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 - Gilded Age, Immigration, Industrialization, Urbanization, Great Migration, Labor Unions, Progressive Era, & Harlem Renaissance 
  • Final Assessment –  Unit Exam - Progress at What Cost? / The Changing Face of America

An Immigrant's Journey &
The Great Migration - Passenger Search

Asian Immigration 
Angel Island:  
 European Immigration
Ellis 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

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

African American Migration
Exodusters / Great Migration:
Mexican & Latino Immigration
Latinx Great Migrations: 
 When Reconstruction ended in 1877, southern whites used violence, economic exploitation, discriminatory laws called Black Codes, and political disenfranchisement to subjugate African Americans and undo their gains during Reconstruction. Many African Americans fled to take advantage of the Homestead Act of 1862... As a result, between the late 1870s and early 1880s, more than 20,000 African Americans left the South for Kansas, the Oklahoma Territory, and elsewhere on the Great Plains in a migration known as the “Great Exodus.”  
Known as the "Great Migration", which was one of the largest movements of people in United States history. Approximately six million Black people moved from the American South to Northern, Midwestern, and Western states roughly from the 1910s until the 1970s. The driving force behind the mass movement was to escape racial violence, pursue economic and educational opportunities, and obtain freedom from the oppression of Jim Crow.
Beginning around the 1890s, new industries in the U.S. Southwest-especially mining and agriculture-attracted Mexican migrant laborers. The Mexican Revolution (1910-1920) then increased the flow: war refugees and political exiles fled to the United States to escape the violence. Mexicans also left rural areas in search of stability and employment. As a result, Mexican migration to the United States rose sharply. The number of legal migrants grew from around 20,000 migrants per year during the 1910s to about 50,000 – 100,000 migrants per year during the 1920s.

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:  
 Cornelius Vanderbilt
John D. Rockefeller

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 with in small groups and as a 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

    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 to do their best?  Try to support your opinion with 2-3 pieces of evidence from Jacob Riis' How the Other Half Lives.
    BONUS:  What did W.E.B. Du Bois think about The Name "Negro"?

    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: Plessy v. Ferguson & Great Dissent

    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:  PBS: Washington vs. Du Bois article & resources
    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? NOTE: Try this: Excerpt from Du Bois' Talented Tenth
    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?

    The Progressive Era 
    Teedie (TR)

    Read p. 130-133 & 139-151 in your new Age of Extremes mini-book and answer The Progressive Era & Teedie (TR) questions in your COMP books:

    1. What made Ida Tarbell a prominent muckraker?  
    2. What made or allowed for S.S. McClure's newspapers and writers to become so successful and progressive?
    3. What problems did Lincoln Steffens highlight?  What did he mean by "advocacy journalism"?
    4. What new or progressive technology came out of this time known as the Progressive Age?
    5. How progressive was this time for the normal farmers and regular people in the urban cities?  Explain.  
    6. During the later part of the Gilded Age and start of the Progressive Era many Americans became part of a growing middle class.  What defines a middle class?  [NOTE:  Not a simple answer, but try to define anyways]
    7. What made the Populist Party so popular?  What did they want?  What did they ignore?
    8. Why is Theodore Roosevelt considered the first Progressive President?
    9. Explain the life "Teedie" grew up in.
    10. What happened to Theodore Roosevelt on February 14th, 1884?
    11. In your opinion, when does the image on p.148 (also left) become real regarding Mr. Roosevelt?
    12. What muckrakers influenced Theodore Roosevelt?

            Imperialism & The Spanish-American War

    Read p.152-157 in your Age of Extremes mini-book and answer the Imperialism & Spanish-American War questions in your COMP books:  

    1. What were the last colonies of Spain?  Why did Spain cling onto them so tightly?
    2. What is "Yellow Journalism"?
    3. What was the impact of the sinking of the U.S.S. Maine (picture right)?  Who was really responsible? Did it matter?
    4. Who were the Rough Riders?  Why do you think Theodore Roosevelt quit his job with the Navy to lead this group Rough Riders?
    5. Who were the Buffalo Soldiers?
    6. Why was the Spanish American War so popular with Americans?
    7. What is imperialism?  What were the arguments for imperialism of Albert Beveridge and against imperialism of Carl Schurz?  [HINT: p.157]
    U.S.S. Maine sinking along the coast of Cuba

    The Spanish-American War: 

    History Channel Movie Guide 

    Watch the documentary and answer the following questions:  

    1. What were the motives behind America’s interventions into Cuba and the Philippines?
    2. Why were the Philippines first?
    3. Where the motives of the U.S. government behind the invasion of Cuba, Philippines and Puerto Rico justified?  In other words, what would be the future of these island without U.S. interventionism?  
    4. How has the foreign policy created and executed during McKinley, Roosevelt, and Taft influenced future US foreign policy? 
    5. Is imperialism a necessary part of the Progressive Movement? Is imperialism necessary for the U.S. to achieve it's "place in the sun"?  
    • Metropolitan Club  
    • Theodore Roosevelt                    
    • Albert Beveridge                    
    • Admiral Alfred Mahan
    • General George Dewey                      

    • Anti-Imperialism League
    • William McKinley (originally)
    • Carl Schurz
    • George Gray
    • Mark Twain
    Spanish-American War Resources: 

    Two Presidents:  Taft & Wilson

    Read p.185-192 in your Age of Extremes mini-book and answer the Two Presidents: Taft & Wilson questions in your COMP books: 

    1. President William H. Taft didn't really want to be president, his real dream, which later will be realized, was to be?
    2. What example does your book give you that Taft was a bit less imperialistic then President Theodore Roosevelt?
    3. Was Taft a Progressive President?  Before you answer consider that Taft did more trustbusting (breaking apart of monopolies) than T. Roosevelt, but turned over power to more conservative leaders called the "Old Guard."  Need help deciding?  HINT: US News: Teddy Roosevelt, on the Bull Moose Party Ticket, Battles Incumbent William Howard Taft
    4. What does J.P. Morgan mean by, "I hope the first lion he meets does his duty."?
    5. What was the nickname for Theodore Roosevelt's Progressive Party?
    6. What is the meaning behind the image on page 187 and the Pure Food and Drug Laws image just to the left?  
    7. Explain President Woodrow Wilson path to the presidency:
    8. Was President Wilson a Progressive President?  Why or Why not?
    9. Was President Wilson an Imperialist?  Why or Why not?  

    All that Jazz (and the Blues too)  

    The Roots of Jazz:  Though jazz and classic blues are really early twentieth-century black music innovations, certain characteristics found in jazz do have their roots in much earlier musical traditions. Call and response, improvisation, the appropriation and reinvention of elements from Western art music: black music in the twentieth-century has never held a monopoly on these musical practices. For instance, the era American historians call "antebellum" (roughly 1815-1861) holds much of interest to researchers looking for the deep roots of jazz.  Read the rest of the article herePBS: Jazz by Ken Burns (Jim Crow Article)

    Ken Burns' presents Jazz (Episode 1) Questions:

    1. What does creole mean?
    2. What is the connection between minstrels, Jim Crow, and the birth of Jass?  NOTE:  Yes, Jass was the name for the musical genre that will eventually evolve into Jazz, but no one is quite sure how. 
    3. Most will agree that Jazz is born in what American city? 
    4. Provide an example that Jazz didn't escape racism. 

    Ken Burns' presents Jazz (Episode 2) Questions:
    1. What are the instruments you hear in Jazz bands during this time? 
    2. How did Jazz bands travel at this time?
    3. Were the Jazz bands themselves integrated?
    4. Did the Jazz bands play to integrated audiences?
    5. Who was the first African American to face combat in World War I?  Who were the Harlem Hell-fighters?
    6. What were some of the important cities in the Jazz world?
    7. What role did Prohibition play on the popularity of Jazz?

    Making Connections Questions: 

    1. What is the meaning behind Billie Holidays'  Strange Fruit?
    2. What is the impact of Chicago and Chess records on the Blues and the transformation of this music into Rock n' Roll? HINT:  Try this Chess Records: A History of Rock n' Roll and Blues Heaven: Chess Records
    3. In your opinion, how does Jazz and the Blues help erode the stain of slavery, racism, and the Jim Crow Era? NOTE: I know this question may take awhile to ponder, but  “One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain." - Bob Marley

    Jazz, the Blues, and Rock n' Roll too 

    (Just a Suggestion)

     The Harlem Renaissance

    After the Civil War, liberated African-Americans searched for a safe place to explore their new identities as free men and women and started their "Great Migration" north. They found that identity in cities like Detroit, Chicago and New York City, but the center or "the capital of black America" was in the New York City neighborhood of Harlem.  Harlem became home to some of the best and brightest minds of the 20th century, gave birth to a cultural revolution, and will be remembered as the Harlem Renaissance.