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Arts and Humanities
History of the Americas
social studies final
Terms in this set (22)
Arriving in America
Before 1880, most immigrants living in America came from countries in Northern or Western Europe. Between 1880 and 1924, about 25 million new immigrants came to the United States. Many came from countries in Southern or Eastern Europe such as Italy, Russia, Hungary, Greece, and Poland. Some immigrants came looking for jobs. Others were escaping persecution. Most immigrants found greater political freedom in the United States. Arriving immigrants had to pass through immigration stations, such as Ellis Island in New York Harbor and Angel Island in San Francisco Bay. Government officials asked immigrants about their plans. They were checked for diseases. Many immigrants from China came to the west coast. Asian immigrants faced more prejudice than European immigrants. More Chinese immigrants were turned away and sent back to China.
Living in a New Country
Immigrants often lived in large cities. Immigrants had their own languages, religions, and customs. They lived in neighborhoods with family or friends that belonged to their ethnic group. Life was hard for immigrants. Many lived in tenements. Many immigrants worked in dangerous factories. Businesses hired immigrants because they worked many hours and were not paid a lot of money. Some Americans worried that immigrants would take their jobs. They did not want immigrants to speak other languages or follow other customs. Immigrants faced prejudice from some Americans. In 1921 and 1924, Congress limited the number of immigrants that could come to the United States.
Immigrants helped to make the United States one of the richest, fastest-growing countries in the world. Immigrants built railroads, dug mines, and worked in factories.
A Time of Invention
In the late 1800s, inventions changed people's lives. Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. People in different places could talk to each other. Thomas Edison invented light bulbs. Electric lights kept streets bright at night. Factories and shops could stay open longer.
New machines and technologies helped businesses grow. Andrew Carnegie used a new invention to start his steel company. John D. Rockefeller started Standard Oil. The company became a corporation. It bought small companies. This got rid of competition. Standard Oil became a monopoly. It owned 90 percent of America's oil. No competition meant consumers had fewer choices. Monopolies could provide poor service or charge higher prices. After making large fortunes, Carnegie and Rockefeller gave millions of dollars to schools, libraries, churches, and hospitals.
Workers' Lives Change
Factories hired many people to run machines. Factory work was boring and dangerous. Workers did the same thing for ten or twelve hours a day. They often worked in unsafe conditions. Factory workers did not make much money. Some families needed more money to survive. They sent their children to work. Factory workers formed labor unions. They had more power as a group. They wanted businesses to change. Unions wanted safer work. They wanted an eight-hour day and better pay. They did not want children to work. Unions used strikes. Businesses fought back. Some strikers were hurt or killed, but labor unions kept fighting for their rights.
In the early 1900s, adults and children worked in unsafe factories. Factories polluted cities. Dirty air and water made people sick. Progressives wanted to make factories and cities safer. They fought for laws to end child labor and protect factory workers. Upton Sinclair was a muckraker. He wrote a book about the dangers of meat factories. In 1906, Congress passed two laws. One law was The Pure Food and Drug Act. It stopped factories from using harmful chemicals in food. The second law was The Meat Inspection Act. It said factories had to be cleaner and safer. President Theodore Roosevelt also wanted to protect the environment. He saved land for national parks and wilderness areas.
Working for Equal Rights
Women fought for the right to vote for many years. In 1920, Congress passed the Nineteenth Amendment. It gave women suffrage.
In the early 1900s, African Americans faced prejudice when they tried to get jobs or a place to live. Some states did not allow African Americans to vote. Some laws made African American children go to different schools. W.E.B. Du Bois wrote about African American life. He helped people see why laws should be changed. Booker T. Washington started a school to educate African Americans. In 1909, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded. The NAACP worked for equality. It wanted African Americans to be treated fairly. Between 1910 and 1930, about 1.5 million African Americans moved to northern cities. This was called the Great Migration. African Americans wanted better lives. They found jobs in factories and businesses in the North.
The Nation Expands
In 1867, the United States was recovering from the Civil War. Russia offered to sell its colony of Alaska to the United States. William Seward was the Secretary of State. He convinced Congress to buy Alaska from Russia. Most Americans thought the idea was foolish. They changed their minds when gold was found near Alaska in 1896. Not many people found gold, but they found other valuable resources. Buying Alaska no longer seemed foolish.In the late 1700s, Americans sailed to Hawaii. They grew pineapple and sugar cane on large plantations. By the late 1800s, Americans owned most of the land and businesses. Hawaiians were unhappy about the Americans' power. Queen Liliuokalani wanted her people to have the land. Americans in Hawaii revolted against her. They asked to join the United States. In 1898, Hawaii became a territory of the United States. Some people thought the United States had started a policy of imperialism.
The Spanish-American War
In the 1890s, Spain had colonies in Cuba and Puerto Rico. It also controlled Guam and the Philippine Islands. In 1895, Cubans revolted against Spain. American newspapers wrote shocking stories about Spain's cruelty to Cuba. The stories were not all true, but people believed them. In 1898, newspapers blamed Spain for blowing up the USS Maine in Cuba. The United States declared war on Spain. Theodore Roosevelt led volunteers called the Rough Riders. With African American soldiers called Buffalo Soldiers, they won the battle of San Juan Hill. The U.S. Navy destroyed Spanish ships in Cuba. Spain gave Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Guam to the United States. After the war, Theodore Roosevelt became President. He wanted to cut a canal across the Isthmus of Panama. Panama was part of the nation of Colombia. Roosevelt helped Panama gain its independence. It took 10 years to build the Panama Canal. It opened in 1914. Trade increased and shipping was faster between the east and west coasts.
War in Europe
In the early 1900s, nationalism was strong. Britain, France, Germany, and Italy wanted to be world powers. They raced to claim colonies. They made big armies. Britain, France, and Russia made one alliance. They were called the Allies. Germany and Austria-Hungary made another alliance. They were called the Central Powers.In 1914, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. Other countries joined in. The Allies and Central Powers declared war on each other. World War I began.
America Enters the War
Most Americans wanted the United States to stay out of the war. In 1917, Germany attacked American ships. Congress declared war on the Central Powers. The United States joined the Allies. Many American men left to fight in the war. America's factories lost many workers. Many African Americans left the South to work in northern factories. Women also worked in factories. Thousands of men were killed in trench warfare. This fighting lasted for four years. Soldiers used many new weapons. Machine guns, cannons, and tanks were used on the ground. Submarines sank ships. Airplanes were used in war for the first time.
America helped the Allies win the war. On November 11, 1918, the Allies and Central Powers signed an armistice. Leaders from each alliance met in Versailles, France. They signed a peace treaty. President Wilson wanted the treaty to include a new organization. It was called the League of Nations. The organization would work for peace. Many Americans felt they had done enough for other countries. There was a growing feeling of isolationism. The United States did not join the League of Nations.
The Roaring Twenties:
A Growing Economy
During the 1920s, the United States became one of the richest nations in history. The automobile industry grew very fast. Henry Ford changed the way factories made cars. He used assembly lines and division of labor. Ford's ideas made it faster and cheaper to make cars. As the auto industry grew, the steel, rubber, and oil industries also grew. Its success helped the nation's economy grow.Americans believed the economy would keep growing. This changed the way they bought goods. Many people used credit to buy items. They made small payments. This was easier than making one big payment with cash. Credit allowed many people to own homes for the first time. Using credit also meant people owed money.
A Changing Society
The 1920s was an exciting time. In 1920, women won the right to vote. Women changed the way they lived. They wore modern clothes. They took jobs in business. They played sports.Many African Americans moved north to work in industrial cities. In New York City, African Americans formed new communities. One community was called Harlem. Many writers and artists lived in Harlem. Some African American musicians played jazz. This was a new kind of music. Millions of people heard jazz on the radio. They danced to jazz. The 1920s were called the Jazz Age. Movies, like radio, became popular in the 1920s. People heard about new heroes on the radio. In 1927, they heard about Charles Lindbergh. He flew over the Atlantic Ocean alone. People from different parts of the country had more in common.
Hard Times for Americans
During most of the 1920s, the United States economy grew. Many people invested their money. They bought stocks in companies. A stock is a small part of a company. The value of stock goes up when a company does well. The value of stock goes down when a company does poorly. Then Stockowners lose money.By the end of the 1920s, the economy had started to slow down. In 1929, the value of many stocks quickly dropped. The American stock market crashed. Stockowners were frightened. Many stocks became worthless. Thousands of people lost all of their money.The economy became even weaker. Factories did not need many workers. Businesses closed. Many people lost their jobs, so unemployment went up. Some families had to give up their homes. Each day, hungry people waited for free food at community kitchens.Many farmers did not make enough money, so they went out of business. In the early 1930s, almost no rain fell in the Great Plains. Farmers' lives became even harder. The soil turned to dust. This area was called the Dust Bowl. This time of hardship is known as the Great Depression. It was the worst depression in United States history.
The New Deal
In 1932, Franklin D. Roosevelt became President. He wanted to stop the depression. Roosevelt started new programs to help Americans. He called these programs the New Deal. Congress quickly passed the programs into law. Some programs gave food and shelter to people. The Public Works Administration (PWA) hired people to build dams and improve roads and parks. The New Deal did not end the depression, but it gave people new hope.
The Road to War
After the Great Depression, millions of people were unemployed all around the world. They wanted strong leaders. In 1933, Adolf Hitler became the dictator of Germany. Hitler blamed Jews for Germany's problems. Nazi soldiers arrested many Jews and sent them to prison.
Mussolini was Italy's dictator. Italy was Germany's ally. They were the Axis Powers. Poland, Britain, and France formed the Allied Powers. In 1939, Hitler invaded Poland. The Allies declared war on Germany. World War II began. At the beginning of the war most Americans did not want to fight in Europe again.
America Goes to War
In 1940, Japan joined the Axis. Japan wanted to expand its empire in Asia. In 1941, Japan destroyed U.S. Navy ships at Pearl Harbor. Thousands of Americans died. The United States declared war on Japan.The United States joined the Allied Powers. The Axis Powers declared war on the United States. Many Americans joined the military. Americans supported the war. They bought war bonds. Women worked in factories. Americans collected metal to make war supplies.Some Americans feared Japanese Americans would help Japan. The government forced thousands of Japanese Americans to live in internment camps.
Fighting the War
The war was fought in Europe, North Africa, and the Pacific. In May 1945, Germany surrendered. In August, Americans dropped atomic bombs on two Japanese cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The bomb dropped on Hiroshima killed 100,000 people. Japan surrendered. World War II ended.As the war ended, Allied troops found out that Nazis had forced millions of Jews and other people into concentration camps. Over 12 million people died in the camps. About six million of those people were Jews. This mass murder is known as the Holocaust.
Superpowers at War
After World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union were the world's strongest nations. They were called superpowers. They had different ideas about economics and government. They fought a war of ideas called the Cold War. The Soviet Union was a communist country. In communism, the government controls production and resources. It decides where people live and work. The United States is a capitalist country. In capitalism, people and businesses control the production of goods. People decide where they live and work.The Cold War began in Europe after World War II. The Soviet Union won control of Eastern Europe. It controlled half of Germany and half of Germany's capital, Berlin. The United States, Britain, and France controlled western Germany and West Berlin. In June 1948, the Soviet Union blocked roads and railroads that led to West Berlin. The United States, Great Britain, and France flew in supplies. This was called the Berlin Airlift.
Cold War Conflicts
After World War II, Korea was divided into North and South Korea. North Korea became communist. South Korea was a capitalist country. North Korean army invaded South Korea. The United Nations sent soldiers to help South Korea. China sent soldiers to help North Korea. The war ended in 1953. Neither side won. Korea is still divided.
The United States and the Soviet Union were in a nuclear arms race. In 1959, Cuba became a communist country and the Soviets secretly put missiles there. President Kennedy was afraid the Soviet Union would attack the United States. He sent warships to surround Cuba. He hoped a blockade would force the Soviet Union to remove its missiles. This conflict was called the Cuban Missile Crisis. For six days, nuclear war seemed possible. Then the Soviet Union removed the missiles.
The Movement Begins
Nearly 100 years after the Civil War, state laws and discrimination limited the civil rights of African Americans. Some civil rights are the right to vote, the right to equal treatment, and the right to speak out.In the early 1950s, segregation was legal. Many Americans believed it should not be. African Americans went to court to end segregation. In 1954, the Supreme Court ordered the desegregation of public schools.An Alabama law said that African Americans had to sit at the back of the bus. In 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of a bus. She was arrested. Her church organized a protest. African Americans boycotted the buses until buses were desegregated. This was the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Martin Luther King Jr. helped lead the boycott. He believed in nonviolent protest. He wanted people to fight back using peaceful actions. In 1956, the Supreme Court said that segregation on buses was illegal.
Civil Rights Victories
In 1960, African Americans held sit-ins in 54 cities. They sat at lunch counters that only served food to white people. They would not leave until they were served. In 1963, Congress was discussing a bill to end segregation. Martin Luther King Jr. and other leaders organized a protest march in Washington, D.C., to show support for the bill. The March on Washington got Americans to pay attention to the civil rights movement. President Lyndon Johnson worked with Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It banned segregation in schools, at work, and in public places. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 guaranteed citizens of all races and ethnic backgrounds the right to vote.
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