1789, he came up with some controversial stuff…
*Hamilton’s Financial Plan*
– Hamilton’s plan had several components:
- Report on Public Credit (1790) – Hamilton proposed that Congress assume state debts, combine them w/the nat’l debt, and redistribute the burden of the debt equally throughout the states. He also wanted to issue new gov’t securities covering unpaid interest. The opposition to these measures was lead by Madison, who objected to the Assumption Bill b/c it (1) gave the central gov’t too much power and (2) Virginia already paid. He objected to the new securities b/c he felt it was ripping off the original holders. In the end the passage of the Assumption Bill was exchanged in a series of compromises for the location of the capital [on the Potomac].
- The Bank of the United States – soon Hamilton submitted another report on recommending the chartering of a nat’l bank that would be capitalized at $10 million and would mainly be funded by private investors. The bank would circulate currency and collect and lend $ to the Treasury. But the big question was – did the Constitution allow the creation of the Bank?
- MADISON (also Jefferson and Randolph) said: no way, if the Constitution doesn’t say you can, you can’t. Besides, the elastic clause only allows for necessary bills, and this is NOT necessary. POV of the strict constructionists.
- HAMILTON said in his Defense of the Constitutionality of the Bank (Feb. 1791): the Congress has all the powers it is not specifically denied so if it doesn’t say you can’t you can! POV of the loose constructionists.
- In the end Washington agreed and the bill was passed and helped the economy.
- Report on Manufactures (1791) – this last suggestion, which was to encourage American industry through protective tariffs, was rejected.
– A smaller part of Hamilton’s financial plan, the tax on Whisky [to pay for assumption] is worth noting b/c it set off the Whiskey Rebellion in Pennsylvania [where farmers already ticked off b/c the army wasn’t beating the Miami Confederacy]. At first it was just protests, but in July 1794 violence began [the crap gov’t that can’t protect us is overtaxing us]. So on August 7, Washington told the rebels to stop and called on 13,000 militiamen [he led ‘em, too] to march up there. By the time they got there the rebellion had stopped, but Washington’s action had LT effects b/c it demonstrated that the nat’l gov’t would no longer tolerate violent resistance to its laws.
*The Development of Political Parties*
– Even though traditional political theory saw organized opposition as illegitimate, parties were beginning to form by 1794 in the form of the Democratic-Republicans.
– Jefferson and Madison, who saw themselves as the true embodiments of the Spirit of 1776 and felt that Hamilton was subverting their revolutionary ideals by favoring an overly strong central gov’t and control by wealthy merchants, led the DR’s.
– In response, Hamilton and his supporters called themselves Federalists and claimed that the DR’s were an illegal faction plotting against the gov’t.
– Washington first tried to stay out it all, but ended up staying for another term in 1792 in the hope of promoting unity. But it got more complicated when issues in foreign affairs further divided the two camps.
*The French Revolution and Foreign Affairs*
– In 1789 most Americans supported the FR, but as it got bloodier and bloodier some began to reconsider. Then, in 1793, France declared war on Britain, Spain, and Holland, and the US had a bit of a problem:
- On one side, there was the 1778 Treaty of Alliance with France and the whole shared ideals of republicanism thing.
- On the other the US had previous bonds to Britain and also depended on British imports [and the tariffs from them] for $.
– Citizen Genêt – in April 1793 this guy began traveling around America recruiting Americans for expeditions against the British and Spanish. The US responded w/a a declaration of neutrality, but even though Genêt’s side got kicked out of power and he just stayed for asylum in the end, arguments continued.
– DR societies, which were organized between 1793 and 1800 and were seen by some as dangerous [ex. Hamilton and even Washington], supported France strongly.
– Meanwhile, Washington sent John Jay to London to negotiate w/the British about several pressing issues: (1) British seizures of American merchant ships, (2) the forts *still* in the American Northwest, (3) a commercial treaty and (4) compensation for slaves who left w/their army after the war.
– It was tough, and in Jay’s Treaty Britain only ended up agreeing to get rid of the forts and some trade restrictions. In return England could have tariffs on American goods, English exports got most favored status in the US and the US agreed to compensate for pre-revolutionary debts.
– Although the main big problem [possible war] was averted, many Americans [esp. DRs] still disliked the treaty but couldn’t do much about it since it was debated in secret and ratified in June 1795.
– The DRs made one last stand by claiming that Congress had to appropriate funds for the treaty and appropriation bills had to start in the HOR. The issue was debated in March 1796, and the pro-treaty side eventually won, partially b/c in Pinckney’s Treaty w/Spain the US got a great deal (navigation on Mississippi again), and this helped overcome opposition to the other treaty.
*The Election of 1796*
– The Jay’s Treaty controversy made the lines between the Federalists and Democratic-Republicans even clearer:
- Federalists put little emphasis on involving ordinary people in politics, favored a strong central gov’t, preferred commercial interests, were pro-British, and were pessimistic about the future.
- DRs disliked a strong central gov’t, focused on westward expansion, preferred agrarian interests, and were more optimistic about the future.
– During the 1790s the majority slowly switched to the DRs.
– Anyhow, before Washington retired he gave the famous Farewell Address, which mainly called for commercial but not political links to other countries [no permanent alliances], stressed the need for unilateralism, and called for unity.
– Then came the election, in which John Adams and Thomas Pinckney went from the Federalist side and Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr represented the DRs.
– Since the electors were only told to vote for their two favorites [the Constitution didn’t provide for parties], it ended up that Adams was President and Jefferson was Vice President. Oh no…
*The Adams Administration*
– Adams was still in the early Washington phase [i.e. Presidents should be above politics and not support any factions] and, as a result, he let others take the lead too often, which gave his administration a reputation for inconsistency. The one thing Adams’ detachment did help him with was the whole France crisis that erupted b/c of Jay’s Treaty [which France didn’t like too much].
– So b/c of Jay’s Treaty, the French started seizing American ships carrying British goods. Adams sent 3 guys over in 1798 to negotiate a settlement, but good ‘ol Talleyrand demanded a bribe before negotiations could begin. Adams told Congress it wasn’t working, which convinced them that he had deliberately sabotaged things and insisted he release the reports.
– Adams ended up withholding only the names of the French agents, which led to the name of the XYZ Affair. Anyhow, this thing generated enormous anti-French sentiment – Congress abrogated the 1778 Treaty, and a Quasi-War began in the Caribbean.
– The DRs continued to support France, and Adams wasn’t sure whether or not to call them traitors. Other Federalists, however, saw the whole thing as a great opportunity to prove once and for all that the DRs were subversive foreign agents. So in 1798 the Federalist Congress passed the Alien and Sedition Acts.
– 3 of the Acts were meant for recent immigrants [who were generally DRs]: the Naturalization Act lengthened the residency requirement and had all resident aliens register, and the Alien Acts allowed for the detention of enemy aliens during wartime and allowed the President to deport dangerous aliens. But the Sedition Act applied to citizens as well and tried to control speech against the gov’t.
– In response, Jefferson and Madison drafted the Virginia (Madison) and Kentucky (Jefferson) Resolutions, which outlined the whole states’ rights argument for the first time.
– Then Adams, acting on information from Europe, once again sent an envoy to Paris, this time seeking compensation for seized ships and abrogation of the 1778 treaty. The Convention of 1800 ended the Quasi-War but only provided for the abrogation of the treaty.
– Unluckily for Adams the results of the negotiations weren’t known until after the election of 1800 [his decision to start them alienated everybody and prob. cost him the victory by dividing the Feds].
– Anyhow, the DRs won, even though they almost got really messed up b/c Jefferson and Burr got the same # of votes [it took Hamilton’s behind-the-scenes maneuverings to get Jefferson to be President]. Consequently, in 1804 the Twelfth Amendment changed voting to a party ticket.
*Race Relations at the End of the Century*
– Many Indians now came under US influence [Treaty of Greenville] so, in 1789, Henry Knox proposed that the new nat’l gov’t set about “civilizing” them. The Indian Trade and Intercourse Act (1793) codified that belief by promising that the gov’t would supply Indians w/animals, tools, and instruction in farming.
– This plan, while well intentioned, had the obvious flaw that it ignored traditional Indian customs of communal landowning and women farming/men hunting. Still, some Indians responded [initially women, but men too after 1799 when a Seneca named Handsome Lake had visions and preached that Indians should redistribute their work for survival, but not give up their culture].
– Meanwhile, African Americans were also adapting parts of American culture to help them [the liberty, equality deal] and, as evangelicals became less egalitarian, began forming their own Baptist/Methodist congregations. These were sometimes used to plan revolts, such as Gabriel’s Revolt (1800) and Sancho’s Conspiracy. Neither plan worked [they were found out] and they only resulted in increasingly severe laws against slaves.
The Democratic-Republicans in Power (1801 – 1815)
*The “Revolution” of 1800*
– In the Presidential Election of 1800, Jefferson and Burr both received 73 votes, soundly defeating the Federalist candidates, Adams and Pinckney. Since J&B tied, the decision was thrown into the House of Representatives. Due to Hamilton’s anti-Burr sentiments, the House chose Jefferson.
– Anyhow, years later, Jefferson referred to his election as the “Revolution of 1800” b/c it marked the restoration of a limited and frugal gov’t. Besides his beliefs in a simple, limited central gov’t, Jefferson called for unity in his First Inaugural Address.
– In reality, though, Jefferson was consolidating the DRs hold on power by refusing to recognize appointments Adams made in the last days of his presidency and by placing DR’s in vacant seats formerly held by Federalists. The election of a DR Congress in 1800 completed the DR victory.
*Jefferson’s Domestic Policies*
– So how did the DR’s put their beliefs into policies for the country?
- A&S Acts – the Alien and Sedition Acts, which the DRs had opposed from the start, were let expire in 1801 and 1802. Jefferson also refused to use the acts against his opponents, and pardoned all those indicted under the acts during the Adams
- Naturalization Act of 1802 – this replaced the Naturalization Act of 1798, setting the requirement for citizenship back to 5 years only [most immigrants were DRs].
- Debt Reduction – Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin cut the army budget in ½ and also cut back on the navy in an effort to reduce the nat’l debt, which he predicted would be retired by 1817 with his plan. Unlike Hamilton, who saw the debt as a source of economic growth, Jefferson felt it was only the source of gov’t corruption.
- No Internal Taxes – all internal taxes, including the Whiskey Tax, were repealed.
– Then there was the war w/the Judiciary, the last area of gov’t the Federalists still controlled, partially b/c of Adams’ “midnight judges.”
– In fact, the first problem related to the Judiciary Act of 1801, which created the 15 new judgeships Adams then filled w/Federalists and reduced the # of judges in the SC to 5 in order to deny Jefferson the privilege of choosing another judge. So, the DR Congress repealed the act, and Jefferson got to choose his judge.
– Then DRs began trying to remove opposition judges, starting w/an old drunk guy, Judge John Pickering, who actually was impeached. Then the House tried to impeach Federalist SC Justice Samuel Chase for judicial misconduct [he prosecuted people under the Sedition Act], but he was acquitted, setting the precedent that only criminal acts could lead to impeachment.
– The SC, b/c of Federalist Chief Justice John Marshall, continued to uphold federal over states’ rights and protect business interests, even after the DRs became a majority in 1811. Marshall was also responsible for elevating the stature of the judicial branch, especially through Marbury v. Madison (1803), where Marshall gave up the right to issue writs of mandamus in return for the greater power of judicial review [power of SC to rule state and federal laws unconstitutional and get rid of them].
*The Louisiana Purchase*
– Louisiana was a key area b/c the nation that controlled it automatically controlled New Orleans, which was a center for trading up and down the Mississippi River. So, the US preferred that the Spanish [weaker power], who had acquired the territory from France in 1763, have the area.
– In 1800 and 1801, however, France once again obtained control of the region. Oh no! Concerns grew when, right before giving the area to France, Spanish officials stopped letting Americans keep their goods in NO while waiting for their shipment to other countries.
– Jefferson responded by preparing for war and sending James Monroe to join Robert Livingston in France. Their goal: to buy NO. But they got a heck of a lot more than they bargained for when in April 1803 Napoleon offered the whole deal to the US for $15 million [needed the $].
– Strategically, the deal was a major dream, but there was the ever-annoying question: was it Constitutional for Jefferson to buy the land [didn’t say in Constitution that Presidents could buy land]? Jefferson considered amending the Constitution for it, but decided the President’s implied powers were enough. Besides, as an expansionist, it was just too good to pass up.
– In May 1804 Jefferson sent out Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to map the territory and go all the way to the Pacific Coast. L&C led the Corps of Discovery, which was a rather diverse group consisting of army regulars, young adventurer-wannabes, and Indian guides added along the way [Sacagawea]. The group arrived back home on September 23, 1806, bringing with them an extensive knowledge of the flora, fauna and peoples of the West.
– Other explorations, like the one led by Zebulon Pike, which explored the Southwest, followed, eventually leading to the creation of the Santa Fe Trail in the 1820s and the beginning of US settlement in Texas.
– The craze for expansion set off by the Louisiana Purchase certainly did not bode well for the Indians, who, due to continual land losses, were finding their traditional lifestyles difficult to maintain [disease was also a big problem].
– So in the early 1800s 2 Shawnee brothers, Prophet and Tecumseh led a revolt against American encroachment by creating a pan-Indian federation. Prophet, who claimed to have been born again, began the movement w/a religious POV by stressing a return to traditional moral values [no more alcohol].
– But by 1808 the pair, encouraged by the alliance-eager British to resist American land claims, was talking more about American aggression than about religion. Tecumseh took over and began traveling about to unify Indians in resistance against the Americans.
– Tecumseh led the Indians [who became British allies] against the Americans in the War of 1812 until his death at the Battle of the Thames, which marked the end of Indian unity.
*Political Factionalism and Jefferson’s Reelection*
– Before the DR victory in 1800, Federalists objected to popular campaigning. After their loss, however, a new generation of Federalists began imitating their rivals, attacking the DRs for being autocratic Southern planters and stimulating fears of an overly weak army and navy.
– Competition between Federalists and DRs led to increasing participation in government, and grassroots campaigning efforts really began taking root [political BBQs].
– Since most Federalist never really got the hang of popular campaigning, the Federalists were weak at he nat’l level. Extremists like Timothy Pickering, who suggested the secession of NE in 1803/1804 [plan never worked b/c co-conspirator Burr wasn’t elected NY Governor], did not help the Federalist position.
– When DRs weren’t busy fighting Feds they fought among themselves. The Hamilton-Burr Duel illustrates the explosiveness of the era’s personal/political conflicts, but is *surprisingly* the only example where the situation deteriorated to the point to actual violence.
– On to the Presidential Election of 1804: Jefferson and Clinton [NY Governor] totally creamed Charles Pinckney and Rufus King [also of NY]. Jefferson campaigned by taking credit for the return of republican values and for the Louisiana Purchase.
*Prelude to the War of 1812*
– Jefferson’s goals included non-involvement w/European conflicts – in this, he was successful until 1805. After that, American commercial ties made it impossible to avoid entanglement in the European conflicts of the time.
– It all began with the renewal of the Napoleonic Wars in Europe in May 1803 [by then the US and Britain once again had friendly relationships]. This helped US commerce for 2 years, since it allowed America to become the chief supplier of food the Europe.
– But after the British victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in October 1805 the Royal Navy tightened its control, a situation that worsened when Britain and France began blockading e/o trade to break the stalemate. This was terrible for US trade.
– The British then began violating US rights as a sovereign nation by: (1) impressing British-born sailors or British deserters on US ships and court-martialing alleged deserters, (2) interfering w/US trade in the West Indies and (3) searching and seizing US ships.
– So in February 1806 Congress passed the Non-Importation Act, which banned British manufactures from entering American ports, to protest British impressment. The act was more a warning than anything else, as it didn’t ban the really important goods.
– Still, after failed attempts at negotiation the US-British relationship went down the drain, especially after the Chesapeake affair in June 1807. Inside US waters, the British ship Leopard fired on the Chesapeake after it refused to be searched for deserters. The ship was then boarded and four men were seized.
– This enraged Americans but also illustrated US military weakness, which prevented war. Instead, Jefferson closed American waters to the British, increased military spending, invoked the Non-Importation Act in December 1807 and then followed with the Embargo Act.
– A short-term measure meant to avoid war, the Embargo Act forbade all US exports to other countries. This was a majorly bad move b/c: (1) it killed the US economy (high unemployment), esp. in NE and led to smuggling, (2) it did not really hurt Britain overall as the people it affected (factory workers) had no role in gov’t, (3) it did not really hurt France b/c there was already was British blockade on Europe. Its only positive effect was that it encouraged domestic manufacturing.
– Then *perfect timing* came the Presidential Election of 1808. James Madison ran for the DRs (though his nomination was contested in the party’s congressional caucus by James Monroe) and Pinckney and King once again ran for the Federalists. This time the Federalists had more of a chance [Embargo Act], and actually gained some seats in Congress.
– Madison replaced the embargo with the Non-Intercourse Act of 1809, which reopened trade w/all except for Britain and France and promised if either country stopped violating US rights they would open trade w/them again. This fixed the EA problems but not the original ones.
– In 1810 the NIA was replaced by Macon’s Bill #2, which reopened trade with all countries and promised that if either Br./Fr. Stopped violating US rights the US would stop trading w/the other nation. Napoleon said sure, Madison complied, but the French didn’t stop. This foreign policy stuff sure isn’t easy, Mr. Madison.
*The War of 1812*
– Even though the US military situation certainly left something to be desired, by 1812, war seemed almost inevitable due to constant violation of US rights in the seas.
– Anyhow, first there was the Presidential Election of 1812, which was somewhat of a referendum on the whole war thing. Madison was reelected.
– Then, while the DR “War Hawks” elected in 1810 pressed for war, Britain made last ditch efforts to fix the situation in spring 1812 [ships told to stop clashing w/US, seas reopened to US shipping] but it was too late.
– Congress soon voted over war, w/the land-hungry Southerners and Westerners [“War Hawks”] in favor and the commerce-dependent New Englanders against. The WH won out, and on June 19 Madison signed the bill and the war began.
– Not surprisingly, the US was totally unprepared:
- The DRs debt reduction program had essentially reduced the army and navy to total crap [the navy had a whopping 17 ships].
- Nobody enlisted in the national army, only in some of the state militias. In the West there was initially a good response, but after word spread that the War Dept. wasn’t paying people on time and they were low on supplies, nobody wanted to join anymore. In New England, people saw it as “Mr. Madison’s War” and didn’t want to enlist from the start.
- Financial problems due to lowered revenue/import taxes b/c of the embargo and war.
- Regional disagreements – New England state militias wouldn’t leave their state lines.
– But, of course, the US decided to try and invade Canada anyway, which led to numerous disasters: first General William Hull totally screwed up and ended up surrendering Fort Detroit, and then the attempted invasion from Niagara failed b/c the NY militia refused to leave its state borders.
– On the naval front the British had no problem keeping their hold over the oceans and, by 1814, was blockading almost every American port, which led the US gov’t to the brink of bankruptcy.
– In the Great Lakes a shipbuilding race began, which the US won, leading to their victory at the Battle of Put-in-Bay on September 10, 1813 and subsequent control over Lake Eerie.
– The US also emerged victorious in the Kentucky region, where General William Henry Harrison led his state militia against the British, Shawnee and Chippewa forces at the Battle of the Thames. The US regained control of the Old Northwest, and Tecumseh was killed, which hurt Indian unity big time.
– After the US burned the Canadian capital of York, the British [who no longer had to worry about Napoleon, who they beat in April 1814] went down to the Chesapeake, where they set fire to Washington DC and burned it to the ground. The key battle then occurred at Baltimore in September 1814 – the Brits. Inflicted heavy damage, but the war was basically stalemated in the region.
– The last campaigns took place in the South against the Creeks and British – the Creeks were defeated by Andrew Jackson at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in March 1814 [Treaty of Fort Jackson, they had to give up 2/3rds of their land]; the British were defeated at the famous Battle of New Orleans on January 8, 1815 [the war had officially ended by then though].
*Peace and the Effects of the War of 1812*
– The Treaty of Ghent was signed on December 24, 1814 and was negotiated by JQ Adams and Henry Clay. Strangely enough, there was no mention of any of the issues that actually started the war – all the treaty did was restore the good ‘ol status quo. This was acceptable to negotiators b/c Napoleon had been defeated, which meant impressment was no longer a concern.
– So what did the war do?
- It reaffirmed American independence [taught the British a second lesson] and further convinced the US to stay out of European politics.
- It destroyed Indian resistance [Tecumseh died], leading to American expansion to the South and West [but not into Canada].
- It exposed American militarily weakness and made clear the importance of better transportation systems, which then made improving those two items nat’l priorities. In 1815 Madison centralized control of the military and began building a line of costal forts, and work on the National Road progressed into the West.
- It finished off the Federalist party. Although the Federalists made slight gains in the 1812 election, they were undermined by fanatics who met in the Hartford Convention and discussed possible session b/c NE was losing its political power to the South/West. This wouldn’t have been so bad if it hadn’t been timed right around the Battle of New Orleans, which made the whole thing look really stupid, not to mention treasonous. So that was the end of the Federalists.
- Most importantly, the war stimulated domestic manufactures, which leads us to…
*Commerce and Industry*
– The early republic’s economy was mainly shipping based – the US was supplied food to Europe [esp. during the war] and also exported items such as cotton, lumber and sugar in exchange for manufactures. As a result of the Embargo Act and the war, however, domestic manufacturing increased.
– Samuel Slater set up the first textile mill in the 1790s, but manufacturing didn’t really pick up until the war b/c the DR gov’t did not promote home industry.
– Finally in 1813 the Boston Manufacturing Company was chartered and the first American power loom was constructed in Waltham, Mass. Before long, many women were purchasing the cloth made by the workers rather than producing their own.
– Esp. initially, the mill managers adopted a paternalistic approach towards their young women workers, promising good living conditions and occasional evening lectures in order to lure NE farm daughters to the factory. This Lowell System soon spread to all the NE river mills.
– And that was just the beginning…
Nationalism, Expansion and the Market Economy (1816 – 1845)
*Postwar Nationalism in the “Era of Good Feelings” (1815 – 1824)*
– After the successful conclusion of the War of 1812, nat’lism surged and the DRs began to encourage the economy and pass more nat’list legislation.
– In his second term (1812 – 1816) Madison proposed economic and military expansion through the creation of a second nat’l bank and improvements in transportation. To raise $ for this and to help manufacturing, Madison suggested implementing a protective tariff [but unlike the Federalists he claimed that only a constitutional amendment could give the fed. gov’t the power to build roads/canals].
– Congress viewed the plan as a way of unifying the country, and most of the program was enacted in 1816: the Second Back of the United States was chartered, the Tariff of 1816 was passed, and funds were appropriated for the extension of the National Road to Ohio [though Calhoun’s big road/canal plan was vetoed by Madison].
– In the Presidential Election of 1816 DR James Monroe easily triumphed over the last Federalist Presidential candidate, Rufus King from NY. The lack of party rivalry caused a Boston newspaper to dub the time the “Era of Good Feelings.” Monroe continued to support Madison’s programs.
– The only place that remained a Federalist stronghold was the Supreme Court, which was still led by Chief Justice John Marshall. He ruled in favor of a strong central gov’t in the following cases:
- Fletcher v. Peck (1810) – in this case the SC ruled against a Georgia law that violated individuals’ rights to make contracts.
- McCulloch v. Maryland (1819) – in this case SC ruled against a Maryland law taxing the Second Bank of the US and consequently asserted the supremacy of the federal gov’t over the sates. Marshall also reinforced a loose constructionist view of the Constitution by reaffirming that Congress had the right to charter the bank. He sided w/the commercial/industrial side too.
- Dartmouth College Woodward (1819) – in this case the SC nullified a NH law altering the charter of Dartmouth College.
- Gibbons v. Ogden (1824) – confirmed federal jurisdiction over interstate commerce.
– So Madison’s second term and Monroe’s terms were characterized by nat’lism and improvement in transportation, the military, and manufacturing.
*Slavery and the Missouri Compromise*
– Nat’lism united Americans, but the question of slavery still threatened to divide them. With the exception of an act ending the foreign slave trade [January 1, 1808], the issue had been avoided as much as possible.
– In 1819 [Monroe’s first term], however, debate over slavery became unavoidable when Missouri petitioned Congress for admission to the Union as a slave state.
– The issue dominated Congress for 2½ years, for it could easily upset the carefully created balance between slave and free states. If Missouri was admitted as a slave state, slavery would be push towards the North, and slave states would gain a one-vote edge over free states in Congress.
– At one point NY Representative James Tallmadge, Jr. proposed gradual emancipation in Missouri, which outraged Southerners. Although the House passed the Tallmadge amendment, the Senate rejected it.
– Finally, in 1820 House Speaker Henry Clay proposed the Missouri Compromise – Maine would enter as a free state [it was taken out of Massachusetts] and Missouri would enter as a slave state, but in the rest of the Louisiana Territory north of 36’30° slavery was prohibited.
– The agreement worked but almost was destroyed in November when Missouri’s constitution was found to bar free blacks from entering. So Clay proposed a second compromise in 1821 – Missouri wouldn’t discriminate against citizens of other states. Once admitted to the Union, Missouri ignored the compromise, but for the short term conflict had once again been avoided.
*Foreign Policy During the Monroe Administration*
– Foreign policy during this period was placed in the capable hands of John Quincy Adams, who served as Secretary of State (1817 – 1825) and was a skillful diplomat and negotiator. JQ was an expansionist who pushed to obtain fishing rights for the US in the Atlantic, political separation from Europe, and peace.
– Important post-war treaties under JQ include…
- Rush-Bagot Treaty (1817) – agreement between the US and GB to limit their naval forces in the Great Lakes. It was the first modern disarmament treaty and led to the eventual demilitarization of the US-Canada border. Then, at the Convention of 1818 the US-Canada border was fixed at the 49th parallel.
- Adams-Onis Treaty (1819) – agreement between US and Spain that completed the US acquisition of Florida [Northern border came from the Pinckney treaty, Western border in 1810, and the Northeast was invaded by Jackson in 1818, which precipitated the Seminole Wars].
– Only one danger zone remained for the US after the treaties, and that was Latin America. In 1822, the US became the first non-Latin American nation to recognize the newly formed countries – but JQ was quick to realize that France would soon try to return the region to colonial rule.
– GB also caught this and proposed a joint US-British statement against European intervention in the area, but JQ refused, insisting the US had to act independently.
– In December 1823 the Monroe Doctrine was introduced to Congress. It basically called for: no more European colonization of the Western Hemisphere or European intervention in independent American nations. In return the US wouldn’t interfere in Europe.
– Essentially, the MD was a big bluff b/c the US didn’t have the military strength to enforce it. Luckily, the British had their own motives for keeping the rest of Europe away [trade], so it worked out.
*Economic Growth after the War of 1812*
– After the War of 1812 Americans became increasingly involved in the market economy, and jobs became more specialized as transportation improved.
– As farmers and craftsmen formerly had only to cater to the needs of their small communities, where bartering allowed them to get goods they couldn’t produce themselves, with the spread of canals and railroads, they began producing crops and goods for cash sale in nat’l and internat’l markets.
– The division of labor, combined with increasing mechanization, new financial methods and transportation caused tremendous expansion in the economy, which prompted more improvements, and so on.
– Growth, however, was uneven: there was great prosperity from 1823 – 1835 and from 1839 – 1843, but in between there were periods of deflation [dec. in prices] where banks collapsed and many businesses failed. These cycles were known as boom-and-bust cycles.
– The first crash occurred in Panic of 1819 – avid speculation on Western lands had led to a precarious situation, and when manufacturing fell in 1818, prices fell drastically. This devastated workers.
– What caused the boom-and-bust cycles? Direct result of the market economy b/c prosperity first stimulated demand for manufactured goods, leading to higher prices, higher production, and speculation in land. When production surpassed demand, prices and wages fell, causing land and stock values to collapse.
– Most felt that the B&B cycles were a way of weeding out unprofitable businesses, making the economy more efficient. And, at least in theory, each seller determined the price – so the market economy increased individual freedom.
*The Government’s Role in the Market Economy*
– Most believers in the market economy felt that limited government participation allowed for the most economic expansion.
– Nevertheless, the government actually had an active role in economic growth through…
- United State Post Office – helped spread information and set up first telegraph lines
- Patent laws – protected inventors
- Protective tariffs – encouraged domestic manufacturing
- Surveying new land – allowed farmers to settle further West and use new lands
- Improving transportation – linked commerce, esp. linking Western farmers to the East
– The judiciary encouraged gov’t involvement in the economy and business in general. See Gibbons v. Ogden (1824), which broadly defined Congress’ power over interstate commerce and Dartmouth College v. Woodward (1819), which protected contracts against state interference.
– The concept of the corporation also emerged through federal and state court rulings: corporations, groups allowed to hold property and do business as if they were individuals, were allowed to sell shares where the shareholders were granted limited liability [no responsibility in company’s debt beyond original investment].
– This encouraged people to support new businesses, and the number of corporations grew. Early on special legislative acts were needed for each corporation, but after the 1830s procedures were est. to make the process faster.
– Court rulings extended the powers of corporations, as in the Charles River Bridge v. Warren Bridge (1837) case, in which it was decided that new enterprises couldn’t be held back by implied privileges under old charters – encouraging competition and new industries.
– State gov’ts played a very large role in promoting the economy: they invested in railroads starting in the 1830s, provided banks and corporations w/capital, and regulated the activities of corporations and banks.
– As a result of gov’t efforts the US economy grew [unevenly] from 1812 to around 1850. As the economy grew, though, the dependence of the corporations on the states for investments declined.
*Improvements in Transportation*
– Following the War of 1812 the states invested in roads, canals and railroads. This increased the importance of the northeastern seaboard cities, which were already financial centers, by centralizing exports from the South and West there. By contrast, the South spent little $ on transportation and stayed rural.
– Water routes were the primary modes of transportation, but as settlement moved beyond the major rivers new methods of transportation were developed:
- National Road – this highway began in Maryland and reached Ohio in 1833.
- Erie Canal – completed in 1825, the canal linked the Great Lakes with NYC and set off a wave of canal building across the country.
- Railroads – as investment in canals fell in the 1830s, railroad construction boomed [but it was not until the 1850s that long-distance service was offered at good rates].
– New technology reduced travel time and shipping greatly, stimulating the economy.
*Sectors of the Market Economy: Commercial Farming*
– Agriculture still remained the backbone of the economy in the market economy era – it just changed from self-sufficient household units producing enough for their sustenance to larger, market-oriented ventures.
– Each areas of the country began to specialize its production, as follows:
- New England – due to a lack of space and bad terrain, commercial crop farming became increasingly impractical in NE beginning in the 1820s. Instead, NE families improved their livestock, specialized in dairy/vegetable/fruit production [financed through land sales, which really was the greatest source of profit], moved west, or gave up on farming altogether.
- Old Northwest/Western Territories – this region took over the commercial crop farming from NE. Large, flat farms were formed, and the mechanization of agriculture helped enormously. In 1831 Cyrus McCormick invented the reaper, which he patented in 1834 and began making in a factory, and in 1837 John Deere invented the steel plow.
- South – after 1800, the South shifted from a more diverse agriculture to one based almost entirely on cotton. This was due to Eli Whitney’s invention of the cotton gin in 1793, which separated short-staple [the easy to grow kind] cotton from its seeds efficiently. Although the South was in internat’l markets, it remained a rural society, w/most of the wealth in land and slaves, and couldn’t shift to manufacturing or commerce [business decisions made in North].
– Overall, specialization benefited many, but also made it more difficult for farmers to start up [high land prices] and therefore increased the # of tenant farmers.
*Sectors of the Market Economy: The Rise of Manufacturing and Commerce*
– American production began with copies of British or other European designs, but before long Americans were creating their own machines [ex. Matthew Baldwin, steam locomotives, by 1840 exported internat’lly].
– The American System of Manufacturing was created, which involved using precision machinery to produce interchangeable parts that didn’t require adjustment to fit. Eli Whitney promoted the system in 1798 w/respect to rifles, and by the 1820s the US had contracts w/firms to produce machine made firearms. The system soon spread to mainstream manufactures, leading to an outpouring of consumer goods.
– But the biggest industry was without a doubt textiles, which had been helped by the embargo, war, and the expansion of cotton cultivation. The big innovation was machine-spun textiles in mills, a system that especially took hold in NE [Lowell, Massachusetts].
– Mass produced textiles led to the ready-made clothing industry [by 1820s/1830s most clothing was mass produced], either via factories or by the putting-out system, and retail clothing stores appeared in the 1820s.
– The expansion of manufacturing directly encouraged a rise in commerce – agents began to specialize in finance alone [cotton brokers, corn brokers, etc.] and general merchants declined, remaining more in rural areas than in cities.
– Esp. in large northeastern commercial cities, merchants engaged in complex transactions – leading to both the rise of the office as we know it and the expansion of financial institutions.
– The Second Bank of the US, which was esp. attacked during the Panic of 1819, was finally killed off in 1836, leading to a nat’l credit shortage, which, combined with the Panic of 1837, led to reforms in banking.
– The new free banking system, initially introduced in Michigan and NY, meant that any bank that met minimum standards would get a charter automatically. This stimulated the economy in the 1840s/1850s.
*Workers and the Workplace*
– At first, the young farm women who came to the NE textile mills were very optimistic, and the mills operated on the paternalistic Lowell System, which provided the women with good working conditions.
– But from 1837 – 1842, demand for cloth declined and the mills worked only part-time, causing managers to pressure workers by speeding out the machines, giving each girl more machines to work, and paying extra if workers produced the most cloth. Hours lengthened, wages were cut, and discipline increased.
– Workers responded by organizing and striking, but they were unsuccessful. In the 1840s, more concerted efforts to shorten the workday began – worker-run newspapers, labor organizations [these didn’t work that well b/c workers stayed only a short time]. Then, Irish immigrants replaced NE girls as the work became less skilled in the 1850s.
– Another important result of manufacturing was the sharp division between men’s and women’s jobs and cultures. Also, the market economy devalued the unpaid labor of women in the home.
– The hierarchical organization of the factories, impersonal nature of labor, dangers from machines, and the lack of opportunities for advancement combined to produce new labor organizations and labor parties.
– Although the parties tended to agree on advocating free public education, an end to debt imprisonment, and were anti-bank/anti-monopoly, they were still divided, weak, and stayed pretty local. Their biggest accomplishment was to become legal though Commonwealth v. Hunt (1842).
*American Expansion and Indian Removal*
– As Americans increasingly pushed West, the former occupants inevitably were forced onwards as well. Although the Constitution acknowledged Indian sovereignty and gov’t relations w/Indian leaders followed internat’l protocol, in reality, it was a bunch of crap.
– Basically, the US used treaty making to acquire Indian land – through either military or economic pressure the Indians were forced to sign new treaties giving up more and more land. Some Indian resistance continued after the War of 1812, but it only delayed, not prevented, the US.
– Many Indian nations attempt to integrate themselves in the market economy. For example, some lower Mississippi tribes became cotton suppliers and traders. This turned out badly, though, b/c the trading posts would extend debt to chiefs that would later be used to force them off the land.
– As the cotton economy spread, then, Indians fell into patterns of dependency w/the Americans, which made it easier to move them. Indian populations also fell drastically due to war and disease.
– The US gov’t also attempt to assimilate the Indians into American culture [in 1819 $ was appropriated for that cause and mission schools were est.] Missions taught the value of private property and Christianity. For most, however, assimilation seemed too slow, and illegal settlers began crowding Indians everywhere.
– By the 1820s it was obvious the Indians just weren’t about to give up land fast enough, and attention turned to the more powerful, well-organized southeastern tribes.
– In 1824, prompted by pressure from Georgia, Monroe suggested that all Indians be moved beyond the Mississippi River [no force would be necessary, he thought]. This was aimed primarily at the southern Creeks, Choctaws, Chickasaws and Cherokees, who all rejected the proposal.
– In the end, all the tribes were moved, making it clear that even adapting to American ways could not prevent removal. The Cherokees were the best example – they had a constitution and political structure, but the South refused to respect them. They appealed to the SC in Cherokee Nation v. Georgia (1831) and the court ruled in their favor. Still, Georgia refused to comply.
– Jackson decided not to interfere b/c it was a state matter [really b/c he just wanted to kick out the Indians anyway] and allowed the Indians to be forced out w/funds from the Removal Act of 1830. The Choctaws were moved first, then the Creeks.
– Finally the Cherokees [who were divided – some wanted to give up and exchange their land for western land, most didn’t want to give up] were marched by military escort in the Trail of Tears in 1838 after their lobby to the Senate failed.
– Removal was a disaster for the Indians [you think?] – many became dependent on the gov’t for survival, internal conflicts arose, as did problems with existing tribes.
– In Florida a small band of Seminoles continued their resistance through a small minority under Osceola that opposed the 1832 Treaty of Payne’s Landing, which provided for their relocation. When troops were sent in 1835, Osceola used guerilla warfare against them until his capture and death in prison, after which the group fought under other leaders until the US gave up in 1842.
Revival, Reform and Politics during the Jackson Era (1824 – 1845)
*The Second Great Awakening*
– The wave of reform that swept America in the early nineteenth century was both a reaction to the radical changes American society experienced following the War of 1812 [immigration, market economy, expansion] and to the Second Great Awakening (1790s – 1840s).
– During the SGA preachers encouraged sinners to repent and offered them a chance to become true Christians. Salvation was available for all through personal conversion. This philosophy increased lay participation, made religion more democratic, and led to efforts to reform society.
– In the South, revival attendance was very high [esp. women and African Americans] – the “Bible belt.” In the North, former NY lawyer Charles Finney led the movement following his conversion in 1821. Finney emphasized the power of spontaneous personal conversions, stating that anyone could be saved that way.
– The SGA caused people to believe the Second Coming was drawing near and inspired people to try to speed the process by fighting evil through reform. All the sects of the SGA also shared a belief in self-improvement and the formation of organizations to help others convert.
– Women were more involved in this than men were [though they often forced their husbands and families into it as well]. For women, revival meetings and reform societies offered unique opportunities for participation in public life and politics.
*The Pursuit of Perfection: Nineteenth Century Reform Movements*
– Some of the most significant nineteenth century reform movements include…
- Anti-Prostitution – after a divinity student published a report in 1830 about the incidence of prostitution in NYC, women began a drive to help reform the prostitutes and stop young men from abusing women through the Female Moral Reform Society (1834). As the decade progressed the FMRS opened chapters throughout the nation, and became involved politically.
- Temperance – one of the most successful reform efforts, the temperance movement worked towards reducing alcohol consumption [much higher then that it is now]…
- The movement was both inspired by religion [alcohol=sin], by women who found that their families were being destroyed by alcoholism, and was favored by employers who realized their employees would be more efficient w/o it.
- Even popular culture reflected the movement’s ideology – Timothy Shaw Arthur’s Ten Nights in a Barroom (1853), Deacon Robert Peckham’s temperance paintings.
- As the years passed the emphasis of reformers shifted from moderation to abstinence to prohibition. The movement was very successful [sharp decline in alcohol use, some states prohibited its sale], but continued to rise even as consumption fell.
- From the 1820s on, the movement also began targeting immigrants and Catholics as the source of the problem – most Catholics favored self-control over state laws.
- Penitentiaries and Asylums – state institutions to hold criminals began w/good intentions [rehabilitate them], but they soon became overcrowded and inhumane. Mentally ill people were also put in the prisons along with the criminals. Reformers, esp. Dorothea Dix, successfully pressed for improvements in prisons and the creation of asylums.
- Antimasonry – the Antimasonry movement was a short, intense attack on Freemasonry…
- Freemasonry – a secret society that came to the US from England in the 18th century and emphasized individual belief and brotherhood [vs. one organized religion]. AMs saw the society as anti-democratic and elitist, evangelists even saw it as satanic.
- AM moved into the political arena w/the supposed murder of William Morgan, an ex-Mason who published an exposé in 1826.
- In 1827 the AMs held conventions to select candidates to oppose Masons, and in 1831 they held the first nat’l political convention in Baltimore.
- E/t AM declined w/the Masons in the mid-1830s, the movement had significant impact b/c it inspired broader political participation [attracting lower classes vs. Mason elite] and introduced the convention and party platform.
- Abolitionism – as AM declined, abolitionism gathered momentum…
- Prior to 1830 immediate abolition was not really advocated by anyone, although involvement began to grow following the War of 1812.
- In 1816 the American Colonization Society was founded [free slaves and ship them back to Africa, no place for them in American society].
- But by 1830 the immediatists [instant, compete, uncompensated emancipation] surpassed the gradualists as the leading voice in the movement.
- Initially, only blacks were immediatists, but in the 1830s whites ex. William Lloyd Garrison [publisher of The Liberator beginning in 1831] joined the more radical side.
- Other immediatists, who shared Garrison’s moral intensity and firm belief in the evil inherent in slavery, rallied around the American Anti-Slavery Society (1833). By contrast, gradualists felt that impulsive action would jeopardize peace and order.
- Opposition to abolition actually ended up helping immediatists – events such as the 1837 murder of abolitionist editor Elijah Lovejoy and the South’s blocking of anti-slavery pamphlets in the mail gave the abolitionists opportunities to gather support.
- Abolitionists also gained following through their protest of the “Gag Rule” [1836 act that automatically made abolitionist petitions off limits for debate, repealed in 1844].
- Basically, the more opponents of abolition tried to contain dialogue on the topic, the more the movement gained resolve and became unified [initially split between Garrison’s “moral suasion” and James Birney, the Liberty Party candidate, who supported pragmatic measures such as the election of abolitionists].
- Women’s Rights – women were highly involved in the abolition movement [Female Anti-Slavery Society founded in 1833, disbanded 7 years later], but, as a result of some of their problems being accepted by male abolitionists and the general new idea of women having actual roles in society, the women’s rights movement began to gain momentum. For instance, in the 1830s Angelina and Sarah Grimké wrote about women’s subordination to men, and by July 1848 the Woman’s Rights Convention met, where the Declaration of Sentiments was promulgated to protest injustices against women. Nevertheless, the movement was still fragmented [over issue of slavery] and it was hard to gather support.
– So, throughout the nineteenth century, various reform movements arose in response to the religious impulse towards self-improvement and the changes in American society.
*Politics During the Era of Reform*
– During the 1820s reform began to influence politics – and that, among other things – generated more widespread participation in public life and a more open political system.
– Other reasons for expanding participation in politics from 1824 – 1840 were…
- Many state constitutions began dropping the property rights qualifications to vote.
- Electors began to be chosen directly by the people in many states.
- The return of the party system in 1824 [DRs split into Democrats and Nat’l Republicans in 1820s, NRs become Whigs in 1832 and Republicans in 1852] and the rise of third parties.
- The creation of more elected offices on the local level.
- An increase in popular campaigning processes.
- The end of the Caucus system [congressional caucus chooses party nominees] in 1824. That year, the caucus chose William Crawford of Georgia as the DR candidate, but other DRs put themselves forward in their regions as sectional candidates – thus boycotting the caucus as undemocratic and ending its role in nominating candidates. The nominating convention was developed in the 1830s.
– The creation of the Second Party System in 1834 also helped greatly.
*The Election of 1824 and J.Q. Adams’ Administration*
– The Presidential Election of 1824 was a four way one: Andrew Jackson [West] vs. J.Q. Adams [NE] vs. Henry Clay [Old Northwest] vs. William Crawford [South]. The result was that, while Andrew Jackson led in both electoral and popular votes, he was unable to obtain a majority.
– The election was then thrown into the House of Representatives, where each state would cast one vote to select the President. Clay was dropped, as he was in last place, Crawford had a stroke…so it was down to Jackson and Adams. It was close, but all of a sudden, Clay [Speaker of the House] decided to back Adams.
– Jackson supporters called Adams’ victory the “Corrupt Bargain” b/c soon after the election Clay was chosen Secretary of State in Adams’ administration and his American System was supported.
– So, with that slight issue, the DR party split into the…
- National Republicans [J.Q. supporters] – the NRs generally favored a more involved gov’t that had an active role in numerous aspects of peoples’ lives.
- Democrats [Jackson supporters] – the Democrats had a wide range of views, but basically they stuck to the Jefferson concept of an agrarian society w/limited gov’t intervention and feared the concentration of economic and political power. They stressed the importance of individual freedom and were against reform b/c it required a more activist gov’t.
– Anyhow, during his administration J.Q. proposed a strong nat’list policy [Clay’s American System] that included protective tariffs, a nat’l bank, and internal improvements. J.Q. believed that the gov’t should play an active role in the economy, education, science, and the arts.
– However, J.Q. stunk as a politician, and the Democrats made it all worse by sabotaging him at each opportunity. So basically he got nothing done. And then came the…
*The Election of 1828 and Andrew Jackson’s First Term*
– In the Presidential Election of 1828, poor J.Q. was up against all the rabid Jackson supporters who had been waiting for their revenge. Mudslinging was the order of the day [think modern campaign tactics], but e/t the NRs were able to attack Rachel Jackson as a bigamist [don’t ask] Jackson creamed them.
– As proved by Jackson’s mass-produced campaign stickers and stuff [a first] and his extensive, nat’l level campaign work, the sit-back-and-be-elected era had definitely ended and the time of popular movements had begun. “Old Hickory” had to first well-organized nat’l party in US history.
– So what did Jackson do when he became President?
- Well, like Jefferson, he managed the tricky task of strengthening the executive branch’s power even while reducing federal power as a whole by: (1) relying on a “Kitchen Cabinet” of his political friends instead of his official one, (2) rewarding his followers and confronting his enemies, and (3) rotating officeholders [spoils system] to keep Democrats in office.
- On the limiting the gov’t side, Jackson vetoed nat’list programs, such as the Maysville Road Bill (1830), declaring them unconstitutional.
– Jackson was very anti-elitist and all [reformer in sense that he returned gov’t to majority rule] but he was also very egotistical in his claims to represent the people – something that infuriated his opponents, who pointed out that he was corrupting the gov’t through the spoils system and called him “King Andrew.”
– But the main issue during Jackson’s first term was…
*The Nullification Crisis*
– The whole nullification thing started in early 1828 before the election when an anti-Adams Congress decided to propose this new ultra-high tariff thing. The point was to raise New Englander’s hopes and then not have the ridiculous measure passed – thereby alienating Adams NE supporters and making him appear incompetent. But *surprise* it backfired and in 1828 the Tariff of Abominations [so said the South] passed.
– South Carolina, basing itself on ideas expressed in the 1798 Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, began protesting the tariff and declaring their right to nullify it. Calhoun, the VP, wrote and left unsigned the South Carolina Exposition and Protest [special state conventions can nullify nat’l laws].
– But in the Senate it was Robert Hayne [SC] who argued in favor of states’ rights vs. Daniel Webster [MA] in the 1830 Webster-Hayne Debates [“Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable” – DW].
– E/t Jackson was a states’ rights person, he believed the ultimate authority rested w/the people, not w/the states. W/Calhoun obviously on the state sovereignty side, Jackson turned away from him and began to rely more on Secretary of State Martin Van Buren.
– So in 1832 Congress tried to make the problem go away by reducing some of the duties but keeping them on iron, cottons and woolens. This was not good enough for South Carolina, who not only disliked the duties themselves but also feared that they could set a precedent for legislation on slavery.
– In November 1832, then, a South Carolina state convention nullified both tariffs and made it illegal to collect them w/in state boundaries. In response, Jackson passed the Force Act, which gave the president authority to call up troops and to collect duties before ships reached the state, while at the same time recommending tariff reductions to give SC a chance to back down.
– Calhoun, who had resigned as VP and become a South Carolina Senator, decided to work w/Henry Clay and eventually came up w/the compromise Tariff of 1833, which reduced duties over a 9 year period. SC was satisfied and repealed its nullification law [but nullified the Force Act, which Jackson ignored].
– Although the crisis was over, neither side really had won a decisive victory. It took another crisis, this time over a nat’l bank, to make the thing clear…
*The Presidential Election of 1832 and the National Bank Controversy*
– First of all, in the Presidential Election of 1832, the main issue was the early removal of the Second Bank of the United States’ charter, which was due to expire in 1836. Jackson was all for the bank’s removal, attacking it as a center of special privilege and economic power; Clay wanted to recharter it.
– In reality, the Second Bank of the US held federal funds and was an important source of credit for businesses. It also kept state banks honest by not accepting notes w/o gold to back them – so state banks weren’t exactly the nat’l banks biggest fans [saw it as private institution unresponsive to local needs].
– Anyhow, Jackson was reelected easily [random note: this election first in nation’s history where candidates chosen by conventions] and quickly proceeded to take down the bank in 1833. Here’s what he did…
*Jackson’s Second Term: Financial Crisis*
– Basically, Jackson began by taking the $ in the nat’l bank and putting it in state-chartered banks – thereby shrinking the bank and making it just another private bank after 1836.
– Then came the Deposit Act of 1836, which allowed the Secretary of the Treasury to choose one bank per state to do what the SBUS used to. The act also provided that any federal surplus over $5 million be given to the states starting in 1837. The surplus [from speculation in public lands] was then put into bank notes by state banks. This worried Jackson, who hated paper $, so…
– He convinced Secretary of the Treasury Levi Woodbury to issue the Specie Circular, which said that after August 1836 only gold/silver could be used to pay for land. This reduced sales of public land and killed the surplus and the loans to the states.
– This policy was a total disaster. This economy stuff is confusing, but the idea is that e/t there were fewer land sales and less land, people continued to speculate. The increased demand pressured banks, which didn’t have enough specie, and credit contracted – fewer notes issued, fewer loans made.
– Jackson just made things worse by continuing his hard $ policies, and his opponents had a field day. Congress then voted to repeal the circular, but Jackson pocket-vetoed this and the policy stood until in mid 1838 a joint resolution of Congress killed it.
– Jackson was the first President to really use his veto powers, which was another reason why he was attacked as being “King Andrew.”
*The Second Party System*
– In the 1830s, opponents of the Democrats, many of who were left over from the old National Republican Party, joined together in the Whig Party. The Whigs resented Jackson’s power over Congress, and competed on a nat’l level w/the Democrats from 1834 through the 1840s.
– The Whig/Democrat thing became known as the Second Party System, and was more organized and intense than the first DR/Federalist one.
– As the years passed the differences between the Whigs and Democrats became clearer…
- The Whigs favored an economy helped by an active central gov’t, corporations, a nat’l bank, and paper currency. They also supported reform – they were generally more enterprising and optimistic than the Democrats were. Whigs supporters were generally evangelical Protestants, Methodists, or Baptists – and were usually American-born or free black.
- The Democrats favored limited central gov’t and were afraid of concentrated power. Democrat supporters were generally foreign-born Catholics, or non-evangelical Protestants.
– When the Presidential Election of 1836 came about, however, the Whigs had not yet become a nat’l party, so they entered three sectional candidates [Webster, White, Harrison] against the Democrats’ Martin Van Buren, who won easily.
– But, a few weeks after VB took office the whole American credit system collapsed, setting off an economic depression that persisted from 1839 to 1843. VB didn’t help by continuing Jackson’s hard $ policies and establishing a new regional treasury system for gov’t deposits (1840).
– Then in the Presidential Election of 1840 the Whigs, now nationally organized, used the economic crisis to attack the Democrats and promote their candidate, William Henry Harrison and his running mate John Tyler [“Tippecanoe and Tyler Too”].
– Harrison’s grassroots campaigning strategies worked, and he beat Van Buren – which didn’t do him much good, since he died of pneumonia a month after his inauguration. Tyler, a former Democrat who left the party to protest Jackson’s policies over nullification, really wasn’t a Whig at all, and promptly began vetoing the entire Whig program.
– The only thing that did get passed during Tyler’s administration was the repeal of the independent treasury system and a higher tariff. Oh yeah, and the entire cabinet resigned, leaving Tyler a president w/o a Party [Whigs called him “His Accidency”].
*Manifest Destiny and Expansionism*
– Expansionist fervor only increased through the 1830s and 1840s and soon became a part of politics. The mid 1840s saw the rise of the whole manifest destiny idea, which was spurred by nat’l pride esp. after the depression ended in 1843, by racism [“we can use the land better than Native Americans can”] and by a desire to eliminate perceived external threats to nat’l security.
– The big goals for expansionists were…
- TEXAS (Southerners) – Texas had been settled by Americans since 1821, when Mexico became independent and opened the area to all. By 1835, the settlers were numerous, powerful, and tended to ignore the Mexican gov’t, causing dictator Santa Anna to tighten control. This sparked a rebellion, which culminated in Texan independence and the establishment of the Lone Star Republic in 1836. Texas opened annexation negotiations w/Washington and Tyler, eager to gain the 1844 Democratic nomination, pushed for it. The Senate, however, rejected it – Northerners and Whigs didn’t like the idea.
- OREGON (Northerners) – Oregon had been split between the US and Britain since the Convention of 1818, but when “Oregon Fever” broke loose in 1841 fervid expansionists began demanding the entire area for the US [“Fifty-four forty or fight”].
– Naturally, expansion into Oregon and the rejection of Texas worried Southern leaders, who responded by convincing the 1844 Democratic convention to use a new rule – if candidate not chose by 2/3 of convention he’s out. This blocked Van Buren as the nominee and led to the selection of James K. Polk [hard money Jacksonian, expansionist, slaveholder].
– So in the Presidential Election of 1844 Polk ran against Henry Clay [Whigs] and James Birney [Liberty Party, took votes from Clay] and beat them both.
– Right before leaving office, though, Tyler got Texas admitted into the Union [December 1845] through a joint resolution of Congress [requires only simple majority while treaty needs 2/3].
The Road to Civil War (1845 – 1861)
*The Mexican War*
– In the 1844 election, expansionist Polk [Democratic] was elected. Polk quickly set about accomplishing his territorial goals – starting by provoking a war w/Mexico (right before his inauguration the US had annexed Texas) by urging the Texans to seize all the land to the Rio Grande.
– When Mexico argued about the border, Polk sent troops under General Zachary Taylor [“Old Rough and Ready”] to Rio Grande in 1846. Since he really wanted CA, he tried to buy it as a last resort. When that fell through, he simply waited for war to erupt.
– On April 24, 1846 Mexican cavalry finally responded to the US invasion and the war began [it was voted for by Congress on May 13]. This excited people, and there were many volunteers due to a craving for adventure, racist tendencies, and general expansionist dreams [still, some abolitionists were mad, and even Calhoun got worried that the war could lead to problems down the road].
– The war in short: Colonel Stephen Kearny invaded New Mexico and CA [where he was helped by rebellious settlers under Captain John C. Frémont], General Zachary Taylor secured northeastern Mexico and General Winfield Scott went all the way to Mexico City and captured it.
– The result was the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (signed in February 1848) which got the US California, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Arizona and the RG Texas border and got Mexico a very pathetic reparations payment of $15 million.
– As far as Oregon went, though, Polk had to throw out his campaign slogan and instead diplomatically [he didn’t want to be fighting two wars at once] pressure the British for a split along the 49th parallel, which was agreed to in 1846.
*Reactions to Territorial Gain*
– Not everyone was obsessed w/gaining territory from Mexico – in fact, New Englanders, abolitionists and a few antislavery Whigs saw the whole deal as a plot to extend slavery, which didn’t go over too well.
– This was part of the whole Northern fear of a “Slave Power Conspiracy” – i.e. that a slave-holding Southern oligarchy was taking over all political and economic power in the nation. So, not surprisingly, the Northerners weren’t so hot on gaining territory if it was going to be slave territory.
– In the South overall opinion was pretty much in favor [although ultra-racists like Calhoun worried that taking too much Mexican land might bring too many Mexicans into the US, which they saw as bad].
– Slavery’s overriding importance in the Mexican war issue was confirmed in August 1846 w/the Wilmot Proviso – a proposed amendment that made slavery illegal in any territories taken from Mexico. Wilmot wasn’t really an abolitionist – it was more self-interest b/c her worried the spread of slavery would hurt labor by free whites and deny them their rights to work [also anti-Slave Power].
– The Wilmot Proviso majorly untied the South in support of the Mexican war, even more than at the beginning. Calhoun led their new position, which was that the territories belonged to all the states and that the gov’t was therefore powerless to stop slavery’s spread there [Fifth Amendment right to take property anywhere] – this was the state sovereignty position.
*The Election of 1848*
– Of course, the whole territories-slavery deal was the big issue of the Presidential Election of 1848, e/t both sides tried very hard to keep the issue away.
– The Democrats ran Senator Lewis Cass of Michigan and General William Butler of Kentucky [Polk said that once was enough]. Cass had come up w/the idea of popular sovereignty for the territories, but the party platform still held that Congress couldn’t interfere w/slavery.
– The Whigs nominated General Zachary Taylor, a Southern slaveowner and war hero, and Congressman Millard Fillmore of NY – and they likewise claimed that Congress couldn’t do anything.
– The issue just wouldn’t disappear, though, and a new party even formed b/c of Northern concern over slavery. The Free-Soil Party [“Free Soil, Free Speech, Free Labor, Free Men”], which formed from former Liberty Party supporters and antislavery Whigs, nominated Van Buren as its candidate and got 10% votes.
– The election, which Taylor won [as some Southern Democrats voted for him e/t he was a Whig], showed that politics was, more than ever, splitting along sectional [instead of party and religious] lines.
*The Compromise of 1850*
– The first big problem was about California, which had been populated in 1849 as a result of the Gold Rush, and was applying for statehood with a free state constitution [since Congress couldn’t decide what to do, Taylor had told CA to apply for admission directly].
– Southerners, however, wouldn’t accept CA as a free state b/c it would upset the delicate balance between free and slave states – so they tried to make CA a slave state or at least extend the Missouri line.
– Sensing another compromise was necessary, Henry Clay [veteran of the 1820 and 1833 deals] stepped back up and, with the help of Stephen A. Douglas, came up with the Compromise of 1850. Obviously, the big issue was when territories could prohibit slavery [North = ASAP, South = very late in process when slaves hopefully already there].
– At first, the bill didn’t pass [Daniel Webster helped by giving it his support, but Calhoun did the opposite w/his speech] – but after Douglas split it up and had Congress vote on each aspect separately it worked. There were 5 basic aspects to the deal…
- CA came in as a free state.
- Texas boundary kept at present limits but Texas given $10 million in compensation for loss of territory to New Mexico.
- New Mexico and Utah territories to be decided by popular sovereignty.
- Slave trade banned in Washington DC.
- A new harsher fugitive slave law.
– Yeah, it wasn’t so much a decision as it was an evasion [bought time for nation, some say it won war for North b/c it gave them more time to finish industrializing].
– The two major problems with the compromise were as follows:
- What the heck does “popular sovereignty” mean? Nobody knew for sure – so the South decided it would mean wait-until-there-are-slaves-and-then-vote, but the North didn’t agree.
- The new Fugitive Slave Act: basically it allowed slaveowners to go into court in their states to show evidence their slaves had escaped, have court officials identify the validity of the claim, and then possibly send US marshals after the person [they were paid extra $ to return the person, too]. This was not too popular w/the North, and abolitionists saw it as a violation of American rights. Violent resistance even broke out in many Northern towns as a result of the slave catchers [Shadrach Minkins taken across to Canada in 1851, Jerry McHenry freed by abolitionist mob, “Christiana Riot” occurred in Lancaster County].
– Also on the abolitionist front came Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852), which was a huge bestseller. UTC both indicted slavery by describing the horrors of slave life and criticized Northern racism; its approach gave slavery a new human face for many Northerners who had never been to the South.
– Then the whole Underground Railroad deal annoyed slaveowners even more – e/t the thing was never as organized as many thought it was, it was a source of constant irritation for the Southerners as it was also a symbol of resistance to oppression and focused more attention on the injustice of slavery.
*The Election of 1852 and the Collapse of Compromise*
– The Democrats ran Franklin Pierce of New Hampshire, and he won easily over the Whig nominee, General Winfield Scott. Pierce defended the rights of each area while Scott ignored the issue, so the South had reason to believe nat’l support for the Compromise of 1850 might get rid of the problem altogether. The Free-Soil party also ran a candidate [anti-compromise, of course].
– But in reality Pierce just won b/c the Whigs were being torn apart by sectional strife [and the deaths of Taylor, Webster and Clay didn’t help either]. By 1852 the Whigs were pretty much a thing of the past.
– Anyhow, Pierce’s total support for the compromise aggravated much of the North [esp. his enforcement of the FSA, for ex. the case of Anthony Burns] and radicalized the situation big-time even among former conservatives. Juries stopped convicting abolitionists [ex. ones that stormed courthouse in Burns case] and states passed personal-liberty laws to stop federal enforcement.
– As a sidenote, sectional conflict also managed to derail [OK, bad joke] plans for a transcontinental RRD and mess up annexation negotiations w/Hawaii and Cuba.
*The Kansas-Nebraska Bill and the Destruction of the Party System*
– The next big problem began when Douglas [the C1850 guy] decided to introduce a bill about the Kansas and Nebraska Territories. Douglas felt the slavery thing would be no big deal – all he wanted was some more $ for his home state of Illinois [transcontinental RRD thing].
– Boy did he pick the wrong topic – as soon as he mentioned the thing, the whole differing interpretations of popular sovereignty deal exploded. To make matters worse, K&N were on the non-slavery side of the Missouri line, so using PS there would invalidate the whole Missouri Compromise too!
– Naturally, Southern Congressmen demanded a repeal of the MC, which Douglas actually gave them, thinking the climate of the area wouldn’t allow for slavery anyway. Then by May 1854 [e/t opposition was extremely strong from the anti-slavery people] the bill passed, opening a ton of formerly anti-slave land up!
– The results of the K&N Acts…again [like C1850] the new laws acted like catalysts for anti-slavery forces [many more states passed personal-liberty laws, resisted the FSA]. Most importantly, though, the K&N Acts split the dying Whig party once and for all into Northern and Southern wings, lowered support for the Democratic Party, and led to the creation of a new political party, the Republican Party.
*The Politics of Sectionalism: Republicans and Democrats*
– Basically, in the summer and fall of 1854, the Republican Party was formed from the antislavery Whigs and Democrats, the Free-Soilers and various other groups. They had a spectacular rise in the North[east] and managed to get most of the Northern House seats on their first appearance on the ballot in 1854.
– The only party that was still nat’l by this time was the Democratic Party, except for a short period where the American Party [a.k.a. the Know-Nothings] also competed at that level [but they were mostly successful in the North]. The KN’s were anti-Catholic/anti-immigrant, but only lasted until 1856.
– So, besides the obvious, what were the new Republican and Democratic parties all about?
- Republicans were for the exclusion of slavery from the territories, new protective tariffs and more federal funding for RRDs/infrastructure, and for a free homestead act that would provide for parcels of land [not large enough for plantations, though]. Their ideology represented the new, industrial North – the key was the importance of work and opportunity [South is backwards] and the idea of the liberty to find work on new land. Important to note that some Republicans were not necessary anti-slavery in itself, many were even racist!
- Democrats were *no kidding* for the extension of slavery into the territories. E/t most Southern Democrats were not slaveowners, the party’s appeal to racism [basic idea = if blacks are not enslaved, this is bad for whites in general] won over many of the yeoman farmers. Another element was the idea that restrictions on slavery were inherently against constitutional principles. Both these ideas helped blur the class lines in the South.
– Things only intensified with time…
*Bleeding Kansas and the Election of 1856*
– In Kansas, both abolitionists and Southerners began sending in forces to support their side and influence the decision, which was to be made through popular sovereignty. As conflicts became increasingly violent, the nation’s attention focused more and more on Bleeding Kansas.
– During elections for the territorial legislature, Border Ruffians [i.e. proslavery Missourians] screwed up the voting and caused the pro-slavery side to win. This led to the Free-Soilers creating their own gov’t, a pro-slavery posse killing some of them in 1856, and the whole John Brown rebellion/revolution scheme. Even the Senate was losing it [SC Representative Preston Brooks hit MA Senator Sumner w/cane].
– The polarization continued into the Presidential Election of 1856, where Democrat James Buchanan [chosen b/c uninvolved in controversies] beat out the Republican candidate, John C. Frémont.
*The Dred Scott Case*
– The whole Dred Scott deal started when a Missouri slave named *wow what a surprise* Dred Scott sued his owner for his freedom b/c his owner took him in a free state. In 1857, the case reached the SC. Normally, the SC liked to stay out of slavery controversies [1851 decision – state courts decide].
– But this time [b/c 2 Northern justices threatened to dissent] the SC took on the case, finally deciding in March 1857 that: (1) Scott was not a US citizen and therefore couldn’t sue, (2) residence in free territory didn’t make him free and (3) Congress couldn’t ban slavery from any territory anyway. This was a big time victory for the Slave Power, and stimulated all sorts of complaints and protests from the North.
– This is where the famous Abraham Lincoln speech comes in…in 1858, while announcing his campaign for US Senate, he talked about the divided house and all that. Since the DS decision had made the Republican position unconstitutional, they could only appeal to voters’ overriding morals or hope to change the SC justices – actually, they used both and it ended up helping them politically.
– But for Northern Democrats [ex. Stephen Douglas] the case was a big problem – they had to reassure the North about the territories being opened but not scare off the South. Douglas ended up decided to stick w/PS, e/t it ticked off the South.
– One incident involved the Lecompton Constitution, which had been drafted in Kansas but voted down. Still, Buchanan tried to force it through – infuriating the North and finally causing Douglas to side against the administration [no LC] and against the South. Douglas only made it worse for himself by continuing his PS idea [Freeport Doctrine] in his debates against Lincoln for the Senate seat in 1858.
– Things like this made the possibility of a split in the Democratic Party increase.
*John Brown and the Election of 1860*
– Although slavery was a big deal, most people weren’t thinking about it 24/7…until John Brown gave it a whole new slant with his attack on the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry on October 16, 1859.
– Brown was an obsessive abolitionist, and his capture and execution made him a symbol of all evil for Southerners and an almost holy martyr for much of the North.
– So things were clearly pretty hyped up for the Presidential Election of 1860, which many felt would decide the fate of the Union. It was totally sectional, as even the Democratic Party had split at its 1860 SC Convention b/c Douglas refused to accept the Southern position on the territories.
– As a result, the Democrats had Douglas [North] and John C. Breckinridge [South] up against the Republican candidate, Abraham Lincoln. There was also a Constitutional Union Party, which supported John Bell of Tennessee.
– Lincoln ended up winning via the electoral college, but the losers refused to accept the results for a while as Lincoln didn’t have a majority in the popular vote [he wasn’t even on the ballot in 10 slave states].
*Secession and the Start of the War*
– There was one very last attempt at compromise tried in the winter of 1860/1861 by Senator John J. Crittenden of Kentucky [Clay wannabe], but it didn’t work out as Lincoln wouldn’t agree to just split the territories back at the Missouri Compromise line [too late for that]. So that was that and…
– On December 20, 1860 South Carolina passed a secession ordinance, hoping that other states would follow, which they did [Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas all split by February 1861, when the Confederate States of America was formed in Alabama]. And so it all began…
The Civil War (1861 – 1865)
*North vs. South: Advantages and Disadvantages*
– The North obviously had several advantages, such as:
- An industrialized market economy that gave the government a tremendous amount of resources to fall back on.
- A much larger population and more manpower for the army and navy. Speaking of the navy, the North had a larger, stronger navy.
- An already established, relatively powerful and organized central government led by Lincoln.
- The support of the liberated/runaway slaves in the South.
- They mainly ended up having to invade “foreign” territory.
- They had really crappy generals (especially initially) like McClellan, Burnside, etc.
- To win, they had to invade and conquer the South (fighting an offensive war) – harder.
– The South had some advantages, too:
- Fighting on home soil (most of the time) for their independence and way of life.
- They had some really good generals like Robert E. Lee, “Stonewall” Jackson, JEB Stuart, etc.
- To win, they only had to keep the North out – keep up resistance – like Washington in RW.
- They had a smaller everything: smaller population, smaller army, smaller navy, smaller economy, practically NO industrialization to speak of, and fewer resources.
- They had a developing central government and a big time aversion to gov’t power.
- Class problems emerging (in North too, but more in South) i.e. yeoman farmers vs. planters.
– The Union had the Anaconda Plan from the very start, which hoped to strangle the Confederacy through a blockade and cut it in half by taking the Mississippi.
– The Confederacy only wanted to hang on and keep the Union from gaining control. To do this, they had the foreign policy goal of gaining foreign recognition (esp. Britain). To try to coax the British into supporting them, the South put an embargo on cotton production, but this didn’t work as the British got cotton from other sources.
– In response, the North was very careful in trying to maintain good relations w/Britain. There were only two instances where this was threatened – the Trent affair in 1861 [US boards British steamer, takes off 2 Confederate ambassadors, imprisons and then releases them] and the Alabama issue [Britain selling warships to Confederacy, ambassador protested, Britain stopped].
– The one area both sides didn’t pay attention to initially was the West. Guerrilla warfare broke out there in 1861, and locations along the rivers in the West would eventually be keys to the North’s victory. Beyond the Mississippi, the Confederacy allied itself w/some Indian tribes.
*The War Begins*
– On December 20, 1860 South Carolina passed a secession ordinance, hoping that other states would follow, which they did [Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas all split by February 1861, when the Confederate States of America was formed in Alabama].
– Then on April 12, 1861 at Fort Sumter Confederate commanders attacked after being notified by Lincoln a ship was arriving to resupply the fort. The fort surrendered, the war began, and four more states joined the Confederacy – Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Arkansas.
– The next battle took place on July 21, 1861 at Bull Run – to the shock of the Union picnickers watching the battle, General “Stonewall” Jackson sent Union troops fleeing back towards Washington.
– In the last half of 1861 the only changes were really made in the sea, where the Union won some coastal victories, setting off a stream of runway slaves in the nearby areas.
*1862: Initial Battles*
– In February 1862 Ulysses S. Grant won some important victories for the Union in the land and rivers of Tennessee at the battles of Fort Henry and Fort Donelson. These triumphs opened paths into Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi.
– Grant continued into Tennessee, fighting the first super-bloody battle of the war, the Battle of Shiloh, on April 6. Neither side won, but casualties for both sides were huge.
– On the Virginia front, McClellan was stalling for time (not in favor of all out war, liked preparing armies, not using them). Although he was w/in 7 miles of the Confederate capital by June 1, Lee kicked his butt in the Seven Days Battles (June 26 – July 1) and sent him back to the James River.
– Lee’s victory psyched Jefferson Davis up, and he ordered a general offensive (while at the same time calling for the support of the border states).
– But the plan didn’t work, largely b/c of the Battle of Antiedam (the bloodiest day of the entire war) on September 17, 1862, where McClellan turned Lee back out of Maryland (but was subsequently replaced by Lincoln for not going after the enemy more). The South also lost in Tennessee, and had to give up the offensive due to a lack of resources.
– Another noteworthy battle of spring 1862: the Merrimack (Confederacy) vs. Monitor (Union) deal, which is important b/c it was the first clash of ironclad ships (ever).
*The Initial Effects of the War*
– The North changed a great deal during wartime…
- Although business was shocked by the advent of the war [relationships w/South terminated, debts lost, etc.] it soon picked up – especially b/c the gov’t contributed formerly unheard of amounts [and added new taxes, like the first income tax, to make up for it]. The commercialization and industrialization of agriculture received an especially big boost.
- Since workers didn’t really benefit as much as their employers did from the new conditions the labor movement gained strength – but the employers fought back, too. Some even made crappy products for the gov’t – i.e. corruption.
- Perhaps most importantly: the gov’t gained an activist role in the economy for good. This was solidified by a series of American System-ish acts passed [since no South to oppose]:
- Morrill Tariff Act (1861) – doubled former tariffs
- Homestead Act (1862) – 160 acres to anyone for 5 years free
- Legal Tender Act (1862) – creation of a nat’l currency
- Morrill Land Grant Act (1862) – land given to states to sell, but revenue can only go for education [think agricultural, engineering schools].
- Pacific RRD Act (1863) – transcontinental RRD planned
- National Bank Act (1863) – I hope this one is self-explanatory
- Lincoln’s power also increased – he started a shipbuilding program w/o waiting for Congress, suspended habeas corpus in the border states (first w/o Congress, then w/their approval) and even invoked martial law.
- Lastly, Northern women took over jobs left vacant by soldiers.
– And the South experienced even more disruption…
- For one, the whole local/limited/states’ rights gov’t idea had to go in order to fight the war properly. Davis moved quickly to bring arms, supplies and troops under his control, and then had to resort to the first ever draft law in April 1862. Davis was a strong executive – he even suspended habeas corpus and imposed martial law where there was opposition.
- The government also ended up having big time influence on the economy, b/c of conscription, which allowed them to control labor – RRDs, industries all went under gov’t control. And due to the Union blockade, the South actually started industrializing during the war.
- Southern women also had to take over tasks formerly reserved for men (like managing the farm, new jobs, etc.) – which pleased some women but annoyed others.
- Then there was the whole food issue – there just wasn’t enough of it, mainly b/c of labor shortages [other goods were hard to get as well] – tremendous inflation resulted.
- Social tensions also increased due to the unfairness of the draft system.
– Wait, what? Slaves? This was a war about slavery? You wouldn’t have guessed it given the way both Lincoln and Davis avoided mentioning the topic for the first months – Lincoln b/c of the border states and Republican Party, and Davis b/c of the class conflicts [not all Southerners had slaves, remember].
– Lincoln’s refusal to address the issue didn’t go over too well w/blacks and abolitionists, though, so in March 1862 he first proposed that states consider emancipation on their own [aid was promised, as was compensation for slaveholders and colonization of former slaves in Africa]. This colonization scheme stuck around until 1864 – again, not cool w/blacks and abolitionists.
– Some Radicals Republicans (George Julian, Charles Sumner, Thaddeus Stevens), however, had other plans – they created a special House-Senate committee on the war to pressure Congress, and then they pushed 2 confiscation acts through – in August 1861 [slaves used in hostile actions could be seized] and in July 1862 [property of rebels confiscated, so slaves freed in South].
– But Lincoln stood by his voluntary gradual emancipation deal [Horace Greeley protested this in “The Prayer of Twenty Millions”] until after the Battle of Antiedam. Then, in the famous Emancipation Proclamation, which took effect on New Year’s Day, 1863 (and some say “nothing changes on New Year’s Day”) he freed all the slaves in the states in rebellion against the US.
– The EP was actually more of a threat to the South, and was still sort of ambiguous, the message was clear to many – and it defined the war as one against slavery. It was about time, too!
– The final thing came in June 1864 when Lincoln gave his support for a Constitutional ban on slavery, leading to the Republican Party’s call for the Thirteenth Amendment, which was passed in early 1865. As a rather strange note, near the end of the war the Confederates grew so desperate even they considered emancipating and arming the slaves. Go figure!
*1863: The Decisive Year*
– The year began well for the South w/the Battle of Chancellorsville, a crushing defeat for the North – but also detrimental to the South b/c of the loss of Stonewall Jackson.
– But things went downhill quickly for the South b/c of two important battles: the Battle of Vicksburg [on the last major Southern fortification of the Mississippi] and the Battle of Gettysburg [the high water mark of the Confederate offensive into Maryland].
– The two Northern victories at the above battles were very important. The fall of Vicksburg on July 4, 1863 opened the Mississippi for the North and cut the South in half and the Northern victory at Gettysburg was the end of all Southern offensives.
*Disunity in the North and South*
– In the North (not as bad):
- Resentment of the draft was one problem, as was general disillusionment. However, the North had enough resources that the problems didn’t make an impact on the war effort overall.
- Most resistance, in fact, was political in origin. Some Democrats attempted to gain support by blaming Lincoln for the misfortunes brought about by the war, attacking conscription, and defending states’ rights. These Peace Democrats [led by Clement L. Vallandigham] called Lincoln a dictator [got CV arrested for treason] – which led to Republicans calling them “Copperheads” [implication was that they were trying to sabotage war].
- The worst incident of public violence came about against the draft [law in 1863] – the New York City Draft Riots, for example, showed the class and ethnic tensions of the time b/c blacks were the main target [taking jobs].
- In the Presidential Election of 1864 the PD’s actually had somewhat of a chance – they ran former General McClellan against Lincoln. He lost, but still…
– In the South (a lot worse):
- One problem was the planters’ increasing opposition to their own gov’t. The centralizing tendencies needed to maintain the war effort were just not cool – so planters complained about conscription, wouldn’t change to food from cash crops, and were generally inflexible.
- The food situation, which had never been good, certainly wasn’t getting better. This culminated in the food riots in several Southern cities in spring 1863.
- Most Southerners resisted less conspicuously, though – by evading taxes and the draft, and by deserting from the army. Davis was not good at communicating w/the public, so he was stuck w/the overriding problem of public apathy/lack of morale, esp. after Vicksburg and Gettysburg.
- Some Southern legislatures even began to call for peace after V&G – William Holden [no, not the Sunset Bvld/Sabrina/Stalag 17 guy] in North Carolina (summer 1863) and Brown and Stevens in Georgia (1864) – but the movements never got anywhere.
- Also, the 1863 elections hurt Davis as many supporters of his administration lost seats. Basically, by 1864 the South had given up and many were either doing nothing or actively sabotaging the Confederate gov’t.
*1864 – 1865: The Final Stretch*
– The South could actually have still won in the last year if they had kept up a stalemate and waited for Northern anti-war sentiments to triumph. But several important events swayed things just enough the other way to assure a Northern victory. One aspect was that the North’s diplomatic strategy, which was don’t-let-Europe-recognize-them, succeeded into 1864.
– Also, General Sherman [“War is Hell”] took total war right into the Southern heartland starting in the winter of 1863/1864 in Virginia. The policy was all-out: looting, pillaging, burning…it was all OK. In response, Davis concentrated his forces in Atlanta, Sherman’s first goal.
– On September 2, 1864 Southern forces fell at Atlanta – which boosted Northern morale and secured Lincoln’s reelection, but killed hope for the South.
– After the victory at Atlanta, Sherman took his men on the aptly-named Sherman’s March to the Sea. The goal was, quite simply, to destroy as much as possible – so the men lived off the land and ruined as much as they could. Since there was no guerrilla resistance [South gave up] the policy was very successful.
– Simultaneously, Grant attacked Lee’s army in Virginia in repeated attempts to capture Richmond. After enormous losses, Grant was finally successful on April 2 in taking Richmond. Then on April 9, 1865 Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court House [important to note that terms of surrender very lenient].
Reconstruction (1865 –1877)
*Reconstruction During the War*
– Believe it or not, the North began thinking about Reconstruction as early as 1863. There were four basic problems that really bothered them: (1) local rulers for the South, (2) nat’l gov’t control of the South [should it be the President or Congress], (3) freedom [or lack thereof] for former slaves, and (4) should they reestablish the old system or make it another revolution?
– The two main competing viewpoints on these issues were as follows…
- Lincoln: Lincoln personally favored leniency, as he feared the South would continue resistance otherwise. This was reflected in his Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction [December 1863], which introduced the 10% Plan – i.e. once 10% of a state’s population as established by the 1860 election took an oath of loyalty they could establish a gov’t. This was applied in Louisiana, Tennessee and Arkansas in 1864 [“Lincoln Gov’ts”].
- Congress: Congress felt the South deserved more of a punishment. Radical Republicans, led by Thaddeus Stevens and Charles Sumner, even proposed the theory of state suicide [the Southerners had destroyed their status as states through rebellion and had to be treated as conquered foreign lands]. This was incorporated into the Wade-Davis Bill [July 1864], which demanded that, to be readmitted, states had to have: (1) a majority of white citizens participating in the new gov’t, (2) all voters/delegates under an oath declaring they never helped the Confederates, and (3) no votes for lieutenants and above and officials.
– Lincoln pocket-vetoed the Wade-Davis Bill, prompting the Radical Republicans to issue the “Wade-Davis Manifesto” to the papers [attacking Lincoln]. The debate was in full swing.
– Nevertheless, in early 1865 Congress and Lincoln joined in passing two key measures. One was the Thirteenth Amendment [January 31], which abolished involuntary servitude and gave Congress the power to enforce the law. Then on March 3, 1865 Congress created the Freedmen’s Bureau, a federal aid agency that was to deal with the mess created by the war. This later became controversial, as the Southerners hated it and there was a question as to its constitutionality.
*Johnson Takes Over Reconstruction*
– After Lincoln’s assassination, Andrew Johnson, a Southerner, white supremacist, states rights supporter, and Unionist [he was the only senator from a seceded state to stay in the Union], took over the Reconstruction process w/o Congress [it had recessed shortly before he took over]. Basically, Johnson’s whole policy can be summed up w/his slogan – “The Constitution as it is, and the Union as it was.”
– But even though Johnson’s plan was aiming for continued denial of black civil rights [it included the policy that black suffrage could never be imposed on the Southern states by the federal gov’t], it initially seemed to favor a change of leadership in the South that would eliminate the old planter aristocracy.
– This was b/c it was stated that certain people [officers, officials, and *all Southerners w/property worth more than $20,000] were not allowed to take the oath of loyalty that would allow them to gain amnesty. Instead, they had to apply personally to the President for a pardon.
– But the whole idea of this plan went out the window when Johnson began issuing thousands of pardons, which let many planters return to the newly created state gov’ts. Most likely, this was b/c he hoped to make Reconstruction quick [end it before the Radicals get a chance to do anything].
– So after only 8 months, Johnson declared Reconstruction complete, allowing many former Confederates to return to Congress in December 1865.
*Congress Challenges Johnson’s Authority*
– Congress was not too thrilled about Johnson’s plan, especially b/c many of the planters had begun establishing black codes on the local and state levels. Consequently, the Republican majority simply decided to directly challenge Johnson by refusing to admit the ex-Confederates.
– Congress justified its new role in Reconstruction by pointing out that the Constitution had given them the main power to admit new states. Still, there were many other Constitutional issues to sort out, such as the ever-present question whether the Union had been broken or not.
– Lincoln believed it had not; Johnson agreed but admitted the people responsible for the rebellion had to pay [in theory]; moderates favored Congressional supervision; and radicals argued that the Union was broken and the South was a conquered nation.
– Anyway, all of Congress knew that they had to have an alternative to Johnson’s program ready for the 1866 elections. Since a conservative coalition was out of the question after Johnson and the Democrats insisted that Reconstruction had already ended, it all came down to the moderate and radical Republicans.
– First, they attempted another compromise w/Johnson in spring 1866 – the Johnson policy would continue w/only 2 modifications: extension of the life of the Freedmen’s Bureau and the passage of the Civil Rights Bill of 1866, which would force Southern courts to practice equality before the law by allowing the federal gov’t to take over unfair cases [but only in public acts of discrimination]. But this flopped when Johnson vetoed both bills, revealing his racism. The bills overrode his veto and passed anyway, though.
*The Fourteenth Amendment and the Beginning of Congressional Reconstruction*
– After that, all chances of cooperation between Johnson and Congress were dead, so Congress went ahead and began its own program, urged on by the increasing reports of anti-black violence in the South.
– The result was the Fourteenth Amendment, which had four key elements: (1) the freedmen were given citizenship and the states were prohibited from denying their rights, (2) the Confederate debt was void, but the US debt remained, (3) Confederate leaders were barred from holding office, and (4) if S. states didn’t let blacks vote, they were to have their representation reduced proportionally. *The last part irritated supporters of the women’s rights movement [we’re being ignored] and encouraged leaders like Stanton and Anthony.
– Naturally, Johnson tried to block the Fourteenth Amendment in both the North and the South, urging Southern state legislatures to vote against ratification and organizing a Nat’l Union Convention in the North and going around giving really bad speeches criticizing the Republicans [“traitors”]. To make a long story short, he wasn’t exactly Mr. Popularity.
*The Congressional Reconstruction Acts*
– Meanwhile, the Republicans dominated the 1866 Congressional elections, which they saw as a mark of approval for their plan. Nevertheless, nothing could be done w/the planter dominated “Johnson Governments” still in the South. Therefore, Congress decided that the states would have to be reorganized.
– This decision led to a series of Reconstruction Acts passed through 1867 and 1868. The basis of the plan was established in the first Reconstruction Act [March 1867], in which Union generals assumed control in the five different military districts that were established in the South. The troops were charged w/supervising elections, among other things.
– The act also guaranteed freedmen the right to vote and forced S. states to ratify the 14th Amendment, to ratify their new constitutions by majority vote, and to submit them to Congress for approval. The rest of the acts, passed between March 1867 and March 1868, dealt w/the details.
– The Reconstruction Acts successfully limited Johnson’s power, but some of the Radical Republicans were still unsatisfied, as their proposal for land redistribution, which they felt would provide much needed economic equality, did not win popular support b/c the North liked a limited gov’t.
*Johnson and Congress Struggle for Control*
– Johnson continued to oppose Congressional policies, so Congress began to pass a series of laws to extend its influence. For instance, it set the date for its own reconvening [unheard of] and limited Johnson’s power over the army by forcing him to issue orders through Grant alone, who couldn’t be fired w/o their approval. Most important was the Tenure of Office Act, which gave the Senate power to approve changes in the Cabinet [designed to protect Secretary of War Stanton]. All of this was passed over Johnson’s vetoes.
– In response, Johnson issued orders to commanders in the South limiting their powers, removed some of the best officers, and gave the governments he created in 1865 more power. Lastly, he tried to fire Stanton, which was the last straw as far as Congress was concerned.
– Consequently, Congress impeached Johnson, indicting him for violating the Tenure of Office Act. He was tried in the Senate, where the Radicals tried to prove that he was guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors, but the measure failed to pass by one vote. Johnson stayed with only a few months left in his term.
*The Presidential Election of 1868 and the Fifteenth Amendment*
– In the Presidential Election of 1868 Union general Ulysses S. Grant ran against and defeated the New York Democrat Horatio Seymour. Although Grant was not a Radical, he supported Congressional Reconstruction and black suffrage. On the other hand, the Democrats ran a white supremacist campaign.
– Both sides used the war as a campaign tactic [waving the “bloody shirt”], but the Democrats unwisely associated themselves w/Johnson and the rebels, which contributed to their defeat. Additionally, black voters helped Grant emerge victorious.
– But once in office, Grant was not the big time supporter of Reconstruction many had hoped he would be, as he never insisted on a full military occupation of the South.
– Still, during his term the Radicals were able to pass the Fifteenth Amendment [ratified in 1870], which attempted to write equality into the constitution by forbidding states to prohibit the right to vote based on race, color, or previous condition of slavery. The problem w/the law was that it allowed states to restrict suffrage on many other grounds [sometimes using bogus “literacy” exams].
– After the 15th Amendment, the North began to lose interest in Reconstruction, as most considered that it had been completed.
*The Reconstruction Governments in Power*
– So what did all these laws actually do? Well…e/t many white Southerners tried their best to sabotage black civil rights and participation in government, the new Southern Republican party came to power in the constitutional conventions of 1868 to 1870 [due in some part to enthusiastic black voting].
– As a result, the new southern state constitutions were more democratic. Furthermore, at least initially, the Republicans [some blacks, too] were elected to serve in their new governments.
– In power, the Republicans strove for legitimacy by being lenient on ex-Confederates and not going beyond equality before the law with regard to rights for blacks. This would eventually lead to their downfall as it failed to secure white support and simultaneously alienated black voters.
– The one area where all sides in the South found agreement was economics: Reconstruction laws encouraged investment/industrialization, which helped in some cases but also increased corruption and drew money away from other programs.
– Not all areas of economics were as easy to settle, however, as the question of land redistribution was very important to blacks but was not attended to by the Republicans.
*The Conservative Response to Reconstruction*
– Sadly, w/o a stable base of support, it didn’t take very long for white supremacists to once again begin to dominate Southern government. Conservatives exploited several aspects of Reconstruction in order to regain control, such as:
- The myth of “Negro Rule” – to unite whites, conservatives represented the new Republican gov’ts as oppression of whites by ignorant blacks. This was far from true, as e/t blacks participated, they were by no means a majority and were very effective.
- “Carpetbaggers” & “Scalawags” – conservatives attacked the allies of black Republicans by denouncing whites from the North as carpetbaggers [greedy, corrupt businessmen trying to take advantage of the South] and labeling cooperative Southerners as scalawags.
- Tax policies – b/c the civil war destroyed much of the South, Reconstruction gov’ts had to raise taxes substantially, a fact the conservatives used to draw support away from the Republicans, especially among the yeoman farmers.
- Corruption – this one was often true, for there were many fraudulent schemes going on all through the country during Reconstruction. However, conservatives made it seem like it was all the fault of the Republicans and blacks.
- Violence – white supremacist organizations like the KKK [Ku Klux Klan] persecuted blacks and Republicans in order to sabotage Reconstruction gov’ts and reestablish the power of the planter aristocracy.
– Additionally, the Republicans suffered from factionalism along racial and class lines.
*The Election of 1872 and Grant’s Second Term*
– In response to increasing violence in the South Congress passed two Enforcement Acts and an Anti-Klan Law in 1870/1871. But e/t the laws made actions against the civil rights of others criminal offenses and provided for election supervisors, martial law, and the suspension of habeas corpus when necessary, prosecutors didn’t really use the laws very much.
– Therefore, Klan violence continued [even after the organization officially disbanded, others took its place] and some Democrats even challenged the laws on the basis of states’ rights.
– Another problem for the Republicans was that in 1872 a part of the party split off into the Liberal Republicans and nominated Horace Greeley. The LRs were united by their lack of support for intervention in the South and an elitist, anti-regulation/free-market attitude. The Democrats also nominated Greeley, who ran on a North-South reunion type platform.
– Nevertheless, in the Presidential Election of 1872 Grant won out, but his popularity plummeted rapidly into his second term, largely due to a series of poor appointments and corruption scandals involving high ranking administration officials. Consequently, in 1874 the Democrats took over in the House. This was the beginning of the end for Reconstruction…
*The Reversal of Reconstruction*
– Even prior to the Democratic recapture of the House, several laws had been passed that severely weakened Reconstruction. For instance, in 1872 an Amnesty Act had been passed which pardoned most of the remaining ex-Confederates. And e/t a Civil Rights Act was passed in 1875, it had no provisions for enforcement and was later destroyed by the SC anyway.
– For reasons discussed above, Democrats regained control of the South pretty quickly and even won major influence in the North b/c by the 1870s the North was losing interest – a nice way of saying that they didn’t give a crap anymore, esp. after the market crash in 1873, which brought another whole set of issues up and made class conflict overshadow some of the existing racial issues.
– Another thing that had a big impact on the ultimate failure of Reconstruction was the Supreme Court. In several cases the SC ruled against Reconstruction…
- The Slaughter-House Cases (1873) – in these cases, the SC basically killed off the 14th Amendment by declaring that state and nat’l citizenship were two different things and that the law only dealt w/a few particular rights. So, the nat’l gov’t was not allowed to oversee civil rights in the states, which had been the whole point of the law in the first place!
- Bradwell v. Illinois (1873) – this case dealt w/a female attorney who claimed that the 14th Amendment defended her against discrimination. However, the SC did not agree and made (hear this!) an argument about the “woman’s place in the home.”
- US v. Cruikshank (1876) – this ruling hurt the enforcement clause of the 14th Amendment by once again declaring that the duty of protecting citizens’ rights was the states’ alone.
– Reconstruction was finally put out its misery after the disputed Presidential Election of 1876, which pitted NY Democrat Samuel J. Tilden against Republican Rutherford B. Hayes. Votes in several states were disputed, so an electoral commission was established that was to be balanced between Democrats and Republicans. But after one independent refused his appointment, a regular Republican took his place.
– Therefore, if Congress accepted the commission’s results Hayes was obviously going to be the next President. Southerners even threatened to fight, but they finally agreed based on a deal that Hayes would be President if Reconstruction would end and the North would give the South economic aid.
The Machine Age (1877 – 1920)
*Famous Inventors and Their New Technologies*
– From 1860 to 1900 a second, more complete wave of industrialization swept the country, this time focusing on new inventions such as electricity rather than the already explored steam power. Some memorable people involved in this were…
- Thomas Edison [“The Wizard of Menlo Park”] – Edison first set up his lab in Menlo Park in 1876, and in 1878 he formed the Edison Electrical Company, which was responsible for the invention of the light bulb, the generator, and many other appliances that utilized electricity. Edison was also memorable for his self-promotion and publicity efforts.
- George Westinghouse – Westinghouse discovered how to use alternating current and transformers to transmit electricity over long distances. This made Edison’s generators feasible power sources. Westinghouse also devised an air break for RRD cars.
- Granville Woods [“The Black Edison”] – Woods patented 35 electronics/communications things, including the electromagnetic brake and automatic circuit breaker. He sold them to GE.
- Henry Ford – In the 1890s Ford experimented w/the internal combustion engine (i.e. car). But his biggest achievement was his manufacturing scheme – the mass-production of identical cars for mass consumption. Ford created the Ford Motor Company in 1903 and, by doing so, democratized the car.
- Du Pont Family – The DP’s applied Ford’s techniques to the chemical industry, resulting in great innovations in plastics (1911) and new forms of efficient management.
- James Bonsack – Bonsack revitalized the tobacco industry by inventing a machine for rolling cigarettes in 1876. His invention was popularized by James B. Duke, owner of the American Tobacco Company.
– These developments encouraged general optimism, even in the South, where mills began to use automatic looms [fewer skilled workers] and electric lighting [longer hours]. These mills, like Southern steel and iron manufacturing, were developed by Northern investors in the 1880s. But e/t the South was improving, it would not really emerge until after WWI.
– Remember: new marketing techniques and new inventions went hand in hand. The key thing about the successful inventors was that they knew how to sell their stuff. The rise of the machine also led to changes in the economy that made large-scale production more profitable and desirable [economies of scale] and created a new focus on efficiency, as advocated by Frederick W. Taylor [efficiency = science].
*The Effect of the Machine on the Economy*
– Industrialization implied that factories had to be large and operate at capacity to make profits; but they also had to sell, which meant prices had to remain low. To make this possible, businesses had to expand production and reduce wages. This required loans, and loans required more production, and so on. This cycle effectively wiped out small firms.
– Consequently, to deal with the constant uncertainly of the market conditions, businesses began centralizing to control their corners of the market. Some consolidating techniques included…
- Corporations: Under corporation laws, anyone could start a company and raise money by selling stock to investors, who would face no personal risk other than the money they invested. Corporations gained more power due to SC rulings in the 1880s and 1890s that gave them the same 14th Amendment protections as individuals.
- Pools: Basically, pools were “Gentlemen’s Agreements” between companies that set limits on production and agreed to the sharing of profits. Since they depended on honesty, though, their usefulness had already died by the time they were outlawed among RRDs in 1887.
- Trusts: Originated by Rockefeller, trusts relied on the principle that one company could control another by forcing it to yield control of its stock to the bigger company’s board of trustees. This allowed for horizontal integration, which was pioneered by Rockefeller in 1882 w/Standard Oil [ex. take over all oil refineries].
- Holding Companies: In 1888 New Jersey allowed corporations to own property in other states and own stock in other corporations. This led to the holding company, which owned interest in other companies and could help merge them. This led to vertical integration like Gustavus Swift achieved w/meat processing [ex. take over all meat related industries].
– So mergers were answer to the search for order and profits in the business world. The biggest corporation of the time was the US Steel Corporation, created by Andrew Carnegie and later sold to J.P. Morgan in 1901. Speaking of J.P., the merger movement created those wonderful people we all know and love, the brokers, who specialized in engineering mergers. Everyone joined the investing frenzy; regulations were loosened, laissez-faire, etc.
*The Effect of the Machine on Labor*
– Mechanization obviously meant big changes for workers, who were forced to acclimate themselves to new factory conditions that minimized their independence. Some significant trends included:
- The replacement of the producer by the employee: most workers no longer were their own bosses. Instead, they were paid for time on the job.
- Specialization and the devaluation of skilled labor: workers in mass-production assembly lines found themselves doing the same stupid little task over and over again instead of making their own decisions about techniques, starting and stopping times, etc.
- Increased company control: in efforts to increase worker efficiency, employers tried to establish temperance/reform societies and control workers’ social lives. Other employers began paying per item produced rather than by hour.
- Employment of women and children: as the need for skilled workers decreased, employers cut costs by hiring women and children for assembly lines. Women also worked in the service sector and in sales/secretarial positions. By 1900, some state laws limited the employment of children, but many companies still got away with it.
- Decreased independence: in addition to finding their actual jobs more constricting, workers found that their wages were largely beyond their control and were often unable to find steady work – i.e. they were trapped by the system.
- New threats at the workplace: workers encountered industrial accidents, etc.
– So basically the machine gave the workers the crap end of the deal. Worse still, they weren’t allowed to organize effectively as a result of a series of anti-labor decisions, and free-market views made it difficult for legislation dealing with working hours and conditions to be passed.
– Supreme Court cases dealing with labor regulation:
- Holden v. Hardy (1896) – Court upheld regulation on miners’ working hours
- Lochner v. New York (1905) – Court rejected regulation on bakers’ working hours b/c job not considered to be dangerous, interference w/contract = violation of Fourteenth Amendment
- Muller v. Oregon (1908) – Court upheld regulation on women laundry workers’ working hours, claiming that women needed special protection, led to laws banning women from occupations
– Generally, though, workers did not make much progress, which led to the…
*The Union Movement*
– Important strikes/events relating to the Unions:
- 1877: In July, Unionized RRD workers struck to protest wage cuts [b/c of Panic of 1873]. The strikes led to violence, which was broken up by state militia companies hired by the employers. Strikebreakers were also hired. Finally Hayes sent federal troops to quell the unrest. After 1877, the union movement really began picking up speed. Trade unions, which specialized in skilled workers in particular crafts, had been around for years, but no real organizations of nat’l scope survived the panic except for the Knights of Labor.
- Haymarket Riot [May 1, 1886]: In Chicago, several groups joined for the campaign for an 8-hour workday and organized mass strikes and labor demonstrations. Workers involved included the craft unions as well as anarchists. Consequently, in response to an outbreak of police brutality a bomb was set off in Haymarket Square [presumably by anarchists], resulting in the arrest of 8 immigrant radicals, some of who were pardoned. The HR led to increased paranoia with respect to anarchism and labor.
- July 1892: AFL-affiliated Iron and Steelworkers Association went on strike in Pennsylvania, causing Henry Frick to close the plant and hire Pinkerton detectives to defend it. Although the strikers eventually gave in, it gave the union more bad PR due to workers attacking, etc.
- Pullman Strike : To protest Pullman’s policies in his company town, workers walked out at the factory. Pullman would not negotiate, so workers for the American Railway Union called a strike. Pullman closed the factory; the Union [Eugene Debs] refused to handle Pullman cars; and finally a court injunction was used to stop the strike.
– Important workers’ organizations:
- Knights of Labor: Founded in 1869 by Terence V. Powderly, the KOL welcomed all unskilled and semiskilled workers on a nat’l level. The basic ideology of the KOL was pretty utopian: i.e. they wanted to get rid of capitalism in favor of a “cooperative workers’ alliance” in which workers worked for themselves. Consequently, the KOL refused to strike, b/c it would go against the “cooperative” idea. As a result of their cooperative policies, the KOL lost influence, esp. after, in 1886, a strike began among a sector of the KOL against RRD boss Jay Gould to protest cut wages. Powderly met with Gould and called off the strike, but Gould would not concede, so the militant unions began to quit the KOL, seeing it as weak.
- American Federation of Labor: The AFL emerged as the major organization after 1866. Led by Samuel Gompers, it avoided the KOL idealistic rhetoric, concentrated on concrete goals [higher wages, shorter hours, right to bargain collectively], and excluded unskilled workers and women. The AFL also avoided party politics.
- Industrial Workers of the World [IWW, “Wobblies”]: The IWW, which aimed to unite all workers, was basically a socialist/anarchist organization that believed violence was justified to overthrow capitalism. The organization finally collapsed in WWI.
– Women in the Union movement: most Unions rejected women due to a fear of competition [women would work for lower wages] and sex segregation. Still, some women formed their own Unions, and in 1903 the Women’s Trade Union League was founded. The WTUL encouraged protective legislation, education, and women’s suffrage – it was an important link between labor and the women’s movements.
– Immigrants/AA in the Union movement: most Unions also rejected immigrants and African Americans b/c of lower wages, and prejudices were reinforced when blacks worked as strikebreakers.
– REMEMBER only a portion of workers were in unions; job instability really made it hard for organizations to form effectively. Fraternal societies were also prevalent during the time.
*Standards of Living*
– Industrialization created the beginnings of the monster we now know as our fully commercialized society. Formerly isolated communities began to, through electricity and communications, get access to good and services. Status became more based on $ [more mobility]; but the gap between rich and poor grew.
– Incomes rose a lot, but then again so did prices. Working class families could hypothetically afford new stuff, but they would have had to find additional sources of income [i.e. subletting, child labor]. Overall, though, paid employment became more prevalent, leading to the growth of our commercial society.
– Some symptoms of commercialization: higher life expectancy due to advances in medical care and better diets, more upwards mobility [education became key], flush toilets, processed and preserved foods, ready-made clothing, department and chain stores, and my personal favorite, advertising.
*Ideologies of the Time*
– So what do you say when many small businesses are being ruthlessly crushed by mega-big moguls? It’s easy! Social Darwinism, originally advocated by Herbert Spencer, was taken over by Yale professor William Graham Sumner and stated that the survival of the fittest implied that the gov’t should stay out and let the rightful winners take their share. Monopolies = natural accumulation of power.
– To add on to that, there was the Andrew Carnegie Gospel of Wealth concept: wealth carries moral responsibilities, and it’s good we moguls have it all b/c that way we can be the guardians of society. Gimme a break! Still, some industrialists did give a lot to charities.
– It’s important to note that, though laissez-faire was the big concept, business leaders still pressed the gov’t for assistance, which it provided in the form of tariffs on foreign goods [allowed them to raise prices], subsidies, loans, and tax breaks.
– Naturally, all this activity didn’t go by unnoticed, and some people certainly spoke out against it, portraying corporations as greedy and voicing fears of monopolies.
– Some favored gov’t regulation or even socialism: in 1883 sociologist Lester Ward appealed for gov’t intervention and a cooperative philosophy in Dynamic Sociology, in 1879 writer Henry George asked for a tax on the rise in property values in Progress and Poverty, and in 1888 novelist Edward Bellamy wrote of a utopian, council of elders controlled city where jobs were managed by a small elite in Looking Backward.
– As a result of popular pressure, states began to prohibit monopolies. But a nat’l level of legislation was needed, and it only came in 1890 with the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, which was left vague but made illegal anything that was in “restraint of trade.” Ironically, through, the act was used against striking workers more than it was against trusts.
– A short list of SC cases regarding trusts:
- Munn v. IL (1877) – RRDs discriminated against farmers, so IL passed pro-farming legislation in the Grange Laws. This was challenged by the corporations, but the SC ruled in favor of state regulation b/c it had a direct effect on the general public.
- Wabash, St. Louis and Pacific RR Co. v. IL (1886) – Reversal of 1877 decision, only the federal gov’t was declared able to regulate interstate commerce.
- US v. EC Knight Co. (1895) – Sugar company had monopolized industry, so Cleveland ordered a case against the trust, but the SC ruled that the sugar people were in manufacturing, not commerce, so it was okay.
The Gilded Age (1877 – 1900)
*General Characteristics of Gilded Age Politics*
– The Gilded Age (1877 – 1900) was defined by industrialization, urbanization, and the commercialization of agriculture. Inevitably, the turbulence of the era made for a dynamic political climate, as illustrated by the fact that…
- Public interest in politics was at a peak – sort of like a spectator sport – and there was intense party loyalty [often on religious/ethnic lines] as follows:
- Democratic Party – opposed interference by gov’t w/respect to personal liberty, restrict gov’t power, mainly Catholic immigrants
- Republican Party – gov’t as agent of moral reform, direct gov’t action, mainly native-born Protestants
- Elections were also extremely close on both the local and nat’l levels; the two parties were split almost perfectly. *At the state level, though, one party usually ruled via the state boss, who was usually a Senator. The boss wielded huge powers until the Seventeenth Amendment (1913), which provided for direct election of Senators.
- Still, there was a significant amount of factionalism within both parties. The Democratic Party divided into white-supremacy Southerners, immigrants, working-class city dwellers, and business types who liked low tariffs. As for the Republican Party, there were the:
- Stalwarts – led by NY Senator and party boss Conklin, heavy reliance on spoils system
- Half-Breeds – led by Blaine, supposed idealists but really just out of power
- Mugwumps – true idealists, tended towards Democratic side
– On a broader level, the Gilded Age resulted in three main things: the rise of special interests, some major legislative accomplishments, and the continuation of political exclusion for minorities/women.
*The Main Issues of Gilded Age Politics*
– Some key legislation was passed during the Gilded Age, mainly relating to the following issues…
- Sectional Issues – yes, the Civil War was still a problem, and both sides continually blamed e/o for the war and tried to invoke war memories for their own advantage. This led to a super costly veterans’ pension thing.
- Civil Service Reform – reformers began to advocate civil service reform (promotion based on merit rather than on party loyalty) as a means of restricting corruption. In 1881 the National Civil Service Reform League was formed, and in 1882 the Pendleton Civil Service Act was passed, which created the Civil Service Commission to oversee exams for positions for 10% of jobs. This was only the beginning, though, b/c the Constitution still stopped state corruption from being restricted.
- Railroad Regulation – to kill competition, RRDs developed several nasty habits: raising and lowering rates, making pricing dependent on competition rather than on distance, and playing favorites for big corporations. Farmers demanded regulation, resulting in commissions in 14 states by 1880. Munn v. Illinois reinforced the state regulation deal, but the 1886 Wabash case showed states couldn’t regulate interstate lines. In 1887, though, the Interstate Commerce Act was passed, which created the ICC to investigate RRD practices but didn’t provide for its enforcement – so the pro-business SC limited its powers through the Maximum Freight Rate case (1897 – ICC can’t set rates) and the Alabama Midlands case (1897 – RRDs can give higher rates for shorter distances).
- Tariffs – e/t they started out as measures to protect industries, tariffs were being abused by big companies to charge excessively high prices. Tariffs became a big party issues, as Republicans made protective tariffs part of their platform while Democrats pushed to lower rates (reduce the surplus by cutting taxes/tariffs, gov’t shouldn’t be making $). In the end, Republicans won out w/the McKinley Tariff of 1890 and then the Dingley Tariff of 1897.
- Monetary Policy – when prices fell after the Civil War, farmers got into trouble b/c their debts were worth the same, but their products were worth less. As a result, they went for silver while creditors favored a more stable gold-backed money supply. The whole deal even turned into a sort of class conflict and moral/religious thing. By 1870 the sides were clear – creditors (gold) and debtors (silver) – and when silver dollars were taken away after their value went up in respect to gold it was referred to as the “Crime of ’73.” The Bland-Allison Act (1878, allowed the Treasury to buy $2-4 million of silver) and Sherman Silver Purchase Act (1890) were concessions, but the silver side remained unsatisfied.
– Overall, corruption notwithstanding, many important acts were passed during the Gilded Age.
*The Gilded Age Presidents*
– After the scandals of Grant’s administration and the election of 1876, Gilded Age Presidents attempted to reestablish the legitimacy of the Presidency. They also began initiating legislation and using the veto more.
– Rutherford B. Hayes (Republican, 1877 – 1881) was a quiet compromiser who emphasized nat’l unity, opposed violence, and attempted to get rid of the spoils system by battling Conklin (he fired Chester Arthur, Conklin’s protégé, from NY Customs).
– James Garfield (Republican, 1881) aimed to reduce the tariff and maintain and independent position, but he was assassinated by a rebuffed patronage seeker and was succeeded by former Conklin protégé Chester Arthur (Republican, 1881 – 1885), who actually became a prudent leader: he passed the Pendleton Civil Service Act (1883), supported RRD regulation, and used the veto to control business.
– Grover Cleveland (Democrat, 1885 – 1889) expanded civil service, vetoed private pension bills, and tried [and failed] to lower tariffs. Cleveland was defeated in 1888 by Benjamin Harrison (Republican, 1889 – 1893) b/c he was better at cheating.
– Through various methods, Harrison influenced the legislation that was passed, resulting in more bills than usual; issues dealt w/included civil service reform and the Dependents’ Pension Act [Union veterans]. Consequently, though, the budget exploded, giving the Democrats another opportunity.
– Cleveland ran again and won, during his second term (1893 – 1897) he attempted to deal w/currency, tariffs, and labor problems but ended up having to rely on big business, esp. b/c of the panic of 1893.
*Limits of Gilded Age Politics*
– Not everyone was included in Gilded Age politics, both in the North and the South. Race was of particular relevance in the South, though, where poor whites tried to squash the freedmen in order to preserve their own real or imagined social superiority.
– Race violence became commonplace in the South, as did disenfranchisement via poll taxes and bogus literacy tests [this was permitted b/c of US v. Reese, which ruled that Congress couldn’t control voting rights outside of the explicit conditions mentioned in the 15th Amendment].
– Worse still, as a result of a series of decisions by the SC in the 1870s that climaxed in 1883 when the 1875 Civil Rights Act [prohibited segregation in public facilities] was struck down, blacks were stuck w/”separate but equal” facilities. This was upheld in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) and Commins v. Board of Education (1899), and was followed by the proliferation of Jim Crow laws.
– To cope, blacks tried to get educations, and black women often joined with white women to push for reform, especially reform relating to nat’l suffrage. Two major organizations led the fight: the NWSA [militants Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony wanted overall rights] and the AWSA [suffrage only].
– At first, the NWSA concentrated on a nat’l amendment, and the AWSA worked on the state level, but they merged in 1890 to become the NAWSA. Still, e/t they were successful in training leaders, raising awareness, and getting individual states to cooperate, nat’l suffrage was to come later.
*The Agrarian Revolt*
– Even before the advent of Populism, angry farmers were getting organized. At first, the “agrarian revolt” took the form of the Grange Organizations of the early 1870s, and then the Farmers’ Alliances in Texas and the Great Plains. So why were they so pissed off? Hmm…think about it.
– Economic woes faced by the farmers:
- Sharecropping [the “crop lien” system] – if farmers [usually in South] were unable to pay their debts [for supplies], they had to promise to pay with their crops. The crops would rarely be worth enough, so they would borrow more, etc.
- Economic Change – in the South, yeoman farmers were being pushed into cotton raising b/c of the debts incurred during the war [it was no longer practical to grow own food]. This made the debt situation worse and put them at the mercy of merchants. In the Midwest, the problem involved dropping prices [due to technological advances] that necessitated increases in production. But since costs weren’t dropping, many farmers got stuck big time.
- Price Inflation/Interest Rate – to make matters worse, merchants took advantage by charging insane interest and inflating prices.
- RRD Exploitation – see above
- Weather/Bugs – well, the industrialists also played a part by making mail order bugs that farmers could let loose on competitors, as well as portable hurricanes. Haha…just kidding!
– Grange Movement (1870s) – farmers formed a network of Granges w/elected officers and membership oaths. E/t they began as social things, Granges soon turned to economics/politics. This didn’t work so well, though [they elected people, but couldn’t fight the corporations], so Granges declined in the late 1870s. In the Southwest, Mexican farmers also organized into the White Hats [“Gorras Blancas”], who were against the encroachment of English ranchers on their traditional lands, but this failed too.
– Farmers’ Alliances (1890s) – there were two (Great Plains & South). They began in Texas, and were generally groups of small farmers that were trying to combat big money, esp. RRDs. Like the Granges, they held rallies, educational meetings, and had cooperative buying and selling agreements.
– Subtreasury Plan – proposed by the FA, this was a plan to help indebted farmers that called for the federal gov’t to build warehouses where farmers could keep crops [and receive loans at 80% of the market price] while they waited for higher prices. Also, the gov’t would give low-interest loans to land buyers. This was meant to inject cash into the economy and raise crop prices while keeping others the same.
– E/t early attempts at merging were sabotaged by sectional differences, both Alliances eventually formed a third party in Omaha 1892 – the Populist Party. The Populists nominated Weaver for the 1892 election, and he ran on the Omaha Platform, which called for gov’t ownership of utilities and RRDs, gov’t ownership of land, farm loans, expansion of the currency, an income tax, direct election of Senators, and a shorter wkday.
– Of course, Weaver lost to Cleveland, but the Populists gained support through their wild speeches, etc.
*The Depression of the 1890s*
– The Depression of the 1890s really started in 1893 with the collapse of the Nat’l Cordage Company, which, like many other RRDs and manufacturers, had borrowed too much and was unable to pay its debts. To try to make up for their debt, companies bought more equipment and worked people harder – but all that did was make workers lose money as well. So companies closed, banks closed…overall, it sucked.
– The worst of it was between 1893 and 1895…people lost money, so they didn’t want to buy things, so prices dropped more, so wages dropped more…you get the picture. Currency was still a problem, as the gold reserves were dropping due to a silver boom, and the more the gold dropped, the more people tried to redeem their securities.
– As a result, the Sherman Act was repealed in 1893, but people STILL didn’t stop, which forced Cleveland to accept an offer from J.P. Morgan (in return for bonds, which they resold for profit). This got Cleveland in trouble with his fellow Democrats and wasn’t even that beneficial, as the economy crashed again in 1895 before it began to rise back up due to gold discoveries in Alaska, good harvests, and industrial growth.
– Strangely enough, the Depression was the last element in cementing the new national economy, b/c it wiped out lots of the weaker industries, I guess.
*Depression Era Protests*
– The first real protests were in 1877 [the RRD strikes], and they were followed by the Haymarket Riot (1866), Carnegie Steel strikes in 1892, violence at a silver mine (also in 1892), etc. These events scared the crap out of many well-off people, who thought, “Oh my GOD …the ANARCHISTS are behind it all.”
– This actually wasn’t true at all, though. There were some socialists in America, but it didn’t work out so well b/c of factionalism and the constant temptation to get ahead via the capitalist system. The biggest socialist leader, Eugene V. Debs, emerged in the aftermath of the 1894 Pullman car strike – but e/t he did form the Socialist Party of America, not much came of it until the next century.
– In 1894, another popular movement, Coxey’s Army, got a lot of attention. Coxey, who advocated public works projects and low-interest gov’t loans, led a huge number of farmers/unemployed people on a march to the capital. On the day of the demonstration, however, police stopped the protestors and arrested Coxey.
*The Election of 1896*
– The Populists prepared to run again in the Presidential Election of 1896 – they were doing well, but their biggest problem was lack of organization, and the effects of racism. The big issue, as they saw it, was the coinage of silver, which they promoted as the obvious sol’n to the country’s economic problems.
– But Populists still faced one decision: should they semi-join one of the major party factions, or should they stay totally independent (and not win as many votes)? Republicans were obviously out of the question, as they supported big-business and the gold standard, but union w/the Democrats didn’t seem that bad.
– Anyhow, the Republicans went ahead and nominated William McKinley [at the suggestion of Marcus Hanna, an Ohio industrialist] w/o any problems; their only crisis was that, in response to their gold policies, a small group of silver Republicans walked out.
– The Democrats, on the other hand, became obsessed w/silver and nominated big orator guy William Jennings Byran, who wrote the famous convention pro-silver speech [of course, some gold Democrats had to go and walk out, but who cares about them].
– As a result, the Populists decided to go w/Bryan and the Democrats, only w/a different VP nominee. So, the campaign began. Bryan went on an all out speaking tour full of emotion, evangelicalism, and all that. McKinley sat at home on his butt and waited for the press to come to him so he could tell them about the new jobs he’d make w/his protective tariffs.
– What happened? McKinley killed Bryan, partially b/c the urban-rural coalition the Populists wanted hadn’t happened b/c of their silver obsession [took away from other reforms, and urban workers thought it would lower the value of their wages].
– Naturally, McKinley signed the Gold Standard Act (1900), which required that all paper money had to be backed by gold; he also raised tariffs and encouraged imperialism. The economy improved, but mainly b/c of the gold discoveries in Alaska, not b/c of McKinley. Nobody cared though, so they elected him again.
The Progressive Era (1895 – 1920)
*Progressivism: An Overview*
– In 1912, a new party emerged on the political scene, calling themselves the Progressives. The formation of the party was actually the culmination of a series of reform movements that began in the 1890s.
– Some general CAUSES of Progressivism:
- The 1890s – Yes, the 1890s were a cause of Progressivism, mainly b/c they sucked. In the 1890s, all the tensions built up during industrialization broke loose in the Panic of 1893, labor problems, political issues, and foreign entanglements.
- Capitalism OUT OF CONTROL – Partially b/c of the depression, many people started to realize that capitalism, w/its monopolistic tendencies and rampant destruction of natural resources, needed just a bit of restraint.
- Screwed-Up Cities – Disease, poverty and crime were often rampant.
- Immigration and the rise of a new socio-economic elite – This made people nervous.
– The bottom line of Progressivism was basically this: SOCIETY IS RESPONSIBLE FOR INDIVIDUALS AND SHOULD HELP THEM – as opposed to Gilded Age every-man-for-himself Social Darwinism. This manifested itself through a desire to:
- End Abuses of Power – Trust-busting, consumers’ rights, good government.
- Build New Institutions – Schools, hospitals, all that crap.
- Be Efficient – “Wow! Let’s make our political and social institutions just like factories!” Well, that might explain the way school is, but anyway…
- Achieve Perfection – Yeah, they really thought it could happen. Geez.
*Politics in the Progressive Era*
– During the PE, party loyalty and voter turnout declined as politics opened to new interest groups, each of which had their own agendas – i.e. the Progressive Era witnessed the birth of that delightful phenomenon: the nationwide [charitable] organization that calls your house and asks you for money eight times a day. These organizations included: professional groups, women’s organizations, issue-oriented groups, civic clubs, and minority groups. So, politics became more fragmented and issue-driven.
– Politics also became more open to foreign models/ideas and reform took on a far more urban orientation, as opposed to the Populist movement that culminated in the 1896 election. This was partially due to the leadership of the new middle class [professionals], who lived in the cities.
– Another novelty was Muckraking Journalism – i.e. journalists who combined the public’s love of scandal w/exposes of social/political injustices. Names to know: Steffen’s The Shame of the Cities (1904), Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle (1906), Ida Tarbell [Standard Oil].
– Then there was the movement towards more direct participation in gov’t, which, it was hoped, would control corruption. Progressives wanted: the initiative [propose laws], the referendum [vote on laws], and the recall [get rid of offending officials].
– One thing to remember – not everyone in the PE was actually a Progressive. Plenty of people opposed them: Socialists from the left, and business leaders and anti-gov’t interference people from the right. Progressives were basically in the center.
*Governmental and Legislative Reform*
– With the big economic crises of the late 1800s, American resistance to gov’t interference in daily life began to diminish. Progressives, especially, saw the gov’t as a tool that would ensure social justice and act against inefficiency and exploitation. But first, they felt, they had to eliminate corruption.
– Before the Progressive Era, reformers had tried to wipe out boss politics in the cities – this had been only partially successful – but after 1900 it worked out as city manager and commission forms of city gov’t were installed. But the cities were not enough…most Progressives wanted state and nat’l gov’t reform as well.
– Naturally, each region had its own pet peeves. One thing that was common, though, was a belief in strong, fair executives, esp. governors like Wisconsin’s Robert “Battling Bob” La Follette, who installed a major reform program w/direct primaries, fairer taxes, RRD regulation, and commissions staffed by experts.
– Anyhow, the crusade against corruption worked to some extent throughout the country [e/t in the South, many Progressives were still racists] – by 1916 all but 3 states had the initiative, referendum and recall; and in 1913 the Seventeenth Amendment was passed, which provided for direct election of Senators. Nevertheless, there were still many cases were bosses stayed just b/c of their superior organization.
– When it came to labor regulation, however, legislation was much more effective b/c both reformers and bosses supported it. States passed laws protecting public health and safety (police), supporting factory inspection, requiring accident compensation, and banning child labor.
– Then there was the moral angle, which was far more controversial…some of the major issues included drinking habits [Anti-Saloon League (1893)], which resulted in the Eighteenth Amendment outlawing the sale of liquor, and prostitution – “white slavery” – a threat that was really more imagined than real, but still managed to get a whole lot of attention and the passage of the Mann Act (1910), which prohibited transportation of a woman for immoral purposes.
– Overall, the reformers’ efforts reflect their ideology that environment, not human nature, creates sin…i.e. that humans can achieve perfection in the right setting.
*New Philosophies in the Progressive Era*
– Changes in society prompted a multitude of new ideas during the Progressive Era, including:
- Education – For the first time, educators were faced w/masses of children going to school full time [b/c of the growth of cities]. In response, philosopher John Dewey [The School and Society (1899), Democracy and Education (1916)] decided that personal development should be the focus of education, and that all teaching had to relate directly to experience, so that kids “discover knowledge for themselves.” Yeah, now we know who to blame for all the stupid stuff we did in elementary school! But this ended up in colleges too, which soon began to expand their curriculums – still, women/blacks were mostly left out of educational opportunities.
- Law – A new legal philosophy, led by Roscoe Pound, held that social reality should influence legal thinking – i.e. the law should reflect society’s needs and work from experience [gathering scientific data], not be this abstract, inflexible thing. Of course, this methodology met opposition in the old laissez-faire judges, who struck down public safety regulations in cases like Lochner v. NY (1905). But some were also upheld – ex. Holden v. Hardy (1898). Another big question was: how can general welfare benefit w/o oppressing minorities?
- Social Science – Similar to changes in law, new scholars began to argue that economic relationships depended on social conditions [as opposed to being timeless]. Progressive historians [Frederick Jackson Turner, Charles A. Beard] also emphasized the flexibility of the Constitution – it has to serve each age in its own way.
- Public Health – New organizations, like the National Consumers League joined scientists to combat workplace hazards, help female workers, and urge for food safety regulations.
- Eugenics – B/c of Darwin, some people [Francis Galton] came up w/the idea that society had an obligation to prevent “defective” people from reproducing. This resulted in laws in some states allowing sterilization of criminals and the mentally ill. This thinking received a boost in The Passing of the Great Race (1916) by Madison Grant, which held that immigrants were threatening the superior Nordic race.
– MOST IMPORTANTLY, though, was the Social Gospel – Underlying all Progressive actions was the idea that, instead of Social Darwinism, people have an obligation to help improve society. This idea was rooted in religion, and in the previous evangelical reform movement philosophies.
*Challenges to Racial/Sexual Discrimination*
– Most minorities were ignored by Progressives, but they found their own leaders willing to challenge inequality. By 1900, in the South, blacks faced constant segregation via Jim Crow laws [caused by Plessy v. Ferguson], discrimination, and violence. This held true, to a lesser degree, even when they moved North.
– There were two main leaders/responses to the problem faced by blacks:
- Booker T. Washington [rural] – Through “Self-Help” [hard work leading to economic success], Washington felt that blacks could eventually acquire social and political rights. For the time being, however, he felt that they should compromise with whites – though he did not feel blacks were inferior, he still endorsed a separate-but-equal policy. But his views, as presented in the Atlanta Exposition (1895), encountered opposition from more radical elements.
- WEB Du Bois [urban] – In response to Washington, DB felt that blacks should not have to tolerate white domination and should immediately fight for their social and political rights. DB met with supporters at the Niagara Conference, and, in 1909, he joined w/white liberals to form the NAACP, which advocated an end to discrimination.
– American Indians also attempted to form the Society of American Indians (SAI), but it didn’t work out as a governing body b/c racial pride gave way to tribal pride, not unity.
– As for “The Woman Movement,” the Progressive Era heralded an important shift in ideas from the thought that women were special and belonged in other areas of society [so that they could spread their unique talents] to the newfangled *shocking* concept that women needed economic/sexual equality and independence. The latter idea, which arose around 1910, was known as feminism.
– With feminism came the idea of “sex rights” and birth control as proposed by leader Margaret Sanger, who formed the American Birth Control League and managed to make the issue part of public debate.
– Then, of course, there was suffrage…led by Harriot Blatch, feminists argued that women needed the vote as political leverage to get better working conditions [all women worked, she argued, whether paid/unpaid].
– Anyhow, the suffragists achieved successes through letter-writing, NAWSA articles, marches of the National Woman’s Party [Alice Paul] and, most of all, women’s roles in WWI. As a result, the nat’l suffrage amendment was finally passed in 1920. Nevertheless, women remained subordinate to men socially and economically for some time.
*Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt and the Revival of the Presidency*
– After the assassination of McKinley in September 1901, young Theodore Roosevelt was sent into the White House. Roosevelt supported regulatory legislation, obsessed over “manliness,” and was a brilliant rhetorician and publicity monger.
– Issues addressed by TR:
- Trust-Busting – TR agreed w/Progressives that the new era needed a bigger, stronger nat’l gov’t that would act as an umpire in the big business game, deciding which business were okay and which weren’t. And e/t TR wasn’t as big a “trust-buster” as he claimed and only attacked “bad” trusts [he even instructed his Bureau of Corporations to assist in some forms of expansion], he did use the Justice Dept. to prosecute trusts that were exploiting the public, like the Northern Securities (1904)
- Regulatory Legislation – TR also supported regulatory legislation, like the Hepburn Act (1906), which gave the ICC more authority to set RRD rates. Also, TR investigated the meat industry [Sinclair’s The Jungle] and subsequently supported the Meat Inspection Act (1906) and the Food and Drug Act (1906). In both areas, however, TR compromised rather than risk not gaining anything.
- Labor – W/regard to labor, TR generally favored investigation and arbitration. In the United Mine Workers Strike (1902), he raised public opinion in favor of the miners and threatened to use troops to reopen the mines to force arbitration by a commission, which eventually raised wages, reduced hours and required dealing w/grievances [but didn’t require recognition of the union]. W/labor, TR felt only some organizations were legitimate, and wished to keep control.
- Conservation – TR made huge changes in federal policy towards resources by keeping land in the public domain and supporting the Newlands Reclamation Act (1902), which controlled sales of irrigated land in the West. He increased nat’l forests and created the US Forest Service w/Gifford Pinchot, who advocated scientific management to prevent overuse.
– Then came the Panic of 1907, which forced TR into a compromise w/JP Morgan – in return for convincing financiers to stop dropping stocks, TR approved a deal for US steal to get a smaller company. But, during his last year in office, TR went against business again, and supported heavier taxation of the rich and stronger business regulation.
*The Election of 1908 and Taft’s Presidency*
– Instead of running again, Teddy supported William Howard Taft for the Presidential Election of 1908 [TR was reelected in 1904, by the way]. B/c of TR’s popularity, Taft won, but landed in a difficult situation.
– First, Taft moved to cut tariffs, but was blocked by Progressives, who felt the tariff benefited special interests. So, the cuts were restored in the Payne-Aldrich Tariff (1909), which also angered Progressives.
– Basically, Taft was caught in the middle of a rift between the conservative and Progressive wings of the Republican Party. Not cool.
– Then, when a group of Progressives challenged the conservative speaker, who controlled the legislative progress, Taft first supported and then abandoned them. He did, however, enlarge the Rules Committee, and therefore help the Progressives – but he pissed them off even more by firing conservationist Pinchot.
– Basically, it would have stunk to be Taft. He did as much Progressive stuff as TR – he even busted more trusts, signed the Mann-Elkins Act (1910), which helped the ICC powers and supported labor reforms, and had the Sixteenth [income tax] and Seventeenth [direct election of Senators] Amendments passed. But b/c he was cautious and wasn’t good at sucking up to people and the press, he didn’t get a good reputation.
*The Election of 1912 and Wilson’s Presidency*
– When TR got back from Africa, he realized that his party had split into the National Progressive Republican League [La Follette] and the side that stayed loyal to Taft. Disappointed, he began speaking out, and eventually organized the Bull Moose Party [from the Progressives] when LF got sick.
– Given that the Republicans had split, the Democrats knew they had a sure win, so they took their time and finally picked Woodrow Wilson, who won the election. Wilson and TR had two competing visions for the country, as follows:
- TR [New Nationalism] à Let’s have a new era where the gov’t coordinates and regulates the economy. Big business can stay, but let’s protect people through commissions of experts that will serve the interests of consumers.
- Wilson [New Freedom] à Let’s get rid of concentrated economic power altogether and make the marketplace open for competition. We won’t go back to laissez-faire, though; we’ll keep regulating it. But, no cooperation between business and gov’t. Based on Louis Brandeis.
– Actually, though, the philosophies were very similar: both supported equality of opportunity, conservation, fair wages, social improvement for all, and a strong involved gov’t.
– So how was Wilson as President? Issues he dealt with included…
- Anti-Trust Con’t – Well, given that mergers had proceeded so far, he ended up settling w/expanding gov’t regulation w/the Clayton Anti-Trust Act (1914), which outlawed monopolistic practices, and a bill creating the Federal Trade Commission (1914), which could investigate companies and order them to stop unfair trade tactics.
- Banking Regulation – The Federal Reserve Act (1913) established another nat’l bank and district banks [regulated by the Federal Reserve Board] that would lend $ to member banks at rates that could be adjusted to increase/decrease the $ in circulation – loosen/tighten credit. Right before the war he also passed the Federal Farm Loan Act, which allowed $ to be lent at moderate interest to farmers.
- Tariffs – The Underwood Tariff (1913) encouraged imports [to help consumers] and instituted a graduated income tax on residents.
- Labor – The Adamson Act mandated an eight-hour-workday and overtime pay for RRD workers; Wilson also regulated child labor and provided workers’ compensation.
– Then there was the Presidential Election of 1916, in which Wilson ran w/his “He Kept Us Out of War” deal against Republican Charles Hughes and won. In his second term, regulation increased even more due to the war – the War Industries Board, for example. But after the war, regulation fell again. That’s all. OH MY GOSH, I’M REALLY TIRED NOW! How about you? Are you having fun or what?
American Imperialism (1865 – 1914)
*The Causes of American Imperialism*
– Between the Civil War and WWI, American foreign policy reflected a nation of expansionists and imperialists – cultural, economic, and otherwise. Of course, the US was not alone in this course of action: Germany, Great Britain, Japan, and other powers acted no differently.
– So, what led the US to undertake its imperialist ventures? Generally, e/t foreign policy is determined by an elite group of leaders [instead of more directly by the people, as most people don’t give a crap], it really ends up reflecting the domestic climate of the country. So, the most relevant causes are as follows…
- ECONOMICALLY there were three main factors:
- Foreign Trade – The US reversed its unfavorable balance of trade for the first time in 1874 due increasing agricultural and manufacturing exports. Since the livelihood of Americans was subsequently connected to world conditions, the US needed to have a strong foothold as a world power to protect its trading interests.
- The Search for New Marketplaces – The era was one of economic expansion, and most of the leaders felt that expansion should know no borders, and that the gov’t should help American entrepreneurs abroad by using US
- Economic “Safety Valve” – In addition to the sheer profit motive from foreign sales, some feared [due to the crashes and such] that foreign commerce was needed as a safety valve to relieve economic woes like overproduction, etc.
- IDEOLOGICALLY & CULTURALLY there were several means of motivation/justification:
- American Exceptionalism/Manifest Destiny – Americans have special qualities that make them, well, SPECIAL and deserving of taking over the world. Our values, our ideas…everything about us should be spread!
- Racism – Other races aren’t capable of self-government! Only we are, so we should “help” them out. To heck w/diplomacy – they aren’t worthy.
- Social Darwinism – And who says we shouldn’t reign triumphant? Darwin always said the best race would win out.
- Obsession with Masculinity – Self-explanatory.
- Missionary/Civilizing Impulse – In other words, the “nice” version of American Exceptionalism (the idea that we’re special). The missionaries just made it all godly and altruistic and everything, as many really believed that they were benefiting the people they subjugated b/c they were giving them “liberty” and “prosperity.”
– Enough of that. Now what the heck actually happened?
*US Ambitions Abroad: 1860 – 1880*
– The American empire grew slowly over time, prompted by leaders like William H. Seward [NY Senator, Secretary of State 1861 – 1869], who saw a huge US empire including Canada and surrounding islands. This empire, he thought, would come together naturally through gravitation towards the US and trade.
– Some of Seward’s schemes included…
- Virgin Islands – He tried to buy them from Denmark in 1867, but the Senate and a hurricane prevented the purchase.
- Samaná Bay Naval Base – Attempt to get a base in the Dominican Republic, didn’t work.
- Intervention in Mexico – Using the Monroe Doctrine, Seward sent troops to the Mexican border in 1866 and got Napoleon III to abandon its puppet regime there.
- Alaska – In 1867 Seward bought resource-rich Alaska from Russia.
- A Worldwide Communication System – Due to the financier Cyrus Field, a transatlantic cable was built to link European and American telegraph networks. This network was then extended to Latin America as well.
– Other important trends in foreign policy under Seward & Fish [his successor]:
- Anglo-American Rapprochement – During this time GB and the US grew closer. Examples of this shocking new phenomenon include…
- The Alabama claims – The Alabama and such ships were built for the Confederacy by GB. As they caused Union losses, the US demanded reparations, and the question was eventually resolved through a British tribunal that decided on the amount paid to the US.
- Open Sea Sealing – Yeah, they made a treaty about seals. Wow.
- Samoa – In 1878 the US gained rights to a coaling station in the port of Pago Pago. So, when GB & Germany tried to get into the action, the US got mad and told them to stay out, which got the Germans pissed. Tension grew until a three-part protectorate was decided on in 1889 [w/o asking the Samoans though] dividing the country into American Samoa and Western Samoa [Germany]. GB got islands instead.
- Sino-American Problems – In addition to having problems w/Germany, the US soon had issues w/China due to their hatred of US missionaries and business leaders. Chinese dislike of America was compounded by riots against Chinese immigrants in the west and suspension of Chinese immigration starting in the 1880s.
- Increasing Influence in Latin America – We held Pan-American conferences, let people tour our factories and sign trade treaties, founded the Pan-American Union, and humiliated countries like Chile when our drunk sailors got into fights w/their citizens (1891).
– Then there was the whole New Navy deal, as promoted by Capt. Alfred T. Mahan [The Influence of Sea Power upon History (1890)], which went along the lines of: let’s get a huge navy and lots of bases to protect our foreign trade.
*Crises in the 1890s*
– In the 1890s, expansionism expanded [very funny, right] due to the economic depression and the belief that the home frontier had closed. The main examples are…
- Hawaii – By the 1880s, Hawaii was already largely part of the US system due to the fact that the American elite owned most of the country and subordinated the economy to the US through duty-free sugar exports. This control culminated in the 1887 constitution, which gave foreigners the right to vote and shifted authority to the legislature. When the McKinley Tariff of 1890 got rid of the duty-free sugar provision, the elite pressed for annexation – but Queen Lili’uokalani wanted to resist the power of the foreigners – so the elite formed the Annexation Club and took over by force in 1893. When Cleveland found out about what had occurred, he temporarily stopped the annexation process, but once Hawaii got attn. again during the SACFW [you’ll see] McKinley got it though as the Newlands Resolution . Hawaiians were given citizenship in 1900 and statehood in 1959.
- Venezuela – In 1895 Venezuela asked for US help regarding a border dispute w/GB. We gave the British a big lecture on leaving LA alone, and then in 1896 an Anglo-American board divided the territory up w/o consulting Venezuela.
- Cuba – Cuba had battled Spain for independence intermittently since 1868, and in 1895 another revolution led by Jose Marti broke out. As usual, the US had acquired strong economic interests in the region [one of the causes of the revolution was the Wilson-Gorman Tariff, which taxed their sugar, hurting the economy]. So when the revolution led to destruction of sugar fields and such, it killed trade, leading to US sympathy for Cuba (Spain’s brutal policies were another factor). Naturally the yellow journalists had a field day feeding war fever. The last straw was the accidental explosion of the US ship Maine, which journalists blamed on Spain, and a letter found by the NY Journal criticizing McKinley. McKinley then sent Spain an ultimatum – Spain made concessions – but McKinley went ahead and asked to use force anyway. So on April 19, 1897 Congress declared Cuba free and allowed the use of authority to remove Spain. Though the Teller Amendment claimed we weren’t interested in annexation, McKinley still didn’t let us recognize the rebel gov’t [they might need US tutoring first].
– That, of course, leads to the…
*The Spanish-American-Cuban-Filipino War [SACFW] and its Aftermath*
– E/t Spain seemed somewhat ready to compromise, it pretty much wasn’t going to work out b/c the Cubans only wanted full independence, which Spain wasn’t going to give them at all and the US didn’t want so much either b/c the new gov’t might try to reduce our interests there.
– Just to quickly recap – why were we interested in war? There were the humanitarian concerns about the Spanish policies, business concerns about commerce and US interests, general imperialistic drives, idealistic social gospel type ideas about saving others, and sensationalism.
– Anyhow, the Spanish fleet was quickly destroyed by Dewey in the Philippines, and Spain suffered further problems due to the US blockade of the Cuban ports and the US attack on Puerto Rico. As a result, an armistice was signed on August 12, 1898.
– The peace terms were then worked out in Paris [where else] in December: an independent Cuba, cession of the Philippines, PR & Guam to the US, and US payment in return. Imperialists rejoiced, of course, but there still was a very significant opposition.
– Anti-imperialists included Mark Twain, Bryan, Jane Addams, Carnegie, and many more – some mentioned principles [like self-determination], others advocated the peaceful acquisition of markets, others pointed out the potential costs of maintaining empires, others felt it would undermine American racial purity, and union leaders worried the new immigrants could undercut American labor.
– But the Anti-Imperialist League [launched November 1898] was ultimately unsuccessful due to domestic policy divisions between the participants, and the fact that the US had already annexed the islands. Still, imperialists responded w/the usual patriotic and economic arguments. And once the Filipinos started to resist, of course, we couldn’t pull back at the risk of looking cowardly.
– The rebellion, led by Emilio Aguinaldo, broke out in January 1899 when Aguinaldo responded to his isolation from power by proclaiming an independent republic. The war was vicious on both sides and finally ended in 1906 – leaving the coast clear for an “Americanization” of the area.
– In other words, the US subjugated the Philippine economy, passed a sedition act, and then vaguely promised independence once a “stable gov’t” was established [Jones Act, 1916]. Rule was finally ended following WWII.
*American Involvement in Asia*
– 1895 also brought the Sino-Japanese War, which the Japanese won, intensifying the general obsession w/carving China up into spheres of influence. The US, however, wanted to keep them out as much as possible to protect US commerce and missionaries.
– Hence the Open Door policy – equal trade opportunity. The other powers weren’t too thrilled; even after the Boxer Rebellion, which the US helped put down, a second Open Door policy note went for the most part unnoticed. For the US, though, the use of the policy was a big deal b/c it was to stay a major part of FP for years to come as an instrument for opening, and then dominating, markets.
– Anyhow, the new power in Asia was Japan, esp. following the Russo-Japanese War. Concessions were made in the Taft-Katsura Agreement [Japanese hegemony over Korea in return for US Philippines] and the Root-Takahira Agreement [Japan Manchuria for US Open Door].
– Taft believed he could stop the Japanese by using dollar diplomacy, which required the use of private funds for investment in order to further diplomatic goals – so he built a RRD in China, but that didn’t help, esp. due to the bad treatment of Japanese citizens living in the US [segregation, discrimination, restrictions on immigration]. The Japanese insisted on power over all China d. WWI, and the US couldn’t do anything…
*Latin America Redux*
– After the SACFW, the US continued to assert its hegemony throughout Latin America. For instance:
- Cuba [again] – Soon enough, the “pacification” part of the Teller Amendment was used to justify US control, and troops stayed until 1902. The US also imposed the Platt Amendment (1903 – 1934) on Cuba, which forced all treaties to go through the US first and granted the US the right to intervene to preserve independence and domestic order. Troops returned intermittently as a result of protests of the PA, which gave Cuba no independence at all.
- Puerto Rico – Taken under the Treaty of Paris [SACFW], PR was quickly disillusioned about their new rulers, as the US was condescending and obnoxious.
- Panama – Inspired by the Suez canal, US businessmen, politicians, diplomats, and navy guys all decided they wanted one too. Although the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty (1850) provided joint control w/GB, the British pulled out in the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty (1901). To get the canal built, TR then incited a rebellion to form Panama in 1903 – Panama gave the US a canal zone w/LT rights [Columbia eventually got $ b/c the US screwed it over] – so the canal was begun, to be completed in 1914.
– Roosevelt Corollary [to Monroe Doctrine] – Added in 1904, this section warned LA to stabilize politics and finances, and made the US “an international police power.” This allowed for frequent US interventions [troops, etc.] in LA up to 1917.
– US-Mexico Relations – Up until 1910, dictator Diaz recruited US investors and so on, but once he was kicked out, the revolutionaries attempted to end Mexico’s economic dependency on the US.
– One last point: As for Europe – the US stayed out of their entanglements, and they stayed out of Latin America, for the most part. Until WWI…
World War I (1914 – 1920)
*The Outbreak of War and American Neutrality*
– To make a long story short: WWI started on the long-term b/c of competition w/regard to trade, colonies, allies, and arms, especially between the two main alliances, the Triple Alliance [Germany, Austria-Hungary, Italy] and the Triple Entente [Great Britain, France, Russia].
– On the short term, it started b/c of a bunch of silly blunders set off by the assassination of the heir to the A-H throne by the Serbian terrorist group the Black Hand in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914. This got a bunch of powers pissed off and resulted in the German declaration of war on August 1 and…but this is not EHAP…
– So what did we do? Wilson began by issuing a proclamation of neutrality. But neutrality, so to speak, was easier said that done, for several reasons:
- Ethnic Diversity – People took sides according to their nat’l origins: Germans w/the Germans, Irish w/the Germans [they hated the British], British w/the British, and so on.
- Economic Ties – The US and Britain had big time trading/banking links, and since international law allowed for trade of both contraband and n/c materials between neutral and belligerent nations, it was up to Germany to stop trade through a blockade or something. Wilson opposed the trade at first, but ended up conceding as it was essential to US economic health.
- Ideological Similarities – Wilson also favored Britain b/c he believed that British supremacy gave his principles more of a chance. Wilsonianism consisted of traditional American ideals [democracy, Open Door], internationalism, and American exceptionalism – i.e. US as world leader in an era of capitalism, democracy [self-determination and the destruction of empires were big factors too] and diplomacy.
– Wilson still didn’t want to go to war, and attempted to preserve neutrality – for a while…
*Wilson’s Decision for War*
– First, a series of events got Wilson and co. to start considering the question…
- Lusitania incident – In May 1915 the British passenger liner Lusitania was sunk by a British submarine, killing 128 Americans. *Note: The Germans HAD issued a warning that British vessels could be destroyed, but nobody listened.
- Bryan’s resignation – Bryan suggested that Americans be forbidden from traveling on belligerent ships and that contraband not be allowed on passenger vessels, but Wilson disagreed and insisted the Germans stop their sub warfare [he claimed it wasn’t a double standard b/c the Germans were taking lives, not property]. Bryan resigned in protest, and Robert Lansing [pro-Allied] took his place.
- Gore-McLemore Resolution – After the sinking of the Arabic in early 1916 Congress debated this resolution, which would have prohibited Americans from traveling on armed merchant vessels or ships w/contraband. But, the resolution was eventually killed off.
- Sussex incident – Another U-boat attack led Wilson to threaten Berlin w/the severance of diplomatic relations. The Germans promised not to do it again.
– Not everyone, of course, went along w/the pro-war position. Anti-war groups included the: Woman’s Peace Party, American Union against Militarism [pacifist Progressives], Carnegie Endowment for Internat’l Peace [Carnegie & Ford were both anti-war] and the Socialist party.
– The anti-war advocates were big on the fact that war: (1) kills young people, (2) fosters repression, (3) is not moral [no kidding] and (3) lets business moguls make big $ at expense of the little guys.
– In 1916, in fact, even Wilson claimed to be anti-war, running [and winning] the Presidential Election of 1916 on a promise to keep out of the conflict. In early 1917, he tried one last time to bring peace via a conference table, but it didn’t work.
– The straw(s) that broke the camel’s back – the two major short-term causes were:
- Germany started unrestricted sub warfare, gambling that it could wipe out the Allies before the US could bring troops across to Europe.
- The Zimmerman Telegram was intercepted in February 1917. The telegram asked Mexico to join an alliance against the US in exchange for help recovering territories lost in the Mexican-American war. Naturally, this didn’t go over too well w/Wilson, and it went over even less well with the press once it was released.
– Wilson first asked for “armed neutrality,” but anti-war Senators filibustered the bill out, so Wilson ended up calling Congress into special session on April 2, 1917. After naming US grievances [violation of freedom of the seas, disruption of commerce, the Mexico deal, etc.], Wilson finally got his declaration of war passed. So, brimming w/idealism [Wilson planned to reform the world], we entered WWI on April 6.
*Winning the War*
– E/t anti-war Senators had tried to prevent it the US had been getting ready for war even before it was declared through acts like the National Defense Act of 1916 and the Navy Act of 1916, which provided for the largest naval expansion in US history.
– After the declaration of war, Congress passed the Selective Service Act, requiring all males between 21 and 30 (changed to 18 and 45 later) to register. Critics felt the measure would lead to excessive militarism, but supporters countered that it would lead to good, healthy patriotism.
– Most draftees were white, poorly-educated Americans in their early 20s – some African Americans signed up and were assigned to segregated units [they faced a lot of discrimination in the army too] and Native Americans joined as well. There were some draft evaders, and many filed in as conscientious-objectors.
– American organizations like the Commission on Training Camp Activities, etc. attempted to keep soldiers healthy and moral during the war, but soldiers faced trench warfare, poison gas, and the horrors of the new weapons technology.
– Still, Americans managed to turn the tide against the Germans, esp. after the Allied victory in July 1918 at the Second Battle of the Marne, which was followed by a huge Allied offense that forced Germany into an armistice on November 11, 1918.
*America on the Home Front: Economic Change*
– E/t the US wasn’t at war for long, the war [temporarily] created a vastly different society in which the gov’t spend a lot more money and exercised more control over the economy. Several important economic developments resulted from WWI war production, as follows:
- Business-Government Cooperation – The war ushered in a new era of business/gov’t cooperation. Early on, the gov’t relied on industrial committees for advice on purchases/prices, but after they turned out to be corrupt in July 1917, the War Industries Board replaced them. Still, the WIB worked closely w/corporations, and big business grew due to the suspension of antitrust laws and gov’t-industry contracts.
- New Gov’t Economic Agencies – As follows:
- War Industries Board – Headed by Bernard Baruch, the WIB coordinated the nat’l economy by making purchases, allocating supplies, and fixing prices. It also ordered the standardization of goods. Not all-powerful, though, b/c there had to be lots of compromising w/the big corporations.
- Food Administration – Led by Herbert Hoover, the FA had voluntary programs [like the “victory gardens”] and other duties, like setting prices and regulating distribution.
- RRD Administration & Fuel Administration – Regulated their respective industries, fuel administration rationed gasoline as well.
- Boom Years for Farmers and Industry – One of the positive results of war production was that it allowed farmers to get mechanized [due to high demand and high prices] and led to great growth in some industries.
- Errors & Fuel Shortages – On the negative side, there were mistakes made due to the hectic pace of production and distribution, and there was a severe coal shortage which left many w/o heat in 1917-1918.
- Inflation – Increased buying [more demand than supply], liberal credit policies, and the setting of prices on raw materials rather than on finished products led to skyrocketing prices.
- New Tax Policies – To pay for the war, taxes went up through laws like the Revenue Act of 1916 [raised tax on high incomes and corporate profits, added tax on large estates, and increased the tax on munitions manufacturers] and the War Revenue Act of 1917 [more income and corporate taxes]. Liberty Bonds also contributed to gov’t incomes.
- Labor Shortage – Unemployment basically vanished and wages increased [though the costs of living did too]. People rushed into the cities and into manufacturing jobs. As a result of the shortage, strikes were strongly discouraged, and the National War Labor Board was established in 1918 to coordinate management and unions. The AFL joined the NWLB, but the Socialists and IWW members still continued to agitate.
- Women in the Work Force – Women temporarily took over many male-dominated professions. Similarly, black women were able to take jobs formerly reserved to white women. After the war, however, women were displaced back into the home.
- African American Migration to the Cities – New opportunities also appeared for blacks, and male blacks rushed into the cities to take advantage of them, regardless of the discrimination that persisted. This resulted in race riots through the “Red Summer” of 1919.
– So, economically, the war brought increased gov’t involvement and a temporary boom in industry.
*America on the Home Front: Civil Liberties*
– As soon as the war began, the gov’t also instituted control of rather a different sort – control of speech, and the limiting of civil liberties. Anyone who refused to support the war faced repression from the gov’t, and the issue of free speech was seen as a question of policy for the first time. For example, there was the…
- Committee on Public Information – Headed by Progressive journalist George Creel, the CPI set about the making of propaganda through posters, films, pamphlets, speeches, and so on.
- Espionage Act (1917) – The EA forbade “false statements” against the draft or the military, and banned anti-war mails.
- Sedition Act (1918) – The SA made it illegal to obstruct the sale of war bonds and to use nasty language against the gov’t, Constitution, flag, or uniform. It was very vague, and allowed for plenty of gov’t intimidation.
- Imprisonment of Socialists – As a result of the new acts, IWW members and Socialists faced major problems. For example, Eugene V. Debs, the leader of the Socialist Party, was arrested for speaking about the freedom to criticize the gov’t.
- Spread of Vigilante Organizations – Some people thought they would help out by…umm…helping get rid of unpatriotic people or bullying them into buying Liberty Loans and such. These organizations included the Sedition Slammers and American Defense Society.
– These steps led to a questioning of the whole free speech thing – CO Roger Baldwin founded the Civil Liberties Bureau to defend people accused under the E/S Acts and redefined free speech as something separate from the identity of the speaker.
– Two important SC cases also dealt w/the new developments: Schenck v. US (1919), in which Holmes upheld the EA by using the whole fire in a movie theater argument [if there is a “clear and present” danger free speech should be restricted], and Abrams v. US (1919) in which the SA was also upheld [but this time Holmes and Brandeis dissented].
*The American Reaction to the Bolshevik Revolution: Labor Strikes and the Red Scare*
– Almost as a continuation of the suppression of civil liberties that occurred during the war, Americans continued to oppress radicals following the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 – they worried about Bolshevism in the country, and resented Russia as a result of its separate peace w/Germany after the revolution.
– In fact, Wilson despised the Russians so much that he even fought an undeclared war against Lenin and co. by sending military expeditions to “guard Allied supplies and rescue Czechs” in Siberia. He also refused to recognize the Bolsheviks, sent arms to their opponents, and economically blockaded Russia.
– At home, of course, unemployment and the post-war recession contributed to anti-radical sentiment as well. In 1919, a series of labor strikes [think Boston police strike and so on, not anything that was actually radical] and an incident with mail bombs on May 1 led to the Red Scare.
– A steel strike partially led by an IWW member only made things worse by allowing leaders to label the strike a conspiracy by foreign radicals, which was not the case as the American left was actually badly split between the Communist Labor Party and the Communist Party.
– Consequently, anti-radical elements like the American Legion joined with Wilson’s attorney general A. Mitchell Palmer, who was appointed as head of the Radical Division of the Dept. of Justice, in chasing down supposed Reds. This climaxed in the January 1920 with the Palmer Raids – gov’t agents broke in to meeting halls and homes w/o warrants and arrested lots of people.
– The anti-red activities were regarded as anti-Constitutional by many civil libertarians, and even conservatives turned against Palmer when he asked for a peacetime sedition act. But e/t Palmer’s activities stopped for the most part in 1920, American radicalism had suffered big time.
*America and the Postwar World*
– During the whole Red Scare deal, Wilson actually was more into internat’l relations than anything else. He began by announcing his Fourteen Points, which included self-determination, freedom of the seas, lower tariffs, arms reduction, open diplomacy, blah, blah, blah…and the League of Nations.
– It was a nice idea and all, but when Wilson arrived in Paris in December 1918 for the Peace Conference, he had already screwed himself over in several ways – by being cocky and by not bringing any Republican Senators with him [the Republicans had swept the Congressional elections]. Another problem he faced was the fact that the other allies – France, Britain and Italy – wanted to see Germany majorily punished.
– So, at Versailles, the Big Four met secretly, and came out w/a treaty that included the dreaded war guilt clause and huge payments for Germany. Also, it placed German/Turkish colonies under the control of other imperial nations [that was self-determination I guess] and made new democracies in Eastern Europe.
– As for the key part, the charter for the League of Nations, Wilson came up w/a council of 5 permanent members [and some elected delegates from other states], an assembly of all members, and a world court. Most importantly, there was Article 10, a collective security provision, which made members promise to protect e/o’s territorial integrity against aggressors. Germany was forced to sign, but it still wasn’t all good…
– This was b/c there was strong opposition to the treaty at home, where Senators [and others] felt that the Versailles’ Treaty didn’t protect US interests enough, and that Article 10 was going to get the country stuck in a ton of foreign entanglements. Charges of hypocrisy were also rampant, as Wilson’s points hadn’t really been included in the Treaty.
– There were two camps of opposition, basically: the Irreconcilables (no treaty, no way) and the Reservationists (yes, but make changes first). Senator Henry Cabot Lodge was one of those urging slight amendments to the charter, esp. making it so that Congress had to approve obligations under Article 10.
– In response to the opposition, Wilson went on a speaking tour and pretty much out-talked himself, leading to a massive stroke. The Senate continued to reject the Treaty – Wilson refused to compromise – and so it never passed. The US eventually made a separate treaty w/Germany instead.
– So – the point of this episode? Basically, that Americans still wanted to stick to nonalignment over collective action. As a new world power – the leading economic power, first in world trade, first in banking, and so on – we wanted to stay away from potential entanglements.
– The disappointment about the Treaty also did two opposing things: increase the peace movement and appeals for arms control, and lead to a better trained more professional military. But the bottom line is that maybe b/c of US non-support (or at least somewhat b/c of it) the internat’l system after the war was crap.
– Russians were pissed b/c people tried to rain on their parade – I mean, revolution; Germans were annoyed at the reparations, the Eastern European states weren’t doing so good, and there were many nat’list uprisings from the good to the bad to the downright ugly. Stay tuned for the ongoing saga…
The Roaring Twenties (1920 – 1929)
– The economy is perhaps the most important aspect of the 1920s [so if you don’t read the rest read this part]. Here are some of the economic characteristics of the era:
- Initial Recession Followed by Recovery – Following the end of the war, as demand dropped and soldiers returned looking for jobs, the economy faltered. Farmers were hit especially hard w/the return of worldwide competition. But w/new inventions and such, recovery was rapid, except for the farmers, who faced continued hard times.
- A Retreat From Regulation – After the war, the regulatory institutions were quickly dismantled (the ones that remained cooperated more than regulated), and the SC & Presidents went pro-business again. Some SC cases included:
- Coronado Coal Co. v. United Mine Workers (1922) – Striking unions were deemed in restraint of trade.
- Maple Floor Association v. US (1929) – Anti-union groups ruled NOT to be in restraint of trade.
- Regulations on child labor and a minimum wage law for women were also overturned.
- Corporate Consolidation – No regulation? Great! Let’s make big mega companies!
- Lobbying – There was also consolidation in special interest groups – professional associations and such – which resulted in the “new lobbying” where organizations sent reps to Washington to try to convince legislators to support their cause(s).
- Rampant Materialism – New products! Cars! Radios! Advertising! More purchasing power for the average individual due to technological breakthroughs! The new products even benefited the lower classes, as cities were electrified, indoor plumbing spread, and mass produced clothing and food became more affordable.
- Hard Times For Labor – In addition to the SC rulings, public opinion turned against strikers, corporations caught onto “welfare capitalism” [pensions, profit sharing, company events], and legislators ruled that open shops [which discriminated against union members] were allowed.
*The Presidents and Political Trends*
– Basically, the 1920s Presidents were all pro-business Republicans. More specifically, they were as follows:
- Warren G. Harding (1920 – 1923) à Harding was elected in 1920 on the slogan of “A Return to Normalcy” or something like that. His administration favored laissez-faire business and also streamlined federal spending [Budget and Accounting Act] and assisted farms through liberalizing credit. The main problem w/Harding was corruption, culminating in the 1923 Teapot Dome scandal, which revealed that the Secretary of Interior had accepted bribes to give gov’t property to oil companies. Harding died in office in 1923.
- Calvin Coolidge (1923 – 1924, 1924 – 1928) à “Silent Cal” took over after Harding died and was then reelected in 1924 by running on “Coolidge prosperity.” Overall, Coolidge and co. didn’t do diddly squat while in power, other than reduce debt, cut taxes, build roads, and stop the gov’t from interfering w/business.
- Herbert Hoover (1928 – 1932) à Hoover won against Democrat Alfred E. Smith [who is noteworthy as the first Catholic candidate and builder of part of the New Deal Coalition – i.e. he got the urban immigrants voting Democratic] and then proceeded to keep the cooperation between business and gov’t going strong. Everything was going great, until a slight problem came up: The Great Depression. But that’s to be continued…
– Anyway, following Coolidge’s reelection, many began to claim that Progressivism had indeed died out. On a nat’l level, it had. But remember…there was still reform going on at state & local levels – stuff like workers’ compensation, pensions, welfare, and [in cities] planning and zoning commissions.
– Some reformers also tacked Indian affairs, as Indians were still being treated as minorities expected to assimilate [e/t the Dawes Act had failed in accomplishing that goal]. Citizenship was finally granted to Indians in 1924, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs was reorganized [not great effect though].
– Women also had achieved more a share in politics w/the Nineteenth Amendment (1920), which gave them suffrage – nevertheless, women were mainly kept out of power with the exception of organizations they founded themselves [League of Women Votes, National Woman’s Party].
– Some noteworthy characteristics are as follows…
- Urbanization – With consumerism and modernization there came a migration to the cities, where manufacturing jobs were more readily available.
- Great Migration and Discrimination – African Americans, especially, moved into the cities, where they were forced to squeeze into tiny sectors due to discrimination. This led to movements glorifying black racial pride/independence – like the UNIA led by Marcus Garvey, which was influential in the early 1920s before it was shut down for anarchism.
- Mexican/Puerto Rican Immigration – Mexican immigrants crowded into districts in the Southwest, and PR’s moved mainly to NYC. In both places, they created their own communities that maintained their cultures.
- Suburbia – The car made Americans take to the roads, and to the suburbs, which increasingly resisted annexation to the cities.
- Increasing Life Expectancy/Decreasing Birth Rate – People lived longer due to better nutrition and sanitation, and they had fewer kids.
- Pensions – As mentioned earlier, old age pensions were an issue during the twenties due to people living longer. Though some felt people should just save in their youth, reformers began to win out on the state level.
- New Appliances – There were fewer servants, so women managed the household on their own with the aid of the new electrical appliances.
- Employment for Women – Women continued to go into the work force, but sex segregation continued. More minority women worked than white women, as their husbands were more commonly unemployed or in low paying jobs.
- New Values – Them shockin’ young people! Smoking, drinking, swearing, and openness about sex began to become fashionable in the cities. Dear me. Then of course there was the flapper, and the new more assertive woman.
– Out of all this, perhaps the most important thing to remember: The movement towards the suburbs and cities [as well as the radio] helped the new mass culture spread. With that…
*Cultural Trends: Popular and Otherwise*
– The 1920s witnessed the birth of a new mass culture and more leisure time for Americans. New forms of entertainment and culture included:
- Movies – Silent film, then sound with The Jazz Singer. Most movies were escapist fantasies, and people flocked to see the hot new movie stars like Clara Bow, Rudolph Valentino, Greta Garbo – okay, this is NOT supposed to be about that!
- Sports – With mass culture came a loss of individuality, so people looked to sports figures as representatives of the triumph of the unique individual. “Lucky Lindy” is another example of this type of hero-worship.
- Prohibition or Lack Thereof – People still drank in speakeasies and such, and all the Eighteenth Amendment did was give gangsters like Al Capone tremendous power.
– As for literature and the arts…
- The Lost Generation – Gotta love Scott Fitzgerald [my favorite writer, not that you care] and his cronies like Hemingway, etc. Faced w/materialism and conformity, many writers went abroad during the 1920s and wrote about America from afar. Others stayed, but still spoke about the same themes: alienation, hypocrisy, conformity, and so on.
- Harlem Renaissance – Blacks flocked to Harlem, where they established a vibrant artistic community that celebrated black culture. A big issue for intellectuals in the HR was identity.
- Jazz – A major part of the Harlem Renaissance was Jazz, which owed a lot to black culture and music. Jazz was a huge hit in the cities, and helped the recording industry greatly.
- Innovative Art/Music – The twenties were very creative, and many artists attempted new styles, like Georgia O’Keefe in painting, Aaron Copland and George Gershwin in music, and Frank Lloyd Wright and his “prairie-style houses” in architecture.
*The Conservative Reaction*
– The new ideas quickly proceeded to scare the crap out of many older, rural Americans. This lead to a reaction, as illustrated by the:
- Return of the KKK – In 1915, the KKK was reestablished as an organization that not only targeted blacks, but also Catholics, Jews, immigrants, and so forth. “Native white Protestant supremacy” basically sums up their motives, which they used vigilante justice, terror, and political pressure to achieve.
- Intolerance/Racism – In general, this was a big problem, as exemplified by Madison Grant’s book The Passing of the Great Race (1916).
- Immigration Quotas – In addition to racism, there was the ever present concern about lower wages and unemployment. Laws included:
- Quota (Johnson) Act (1921) – Immigration of a given nationality can’t exceed 3% per year of the immigrants in the nation from that nationality in 1910. This hurt immigrants from southern/eastern Europe.
- Immigration (Johnson-Reid) Act (1924) – 2% of each nationality from 1890, and a total limit for all nationalities.
- National Origins Act (1929) – New quotas in proportion to the origins of American people in 1920.
- Fear of Immigrants & Radicalism – The big example here is the Sacco-Vanzetti Case, in which two Italian immigrants [anarchists, too] were convicted of murder w/o real evidence. Appeals and protests failed, and they were executed in 1927.
- Fundamentalism – People freaked at the new materialism, and ran to their Bibles, which they decided to interpret literally. This led to clashes with science, most memorably in the Scopes Trial, where a teacher was tried for teaching evolution to students, which was illegal in his state. Bryan took the prosecution, and civil liberties lawyers led by Clarence Darrow took the defense. Scopes was convicted, but Bryan and co. came out looking pretty foolish [though this didn’t stop them from continuing to pass restrictions on teaching evolution. Okay, stop studying now and go watch Inherit the Wind!
- Revivalism – Using advertising and the radio, preachers spread emotional religious messages across the country. Civic organizations also grew stronger.
– So that’s that – the twenties as a battleground between the new mass culture and the reactionary elements. No, it was, really!
The Great Depression (1929 – 1941)
*Causes of the Great Depression*
– On October 24, 1929 (“Black Thursday”) there was an initial panic, which was rescued by a bunch of bankers who bought stocks to bring the prices back up. Once the news got out, though, there was another crash, on October 29 (“Black Tuesday”). Why did it happen? Several reasons:
- Overproduction/Underconsumption – Basically, companies expanded to such a degree that they had to keep producing more and cutting wages in order to keep their profits up. By cutting wages, however, they reduced purchasing power and thus limited the amount of goods they sold, so there was all this extra stuff lying around causing problems for companies.
- Corporate Debt – Companies overextended themselves and lied about their assets to get loans, which got the banking system all screwed up.
- Speculation – Ah, does this sound familiar? In addition to heavy investment by companies, people were buying on margin (put a down payment on stocks w/o having the money to pay the full amount, then buy more stocks on the profits), so when people tried to sell what they had bought on margin to minimize their losses prices collapsed and brokers were put into big trouble since they didn’t actually have the $ to pay people with.
- Lack of Recovery in Farming – Farmers never recovered from the post-war recession, as they faced a return of foreign competition and were often unable to repay their debts.
- Internat’l Problems – Following the war the US upped tariffs, which caused Europeans to stop buying our goods.
- Gov’t Policies – The gov’t followed very lassiez-faire policies w/easy credit and low discount rates, which stimulated the speculation mania.
– Then, as the 1930s began, things just seemed to get worse and worse, as banks collapsed, people lost their money and jobs, and “Hoovervilles” formed in major cities. Farm prices dropped even more, and entire families ended up leaving their homes in search of better times.
– Poor Herbert Hoover was the guy who got stuck w/dealing w/the result of a decade of crazed speculation. At first, urged by Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon, he did nothing, assuming it was just a natural boom-and-bust thing and that welfare would undermine American individualism.
– As things worsened, however, Hoover began to ask for promises from companies not to lower wages and ask for public works projects from state governors. Additionally, he created some new institutions (to varying results) as follows:
- POUR (President’s Organization on Unemployment Relief) – Asked for private donations for relief, but not very successful.
- Hoover/Grand Coulee Dams – This was more successful, as Hoover’s encouragement of public works did indeed provide new jobs.
- Federal Farm Board (created in 1929 under the Agricultural Marketing Act) – The FFB lent money to cooperatives so they could buy crops and thus keep them off the market.
- Reconstruction Finance Corporation – Theoretically, through lending money to groups at the top of the economy, the RFC was going to help people all over (filter-down system), but it didn’t work.
– But on the other hand, there was the Hawley-Smoot Tariff (1930) i.e. one of the biggest mistakes ever, as it raised tariffs ultra high and therefore totally killed off foreign trade. To balance the budget, Hoover then decreased expenditures and increased taxes (Revenue Act of 1932). Wow, somebody slap him!
– The basic problem was this: Hoover was too much of a traditionalist to give up the balanced budget idea (he vetoed a bunch of relief bills for this reason, and he also refused to repeal Prohibition). But as far as he could w/o giving that up, he did try to reform, so he can be thought of as a bridge between the 20s and FDR.
*The Presidential Election of 1932*
– The Republicans ran Hoover, e/t he was pretty much screwed due to his poor leadership abilities (no inspiring speeches and such), while the Democrats picked New York Governor Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who supported direct relief payments for the unemployed and extensive public works as governor.
– In order to find a good platform, Roosevelt gathered a “Brain Trust” of lawyers and university professors. Together, they decided that the gov’t had to regulate business and restore purchasing power to the masses by cutting production, which would lead to rising prices and rising wages (“economics of scarcity”).
– But Roosevelt also believed in direct unemployment relief and repealing prohibition, which, when combined with the whole Bonus Army debacle in 1932 (where WWI vets marched to Washington to ask for their pensions and had the army turn on them), led to a landslide victory for him.
*FDR’s First Term: The First Hundred Days and the New Deal*
– So, other than proclaim that we have nothing to fear but fear itself (in FDR’s inaugural address), which helped people stop freaking out, what the heck did FDR do? Let’s see…
- Bank Holiday – Right after being sworn in, FDR declared a four day bank holiday and called Congress for an emergency session (which would start the New Deal). The first measure was the Emergency Banking Relief Bill, which provided for the reopening of solvent banks and the reorganization of screwed up ones, and prohibited the hoarding of gold. It was still sort of conservative, though, b/c it left the same bankers in charge.
- Economy Act – This act balanced the budget by reducing veterans’ pensions and federal employees’ pay.
- Fireside Chats – These began in March 1933, and began with a message urging Americans to return their savings to banks, which they promptly did.
- Beer-Wine Revenue Act – This deflationary measure imposed new taxes on the sale of wines/beers. The repeal of Prohibition had been passed as the Twenty-First Amendment.
- Agricultural Adjustment Act – Meant to restore farmers’ purchasing power, the AAA had the gov’t pay farmers to reduce the amount of crops sold (this would increase prices). The support payments would be funded by taxes on processors of farm goods. This act raised a lot of opposition from people urging more money instead of fewer goods.
- Farm Credit Act & Home Owners Refinancing Act – The FCA provided short/medium loans to farmers so that they could keep their land, and the HORA helped home mortgages.
- Public Works – The CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) put many young men to work, as did the PWA (Public Works Administration, established as part of the NIRA) and the TVA.
- Federal Emergency Relief Act – This authorized a bunch of aid money to state/local gov’ts.
- National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) – This was the AAA for industry, and it established the National Recovery Administration (NRA), which regulated business through establishing fair production codes, limiting production and pricing, and guaranteeing the right of workers to unionize and bargain collectively.
- Federal Securities Act & Banking Act of 1933 – The FSA enforced rules among brokers, and the Banking Act set up the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to insure bank deposits. The US was also taken off the gold standard, so the Federal Reserve Board could expand the currency in circulation.
– Believe it or not, all those bills were passed in the Hundred Days, and they saved the nation from hysteria and panic. Other bills passed after in FDR’s first term include: the Commodity Credit Corporation (lent farmers money for keeping underpriced crops off the market), the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Taylor Act (established federal supervision of public lands).
*Opposition to the New Deal*
– Although the Democrats won big time in the Congressional elections in 1934 and the New Deal had made major progress, the problem was far from solved, and once there was partial recovery, people started whining about FDR’s policies.
– Many conservatives, for instance, said there was too much regulation, taxation, and government spending. The American Liberty League (conservative Democrats and corporation leaders) led this with calls that the New Deal was destroying the American individualistic tradition.
– On the flip side, some farmers/laborers and such felt the NRA set prices too high (favored big business) and that the AAA was no good b/c it led to waste when people were starving and didn’t encourage landlords to keep their tenant farmers, as was hoped.
– Then there were a series of demagogic attacks – i.e. people who went around conveniently blaming everything on some big power elites. Examples of these people include:
- Father Charles Coughlin: A Roman Catholic priest who specialized in anti-communism, anti-capitalism, and anti-Semitism – “conspiracy of Jewish bankers.”
- Francis Townsend: Old Age Revolving Pensions Plan, where the gov’t would give old people $ on the condition they spend it fast (to pump $ into the economy).
- Huey Long: “Every Man a King, but No One Wears a Crown.” At first a ND supporter, Long switched to the idea of the Share Our Wealth Society in 1934, which was basically a 100% tax rate on incomes over a million. Long was on the way up politically, but was assassinated.
– Of course, there were also socialists and the new Communist Party of the US, which had changed its strategy to supporting a “Popular Front” instead of trying to overthrow the gov’t.
– The biggest threat to the ND, though, was actually the Supreme Court, which felt the new legislation gave the President too much power. So in Schechter v. US (1935) they got rid of the NIRA (federal gov’t has no right to regulate intrastate business), and in US v. Butler the AAA was invalidated for the same reason.
*The Second New Deal and Roosevelt’s Second Term*
– As the election of 1936 approached, FDR was worried that his ND coalition was breaking up, so he decided to take the initiative again in 1935 and pass a bunch of new laws now referred to as the Second New Deal. The SND differed from the first b/c it bashed business more instead of cooperating w/it.
– Programs in the Second New Deal included:
- Emergency Relief Appropriation Act – Let the President establish big public works programs for the unemployed, like the Resettlement Administration, Rural Electrification Administration, and the Nat’l Youth Administration.
- Works Progress/Projects Administration (WPA) – Funded by the ERAA, the WPA was a major public works organization and also sponsored cultural programs that brought art to the people by employing artists, ex. Federal Writers Program, which was accused by some as being left-wing propaganda (since most involved were decidedly to the left).
- National Labor Relations (Wagner) Act – This act established the National Labor Relations Board, which was empowered to guarantee democratic union elections and stop unfair labor practices, like the firing of union members.
- Social Security Act – This act established old-age insurance in which workers paid taxes out of their wages, which were then matched by their employers and stored for use as benefits starting at age 65. The act also included other federal/state welfare programs.
- Public Utility Holding Company (Wheeler-Rayburn) Act & Wealth Tax Act – The tax act raised income taxes on rich people.
– Then the Presidential Election of 1936 rolled around, and FDR totally creamed the Republican nominee, and the Democrats gained in the Congress too. FDR’s supporters are known as the New Deal Coalition, and they consisted of urban (immigrant) workers, organized labor, the “Solid South,” and northern blacks.
– In FDR’s second term, however, the momentum of the ND started to fizzle out – partially b/c of FDR’s own actions, like the whole Court-Packing fiasco – FDR tried to use the Judiciary Reorganization Bill (1937) to allow him to add judges when old ones failed to retire (he wanted ND judges). But there was too much opposition and he had to settle w/providing pensions to retiring judges to encourage them to leave.
– Another problem was the “relapse” of 1937 – 1939, which was partially caused by FDR’s retightening of credit and cutbacks on federal spending. After that, FDR soon resumed deficit spending. Still, the ND was threatened in 1937/1938 as people suggested diverging paths for reform. And, in the end, FDR simply chose deficit financing to stimulate demand, and then dropped off on reforming around 1939 w/the war.
– The last important ND acts were: National Housing Act (1937), a new Agricultural Adjustment Act (1938), and the Fair Labor Standards Act (1938).
*Labor during the Great Depression*
– The Wagner Act, which gave workers the right organize unions and bargain collectively, was a big help to the labor movement, of course, although management still resisted by using the police to intimidate workers and stop strikes.
– Another problem was the competition between the AFL (craft unions) and the new industrial unions, which represented all workers in a given industry, skilled or unskilled. Attempts to join the two types of organizations together failed.
– In 1935 John L. Lewis then quit the AFL and formed the Committee for Industrial Organization (CIO), which led to the AFL then suspending the CIO unions, so the two separated totally. The CIO then went on to become a very pragmatic, influential organization that relied on new tactics like sit-down strikes.
– Management still sometimes resorted to violence, though, like in the Memorial Day Massacre, which occurred when strikers in front of the Republic Steel plant in Chicago were shot by the police in 1937.
*Racism during the Great Depression*
– African Americans, like the rest of the country, were hurt by the GD, as they were pushed deeper into poverty and segregation, as black unemployment rates were higher than for whites. Hoover was quite insensitive to race issues; he even tried to appoint an SC justice who supported black disenfranchisement.
– Scottsboro Trial (1931) – Nine black teens were arrested for throwing white hoboes off a train and were then accused and convicted (by a white jury) of rape. An SC ruling intervened, but they were still imprisoned.
– Organizations like the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and the militant Harlem Tenants League fought for civil rights and attacked discrimination, but they were for the most part ignored. NAACP lawyers, however, still made some gains in the SC ruling in Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada (1938).
– Then, with FDR’s election, blacks generally switched to the Democratic side, mainly b/c of the relief programs. FDR also had a “Black Cabinet,” as there had never been so many black advisers before.
– Still, FDR didn’t really care for black civil rights (he was also afraid of alienating voters in the South), so ND welfare programs often ended up excluded blacks from working or receiving aid. These inconsistencies spurred blacks to seek direct action, as they knew they couldn’t really rely on gov’t support.
– March on Washington Movement (1941) – In response to discrimination in the new jobs in the war industries, Randolph (leader of the porters’ union) came up with a huge march. Afraid it would lead to riots, FDR then promised to outlaw discrimination in war industries in exchange for a cancellation of the march.
– Executive Order No. 8802 – In exchange for the cancellation of the march, FDR established the Fair Employment Practices Committee (FEPC).
– Native Americans also were hurt even more by the GD, especially so b/c there had been a 1929 ruling that landless tribes couldn’t receive federal aid, so they had to wait until 1931, when the Bureau of Indian Affairs was finally given more money for relief.
– Indians actually benefited from the ND approach once it started: In 1934 the Indian Reorganization (Wheeler-Howard) Act restored lands to tribal ownership and outlawed its future division. And finally, under John Collier (he ran the BIA during the ND), Indian culture got some respect.
– Mexican-Americans, however, were majorily screwed during the GD b/c no gov’t programs helped them out since they were migratory farm workers. Only the Farm Securities Administration (1937) did something by setting up migratory labor camps, but it was too little too late.
Foreign Policy in the Interwar Years (1920 – 1941)
*1920 – 1930: Independent Internationalism and Idealism*
– In the interwar years, there is a great tendency to classify American foreign policy as isolationist. It wasn’t. Independent internat’lism is a better description – we kept our independence (unilateralism) but did become involved around the world through diplomacy, our economic interests, etc.
– Although we rejected the League of Nations, which turned out to be quite weak both because we ignored it and because its members refused to actually use it mediate disputes, Wilsonianism lived on through American peace organizations, which were especially popular among women.
– Some of the peace associations’ idealistic goals are reflected in a series of treaties/agreements:
- Washington Conference (1921 – 1922): In a series of conferences, delegates from several powers discussed naval disarmament. Three treaties were promulgated establishing ratios of naval power – the Five-Power Treaty (battleships, 5:3:1.75 ratio), the Nine-Power Treaty (Open Door China), and the Four-Power Treaty (possessions in the Pacific). However, there was no limit on other stuff or enforcement clauses.
- Locarno Pact (1925): Series of agreements that tried to reduce tension between Germany and France.
- Kellogg-Briand Pact (1928): Outlawed war. Too bad it didn’t work out.
– Additionally, throughout the 1920s Secretary of State Hughes felt that American economic expansion could help promote prosperity worldwide, eliminating the need for war. So the American Relief Administration delivered food to Europe both to stimulate growth and hopefully stop radicalism.
*1920 – 1930: Economic/Cultural Expansion and the Great Depression*
– Following WWI, the US was a creditor nation and the financial capital of the world. In addition to giving us power internationally this made it easier for us to spread our culture – Coca-Cola, movies, mass-production, and so on.
– The government helped the process of US economic and cultural expansion along…
- Webb-Pomerene Act (1918): Excluded companies set up for export trade from antitrust laws.
- Edge Act (1919): Allowed American banks to open foreign branches.
- The Dept. of Commerce also took it upon itself to gather information abroad. Foreign loans by American investors were also encouraged.
– Europeans watched nervously, and were just a little pissed about the US handling of WWI debts, which it insisted on collecting in full.
– The big issue really lay with Germany’s huge bills, which it began defaulting on due to inflation. US bankers then loaned money to Germany, which went to the Allies, and then back to the US. The Dawes Plan (1924) increased the cycle by providing more loans and reducing the yearly repayment.
– Then in 1928/1929, Americans stopped investing abroad and concentrated more on the stock market at home. The Young Plan (1928) reduced Germany’s reparations but was too little too late.
– The Great Depression brought the world economy to a standstill, and when Hoover declared a moratorium on payments in 1931, hardly any of the money had been repaid. Annoyed, we passed the Johnson Act (1934) forbidding loans to gov’ts not paying back.
– As the depression got worse, we exacerbated international problems by upping tariffs: Fordney-McCumber Act (1922) and Hawley-Smoot Act (1930). World trade declined, hurting all involved.
– Finally, in 1934 we passed the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act, which empowered the president to reduce tariffs through special agreements with foreign countries (most-favored-nation-principle entitled us to the lowest tariff rate set by any nation with which a friend nation had an agreement).
– The Export-Import Bank (1934) also helped things along by providing loans to foreigners for the purchase of American goods. In the long term, this stimulated trade and so forth. Still, in the short term, even the new economic programs had only mixed results. Uh oh…
*1920 – 1930: US Hegemony in Latin America*
– In the early 20th century, we had majorily gotten involved in Latin America through the Platt Amendment (Cuba, all treaties must have US approval, US basically controls gov’t), the Roosevelt Corollary (US as police power), the Panama Canal, and so on.
– This only increased after WWI, when we became involved in numerous aspects of Latin American life. Basically, we built stuff, changed tariff laws, invited companies in, and got rid of people we didn’t like, among other things. We occupied (at one time or another) Cuba, DR, Haiti, Panama & Nicaragua. PR was a colony.
– Criticism of our domination, however, also increased in the interwar years. Some charged that presidents were taking too much power in ordering troops abroad w/o a declaration of war, and business people worried that LA nationalists would get mad at their products too. And then talk about a double standard…
– Consequently, in the interwar years we shifted from military intervention to other methods: Pan-Americanism, support for local leaders, training nat’l guards, economic/cultural power, etc. E/t this didn’t start w/him, FDR wrapped it up nicely in 1933 by calling it the Good Neighbor Policy (nice imperialism).
– In order to avoid having to use our military power, we trained people to do it for us (nat’l guards) and supported dictators [“He may be a SOB, but he is our SOB” – FDR]…
- Dominican Republic – When we left in 1924, we gave them a present: a national guard and, soon enough, a nasty dictator who ruled until 1961, Trujillo.
- Nicaragua – Troops occupied from 1912 – 1925 and then returned for the civil war in 1926. We left as a result of anti-imperialist opposition, but left behind (again) a nat’l guard headed by Somoza, who ruled (horribly) until 1979.
- Haiti – Troops occupied from 1915 – 1934 and were their biggest trading partners. When we left, the country remained in a horrible condition, not that we gave a crap.
- Cuba – In 1933 Cubans rebelled against our dictator Machado, and the nat’lists took over and in defiance of the Platt Amendment. Naturally, we helped Batista overthrow the gov’t in 1934, and until 1959 we kept Cubans dependent on our economy, etc.
- Puerto Rico – E/t the Jones Act (1916) had made PRs US citizens, we didn’t like the idea of statehood or independence, and didn’t really give PR many of the ND programs. Both Nationalist and Popular Democratic Parties developed, and the argument continues until today about what status PR should have.
- Mexico – Wilson sent troops in 1914/1916 to deal w/the Revolution’s Anti-Americanism, but it only made it worse, and in 1917 the gov’t stated all land/water belonged to the nation (not to US corporations), so there were some problems w/US interests. Then in 1938 the gov’t expropriated the property of all foreign-owned oil companies. The US then reduced purchases from Mexico until a 1942 agreement had the US accept Mexican ownership of raw materials in exchange for compensation for lost US company property. Basically, they declared their independence (somewhat) from US Go Mexico!
– The Good Neighbor policy was also expressed through Pan-Americanism – i.e. we endorsed non-intervention, whatever that’s worth. This was what helped us get the Latin American regimes’ support during WWII (the ones we didn’t control by default, that is).
*The 1930s: The Prelude to World War in Europe*
– This is EHAP stuff, but to make a long story very short: Hitler was a nasty man who came to power in Germany in 1933. He then proceeded to withdraw from the League of Nations, stop paying reparations, and rearm. He sucked up to Mussolini, and then marched back into the Rhineland in 1936.
– The Rome-Berlin Axis was formed in 1936, and Germany and Japan joined in the Anti-Comintern Pact. Britain and France went for appeasement, letting Hitler get away with supporting Franco in the Spanish Civil War (1936 – 1939), and eat up parts of Czechoslovakia (Munich Conference).
– Hitler then signed the Nazi-Soviet Pact in 1939, and started looking at Poland, which Britain and France vowed to defend. So on September 1, 1939, when Hitler launched blitzkrieg against Poland, WWII began.
– During the 1930s, as far as we were concerned, the Soviets were also pretty rotten. We refused to open diplomatic relations w/the USSR for a while (“godless commies”).
– When trade began to fall, however, business leaders wanted access to new markets, which led FDR to grant the USSR recognition in 1933. Relations then deteriorated, especially after the 1939 Nazi-Soviet pact.
*The 1930s: Isolationism and Neutrality*
– As Europe got increasingly screwed up, our immediate response was, “Oh hell. Not again!” Isolationism was the order of the day in the 1930s. We intervened as little as possible militarily and kept our freedom of action in international relations until we had to do otherwise. We (thought) we had learned from WWI.
– Not all isolationists thought alike, obviously: Conservatives feared higher taxes and more presidential power, Liberals worried about war killing reform and obsession over the military instead of on domestic problems, and many worried about loss of freedoms at home.
– E/t isolationism was strongest among anti-British groups (like the Germans or the Irish), it basically was a nationwide thing that cut across party, race, and class lines.
– Some isolationists also charged that big business had self-interestedly promoted war back in WWI, and this led to the Nye Committee Hearings (1934 – 1936), in which evidence was uncovered that showed corporations had bribed foreign politicians to buy more arms.
– As a result, many grew suspicious of American business ties that could endanger neutrality this time around. This led to a series of new and improved neutrality acts that hoped to avoid the pitfalls that had caused involvement in WWI. As follows:
- Neutrality Act of 1935: Prohibited arms shipments to either side in a war once the president had declared the existence of belligerency.
- Neutrality Act of 1936: No loans to belligerents.
- Neutrality Act of 1937: Cash-and-Carry principle – warring nations trading w/the US had to pay cash for their nonmilitary purchases and carry the goods in their own ships. Also, Americans were prohibited from going on ships of the nations.
– For a long period in the 1930s, FDR was pretty isolationist, and wanted to focus on problems at home. Nevertheless, he ordered the largest peacetime defense budget ever in 1935, and was privately annoyed at Britain and France for not tackling the problem.
– By 1939 FDR asked Congress to repeal the arms embargo and let the cash-and-carry principle work for munitions. The embargo was lifted in November, and FDR continued to gradually push towards more involvement.
*The 1930s: Crises in Asia*
– Not wanting to be left out of the mess, Asia promptly followed Europe in getting itself screwed up. Unlike Europe, though, we had major interest in Asia – our islands, religious missionaries, trade, and the Open Door in China.
– As we became extra friendly w/the Chinese (under Jiang), the Japanese liked us less and less, as they had decided that they (not the US) would control Asia and exploit (I mean, use) other countries’ raw materials. The Japanese also weren’t so happy about the fact that we excluded them from coming to the US in 1924.
– So commercial and military rivalry between the US and Japan continued. Things got even worse in 1931 when the Japanese seized Manchuria. We didn’t have enough power to stop them, the LON did nothing, and they got away with it. Our only response was the Stimson Doctrine – we won’t recognize any impairment of China’s sovereignty, but we won’t talk about enforcement b/c we can’t.
– Then in 1937 the Sino-Japanese War began. FDR got away with giving arms to China by refusing to acknowledge the existence of war. FDR also made a speech in 1937 calling for a “quarantine” to stop the “epidemic of world lawlessness” – a definite shift towards more interventionist policies, in theory.
– In practice, though, after the Japanese “accidentally” sank the Panay in December, we just waited for Tokyo to apologize. For them, it was just a test of how ready and willing we were to fight.
– Anyhow, the whole idea of Japan’s Greater Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere and “New Order” scared the crap out of us, so we continued to give loans and munitions to China and embargoed shipments of airplanes to Japan. However, we kept shipping them other stuff, even up to 1939.
*1931 – 1941: Things Get Ugly*
– Even in 1939, most Americans wanted to remain at peace. There was an unusually high level of public interest, and more Americans than ever spoke out on foreign policy, mainly b/c of radio, and the ethnic affiliations of immigrants.
– Gradually, however, especially with the fall of France in June 1940, Americans began to change their minds (mainly liberals). FDR tried one last time to bring everyone to the peace table, but still waited for some incident to bring us in to the war. In 1940, he ran with promises of peace.
– In the meantime, he helped the Allies by selling surplus military equipment to them. He also passed the Selective Training and Service Act, the first peacetime draft. Mainly, though, he claimed if that the US could stay out by helping Britain win.
– The Lend-Lease Act of 1941 further helped the British (and Soviets) by allowing them to borrow money to buy weapons, and the US Navy patrolled halfway to Britain to ensure delivery of the goods. Then in August Churchill and FDR met on a battleship and issued the Atlantic Charter, a Wilsonian set of war aims.
– The US entered into an undeclared naval war w/Germany following the Greer Incident, in which a German sub shot at (but missed) the Greer. This gave FDR an excuse to get the US Navy to shoot on sight, and have American warships take British merchant ships across the ocean.
– Following the Greer, there was also the Kerney (they fired at our destroyer) and the Reuben James (they sank our destroyer) incidents. Consequently, Congress got rid of the cash-and-carry policy and allowed the US to ship munitions to Britain on armed merchant ships.
*Pearl Harbor and US Entry into the War*
– FDR actually hadn’t wanted to get involved with Asia at all, e/t he did embargo shipments of fuel and metal to Japan after the Tripartite Pact (September 1940), and once Japan occupied French Indochina in 1941, trade was ended altogether with Japan.
– Tokyo proposed a meeting, but the US rejected the idea, instead simply demanding that the Japanese agree to keep the Open Door in China (basically, to get out). FDR still saw Europe as more important, so he told his advisers to keep talks going to give him time to fortify the Philippines.
– Tokyo was getting impatient, though, and soon rejected demands to withdraw from Indochina. And e/t we had cracked their secret code, the Japanese found a way to completely surprise us on that day that will “live in infamy,” December 7, 1941 at Pearl Harbor.
– FDR asked and got a declaration of war, which, three days later, brought Germany and Italy in against the US. We signed allegiance to the Atlantic Charter, and joined the war…
World War II (1941 – 1945)
*The Course of the War*
– We won. Hah.
(Don’t worry: military history is NOT on the AP! I just summarized it a little more concisely this time, anyway!)
*The Wartime (and Post-War) Conferences*
– Now THIS is important. The key conferences are as follows:
- Teheran Conference (December 1943) – FDR, Stalin & Churchill met. The main issues were:
- The opening of a second front (the fact that they hadn’t already was annoying Stalin), which led to a decision to invade France in 1944.
- The USSR also promised to help against Japan as soon as Germany
- Dumbarton Oaks Conference – The US, GB, the USSR, and China basically talked over the details of the UN here, finally deciding on the Security Council/General Assembly we all know and love today.
- Yalta Conference (February 1945) – FDR, Stalin & Churchill once again. They discussed…
- Poland: After letting the Germans wipe out an uprising, the USSR had installed its own gov’t – but another one was still waiting in London. So it was decided that the USSR would get more territory but would (supposedly) use a coalition gov’t there.
- Germany: They decided upon its division into four zones, and a preliminary figure for reparations (most of which would go to the USSR).
- Stalin also promised (again) to declare war on Japan soon after Hitler lost and sign a treaty with Chiang in China (not Mao). In exchange, the USSR would get back some of the land it lost in the Russo-Japanese war.
- Yalta was the high water mark of diplomatic relations between the three and then…
- Potsdam Conference (July 1945) – Truman replaced FDR here. They discussed….
- Germany: They agreed on disarmament, dismantling of war industries, de-nazification, and war crimes trials.
- Japan: Unconditional surrender.
- Not much else was actually settled, as the spirit of unity had been broken and there was much haggling about gaining/losing territory & spheres of influence and so on…
– That’s all.
*World War II: The Home Front*
– In many ways, what occurred on the home front in WWII is very similar to what occurred during WWI, although there were also some significant differences. Here’s what you should remember about the home front in WWII:
- Propaganda – FDR started out by getting everybody geared up with his Four Freedoms idea (speech, worship, want, fear), and telling people they had to go out and fight for the American Way of Life. To help get the idea around, he established the Office of War Information (1942) to take charge of the matter – Hollywood joined in too, of course (Capra’s Why We Fight).
- Gov’t Regulation of the Economy – As follows…
- Office of Price Administration (1942): The OPA quickly went to work controlling inflation through price ceilings on commodities and rents, as well as establishing rationing through local War Price & Rationing Boards. Many businesses protested, and blamed the OPA for scarcity, but tough luck for them.
- War Production Board (1942): Following Pearl Harbor, the WPB was established to convert the economy from civilian to military production.
- War Manpower Commission (1942): Recruited workers for the factories.
- Gov’t Incentives in Business: The gov’t guaranteed profits (cost-plus-fixed-fee contracts), lowered taxes, and excluded businesses from antitrust laws. Witness the rise of the dreaded military-industrial complex.
- Results of the Wartime Economy – As always, unemployment basically vanished, and people started making more than ever. The gov’t didn’t even bother to overtax them, instead relying on deficit financing. Also, industry (and especially agriculture) experienced yet another period of consolidation.
- Federal Support of Science & Technology – Like business, scientific enterprises all got bigger as the gov’t poured $ into big universities and military/science projects.
- Growth of Organized Labor – A labor/management conference agreed (after PH) to a no strike/lockout pledge to guarantee war production. The NWLB was then created to oversee any disputes – unions were allowed, but workers couldn’t be forced into them either. It wasn’t all good, though, b/c when the NWLB tried to limit wage increases in 1943, workers struck big time, leading to the War Labor (Smith-Connally) Act (1943), which gave the president authority to seize and operate plants w/strikes if needed for nat’l security, and gave the NWLB the authority to settle disputes for the duration of the war.
- Growth of the Federal Gov’t – The gov’t increased both its size and power during the war, esp. the executive branch, which now also had to manage the labor supply and control inflation.
- Japanese Internment – Also as a result of the war, thousands of Japanese citizens were “relocated” to internment camps.
- Opportunities for African Americans – Although blacks were able to find jobs in the military and in cities (Executive Order No. 8802 outlawed discrimination in defense industries), they still faced major problems and race riots in the cities (1943). Membership in civil rights organizations increased as a result.
- Opportunities for Women – In addition to being more involved in the actual army/navy action, women took new war production jobs.
– So there you have it. No more outlining of the book for me tonight, sorry. This will have to be a short one.
Postwar America (1945 – 1961)
*Truman’s First Term: Domestic Policies*
– Truman had become President after FDR’s death, and was subsequently the one who had to face the possible economic consequences of demobilization – as war contracts were cancelled and price controls removed, cutbacks in production led to layoffs and inflation.
– Truman responded by decided to combat unemployment through expansion on the New Deal programs like unemployment compensation, minimum wage, farm supports, public works, and so on. He also brought back the idea of FDR’s Economic Bill of Rights (everyone deserves a job).
– It turned out, though, that while there was temporary high unemployment the economy remained stable and even boomed! Why? People had saved up during the war, and easy credit promoted buying. The only big problem was inflation, spurred by shortages of goods and housing.
– However, inflation soon led to a decline in real income (purchasing power), so workers became discontented b/c they felt they weren’t sharing in the widespread prosperity. In 1946, unions responded by ordering nationwide shutdowns and strikes.
– This further limited production and created more inflation, so many people began to get very pissed at the unions, including Truman, who declared to Congress that if an industry vital to nat’l security refused to return to work, all the workers would be drafted into the army. This really angered labor, though!
– Another debacle occurred w/Truman’s handling of the OPA (price controls), which big business & consumers wanted lifted. When they did expire, however, inflation rose further. People blamed Truman, leading to the Republican majority in both houses in the 1946 elections.
– Taft-Hartley Act (1947) à Prohibited the closed shop (union only), permitted states to ban union-shop agreements, forbade union contributions to candidates in federal elections, forced union leaders to swear in affidavits that they were not communists, and mandated an 80 day cooling off period before carrying out strikes. This enraged labor, but helped Truman, who was vindicated in their eyes through his veto.
– The Republican Congress also offended other groups, like farm organization, with their obliviousness to public demands. Still, though, it seemed like they had a sure Presidential victory.
*Truman’s Second Term: Domestic Policies*
– Anyway, in the Presidential Election of 1948, in addition to the Republican candidate, Thomas Dewey (G-NY), Truman faced two other parties: (1) the Progressive Party, which advocated friendly relationships w/the USSR, racial desegregation, and the nationalization of basic industries and ran Henry Wallace, a New Dealer who had been fired by Truman for criticizing US foreign policy and (2) the Dixiecrats, who ran Strom Thurmond of SC and consisted of anti-civil rights Southerners.
– So, basically, most people felt that Truman was totally screwed. As a last ditch tactic, he called the all Republican Congress into a special session and challenged it to enact all their plans. They did nothing in the end, giving Truman the opportunity to go around the country taking about the “do-nothing” Congress.
– And Truman won! Why? Well, the US was doing well economically, at peace, and united on foreign policy. Plus, the ND coalition – blacks, union members, urban ethnics, and most of the South – still remained, and farmers joined as they worried the Republicans would lower price supports.
– So Truman started off again all confident and excited – he had a program called the Fair Deal, which he hoped (but largely failed) to implement. The programs he did manage to get passed are as follows:
- Welfare/Relief – He extended minimum wage, extended Social Security coverage to thousands of people, passed a Housing Act, and passed the Agricultural Act of 1949, which gave farmers 90% of the market price as supports.
- Civil Rights – He desegregated the military, appointed more blacks than ever to high offices, and created a President’s Committee on Civil Rights, which wrote what was to become the agenda for the movement in the coming years – To Secure These Rights (1947).
- Displaced Persons Act – He passed an act to allow more refugees into the country.
– However, his attempts to modify TH, pass a civil right bill, establish national health coverage, and get more money for education were blocked by the Republican Congress and special interests.
– Truman’s most significant legacy, however, is that he strengthened the powers of the Presidency and made many WWII agencies permanent – Atomic Energy Commission, Department of Defense, CIA.
*The Eisenhower Presidency: Domestic Policies*
– The Presidential Election of 1952 was a huge victory for war hero Dwight D. Eisenhower, who ran promising to end the war in Korea and the whole virtuous-decent-friendly guy deal (“I Like Ike”). Besides winning the presidency, the Republicans once again got both houses of Congress.
– Overall, Eisenhower was a very popular President who relied a lot on the delegation of authority to cabinet members and didn’t have a clue what the heck was going on. This wasn’t such a big deal, b/c his years in office were about the status quo & conformity (“consensus mood”) where talk of reform became unpatriotic.
– Both Democrats and Republicans alike avoided extremism (stuck with the center), and Eisenhower himself came up with “dynamic conservatism” – we can’t remove the New Deal, so we’ll live with it and try to represent business and balance the budget anyway.
– What did Eisenhower do during his first term? He built a canal (spur economic development in Midwest), amended the Social Security Act to add people, reformed taxes, and passed the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, which gave private companies the right to use nuclear power.
– Eisenhower also changed policies regarding Native Americans. His policy of termination (1953) forced NAs into American culture by getting rid of reservations, ending tribal sovereignty and federal services, and making Indians subject to state laws. This was supposed to help states’ rights and lower costs, but it was mainly motivated by land greed (as ever).
– Although the Congressional elections of 1954 gave the Democrats control of both houses of Congress, Eisenhower was reelected in a landslide victory in the Presidential Election of 1956.
*Eisenhower’s Second Term: Domestic Policies*
– In his second term, Eisenhower faced rising costs (partially b/c of America’s involvement globally) but ended up going with deficit spending due to the military budget and three short recessions.
– In 1958 Eisenhower faced further problems when Sherman Adams (the President’s chief aide) resigned under suspicion of a scandal, and the Republicans lost big time in the 1958 Congressional elections. Then in 1960 there was a recession, and the whole U-2 plane incident (more on that later).
– Although Eisenhower was popular, in retrospect, he did avoid dealing with the major issues of poverty, urban decay, and civil rights – and he authorized CIA covert operations. Nevertheless, just before leaving office, he was eerily prescient in his warnings against the “military-industrial complex.”
*McCarthyism – The Red Scare Redux*
– McCarthyism was a major problem in both the Truman and Eisenhower administrations, and can basically be summarized as mass hysteria and overreaction to the idea of the Communist threat. Anti-communism had already surfaced in the Red Scare in the early 1920s, and e/t the Communist Party grew during the Depression, the Cold War brought the whole anti-communist deal back big time.
– Anyhow, here’s how anti-communism began under Truman…
- Investigations of US Gov’t Employees: Truman helped begin the circus in 1947 by ordering investigations in the loyalty of employees of the US gov’t.
- This bred a whole atmosphere of fear and accusations ran rampant – in addition to the Hollywood Ten in the movie industry, teachers, professors, and union leaders were all targeted by the gov’t and by each other. This was especially harmful to the Unions.
- Alger Hiss Case (1949) à State Department official Alger Hiss was accused by confirmed spy Whittaker Chambers of giving him classified documents. He was defended by Truman, and ended up being convicted of perjury (not espionage).
- The Rise of McCarthy: It was in the midst of this whole deal that Senator Joseph McCarthy started waving around his lists of confirmed communists (they were really shopping lists, apparently). When this turned out to be a winning campaign issue, he stuck to it, and (for a time) seemed invulnerable.
- Julius & Ethel Rosenberg Case (1950): The Rosenbergs were accused of passing atomic secrets to the USSR and were executed in 1953 (under Eisenhower).
- Internal Security (McCarran) Act (1950) – Targeted Communist front-group orgs. by forcing them to register w/the gov’t and prohibiting them from holding defense jobs or traveling.
- Dennis et al. v. US (1951) – This SC decision upheld the Smith Act (1940), under which CP leaders had been arrested, due to the precedent set by Schenk v. US and the whole “clear and present danger” deal on free speech.
– Then, under Eisenhower, there was more of the same. McCarthy continued his demagogic attacks, and Eisenhower avoided confronting him lest it split the Republican Party. Additionally…
- Eisenhower attacked communists himself though a 1953 executive order that allowed federal workers to be dismissed as “security risks.”
- Communist Control Act (1954): This act, which received widespread bipartisan support, effectively made membership in the CP illegal.
- Army-McCarthy Hearings (1954): McCarthy finally fell after he attacked the US In the hearings, his vile treatment of witnesses and general obnoxiousness got him condemned for sullying the dignity of the Senate.
– E/t McCarthy finally fell the hysteria had already taken its toll on the American tradition of free speech.
*The Civil Rights Movement*
– The Cold War ended helping the civil rights movement b/c the US couldn’t make a big fuss about human rights if it didn’t live up to its own ideals either. Additionally, the blacks that had migrated to the cities in WWII began to control the political “balance of power” in the cities, and thus became important.
– Subsequently Truman (in addition to genuinely believing in civil rights) had reasons to support it – in 1946, he created the President’s Committee on Civil Rights, which basically summed up the civil rights movement in their report To Secure These Rights (1947) – i.e. anti-lynching & anti-segregation laws.
– Congress, however, didn’t act on the Committee’s suggestions – e/t Truman did in the end issue two executive orders ending discrimination in the federal gov’t: one was on fair employment (Employment Board of the Civil Service Commission), and the other desegregated the army (another committee to oversee).
– A series of SC decisions also helped African Americans…
- NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund (Thurgood Marshall & Charles Hamilton Houston) worked against the separate but equal policies and got many blacks into universities.
- Smith v. Allwright (1944) – White-only Democratic Primaries in some states were outlawed.
- Morgan v. Virginia (1946) – No more segregation in interstate bus transportation.
- Shelley v. Kraemer (1948) – Outlawed agreements among white not to sell houses to blacks.
- Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954) – The NAACP challenge to school segregation succeeded on the grounds that separate facilities denied kids equal protection under the law (feeling of inferiority generated). Still, the SC didn’t order desegregation directly until a year later, and even then there was no definite schedule, so Southern schools resisted.
– In general, much of the South resisted the push towards civil rights – White Citizens’ Councils created to resist the school order – and Northern cities maintained a policy of segregation in terms of housing.
– And the election of Eisenhower didn’t help as Ike ignored the issue (like he did everything else) hoping it would gradually resolve itself – i.e. he objected to compulsory federal segregation laws, therefore encouraging white noncompliance to orders through his lack of leadership.
– Then in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957, the test of school integration occurred when whites tried to block the 8 black kids from entering Central High. In the end, Eisenhower was forced to send army paratroopers to ensure their safety. In response, schools were closed for the following 2 years to avoid desegregation.
– There was also the whole Rosa Parks and Montgomery Bus Boycott deal in 1955 – after Parks was arrested, blacks under the leadership of MLK, a follower of Gandhi and advocate of non-violent protest, boycotted the buses until they were integrated – partially b/c of economic reasons and partially b/c of an SC decision that declared the segregation laws unconstitutional.
– Civil Rights Act (1957) – Created the US Commission Civil Rights to investigate discrimination, but proved ineffective.
– As a result, blacks started a campaign of sit-ins in the South, which helped by giving their cause publicity and demonstrating the brutality of Southern Whites who attacked the non-violent protestors. The SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordination Committee) was formed b/c of the sit-ins.
*The 1950s: Comfort, Consumerism & Conformity*
– First of all, the 1950s were (for most) an era of unprecedented prosperity and expansion. More specifically:
- The Postwar Economic Boom: Increasing output & increasing demand – it really was that simple. Economist Galbraith called it the “affluent society” – productivity increased, people wanted more stuff, and they used consumer credit to keep buying, which caused profits (and paychecks) to go up, spurring more consumerism, and so on. Per capita real income (adjusted for inflation) jumped up, as did standard of living (for most).
- The Baby Boom: The baby boom was actually both a cause and effect of the new prosperity, as the new population generated new needs for services, esp. in the three industries that expanded most – construction, cars, and defense (well maybe not that).
- Housing & Highway Boom: The GI mortgages and Federal Housing Administration insurance led to an explosion in home building and buying – prefabricated suburbia. Tons of new highways were built, which also speed up the process of suburbanization.
- Military Spending: The other big reason for the economic boom was military spending, which also helped advance the electronics industry.
- Consolidation & Conglomerate Mergers: Due to the new technologies, industry ownership became increasingly concentrated as only the big companies had the $ to buy the new stuff. Conglomerate mergers (when unrelated industries join together to stabilize markets) became increasingly common. Even agriculture became dominated by big, mechanized farm companies – no more family farms, fewer tenant farmers.
- Labor Merger: Finally the AFL and CIO joined back up again, but union membership still didn’t increase all that much, probably b/c most workers were doing quite well.
- Environmental Costs – We screwed up the environment by dumping waste everywhere and spraying DDT (Rachel Carson, Silent Spring). We also wasted a lot of stuff. Sound familiar?
– As for 1950s culture, here are some of the main themes:
- Conformity: The rat-race, status seeking suburbia, materialism…basically the same as suburbia now only people had strange looking black & white TV sets.
- Education: Education was a big concern, and many GIs went to college w/the provisions of the GI Bill of Rights. Parents also became obsessed w/their kids as successful students (we wouldn’t know anything about that, would we) and joined the PTA and so on. Education also became a nat’l security deal with the Sputnik thing (“their scientists are beating our scientists”) so the NDEA was passed to enrich high school programs.
- Religion: Religion was seen as very American – in 1954 they added that little “under God” phrase to the Pledge.
- Television: Evangelists and car salesmen had a new way to be heard, and heard they were as families spend their time glued in front of the “idiot box.” Oh well.
- Women’s Roles: There was a cult of motherhood on one side, but the growing trend of women in the labor force on the other.
- Youth Subculture: Music (oh dear – Elvis!) and movies like Rebel Without A Cause catered to bored teenagers dissatisfied with blah middle class conformity.
- Beat Generation: On the sidelines, a few serious artists tried to speak about America’s problems. The Beats (Allen Ginsberg, etc.) rejected conformity and embraced sexuality and drugs – they were largely ignored in the 1950s but then were rediscovered in the 1960s.
– The general prosperity notwithstanding, there was a large group of other Americans – immigrants, blacks, inner city dwellers, rural poor, Native Americans – that remained unaffected by the outburst of new products and stayed very poor. But they were largely ignored.
The [Early] Cold War (1945 – 1961)
*General Origins of the Cold War*
– Following the war, the US & USSR developed a tremendous rivalry. This was for several reasons…
- Power Vacuum – Following the collapse of Germany and Japan and the devastation of much of Europe, there was the question of how rebuilding would commence, and who would have hegemony in the areas where the Axis once dominated.
- Decolonization – Another source of instability was the disintegration of the big empires and the creation of the new “Third World” countries, which both the US and USSR hoped to win over as military bases and markets.
- Failure of Diplomacy – Diplomacy was largely ignored b/c both countries were thoroughly convinced they were completely right, and weren’t willing to accept “appeasement.”
- US Economic/Strategic Needs – The US knew that its economic well being depended on exports, and therefore wanted to continue the trend towards economic expansionism through an active foreign policy. Also, the increasingly interconnected world (faster travel, etc.) made the US feel it was important to establish defense away from home.
- Truman’s Tough Style – Truman was not a good diplomat.
- US Suspicion of Soviet Intentions – Throughout the Cold War the US obsessed over what the USSR could and wanted to do. They really weren’t as much of a menace as we thought, but we still were concerned they could take over our interests in Western Europe.
– Basically, only US influence was allowed, so as soon as the USSR started taking interest in new territory we lost it…
*The Cold War under Truman*
– After the war ended, the US & USSR lost no time in getting each other mad. As follows:
- Soviet Expansion: In 1945 The USSR didn’t allow the Polish gov’t that had been in exile in London to join their new communist gov’t in Lublin (as they had promised). They also took over Romania, and encouraged coups in Hungary (1947) and Czechoslovakia (1948). The Soviets claimed the US was doing the same thing, and complained about the double standard.
- Atomic Diplomacy: The USSR whined that the US was trying to scare them into concessions b/c of their monopoly on the atomic bomb. Then Truman refused to turn the bomb over to an internat’l institution and backed the Baruch Plan instead – the US would give up its atomic monopoly if all the world’s fissionable materials were given to an agency. The Soviets felt this would let the US continue researching the bomb w/o letting anyone else…
- World Bank/IMF: After clashing on several fronts (reconstruction loans, Iran, etc.) in 1946, the USSR decided not to join the new institutions, believing them to be too US dominated (and also b/c they were capitalist). Still, the IMF opened and began making loans.
– This caused more paranoia and obsession on both sides, and we responded with the…
- Truman Doctrine (1947): After the British asked for US help in Greece (to defend their client gov’t against a leftist uprising) Truman gave a speech to sell the idea to Congress that defined the Truman Doctrine – “It must be the policy of the US to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.” The US backed both Greece (gov’t won in 1949) and Turkey (because big US ally) as a result.
- X Article: After Truman’s speech, George Kennan (writing as “Mr. X”) published an article on containment of Soviet power – confronting the USSR with a strong counterforce anywhere they showed signs of expansion.
- Marshall Plan (1947): In order to prevent radicalism through the sponsorship of international prosperity, the US began a huge European recovery program – money was sent, but it had to be spent in the US on US-made products (to stimulate our economy). It was mixed success, as it caused inflation and divided Europe even more (East/West) in addition to spurring industrial progress. From our POV, though, it was excellent b/c it helped contain communism.
- National Security Act (1947): This act created the Office of Secretary of Defense (later the Dept. of Defense) and the CIA (“The Department of Dirty Tricks”).
- Fulbright Program (1948): This program of exchange students tried to blunt anti-Americanism and aid cultural exchanges – there was also the Congress for Cultural Freedom.
- Rio Pact (1947) & Organization of American States (1948): Both these military alliances were in Latin America and served to protect American interests and boost the militaries of LA states.
– Other key events in the early Cold War:
- Recognition of Israel (1948): Truman did this to gain Jewish votes and get another ally.
- Berlin Blockade/Airlift (1948): After the US, France and GB agreed to merge their German zones, the USSR cut off access to all of Berlin, prompting a US airlift of supplies there until May 1949 and the foundation of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany).
- Point Four Program (1949): This was an aid program for the Third World that helped to win allies onto our side. It later became part of the Mutual Security Agency.
- NATO (1949): We formed a Western Europe security pact, which caused some domestic debate (no alliances since 1778) since some felt it would force us into war. But it was ratified.
- NSC-68 (1950): After the double shock of the USSR exploding its first bomb and China going communist, the Nat’l Security Council came up w/this report asking for more $ for the military.
*The Cold War in Asia*
– Like Europe, Asia became involved in the conflicts of the Cold War.
- Japan: In Japan, the US monopolized reconstruction through military occupation under MacArthur, who started a “democratic revolution from above.” In 1951, we signed a separate peace w/Japan that ended occupation. A Mutual Security Treaty the next year provided for the stationing of our forced on their soil.
- China: We didn’t do so well in China, where we insisted on backing Chiang against Mao, who we refused to talk to once he did come to power in 1949 (this pushed him over to the USSR, but that relationship didn’t last either – Stalin & Mao didn’t get along). Anyway, we didn’t recognize the actual gov’t of China in 1979.
- Vietnam: During WWII, Ho Chi Minh, while planning to free the nation from the French, also fought against the Japanese (with our help). Once we “lost China,” though, we decided to back a restoration of French rule in order to (1) gain French cooperation, (2) have more economic hegemony in the areas, and (3) Ho was a communist, so we thought he was Soviet-sponsored. Anyway, in 1950 we decided to recognize the puppet gov’t under Bao Dai and start sending weapons and advisers to the French. More on this later…
– Then there was the whole Korean War issue, which bears going into. The KW began as a civil war in 1950 when North Korea moved across into South Korea (the two parts had been divided in 1945 w/US & USSR approval). Both leaders hoped to reunify the nation, but Truman thought that the USSR had planned the whole thing (he hadn’t really, and had barely been convinced to help at all).
– Anyway, the United Nations then voted on helping South Korea, and since Stalin wasn’t there (he had walked out b/c of the China deal) it went through. MacArthur became commander of UN forces (90% US), and they fought until they not only passed the original boundary but went into NK (hoping to reunify).
– UN forces went deep into NK until they were stooped by a surprise counterattack by Chinese forces. This sent them back to the 38th parallel (original boundary) and e/t MacArthur wanted to go fight China, Truman told him off and then fired him as a result.
– Fighting went on as the POW issue stalled negotiations (US officials said only the prisoners that wanted to go back would be returned, and NK countered by saying they wouldn’t return anyone). An armistice was finally signed in 1953 – the POW question was handed over to a board of neutral nations, who ended up giving the prisoners their choice, and the border went to the 38th parallel again w/a demilitarized zone.
– Domestically, the war helped get Eisenhower elected, and also gave the President more power, since he had never asked Congress for a declaration of war prior to sending the troops.
– Overall, Truman’s legacy was a very militarized foreign “containment” policy on a global scale.
*The Cold War under Eisenhower*
– Eisenhower basically kept up Truman’s policies and made sure the more hawkish (to say the least) John Foster Dulles (Secretary of State) didn’t get out of control. Dulles was totally anti-communist (and anti-compromise) and called for “liberation” (instead of containment) & “brinksmanship” (taking the country to the edge of war and relying on MAD), and popularized the Domino Theory (if one goes they all will).
– Eisenhower, however, did rely increasingly on the CIA to buy out foreign leaders, labor unions, newspapers and political parties. The CIA also planted fake stories in newspapers, trained foreign military officials, experimented w/mind control drugs, and launched covert operations to subvert Third World gov’ts.
– The Eisenhower administration also tried to spread American culture in the USSR and the East (to spark discontent) through the United States Information Agency, which funded the Voice of America. There was also Radio Free Europe & Radio Liberty, funded by the CIA, which sent anti-Soviet messages, some of which got through.
– Meanwhile (“kitchen debates” notwithstanding) the arms race intensified under Eisenhower with the explosion of the Hydrogen bomb, the first ICBM (USSR), and then Sputnik (1957), which caused a big ruckus over here and got us to start NASA in 1958. E/t we actually had a lot more missiles & crap, we kept worrying about the (non-existent) “missile gap” and building more.
– In fact, this even got to be a bit much for Eisenhower (it was tough to balance the budget) so in 1957 some arms-control proposals were started like the “atoms for peace” initiative, the “open skies” proposal, and bans on testing. But none of these agreements really worked out despite talks in Geneva in 1955.
– Some specific incidents under Eisenhower include:
- Hungary (1956): When Khrushchev came to power he denounced Stalin and called for more toleration, which inspired revolts in Poland and Hungary. But after the new Hungarian gov’t decided to withdraw form the Warsaw Pact Soviet troops crushed the rebellion – and e/t we’d been sending all that liberation stuff over the radio, we didn’t do anything (we couldn’t w/o starting some huge war).
- Khrushchev’s Ultimatum (1958): The USSR got mad b/c we had bombers in West Germany, and announced that unless we began talks on German reunification and rearmament they would recognize East German control of all of Berlin. We refused to do anything, and he backed off – it was basically a test.
- U-2 Incident (1960): Well, in Dublin, Ireland, this really cool band was formed and then – oh crap, wrong U2, haha I’m obsessed! Anyway, this U-2 plane was flying over the USSR and it was shot down, leading to some embarrassment for us, esp. when we refused to apologize.
- Jinmen-Mazu Crisis: This was a dispute over two tiny islands off the Chinese coast with China (go figure) – we were allowing Chiang to use the islands to as outposts to raid the mainland, so China started bombing them. Eisenhower decided to defend the outposts, pushing the nation to the brink – the Formosa Resolution (1955) authorized the president to send US forces to defend the islands. The issue came up again in 1958, but this time we told Chiang to get rid of some of his troops, which led China to stop dropping bombs. China got the bomb in 1964.
– Meanwhile, Japan grew (economically) at an incredible rate – while remaining an uneasy Cold War ally. Western Europeans were also a little scared by McCarthyism, German rearmament and the Vietnam deal, and resented being treated as dependents by the US in the name of “community.”
*The Emergence of the Third World*
– Due to decolonization, a ton of new states were formed – and before long, once all the other countries declared their allegiances in the Cold War, US and Soviet attention shifted the Third World, which could provide markets, supplies of raw materials, and provide sites for military and intelligence bases.
– As this wasn’t exactly what most of the Third World had in mind the US began to turn a ton of resources towards it – and it wasn’t all aid (based on the views of MIT professor Walt Rostow, Stages of Economic Growth) and propaganda (the good ol’ US Information Agency) either – we supported nasty dictators, got into civil wars, and used CIA covert operations to squash revolutions.
– Nevertheless, some countries – India, Ghana, Egypt, Indonesia, and others – still managed to stay out of it by declaring themselves non-aligned. They then organized at the Bandung Conference (in Indonesia), which got Dulles all annoyed – hey, they have to take sides, our side, I mean.
– The US (as always) believed that the Third World needed some tutoring in how to establish a nice capitalist democracy (just like ours), and depicted Third World peoples as dependent, irrational, and weak. Race attitudes also hurt relationships – they made us look bad – as we weren’t exactly living up to all our ideals.
*American Intervention in the Third World*
– More specifically, here’s where and what we did:
- Guatemala: In 1951 leftist leader Guzmán was elected President, and once he deiced to expropriate all of United Fruit’s (big US company) unused land (he offered compensation) UF officials claimed he was a communist, which led to the generation of a CIA plot to overthrow him. In 1954 CIA-supported troops drove him from power, and the new pro-US regime returned the land before a huge civil war erupted.
- Cuba: In 1959 the Cuban Revolution erupted – Batista was ousted, and Fidel Castro took control. From the start Castro was anti-American, and got rid of a lot of our business interests, which (in addition to his growing popularity and authoritarianism) scared the crap out of Washington. And once the US cut purchases of Cuban sugar, Castro nationalized all our companies and asked the USSR for loans and more trade to hold off the US. Eisenhower broke diplomatic relations in 1961, leaving the whole Bay of Pigs debacle for Kennedy.
- Puerto Rico: In PR, Operation Bootstrap encouraged companies to invest in tourism and other industries.
- Middle East: In the Middle East we encountered challenges from Arab nationalists to our support of Israel and oil holdings (Iran was our special oil source in exchange for CIA help in the overthrow of the Shah’s nationalistic rival).
- Suez Crisis: Since we hated Egypt’s nationalist leader Nasser (non-alignment, pan-Arabism) we suddenly decided we wouldn’t help Egypt finance the Aswan Dam as promised. However, Nasser responded by nationalizing the Suez Canal (and using those profits), which caused the Israelis (w/GB & French support) to invade Suez in 1956. Fearing it would force the Egyptians into the arms of the USSR, Eisenhower told them to pull out, which they did – Egypt took control of the canal, the USSR built the Dam, and Nasser became a big hero.
- Eisenhower Doctrine (1957): To try to improve our position in the ME, Eisenhower declared that the US would intervene in the ME if any gov’t threatened by a communist takeover asked for help. This led to troops being sent to Lebanon in 1958.
– And then there was the big story: Vietnam. Here’s how it all started. Even though the US was helping them, the French were losing big time to the Vietminh (Ho’s forces). Finally, at Dienbienphu (1954) the French surrendered (despite US attempts to rally a coalition around them).
– France wanted out, so at the Geneva peace talks (US, USSR, GB, China, and the two Vietnamese regimes) the Geneva Accords were established, which temporarily divided Vietnam at the 17th parallel (military truce line) until unification via nat’l elections in 1956. Until then, no foreign troops or alliances.
– We didn’t really mean that, though, b/c as soon as the conference ended CIA teams went to Vietnam and began secret operations against the North. We also joined in SEATO (sort of like NATO) and made one of the goals be to protect Vietnam.
– Then we decided to get rid of Bao Dai (original puppet ruler) and replace him with Diem, who staged a phony election in the South and then refused the call for nat’l elections. We helped his army and gave tons of aid, but Diem insisted on acting dictatorially until nobody liked him anyway.
– Consequently, resistance began to build, and in early 1959 Ho finally started sending aid to the insurgents, who terrorized the area and organized the National Liberation Front (NLF) or Vietcong. This set off a civil war in which we backed Diem against Ho, who we thought was a global communist agent or something.
– And on that depressing note, to be continued…