American History since 1877 - Era of Reconstruction

To what extent did the Era of Reconstruction create a New South?

What impact did the Agrarian Revolt have on American politics at the end of the 19th century?

What are some of the high points and low points of the 1920s?

What role did the United States play in World War I? What caused the United States to shift from isolationism to world engagement?

How are the outcomes of World War I connected to the origins of World War II?

What are at least two causes for America's entry into World War II?

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2. What impact did the Agrarian Revolt have on American politics at the end of the 19th century?

The Agrarian Revolt had an impact on American politics at the end of the 19th century. For example, Dr. Joseph Petulla in his classic book "American Environmental History" reports the impact of the revolt:

1. "First...the economic rationality of American democracy has tended to lead to economic concentration, a waste of natural resources; and environmental degradation (also an inequitable distribution of wealth ...).

2. "Second, business imperatives, rather than environmental or social concerns, and technological developments have increased the exploitation and processing of natural resources.

3. "Third, at the same time, the nation has become increasingly tied together through cheap transportation and regional specialization of resource extraction or processing.

4. "Fourth, American political policy and legal institutions have generally supported the logic of private enterprise development, promoting and defending individual private property rights over social and environmental concerns, eschewing control of private lands even for purposes of conservation; and also providing abundant government assistance for the profitable purposes of agriculture, lumber, oil and mining interests. The government has increasingly underwritten the needs of the larger companies representing the more 'rationalized,' efficient sectors of their respective industries."

3. What are some of the high points and low points of the 1920s?

The highs of the decade of the 1920s is often characterized as a period of American prosperity and optimism, and referred to the "Roaring Twenties: the decade of bath tub gin, the model T, the $5 work day, the first transatlantic flight, and the movie. The perception of this period is of great advance as the nation became urban and commercial (Calvin Coolidge declared that America's business was business). There were also lows, as the twenties was also a period of rising intolerance and isolation: chastened by the First World War, historians often point out that Americans retreated into a provincialism evidenced by the rise of the Ku Klux Klan, the anti- radical hysteria of the Palmer raids, restrictive immigration laws, and prohibition.
Thus with the highs and lows, it is a full of contradiction: of rising optimism and deadening cynicism, of increasing and decreasing faith, of great hope and great despair. Thus, it could be said that historians often view the 1920s as a period of serious cultural conflict (Source:

There are some highs associated with presidential leadership influence US policy during the 1920's, as Presidential leadership:

1. Created a strong economy
2. Created a bull market
3. Returned the nation to pre-WW1 isolation
4. Increased jobs and family income
5. ?Created an era of peace & prosperity

Economic Effects
1. Growth in jobs (auto industry & related industries)
a. Steel, rubber, and oil industries
2. Roads and highways are built (more new jobs!)
3. Gas stations, hotels, and restaurants sprang up across the country (more new jobs!)
4. New industries create new jobs

Social Effects
1. Growth of suburbs
a. People could live outside the city and drive to work (commute)
2. Driving gave women more freedom
3. Easier to travel and communicate with other cities & towns




There were political and economic highs and lows in the 1920s, the lows were related to the doings of President Harding.
President Warren G. Harding
1. Harding wins landslide election promising a return to "normal?
2. Return to isolationism
3. Pro-business policies
4. Make economy grow and create jobs
5. Americans were war weary & wanted a return to pre-war days

Did THIS happen? "no"--instead IT WAS A LOW PERIOD:
1. Political Scandals
2. Harding's political appointees were corrupt
3. Cabinet secretary was bribed and secretly leased land to oil companies at Teapot Dome, Wyoming
4. First time a cabinet secretary was sent to prison
5. Harding dies in office of a heart attack before scandals are connected directly to him



The political and economic highs were related to the leadership of President Coolridge, but the overspending led to the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Coolidge repaired damage caused by Harding's scandals. What was Coolidge's priority as president that were associated with the highs of the 20s?

1. Pro big business
2. Business was the most important part in creating the American way of life
3. Began a period of rapid economic growth

Industry Booms
1. Quantity of goods made by industry doubled
2. More jobs were made and incomes rose
3. People spent money on new products
a. Refrigerators, radios, phonographs, vacuum cleaners
4. Installment buying (credit) allowed people to spend more money than they could afford
5. Overspending became a serious economic problem

A Soaring Stock Market
1. More people invested in the stock market than ever before. (Bull Market)
2. Stocks were bought on margin
a. For 10% down payment, buyers held stocks until the price rose and sold it for a profit
b. Margin buying works as long as stock prices rise
3. Margin buying became a cause for The Great Depression of the 1930's (low)

Low points included:

1. African Americans face widespread prejudice
2. Rebirth of KKK
3. Racial tensions cause rioting in big cities
4. Return of nativism (anti-foreign feeling)
5. Quota system limits the amount of immigrants that can enter the U.S.
6. System favored immigrants from N. Europe over W. Europe
7. Source:

3. What role did the United States ...