1. RECONSTRUCTION (1865-77): When the Civil War ended, there were numerous important problems faced by the United States, but none so pressing as the question of what would happen the 3.9 million emancipated slaves. The first section of History 102 confronts this question by examining what the Federal Government did to help the Freedmen, and what the Freedmen were able to do for themselves.
2. THE GILDED AGE (1877-1900): To gild something is to cover it with gold, and there was something golden about the United States in the years leading up to 1900. The U. S. advanced economically to become the worlds leading economic power and for the first time, individual Americans (like John D. Rockefeller) were the richest people in the world. America was only gilded however, that is covered in gold, as underneath the forming wealth was a teeming and chaotic population. Modernization is the theme of this section with America undergoing powerful changes brought on by industrialization, urbanization, and immigration. These are the focal points of the presentation, but important "endings" are also examined, including the end of the frontier and the independent existence of the indigenous people of North America.
3. THE PROGRESSIVE ERA (1900-1914): The chaos and changes wrought by the Gilded Age led many especially middle class Americans to feel a sense of crisis in 1900 and to seek to reform the United States. The Progressives, as the middle class reformers were known, embarked upon a very ambitious effort to clean up politics and government, protect children, the nations resources, and the consumer, among other activities. There were notable successes, conservation, a reductions of corruption, and important democratic reforms like womens suffrage, but also notable failures, the most galling the problems associated with the "Black Nadir" (including lynching, segregation, and disenfranchisement).
4. RISE TO WORLD POWER (1865-1919): The Progressive Era ended with the advent of World War I. This changes the focus of the class from domestic issues to American activities in the World. For most of the American history, the U. S. had been isolationist, self-consciously avoiding international involvements. Around 1900, forces within and events without the U. S. promoted increased international interventionism. Critical in this development were the Spanish-American War (1898) and World War I. How the U.S. became involved in both wars and the results form the basis of this section.
5. THE TWENTIES (1919-1929): After the war, the people of the United States cried out for "Normalcy." What they got instead was the "Roaring Twenties" with all its exuberance and strangeness. The theme of the Twenties presentation is contradiction, and the most interesting contradiction is that the Twenties saw both significant movement to modernization (the rise of consumer culture, cars, movies, sports, Flappers) and a substantial reaction against that modernization (Red Scare, Sacco and Vanzetti, the resurgent Klu Klux Klan, and the Scopes Trial).
6. THE GREAT DEPRESSION (1929-1939): The Twenties ended with a spectacular and awful fall into the Great Depression. This was Americas greatest economic catastrophe and a national emergency second only to the Civil War. The depths of the Depression and the governments responses to the economic crisis form the center of this section. Of Particular interest is Franklin Roosevelts New Deal, a program to end the Depression and to solve the problems that had created it.
7. WORLD WAR II (1939-1945): The inadequate nature of the World War I settlement, the presence of very dissatisfied nations, and the global crisis of the Great Depression all set the stage for World War II. How the U. S. became involved (Pearl Harbor) and developments on the home-front (Double V, Rosie the Riveter, and Japanese Internment) become the basis of this section.
8. POST -WAR AMERICA (1945-1965): This section examines three developments of the U. S. at its peak of relative global power. First, the affluence of this increasingly Affluent Society. Government support and the Baby Boom give foundation for a powerful post-war economic boom which take America to the heights of consumer culture the like of which the world has never seen. This "Happy Days" society is, however, beset by significant anxieties primarily the result of the Cold War. The Cold War in its international (Korea, Viet Nam) and domestic (McCarthyism) manifestations are the focus.
9. CONTEMPORARY AMERICA (1970-present): I hate thinking of my own life-time as history and I cannot say I understand what has been going on in recent history, but Ill do my best.
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