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The United States, Early 1900s

The early 1900s was a great time for Americans. The early 1900s brought many reforms, changes, and inventions to the country. Many people, around the world, began to recognize the US as a world power. With the nations growing economic and naval power, it was obvious that the US was a major contender for world domination. Throughout the early 1900s the United States was dramatically changed from a little nation to a nation of great wealth and prosperity. The United States entered the Twentieth Century as a world power along with older world powers of Europe (Angel, vol. such as France, England, and Germany.

The United States achieved this power by stepping up its navy. The navy won national support and began its expansion to supremacy, by sending the great-white fleet around the world on December 16, 1907 (Angel, vol. 1). This was done to show the world the maturity of American engineering as well as the substance for the big stick policy (Dictionary of American History, vol. V). The United States wanted to show and warn the other countries of the world that the US was here and they meant business.

Mark Twain said: We have pacified some thousands of islanders and buried themburned their villages, and turned their widows and orphans out-of-doorssubjugated the remaining ten millions by benevolent assimilation, which if the pious new name of the musket; we have acquired property in the three hundred concubines and other slaves of our business partner, the sultan of Sulu, and hoisted our protecting flag over that swag. And so, by the Providences of God and the phrase is the governments, not mine we are a world power. (Angel, vol. 1)

From 1900 to 1920 there was a staggering increase in iron ore and crude petroleum production in the United States. For example, in 1900, there were 27,300 tons of iron ore and 63,621 barrels of petroleum produced in the US. In 1910, there were 57,015 tons of iron ore and 209,557 barrels of petroleum produced. In 1920, there were 67,604 tons of iron ore and 442,929 barrels of petroleum produced (Angel, vol. 1). As the production of iron ore and petroleum grew, so did the population. At the beginning of the century the United States population was 75,995,000.

The cities around the Great Lakes, Chicago, Cleveland, and Detroit, expanded a lot faster than the average cities because coal was available locally for fuel in the factories and because there was good rail and water transportation (Angel, vol. 1) From 1900 to 1920, many cities expanded greatly in numbers of people. New York went from 3,437 to 5,620. Chicago went from 1,699 to 2,701. Cleveland went from 382 to 797. Detroit went from 285 to 994 (Angel, vol. 1). Overall, urban population grew a lot faster than rural population.

In 1900, the rural population in the country was approximately 45 million people and the urban population was only 30 million people. By 1920, rural population was only at 52 million while urban population had passed that at 53 million (Angel vol. 1). Even though changes were made, many things did not change until later on in the century. By 1900, only a few states had outlawed factory employment of children under ten or twelve years of age (Angel, vol. 1). Children were disadvantaged until the second decade.

In 1903, Mary Mother Jones lead an army of kids from Philidelphia to Long Island to protest the employment and exploitation of children. The black communities, despite the Ku Klux Klan, succeed, in a way, because the lynching numbers went down significantly from 1900 to 1915. In 1900, there were 110 lynching. In 1905, there were only 60 lynching, and in 1910 there were 58. But in 1915 there were only 55 lynching. From 1900 to 1915, the lynching number was cut in half (Angel, vol. 1). The KKK did all it could, in the south, to prevent the blacks from getting the vote.

On April 27, 1903, the United States Supreme Court sustained a clause in the Alabama constitution that denied African Americans the right to vote (Angel, vol. 1) 1900 was a very exciting year in America. Dr. Walter Reed and Major William Crawford Gorgas discovered the cause of yellow fever, in Cuba. On January second, the first electric bus took its maiden run in New York City. On November third, the first auto show was held in Madison Square Garden, also in New York City. And on November 7, 1900, McKinley was reelected as president of the United States of America (Angel, vol. 1) As the year ended, 1901 began.

In this year, oil was discovered in Spindletop Texas, gold was discovered in California and Alaska, and Guglielmo Marconi sent the first radio signals across the Atlantic Ocean. On February 25, Elbert H. Gary founded United States Steel Corporation. On March 2, the Platt Amendment was established which placed the United States as a protectorate over Cuba. This idea was accepted by Cuba in June. Three weeks later on the twenty seventh of March, The United States regained its control over the Philippines after a three-year struggle. But on September sixth, the country was devastated.

On September 6, McLeon Czolgosz, an anarchist, shot President McKinley in the chest and the abdomen at the Temple of Music in Buffalo, New York (Angel, vol. 1). The president struggled to live for eight days until his death on September 14,1901. Vice President, Mr. Theodore Roosevelt, was nowhere to be found. Finally, he was located on a hiking trip in the middle of the Adirondack Mountains. At 2:30pm, on September 14,1901, Teddy Roosevelt took the oath of office to become the 26th President of the United States of America. He also became the youngest and one of the most popular presidents in American history.

Roosevelt promised to continue McKinleys path and keep his appointments for the peace, the prosperity, and the honor of our beloved country (Angel, vol. 1). Theodore Roosevelts main policy was to speak softly and carry a big stick (Angel, vol. 1). Teddy supported the old guard, which was the conservative political and big business leaders who had been responsible for helping him achieve political success (Angel, vol. 1). He thought that there had to be some type of regulation on the trusts and monopolies. He was not against big business, he just attacked bad business and their bosses, owners who were out to control the government.

It was said that: Roosevelt turned his attention to trusts just 3 months after his 1901 speech to Congress. Trusts were combinations of big businesses that controlled all or most of an industry. Some trusts were formed to increase efficiency through standardizing products or to gain other advantages not usually associated with competition. But other trusts had more sinister aims. By cornering the market for their product or service, they could eliminate price competition, allowing then to charge higher prices to their customers (Angel, vol. 1).

In the 1900s the trusts had a tight control over the government. During 1900s, many trusts had an arrangement whereby stockholders, often begrudgingly, transferred their voting power to a single group of trustees. Frequently, these trustees used their positions to line their own pockets (Angel, vol. 1). Because of all the unfair business practices, Tammany Hall which was run by William M. Tweed, Roosevelt asked his congress for the establishment of a Department of Commerce and Labor to investigate corporate earnings and protect workers rights.

Since the Civil War, business influences had dominated government to such an extent that big business practically ran the government (Angel, vol. 1). In 1902, the first skyscraper was constructed. The Flatiron Building in New York City. It was the first of its kind standing at an impressive 180 feet tall. Also, late in 1902, the Alaskan boundary dispute with Canada was settled in Favor of the United States. Roosevelt had an idea to take the section in Panama so that the nations fleet could travel between two oceans. He took Panama with force rather than paying Colombia $40 million for the land.

On November 3,1903, a revolution broke out between Panama and Colombia that was provoked by the Americans. On November 5, Colombia backed out and Panama took control. On November 6, Roosevelt publicly recognized the New Republic of Panama. A canal agreement was signed on November 19,1903. The Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty: guaranteed Panama independence in exchange for a perpetual lease to a ten mile-wide zone on which the US could build a canal (Angel, vol. 1). Construction for the canal began in 1904 by chief engineer John F. Stevens.

He was very slow and in 1907 he was replaced with Lieutenant Colonel George Goethals. The canal was opened for business on August 15, 1914 (Angel, vol. 1). In 1903, Henry Ford founds the Ford Motor Company. Henry Ford develops the assembly line where he makes cars by the masses and makes them available and affordable for all, starting with the Model T in 1908. 1903 was also the year where the first transcontinental auto trip was made. But the most amazing thing that happened in this year was the first airplane flight on December 17 in Kitty Hawk North Carolina.

The Wright brothers made the first flight. Ida Tarbell, a foe of John D. Rockefeller, promoted her book heavily in 1904. It was called The History of Standard Oil. It showed what went on behind the scenes at Standard Oil. On February 8th, the Russo-Japanese war broke out when Japan surprised the Russians at Port Arthur. On October 27, the New York City subway opened. And on December 6th, The Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine was announced. In 1905, Immigration into the United States reached an all-time high at 3,400,000(Angel, vol. 2). In June the IWW was formed.

The Industrial Workers of the World, known as Wobblies, called for emancipation of labor. They were lead by Big Bill Haywood who attacked the AFof L. He called for the abolition of the wage system and used violence to do it. The Wobblies drew their memberships from unskilled laborers, migrants, and forgotten red-blooded working stuff (Angel, vol. 1). Later, on September 5, a peace treaty, mediated by Roosevelt at Portsmouth New Hampshire, ends the Russo-Japanese War. In 1906, Upton Sinclairs, The Jungle, was printed. It was known for exploiting the meat industry of Chicago.

In December of the same year, the United States president, Theodore Roosevelt, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for ending the Russo-Japanese War (Angel, vol. 1). In 1907, the Panic of 1907 occurred, a mild stock market crash. In 1908, The National Conservation Commission was established (Angel, vol. 1). In 1909, the NAACP was formed and the Wright brothers form the Wright Co. to produce the airplane commercially. By the end of the decade the United States population was 91,972,266. In the first decade on the 1900s, the art forms of Impressionism and expressionism formed.

Along with social reforms came labor reforms. Workers looked to socialism to free them from industrial bondage. Eugene V. Debs ran for the socialist party in order to push labor reforms. William G. Summer had this to say about Social Darwinism: If we do not like the survival of the fittest, we have only one possible alternative, and that is survival of the unfittest (Angel, vol. 1). Science had some breakthroughs in the early1900s. Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung unraveled the mysteries of the human mind. Discoveries of the dimensions of time and space were made.

The also discovered that Radioactive materials had medical benefits. Females benefited greatly in the early 1900s. During this time period, the Victorian era ended and women began wearing looser clothes, shorter skirts, and they threw away their corsets. On December 16, 1903, the Majestic Theater in New York hired the first female usher. In 1904, the Rainy Day Club organized together to give moral support to women who wore rainy day skirts, one that reached the shoe tops. The short skirt is the symbol of the emancipation of women(Charles R. Lomb) (Angel, vol. 1). As the 1900s unfolded, leisure time expanded.

Coney Island was a very popular place along with Palisades Park. Baseball, picnics, long Sunday drives in horse and buggies or the new family car, were all popular things to do on a regular basis. Families got together and sang or talked and began having barbeques. Film became popular. In 1902, George Melies accidentally found trick photography. This furthered cinematography, which went along with radio (Angel, vol. 1). Many world records were set in the early 1900s. On July 1, 1908, Count Zeppelin stayed in the air in a dirigible for 12 hours across Switzerland at an average speed of 34 miles per hour.

On December 5, 1909 the Penn. Rail Road set the world record for speed when one of the big steam locomotives was clocked at close to 100 miles per hour (Angel, vol. 1). The first decade of the 1900s brought lots of change, reform, and leisure to the country. But there was still unfinished business. As the century moved on the nation grew on all levels. As we entered WWI, we were a power; we came out a world dominating power. With the stock market going crazy and the citizens inventing new things. The United States of America is what it is today, because of them.

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