Mr. Streit

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Unit 1 - Progress at What Cost? / The Changing Face of America

  • Unit Question - Progress at what cost?  When should society control individuals?  How are diverse cultures alike and different?
  • Historical Context - Reconstruction, Immigration, Industrialization, Urbanization, Great Migration, Labor Unions
  • Final Assessment –  Grant Legacy-Propaganda Poster & Unit 1 Exam - Changing America

Reconstructing America (The Start of The Reconstruction Era)

Let's discover Lincoln's vision of Reconstruction from Abe himself. Use the websites provided and read p. 11-16 in your new Reconstructing America mini-book to answer the Reconstructing America (The Start of The Reconstruction Era) questions in t your COMP books:  

Reconstructing America Questions
  1. Why did Lincoln believe he had the power over the act of reconstruction?
  2. What were the key points of Lincoln’s 10% Plan?
  3. In 1863, in response to Lincoln’s plan, Congress passed its own bill.  How did Congress believe Reconstruction should proceed?  What did Lincoln do?
  4. How did Johnson’s Reconstruction Plan differ from Lincoln’s? How was it the same?

BONUS:  What is Juneteenth?  Should it be a national holiday?  Read more:  Teaching Tolerance:  Juneteenth
Impeachment of
President Andrew Johnson

Discussion Questions:
Decide for yourself whether Congress' decision was the right decision?  Was it necessary?   In other words was it a political decision or the wrong-doing of President Andrew Johnson?  Review the Articles of Impeachment in your groups, summarize and explain to the class: 
Reconstruction Continued: 
Kind of (I guess)

Use the websites provided to answer the Reconstruction Continued: Kind of (I guess) questions in your COMP books:
  1. What did Congress expect the Freedmen’s Bureau to accomplish?  How long did the law intend for the Bureau to stay in business?  USE:  African American Records - The Freedmen Bureau
  2. Why do you think it was decided that the Freedmen's Bureau needed whites to govern? USE: - The Freedmen Bureau
  3. List at least five (5) Black Codes.  USE:  The Black Codes Defined
  4. Why did white Southerners believe that a separate code of laws applying only to “persons of color” was necessary?  USE:  The Black Codes Defined
  5. Northerners protested that the Black Codes of South Carolina and other Southern states attempted to restore slavery. Do you agree or disagree? Why?  USE:  Slavery by Another Name - Black Codes - PBS Video
  6. In layman’s (basic) terms, what did the Civil Rights Act of 1866 legislate? USE:  The Civil Rights Act of 1866
  7. What are the political and Constitutional consequences of Congress having a 2/3-majority vote?
  8. What were the 4 key points to the Congress’s Reconstruction Act?  USE:  The Reconstruction Act(s)

The South called greedy Northerners, Carpetbaggers

Time for Change:  Let’s find an old military hero like

George Washington, I mean Ulysses S. Grant

Read pages 28-48 in your Reconstructing America mini-book and answer the Time for Change: ...Ulysses S. Grant questions in your COMP books:

1) Who was the leader of the Radical Republicans?  What was Thaddeus Stevens opinion of Abraham Lincoln and his enemy Andrew Johnson and their individual plans for Reconstruction?  

2)  Was Thaddeus Stevens too radical or in other words too far ahead of his time?

3)  Who were the carpetbaggers?  How did this add to the problems in the South?  Give one positive example [Hint: p.36-39]

4)  What is sharecropping? Is sharecropping a new form of slavery?  [Hint: p.44-48]

5)  What economic problems did President Grant inherit upon his election?  How did he attempt to solve these problems? 

6)  Why is it that by President's Grant second term major criticism of his cabinet is wide-spread North and South, East and West?

7)  What is the legacy of Grant's presidency? 

                         President Ulysses S. Grant:  A Closer Look
18th President Ulysses S. Grant  
"Unconditional Surrender" Grant  
President U.S. Grant:  A Closer Look Resources:

Now decide what to make of President U.S. Grant:
(Assessment OF Learning) 


BONUS:  How does U.S. Grant get that awesome nickname (left)?  Read: Civil War Trust-Ulysses S. Grant: The Myth

  Grant Carrying the Weight
The Good 
"Hero of Appotomax" 
  • Supported civil rights of African-Americans
  • 90% of African-Americans voted for U.S. Grant
  • Signed the Enforcement Acts of 1870 & 1871 (KKK Acts)
  • Signed the 15th Amendment
  • Established military districts to protect African-Americans in the South
  • Fixed the Black Friday Scandal 
  • Signed the Civil Rights Act of 1875
  • Signed the Yellowstone National Park Protection Act
  • Attempts a "Peace Policy" with Native Americans in the West
  • His book Civil War Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant is one the best selling books in US history
 The Bad
"Usless S. Grant" 
  • Corruption of Grant’s Administration  
  • Credit Mobilier Scandal
  • William "Boss" Tweed & Tammany Hall
  • Black Friday Scandal
  • Panic of 1873
  • Whiskey Ring
  • Salary Grab
  • Sanborn Incident of 1874
  • Crticized for the failures of Reconstruction
  • Failed "Peace Policy" with Native Ameicans in the West

"Let Us Have Peace"

- President 

Ulysses S. Grant

Courtesy of M.K. Clancy (class of 2017)

Courtesy of Sasha Irivarren (class of 2021)

Courtesy of Noa Tschoe (class of 2021)

North or South:  

Who Killed Reconstruction?  Second Civil War? 

Some historians have suggested that the time period known as Reconstruction was really the Second Civil War and that it was the fault of the North for their neglect or refusal to solve the problems of slavery and the Black Codes.  Check out this website for more information:  

PBS Reconstruction: The Second Civil War

  1. What do you think?  Should the failures of Reconstruction be considered the Second Civil War?
  2. Who deserves the blame?  North or South?  You must decide and be able and willing to debate!

Who Killed Reconstruction Resources: 

The Compromise of 1877 (The End of Reconstruction)

The war is over and a central element of the Southern economy--slavery--has been abolished.  As former slaves demand wages and former masters strive to maintain profits, an inherently unfair system of sharing labor and land develops known as sharecropping (above left).  If you think Reconstruction couldn't get any worse under President U.S. Grant, then I am sorry but think again.   The election of 1876, the Compromise of 1877, and Presidency of Rutherford B. Hayes will end all Reconstruction efforts of the Radical Republicans.  

Discussion Questions:  

  • What would the end of Reconstruction mean for African-Americans?  See Who Killed Reconstruction Resources above
  • What is the meaning of the images below?

Reconstruction Study Guide

  • Lincoln’s 10% Plan
  • Wade-Davis Bill
  • Andrew Johnson’s (10%) Plan
  • Andrew Johnson’s Impeachment
  • Congress Overrides Johnson
  • Civil Rights Act
  • Freedmen’s Bureau
  • 14th Amendment
  • Reconstruction Act
       - Military Districts
       - Command of Army Act
       - Tenure of Office Act
  • Ulysses S. Grant
  • Carpetbaggers
  • Sharecropping & Tenant Farming
  • 15th Amendment
  • 40 Acres and a Mule
  • Collapse of Reconstruction
  • Ku Klux Klan
  • Enforcement Acts
  • Civil Rights Act of 1875
  • Democrats Redeem South
  • Compromise of 1877

Hell on Wheels:  

Stories of the Transcontinental Railroad 

Read p. 58-67 in your Reconstructing America mini book and then answer Hell on Wheels: Transcontinental Railroad questions in your COMP books: 

  1. What was the perception or opinion of the Transcontinental Railroad?  Meaning did people view this as a good thing for this nation or something that exploited the immigrants and the working man of our country?
  2. Why did the Chinese and Irish immigrant populations come here and work the railroads?
  3. Name three positives that came out of the Transcontinental Railroad and industrialization?
  4. Name three negatives that came out of the Transcontinental Railroad and industrialization? 
  5. What was Homestead Act?  Who did it benefit?
  6. Why does the government set up competition between the two railways?
  7. What is the experience of Native Americans when meeting the railroad?  What does the government plan to do to protect settlers from Native Americans? 

The "Golden Spike" (also known as "The Last Spike") is the ceremonial final spike driven by Leland Stanford to join the rails of the First Transcontinental Railroad across the United States connecting the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads on May 10, 1869, at 

Promontory Summit, Utah Territory.

BONUS:  The Transcontinental Railroad was cut right through the Sierra Nevada at a point named the Donner Pass.  So why is called the Donner Pass?  What happened to the Donner Party?  

Best (or Worst) of the West

Hollywood has made all of the following outlaws and entertainers famous or infamous depending on one's perception.  Some of these stories became part of the American folklore (see Dime Novels below).  Your assignment is to pick an outlaw or entertainer or area of your interest below, answer the following questions.  Remember the good stories because you will be teaching!  If there is a Wild West outlaw that you are interested in researching that didn't make this list, like the Apache Kid, then just ask or email Mr. Streit and odds are it will be fine!  

Best (or Worst) of the West Questions:

  1. How does your outlaw or entertainer become so famous?  Give us the good stories!  
  2. What was their childhood like?  Why did they decide on a life of crime or entertainment?
  3. How does your outlaw/entertainer's story end?
  4. How is your outlaw connected to the Westward Expansion (Manifest Destiny), The Civil War, the Transcontinental Railroad, the Homestead Act, or Industrialization (Gilded Age)?  Explain at least one.
  5. Should your outlaw/entertainer be remembered as famous or infamous?  Why?


The End of Native American Uprisings

“I Will Fight No More, Forever”, Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce

Read p. 80-88 in your Reconstructing America mini-book and answer The End of Native American Uprising questions in your COMP books: 

  1. The movement West by Americans whether by false ideologies like Manifest Destiny, or the Gold Rush, or the Transcontinental Railroad, or the Homestead Act created what problems for Native Americans?
  2. What problems arose by Native Americans being forced to live together on reservations?
  3. What did the Plains Indians depend on to survive?  Why?
  4. What was General Sherman's "final solution" to the Indian problem?
  5. Why did the Native Americans call African Americans the "Buffalo Soldiers"?
  6. What was the result of the Battle of Little Big Horn?
  7. What was the result of Wounded Knee?
  8. Why did the Indian policeman kill Sitting Bull?
  9. What was the Ghost Dance Movement?  Why did this movement strike fear in the U.S. government?
  10. Can a modern, industrial country protect native peoples and the natural environment?

Grattan Incident Gravesite

Tragedy of Wounded Knee 

The Real Question

The Real Question: So when does the U.S. government policy change from moving the Native American tribes to the west, then reservations, and to finally a policy of extinction?    

I suggest the policy starts (see gravesite image above)

 here:  Grattan Incident/Conquering Bear, but you will select from the list below.

HW:  The Real Question - Use the following links (select one) to answer The Real Question and decide for yourself, but you MUST decide and be prepared to discuss.  In other words, when in history does this policy of extinction (genocide) become official?:

American Indian Wars (During the 1600s)

The Minnesota Massacre, or Dakota War of 1862

Sand Creek Massacre

Treaty of Fort Laramie of1868 (Black Hills)

History Channel Videos: The Battle of Little Big Horn

Dawes Act (1887)

PBS: The West - General Philip Sheridan Total War Policy

Battle of Palo Duro Canyon

Teaching American History: The Ghost Dance Movement

US History: Wounded Knee Massacre

Then and Now

The Life of Native Americans

About 5.2 million Native Americans live in the United States, and 22% of those live on Native American Reservations. Reservations are large areas of land governed only by Native American tribes; the federal government has little control in these areas. Reservations have existed since 1830, although they have changed in size and location since then.  Read more:  Common Lit - Life on Reservations 

Directions: You will be responsible for reading (1 text set that includes two texts) and discussing the texts with your group. While you read, use this World Cafe - Notecatcher - Then and Now The Life of Native Americans to help you remember ideas you want to bring up in your discussion. When you discuss the articles, use the discussion questions to guide your conversations.


1. In the context of the text (s), how has America changed over time? How have the United States’ relations with Native Americans evolved? Have they improved?

2. In the context of the text(s), what can we learn from tragedy? Why are personal accounts important to better understand tragic events in history?

3. How does the text(s) reinforce the idea that further change is needed?

World Cafe - Note-Catcher

Text Set 1 (Blue)
 Text Set 2 (Green) 
 Text Set 3 (Orange)
Historical Context

Refer to Discussion Questions
 Modern Day Text

Refer to Discussion Questions

An Immigrants Journey - Passenger Search

Angel Island:  

Asians arriving on the West Coast gained admission at Angel Island in the San Francisco Bay, but nothing close to accurate records were ever recorded.  Processing took hours, the sick were detained and usually left to die.  
  • estimated 300,000 Chinese 
  • estimated 200,000 Japanese

Learn more:  Angel Island Conservatory

Ellis Island:
Europeans arriving on the East coast gained admission at Ellis Island in New York City.  Although processing took hours and the sick were sent home, fairly decent records were kept (see below)
  • Immigrants also had to show that they were not criminals and had some money ($25)
  • From 1892-1924, 17 million immigrants passed through Ellis Island’s facilities

Gilded Age & Immigration

"What is the chief end of man?-to get rich. In what way?-dishonestly if we can; honestly if we must." 

- Mark Twain, 1871

Introduction:  During the "Gilded Age," every man was a potential Andrew Carnegie, and Americans who achieved wealth celebrated it as never before. In New York, the opera, the theatre, and lavish parties consumed the ruling class' leisure hours. Sherry's Restaurant hosted formal horseback dinners for the New York Riding Club. Mrs. Stuyvesant Fish once threw a dinner party to honor her dog who arrived sporting a $15,000 diamond collar.

While the rich wore diamonds, many wore rags. In 1890, 11 million of the nation's 12 million families earned less than $1200 per year; of this group, the average annual income was $380, well below the poverty line. Rural Americans and new immigrants crowded into urban areas. Tenements spread across city landscapes, teeming with crime and filth. Americans had sewing machines, phonographs, skyscrapers, and even electric lights, yet most people labored in the shadow of poverty.

To those who worked in Carnegie's mills and in the nation's factories and sweatshops, the lives of the millionaires seemed immodest indeed. An economist in 1879 noted "a widespread feeling of unrest and brooding revolution." Violent strikes and riots wracked the nation through the turn of the century. The middle class whispered fearfully of "carnivals of revenge."  For immediate relief, the urban poor often turned to political machines. During the first years of the Gilded Age, Boss Tweed's Tammany Hall provided more services to the poor than any city government before it, although far more money went into Tweed's own pocket. Corruption extended to the highest levels of government. During Ulysses S. Grant's presidency, the president and his cabinet were implicated in the Credit Mobilier, the Gold Conspiracy, the Whiskey Ring, and the notorious Salary Grab.  Europeans were aghast. America may have had money and factories, they felt, but it lacked sophistication. When French prime minister Georges Clemenceau visited, he said the nation had gone from a stage of barbarism to one of decadence -- without achieving any civilization between the two.  Read more here: Americas Library: Gilded Age


Captains of Industry (plus Ford)

The Transcontinental railroad made this country one, helped industries grow, and ruined the lives of Native Americans.  The Transcontinental railroad also gave birth to many different industries, the start of the "Gilded Age", and unimaginable wealth for the Captains of Industry or Robber Barons depending on your perception.  So who are these Captains?  

Look left! Discover below!

Captain of Industry or Robber Baron? You decide:  

Gilded Age on the Back of Immigrants -

The Questions 

Read p.95-110 in your Reconstructing America mini-book, but you will need the websites above and below to answer all of the Gilded Age on the Back of Immigrants-The Questions in your COMP books: 

  1. How do the Captains of Industry help shape the "Gilded Age"?  
  2. Which of these men do you believe to be the most influential for their time?  Before you answer what does influential mean?
  3. How did railroads change American society, politics, and economy in the post-Civil War era?
  4. Many historians believe that the election of 1896 was the most critical election of the post-Civil War years.  Do you agree with this assessment?  How did the election change American politics?  
  5. How did the Captains of Industry help develop a time period of urbanization?  What consequences did this urban revolution have on politics, the economy, and society?  Read this:  American History: The American Worker
  6. What title do you prefer Captains of Industry or Robber-Barons?  Why?  Can't decide?  Read this:  Edsitement: The Industrial Age in America: Robber Barons and Captains of Industry
  7. Who was William Macy Tweed?  What was his problem Alfred Ely Beach?  How was it resolved?  [HINT.  Book p. 95-99] 
  8. What is Mark Twain's real name?  Why did he change it?  [HINT:  Book p.105] 

     Immigrants Speak Up!

I killed President McKinley because I done my duty.

I didn't believe one man should have so much service and another man should have none...

I killed the President because he was the enemy of the good people, the good working people. 
- Leon Czolgosz, Self-Proclaimed Anarchist & Assassin of President McKinley 

Read p. 111-122 in your Reconstructing America mini book and answer the Immigrants Speak Up! questions in your COMP books:

  1. Where is Carl Schurz from?  He famously declared that he was an _________ man?
  2. Germans were only second to in numbers to the Irish immigrants.  Why did so many Irish immigrants come to this country prior to the Civil War?
  3. In the half century after the Civil War how many immigrants come to the United States?  Why?
  4. What was Jacob Riis' first purchase upon his arrival in New York?
  5. Why did many Americans want to end immigration?
  6. What were the policies of the Know-Nothing Party?
  7. How did the ancient teachings of Confucius disagree with the policies of the Captains of Industry and Big Business?
  8. What was the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and what political party was responsible for it?
  9. What is connection between immigration and the America Strikes Out graph (below)?

BONUS: Why does this skinny image of Carl Schurz (left) look so similar to the carpetbaggers picture under the Time for Change...U.S. Grant section (above)?

The Antitrust Movement 

Taking down the Captains! Was it jealousy of power or the honest protection of the people?

To understand the Captains of Industry's argument against legislation, you must understand the theory of Social Darwinism: All About Science: Social Darwinism. Now read The Antitrust Movement Article WS.docx and then answer The Antitrust Movement questions in your COMP books:  

  1. Explain why John D. Rockefeller was "an agent for better and worse" in American history?
  2. Do you agree with the Supreme Court's decision in 1911 that the Standard Oil Trust had violated the Sherman Antitrust Act?  Why or why not?
  3. In 1911, the Supreme Court ruled that only monopolies "unreasonably" restraining trade were illegal.  Today, do you think that all monopolies should be illegal?  Why or why not?
  4. What was the major motivation of the U.S. Government and U.S. Supreme Court?  Meaning, were the laws and court cases against the captains motivated by jealousy or the protection of people? 

Still confused?  Watch this:  AP US History Project: The Antitrust Movement

Jacob Riis', 
"How The Other Half Lives"

While the Captains of Industry were living the REALLY good life, most of society was struggling to get by. To get an idea of how the other (the poor) half lived, I suggest reading Jacob Riis' "How the Other Half Lives".  Published in 1890, "How the Other Half Lives" was a pioneering work of photojournalism by Jacob Riis, documenting the squalid living conditions in New York City slums in the 1880s. It served as a basis for future muckraking journalism by exposing the slums to New York City's upper and middle class.

Directions:  Open the book Riis: How the Other Half Lives, select from one of the following chapters, complete How the Other Half Lives WS, and be prepared to discuss the focus areas of discussion part in class:


  • Chinatown
    • Genesis of the Tenement 
    • The Awakening
    • The Color Line in New York
    • The Italian in New York
    • The Man with the Knife
    • The Problem of the Children
    • Waifs of the City's Slums
    • The Reign of Rum
    • Jewtown

    Focus Areas of Discussion:  
    • Disease/Health
    • Money/Economy
    • Jobs/Money
    • Homes/Tenements
    • Laws/Codes/Crime 

    BONUS:  At the turn of the 20th Century (1890-1914) could an immigrant really improve their position in life if they always worked hard and tried their to do their best?  Try to support your opinion with 2-3 pieces of evidence from Jacob Riis' How the Other Half Lives.

    You Decide:  Washington or Du Bois?

    During the early Progressive Era, two African American leaders dominated the debate over the best course for racial advancement in America, Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois.

    Who had the better vision for improving the conditions of African Americans in the early 1900s?

    Read the following documents to answer the following questions:

    Read: John Marshall Harlan, Plessy v. Ferguson 

    1)  What was the impact of Plessy v. Ferguson?

    2)  Who was the only Supreme Court justice to speak out against the decision?

    Read: Booker T. Washington Delivers the 1895 Atlanta Compromise Speech 

    3)  Why did Booker T. Washington suggest that African-Americans should accept segregation?

    4)  What does Booker T. Washington mean by, “Water, water we die of thirst!  Cast down your bucket where you are."?

    Read:  Yale Teachers Institute: Washington vs. Du Bois article
    5)  On what points do Washington and Du Bois agree?
    6)  On what points do Washington and Du Bois disagree?
    7)  How do you think the background of Washington and Du Bois help shape their views and opinions?
    8)  Which of these two strategies promised more immediate gains for African-Americans? How?  Explain. 
    9)  Washington’s philosophy loses favor following his death in 1915, while Du Bois and the NAACP gained popularity. Which do your favor? Why?
    10)  Because Washington’s encouraged African-Americans to get to work without the assistance of the government or support of any real political party, historians believe that African-Americans today would reject Washington’s programs and ideas. Do you think that one can better his condition in American life without political and social rights and assistance?

    BONUS:  What did W.E.B. Du Bois think about The Name "Negro"?