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Empire abroad: Progressivism at Home

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University of Toronto St. George
Blair Wheaton

Jan. 15 EMPIRE ABROAD: PROGRESSIVISM AT HOME I. Anxieties of Modernization Reforms brought on anxieties. - Concerns about… - Industrialization: Vast impersonal society was created. Distribution of wealth is increasingly centralized in the rich. Creation of labour unrest. Rural Americans are increasingly concerned. - Urbanization: Loss of rural independent self in terms of employment. Moral degradation with drinking, promiscuity, etc. Threatens America's moral identity. - Immigration: Concern that Anglo-Protestant America will be over run by immigrants. - The Closing of the Frontier(Jackson Turner and the Frontier Thesis)Frederick Jackson Turner's Frontier Thesis: F rontier was essential to America's success and the development of its character. Closing the frontier will end the first era of America. This causes anxiety. Response is a reforming impulse at home and a search for power abroad. II. The Crisis of the 1890s All the concerns manifest in the 1890s. - The People’s Party (Populism): Precursor to progressivism. Formed in 1892. Significant third party. Believed existing parties weren't capable in mitigating these problems of the US. The 2 primary parties weren't getting involved in economic problems because of their laissez-faire policy. They were inspired by the Agrarian revolt. - Agrarian Revolt: Consumer prices are constantly increasing whereas farmers income is constantly decreasing. Unregulated railroad prices to ship freight, so that it costed more to ship within one's state. Populists wanted government owned railroads, which made the party appealing. Consumer Prices And Farm-Product Prices, 1865–1913 - Populist Platform: Economic democracy. Government ownership of railroads and telegraph systems. Subtreasury so that farmers could store nonperishable goods until the prices were more favourable. Graduated income tax so that the tax is dependent on the bracket of income you make. Currency system to include silver in order to increase the money supply. 8 hour workday for workers. Senators directly elected by people. Their entire platform is only achieved by other seperate movements in the future. Therefore left a long legacy. 1893-1897 saw the worst depression in America. Vindicated by the concerns of the populists. At this time they start to lose influence because the other 2 mainstream parties start to reform as well. III. America Looks Abroad - Impetus for Expansion - Industrialization: Rise of the railroad. - Economic Triumph…Yet Depression: Economic boom combined with on and off depression because more goods are produced than a market is available for. - The Naval Lobby: Argues for enlarging the nation's markets. As that will anger other nations, saw it necessary to build a defensive fleet. Needed to acquire places to build naval bases. As American investment abroad starts increasing, more Americans start living abroad too. - Preludes to Empire - Hawai’i: Stepping stone to Asian markets. Important for sugar trading. Took control of its sugar production. Largely rhw Hawaiin monarchy had not fought back until 1890, and the Americans take over the monarchy and instill Sanford Dole as the new Hawaiin government. They then ask for American annexation. It officially becomes annexed in 1898. - Exercising the Monroe Doctrine: Used this to warn European powers to back off of the Western hemisphere in 1895.
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