Topic: EconomicsTrade

Last updated: February 6, 2020

The period of industrialization created a new political philosophy that was based on the progress and political and social improvements, the Progressivism. During the period of the 1890s to 1920s, there were many varied movements, activists and reforms that were directed on social injustice and domestic policies. The major characteristic of the Progressivism is the concept of the perfected democracy. There was an adoption of three election innovations in state legislatures. First was initiative, that allows citizens to enact a legislature by petition. The first state to adopt the initiative was South Dakota in 1898; today there is a total of 24 states with an initiative process. Second, recall that allows removing a public official from office by petition and voting process. Next, referendum, a process that allows citizens to counteract legislation by putting on existing law on the ballot for election. Another success of state progressive reform was Wisconsin Idea by Governor Robert “Fighting Bob” LaFollette in 1901-1906. Wisconsin Ideas is a legislature for Wisconsin that proposed the first workman’s compensation system, approved a minimum wage law, developed a progressive tax law, adopted the direct election of U.S. senators and advocated for women’s suffrage. The Niagara Movement was African American civil-rights group led by W.E. Du Bois and founded in 1905. Their goal was to end segregation and discrimination in public accommodations and equal and economic and education opportunities. To the growth of the Progressivism contributed a lot the first Progressive president, Theodore Roosevelt, who took office after McKinley’s assassination in 1901. Roosevelt signed into law the Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act in 1906, which was largely influenced by the muckrakers, especially Upton Sinclair and his historical novel “The Jungle”. Muckrakers was one of the Progressive movements by exposing problems of American society in their works, leading to various state and federal reforms The Sixteenth Amendment (1913) allows the Congress to levy an income tax without apportioning it among the states or basing it on the United States Census; this amendment to pay for the progressive reforms. Also, the concept of the perfected democracy also applied to the federal government. The old system of having state legislatures elect senators was replaced by the Seventeenth Amendment of 1917 that proclaimed the direct election of U.S senators. Sighing into the law the creation of the U.S. Children’s Bureau was dome by the second progressive President William Taft in 1912. Another progressive reform was the 18th Amendment, that declared prohibition and was led by the desire to remove alcohol from communities. Instead of the pure community, it caused to organizing mafias and increasing crimes. The 18th amendment is one of two amendments in the Constitution that repealed. The Progressive period in America finished with the presidency of Woodrow Wilson and an enactment of the 19th Amendment, that declares that the right to vote should not be denied or abridged by federal or state government on account of sex (Corbett et al, 624). The progressive era was an important time for America because the concepts of politics and society that were born at the time developed American democracy. WWI World War I (1914-1918) was the international conflict involved more than ten countries; approximately 16 million deaths from both sides. World War I was a war for economic domination. The main causes of the war were imperialism, industrialization in Germany, nationalism especially Serbian, militarism and creation of the alliances. Speaking of alliances: Allies included Britain, France Russia, Italy (1915) USA (1917) etc., and Central Powers-Germany, Ottoman empire, Austria-Hungary. Till 1917, the United States adopted a policy of neutrality, however, the pressure from the central powers, a new direction in American foreign policy led to the American involvement in the WWI. The Great war presented new pieces of technological warfare, such as the German “undersea boat”, acted in direct violation of international law, attacking without warning from beneath the water instead of surfacing and permitting the surrender of civilians or crew. (Corbett et al, 665) On May 7, 1915, the ship Lusitania was attacked, in result 1200 dead, 128 Americans. Besides sea attacks, another factor driving U.S. engagement was economics. The main trading partner of American was Britain and allied relied on American imports. The value of all exports to the Allies quadrupled from $750 million to $3 billion in the first two years of the war, however, exports to Germany were decreased and then stopped at all. The final source of the pressure and cause of the US engagement into the war was Zimmerman Telegram, where German Foreign Minister offers Mexico the territory of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona in exchange for an alliance. With British interception, the telegram was read by the US government. On April 2, 1917, Wilson asked Congress to declare war on Germany, and 4 days later the decision was made: The United States enters the Great War. American casualties were approximately three hundred thousand by the end of WWI. The Peace of Paris was a conference that ended World War I, consisting of five separate treaties, one with each country of the Central Powers. The treaty with Germany- the Treaty of Versailles, was negotiated among the Allied powers, or Big Four that included Italy, France, UK, and the USA. with no participation of Germany. Wilson announced his postwar peace plan before a joint session of Congress, the Fourteen Points, which was the first significant foreign policy of the United States. Woodrow Wilson called for openness in all matters of diplomacy and trade, specifically, free trade, freedom of the seas, an end to secret treaties and negotiations, promotion of self-determination of all nations, and more. In addition, he called for the creation of a League of Nations. Even though the USA entered the Great War close to the end of it, the war was essential for American foreign policy and economics. The WWI was the first stage of the European domination collapse and a first stage of the American dominance around the world.


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