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Доклад: History of the USA бесплатно рефераты

United States applied the idea of the survival of the fittest to human

societies (SOCIAL DARWINISM) and arrived at the belief that government aid to

the unfortunate was wrong.

Industrialization and Large-Scale Exploitation of NaturalResources

During the Gilded Age ambitious and imaginative capitalists ranged the

continent looking for new opportunities. Business lurched erratically from

upswings to slumps, while the country's industrial base grew rapidly.

Factories and mines labored heavily through these years to provide the raw

materials and finished products needed for expansion of the railroad system.

In 1865 (as construction of the first TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILROAD was underway;

completed 1869) approximately 56,000 km (35,000 mi) of track stretched across

the United States; by 1910 the total reached about 386,000 km (240,000 mi) of

interconnected uniform-gauge track. By 1890 the United States contained one-

third of the world's railroad trackage.

After new gold and silver discoveries in the late 1850s, until about 1875,

individual prospectors explored the western country and desert basins in

search of mineral riches. Then mining corporations took over, using hired

laborers and eastern- trained engineers. Indians were either brutally

exterminated or placed on small reservations. Warfare with the Great Plains

Indians broke out in 1864; these INDIAN WARS did not entirely subside until

after the slaughtering of the buffalo herds, the basis of Indian life, which

had occurred by the mid-1880s. Through the DAWES ACT of 1887, which forced

most Indians to choose 160-acre (65-ha) allotments within their reservations,

reformers hoped to break down tribal bonds and induce Indians to take up

sedentary agriculture. Unallocated reservation lands were declared surplus

and sold to whites.

Cattle ranching was the first large-scale enterprise to invade the Great

Plains beginning in the late 1860s. By the 1880s, however, the open range

began to give way to fenced pastureland and to agriculture, made possible by

the newly invented barbed- wire fence and by "dry farming," a technique of

preserving soil moisture by frequent plowing. Millions of farmers moved into

the high plains west of the 100th meridian. So huge was their grain output

that slumping world prices beginning in the mid- 1880s put them into severe

financial straits. Meanwhile, the vast continental sweep between Kansas and

California became filled with new states.

By the early 1900s the nation's economy, tied together by the railroads into

a single market, was no longer composed primarily of thousands of small

producers who sold to local markets. Rather, it was dominated by a small

number of large firms that sold nationwide and to the world at large. With

great size, however, came large and complex problems. In 1887, Congress

created the INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION to curb cutthroat competition

among the railroads and to ensure that railroad rates were "reasonable and

just." In 1890, on the other hand, Congress attempted to restore competition

through passage of the SHERMAN ANTI-TRUST ACT, which declared illegal trusts

and other combinations that restrained trade. The U.S. Supreme Court favored

laissez-faire and consistently blocked both federal and state efforts to

regulate private business. The so-called robber barons and their immense

fortunes were practically unscathed as they exploited the nation's natural

resources and dominated its economic life.

New Social Groupings: Immigrants, Urbanites, and UnionMembers

In 1890 the American people numbered 63 million, double the 1860 population.

During these years the nation's cities underwent tremendous growth. Many new

urbanites came from the American countryside, but many others came from

abroad. From 1860 to 1890 more than 10 million immigrants arrived in the

United States; from 1890 to 1920, 15 million more arrived (see IMMIGRATION).

Most were concentrated in northern cities: by 1910, 75 percent of immigrants

lived in urban areas, while less than 50 percent of native-born Americans did

so. In the 1880s the so-called new immigration began: in addition to the

Germans, Scandinavians, Irish, and others of the older immigrant groups,

there came such peoples as Italians, Poles, Hungarians, Bohemians, Greeks,

and Jews (from central and eastern Europe, especially Russia). Roman

Catholics grew in number from 1.6 million in 1850 to 12 million in 1900,

producing a renewed outburst of bitter anti-Catholic nativism in the 1880s.

The large cities, with their saloons, theaters, dance halls, and immigrant

slums, were feared by many native American Protestants, who lived primarily

in small cities and the rural countryside.

The outbreak of labor protests from the 1870s on, often characterized by

immigrant workers opposing native-born employers, intensified the hostility.

In 1878 the KNIGHTS OF LABOR formed, opening its ranks to all working people,

skilled or unskilled. The Knights called for sweeping social and economic

reforms, and their numbers rose to 700,000 in 1886. Then, as the organization

broke apart because of internal stresses, the American Federation of Labor,

under Samuel GOMPERS, formed to take its place. Concentrating on skilled

craftworkers and tight organization, it endured.

Domestic Politics

Gilded Age politics became a contest between evenly balanced Republicans and

Democrats. Winning elections by small margins, they alternated in their

control of Congress and the White House. Five men served as Republican

presidents: Hayes; James A. GARFIELD (1881); Chester A. ARTHUR (1881-85), who

succeeded Garfield on his assassination; Benjamin HARRISON (1889-93); and

William MCKINLEY (1897-1901). Their party regarded industrial growth and

capitalist leadership with approval, believing that they led to an ever-

widening opening of opportunity for all.

Grover CLEVELAND rose from obscurity to become Democratic governor of New

York in the early 1880s and then U.S. president (1885-89; 1893-97; although

he won a popular-vote plurality in the election of 1888, he lost to Harrison

in the electoral college). Reared a Jacksonian Democrat, he believed that

society is always in danger of exploitation by the wealthy and powerful. A

vigorous president, he labored to clean up government by making civil service

effective; took back huge land grants given out fraudulently in the West; and

battled to lower the protective tariff.

In the Great Plains and the South, grain and cotton farmers, suffering from

falling crop prices, demanded currency inflation to raise prices. By 1892 a

POPULIST PARTY had appeared, to call for free coinage of silver to achieve

this goal. Cleveland resisted, stating that such a monetary policy would

destroy confidence, prolong the great depression that began in 1893, and

injure city consumers. In 1896 the Democrats, taken over by southern and

western inflationists, ran William Jennings BRYAN on a FREE SILVER platform.

Ethnic voters surged into the Republican ranks--for the depression was a

disastrous one and the Republican party had always urged active government

intervention to stimulate the economy. In addition, as city dwellers they

feared inflation. William McKinley's election began a long period of one-

party (Republican) domination in the northern states and in Washington.


During the period known as the Progressive Era (1890s to about 1920) the U.S.

government became increasingly activist in both domestic and foreign policy.

Progressive, that is, reform- minded, political leaders sought to extend

their vision of a just and rational order to all areas of society and some,

indeed, to all reaches of the globe.

America Looks Outward

During the 1890s, U.S. foreign policy became aggressively activist. As

American industrial productivity grew, many reformers urged the need for

foreign markets. Others held that the United States had a mission to carry

Anglo-Saxon culture to all of humankind, to spread law and order and American

civilization. In 1895 the United States intervened bluntly in the VENEZUELA

BOUNDARY DISPUTE between Venezuela and imperial Britain, warning that, under

the Monroe Doctrine, American force might be used if Venezuela were not

treated equitably. A Cuban revolution against Spain, begun in 1895, finally

led to the SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR (1898), undertaken to free Cuba. From that

war the United States emerged with a protectorate over Cuba and an island

empire consisting of the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Guam. The United

States also annexed the Hawaiian Islands in 1898, completing a bridge to the

markets of the Far East. In 1900 the American government announced the OPEN

DOOR POLICY, pledging to support continued Chinese independence as well as

equal access for all nations to China's markets.

William McKinley's assassination brought Theodore ROOSEVELT to the presidency

in 1901. A proud patriot, he sought to make the United States a great power

in the world. In 1903 he aided Panama in becoming independent of Colombia,

then secured from Panama the right for the United States to build and control

a canal through the isthmus. In 1904, in the Roosevelt Corollary to the

Monroe Doctrine, he asserted the right of the United States to intervene in

the internal affairs of Western Hemisphere nations to prevent "chronic

wrongdoing." The following year his good offices helped end the Russo-

Japanese War. Having much strengthened the navy, Roosevelt sent (1907) the

Great White Fleet on a spectacular round-the-world cruise to display American


Progressivism at Home

Meanwhile, the Progressive Era was also underway in domestic politics. City

governments were transformed, becoming relatively honest and efficient;

social workers labored to improve slum housing, health, and education; and in

many states reform movements democratized, purified, and humanized

government. Under Roosevelt the national government strengthened or created

regulatory agencies that exerted increasing influence over business

enterprise: the Hepburn Act (1906) reinforced the Interstate Commerce

Commission; the Forest Service, under Gifford PINCHOT from 1898 to 1910,

guided lumbering companies in the conservation of--and more rational and

efficient exploitation of--woodland resources; the Pure Food and Drug Act

(1906; see PURE FOOD AND DRUG LAWS) attempted to protect consumers from

fraudulent labeling and adulteration of products. Beginning in 1902,

Roosevelt also used the Justice Department and lawsuits (or the threat of

them) to mount a revived assault on monopoly under the Sherman Anti-Trust

Law. William Howard TAFT, his successor as president (1909-13), drew back in

his policies, continuing only the antitrust campaign. He approved passage of

the 16TH AMENDMENT (the income tax amendment, 1913), however; in time it

would transform the federal government by giving it access to enormous


Republicans were split in the election of 1912. The regular nomination went

to Taft, and a short-lived PROGRESSIVE PARTY was formed to run Theodore

Roosevelt. Democrat Woodrow WILSON (1913-21) was therefore able to win the

presidency. Attacking corporate power, he won a drastic lowering of the

tariff (1913) and establishment of a Tariff Commission (1916); creation of

the FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM (1913) to supervise banking and currency; a

broadened antimonopoly program under the CLAYTON ANTI-TRUST ACT (1914);

control over the hours of labor on the railroads (Adamson Act, 1916); and

creation of a body to ensure fair and open competition in business (Fair

Trade Commission, 1914).

During the Progressive Era, southern governments imposed a wide range of JIM

CROW LAWS on black people, using the rationale that such legalization of

segregation resulted in a more orderly, systematic electoral system and

society. Many of the steps that had been taken toward racial equality during

the Reconstruction period were thus reversed. The federal government upheld

the principle of racial segregation in the U.S. Supreme Court case PLESSY V.

FERGUSON (1896), as long as blacks were provided with "separate but equal"

facilities. In the face of the rigidly segregated society that confronted

them, blacks themselves were divided concerning the appropriate course of

action. Since 1895, Booker T. WASHINGTON had urged that blacks should not

actively agitate for equality, but should acquire craft skills, work

industriously, and convince whites of their abilities. W. E. B. DU BOIS

insisted instead (in The Souls of Black Folk, 1903) that black people

ceaselessly protest Jim Crow laws, demand education in the highest

professions as well as in crafts, and work for complete social integration.


(NAACP) was founded to advance these ideals.

Intervention and World War

President Taft continued to stress the economic aspects of Roosevelt's

interventionist spirit. Under Taft's foreign policy (called dollar diplomacy)

U.S. firms were encouraged to increase investments in countries bordering the

Caribbean in the hope that the American economic presence would ensure

political stability there. President Wilson went a step further, seeking not

simply to maintain order, but to advance democracy and self-rule. In 1915 he

sent troops into Haiti to put an end to the chaos of revolution--and to

protect U.S. investments there--and in 1916 he did the same in the Dominican

Republic; the two countries were made virtual protectorates of the United

States. With Nicaragua he achieved the same end by diplomacy. In hope of

tumbling the Mexican dictator Victoriano Huerta, Wilson at first denied him

diplomatic recognition, then in April 1914 sent troops to occupy the Mexican

port city of Veracruz and keep from Huerta its import revenues. The Mexicans

were deeply offended, and in November 1914, Wilson withdrew American forces.

The bloody civil war that racked Mexico until 1920 sent the first large

migration of Mexicans, perhaps a million people, into the United States (see


After the outbreak of World War I in August 1914, Wilson sought vainly to

bring peace. In early 1917, however, Germany's unrestricted use of submarine

attacks against neutral as well as Allied shipping inflamed American opinion

for war (see LUSITANIA). Wilson decided that if the United States was to have

any hope of influencing world affairs, it was imperative that it enter the

war and fight to protect democracy against what he called German autocracy.

America's entry into the war (April 1917) was the climax of the Progressive

Era: Wilson's aim was the extension of democracy and the creation of a just

world order. In January 1918 he issued his FOURTEEN POINTS as a proposed

basis for peace: freedom of the seas and removal of all barriers to trade; an

end to secret diplomacy; general disarmament; self-government for the

submerged nationalities in the German and Austro- Hungarian empires; and a

league of nations. The addition of more than a million American troops to the

Allied armies turned the balance against the Germans in 1918, and an

armistice on November 11 ended the war. At the PARIS PEACE CONFERENCE,

however, Wilson failed in much of his program, for the other Allies were not

interested in a "peace without victory." The British would not agree to

freedom of the seas; tariffs did not tumble; self-determination was often

violated; key negotiations were kept secret; but in the end Wilson obtained

his greatest objective, establishment of the League of Nations to provide

collective security against future aggression. Many at home, however,

preferred to return to America's traditional isolation from world affairs.

When Wilson tried imperiously to force the Senate to accept the entire

treaty, he failed. The United States never became a member of the League of



After its participation in the conflagration then known as the Great War, the

American nation was ready to turn inward and concentrate on domestic affairs

(a "return to normalcy," as 1920 presidential candidate Warren Harding called

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