Saturday, April 4, 2009

Progress, Preparedness and Protest : The US and WWI


For your blog -Read Chapter 8: The Birth of Civil Liberties in The Story of American Freedom by Monday 4/6 .


In Chapter 8 of The Story of American Freedom, Eric Foner explains that "the enlistment of democracy and freedom as ideological war weapons, qualities that set the country apart from German authoritarianism, inevitably inspired demands for their expansion at home."




In your opinion, why did American social movements gain momentum during the period leading up to and immediately following the Great War. How did those social movements contribute to support and opposition to the US' role in WWI. Reference at least three achievements of social movements to support your answer.Be prepared to have a seminar on this chapter on Monday.




By Tuesday, 3/7 have a timeline/ copious notes and questions prepared on pages 771-782 in Chapter 22 of Out of Many. The notes should reflect key terms, understandings and events related to the US' role in WWI and it's impact on American domestic and foreign policy.

9 comments:

brianne hannafey said...

Before WWI there were so many social movements going on that it was called the Progressive Era. There were so many different groups of people who wanted to make changes that many changes were in fact made. Woman were trying very hard to gain equality, and eventually they did move up in the social ladder. The woman's social movement played a large role during WWI because woman took over many men's jobs. When men went to war they needed people to work the jobs that the men were leaving behind and woman were recruited. This was one thing that made it easy for the US to join the war because there would be no loss in productivity. More immigrants were starting to be noticed and actually cared about after the social movements. This served both side for either joining or not joining the war. There were people in America for it because their home country may have been involved in the war so they wanted to help the. Then there were the immigrants from the countries that the US would go against, who were not for joining WWI. No matter what way the US looked at joining the war there was many pros and many cons to it. Many people gained power and moved up in the world thanks to the social movement. This gave many people voices and some did voice their opinions. After all the social movements everyone over the age of 18 had the right to vote, so they could choose a president either for or against war. Everyone had a different opinion on joining WWI, but America eventually joined which appeased some and annoyed some.

katie said...

The periods before and after world war one were dist antic in the social reforms that they brought. The progressive era took place before world war one and definitely played a huge role in the social movements. Movements such as womans suffrage, African American equality, and labor unions all played a role in world war one. When the men went to fight in the war women had to take their place in the work places, mainly the factories. This support womans suffrage because it showed that if woman can be seen as equal in the work place why not in the eyes of the government, it also showed that a woman could do the same job that a man could. In the war black men were recruited as soldiers and fought with white men, so why should a black man be able to give up his life for a country that wont treat him as an equal. The labor unions protected rights of workers who were being completely abused, also the factory workers had stimulated and created the weapons needed for war. The war seemed to simulate the need for womans suffrage, African American equality, and labor unions purpose because it proved that they were needed in America more then most American realized. These advancements had actually supported America moving into world war one. I agree with Brianne when she said that there were pro's and con's to joining the war.


Katie McSherry

Dana Pistilli said...

Chapter 8 in Eric Foner’s The Story of American Freedom discusses the American social movements gained momentum during the period leading up to and following the Great War, or World War I. The main period was the Progressive Era that led up to beginning of WWI. During this time, people did not have many rights.

The labor movement played a major role in the Progressive Era. Some unions formed for development of different classes of society. The National Labor Union founded in 1866 controlled capable and incapable farmers and factory workers. Women were not allowed to join any of these groups. After all, the National Labor Union wanted to higher wages, shorter workdays, and better working conditions. Another group was The Knights of Labor. This organization was founded in 1869 and believed in some of the views of the National Labor Union. Unlike the National Labor Union, the Knights of Labor allowed women and blacks. Since they had such a diversity of people, it was difficult for the group of strike and win. The Pullman Strike was another example of the labor movement in 1894. Eugene V. Debs was the leader and helped organize this strike. The Pullman Strike was when the company Pullman cut wages and a riot broke out. In the end, Debs was arrested as the workers refused to work and property was destroyed.

I agree with Katie about how labor unions protected the rights of people and workers. She also stated that the war settled the problems with women, equality, and labor rights. This is true because of the outcomes, such as the 19th Amendment when women gained voting rights.

Simit Christian said...

"The Birth of Civil Liberties" of Eric Foner's The Story of American Freedom" reviews both the revival and introduction of social equality movements during the Age of Imperialism and World War I. The two eras are closely associated not only by their efforts to establish gender/racial/social class equality but also their facade of distributing democracy around the world.

The abrupt national attitude of progressivism was, in my opinion, heavily influenced by the parallel age of imperialism. Imperialism was undertaken mainly with the excuse of spreading democracy, a political system supposedly perfected by America. The overwhelming reason for World War I was the same. Propaganda tended to make "an antithesis... found in the German kaiser and, more generally, the German nation and the people." (Foner 170). Germans were portrayed by such propaganda as barbaric Huns uniting under an unjust cause to take over the world. The ever-existent feeling of American superiority and meddling created a reason for our interference in an otherwise European war.

In turn, the war and its preceding international events created internal movements of progress. Like Katie said, women proved their equality with maintaining the nation (in a way) while the men fought in the war. Also, people began to analyze the motives of American involvement; if we are fighting in a war to improve Europeans, why should we not have our own not-so-violent war to better our own nation? The labor unions also had new arguments as the unstable economy of the united States was left to rely more heavily on workers, who in turn began to demand better conditions and better pay.

Overall, the turn of the century movements of progress and equality all fit into a perfect chain. Belief in American superiority partially lead to (or was the excuse for) imperialism, which lead to the spark of desires to improve internally, which increased American egos, and resulted in greater national support for the war. Simply, conflict of any kind usually progresses a nation as faults are recognized and then improved.

Aleksandra Makowska (I forgot my username)

Simit Christian said...

Amid the conflict of WWI, social progressive movements were severely damaged. According to Eric Foner’s ‘The Birth of Civil Liberties’ from his “The Story of American Freedom” however, believes these movements seemed to make more gains prior to and following the Great War. The women’s suffrage, feminist movements, along with the black American equality and Labor movements for example, all of which made the most of their achievements during the ‘pre’ and post war period. While the government masked the war’s intentions by claiming it was meant to spread, enforce, and secure democracy around the world, Progressive movements within the country, which also wished to democratize, were significantly limited.

Before the international conflict began, suffragists, and feminists began preaching against the depravation of females in the marriage life, politics, the economy, and generally in society. Leaders like Margaret Sanger, Alice Paul, Emma Goldman, Carrie Catt Lucy Burns, combined with groups like the National Women’s Party made key developments. These include the 19th amendment, and sexual liberties in places such as Greenwich Village. Despite his own views, Wilson supported the women’s movements in order to gain support for his presidency and eventually the war. “Wilson had cautiously endorsed women’s suffrage and, indeed, carried ten of the twelve states where women enjoyed the franchise. When America entered the war, Carrie Catt and the traditional women’s suffrage organizations enthusiastically enlisted in the effort” (Foner 171). Since, women created a substantial amount of the country’s population, Wilson ultimately gained a great deal of support.

Similarly, Unions, including the IWW and many others, were highly radical brought significant changes before the war. Some unions even achieved improved working conditions and the eight-hour workday. However, courts and businessman suppressed unionists by making the unionist appear as anarchists, and anti-American. Free speech was also not completely offered, and foreigners, women, immigrants, and lower class people were deprived of immigration the most. This sparked the free speech movement, which although not a united effort, included female, unionists, African-American, and pacifist participants.

As the U.S. became intertwined with the European War, as many anti-WWI advocates called it, some of these movements were brought to an end. The IWW for instance, which suffered from the arrest of Eugene V. Debs, and other punishments. As a result, the IWW along with other established unions declined and eventually were inexistent. This was primarily a result of the war and propaganda. The Committee of Public Information accompanied by Judicial Courts considered the labor movement as an anarchist movement that hoped for America’s defeat. The 1917 Espionage Act added to the obstacles of unionists. Additionally, the freedom of speech was not wholly granted, as state governments passed legislature that barricaded people from implementing the constitutional right. “In Iowa, Governor William L. Harding issued a proclamation restricting oral communication in schools, public places, and over the telephone to he English language. This rule was passed to limit espionage during the war; however, many foreign union affiliated workers were unethically deprived of communication.

Meanwhile, African American’s generally tended to benefit during the war. Although, segregation and disenfranchisement were still present, a reduction in immigration, allowed black Americans to receive industrial jobs. As an outcome, many African American’s migrated to the north, where there were more industrial jobs, less hatred of colored people, and slightly higher wages. Regardless the increasing job opportunities, black activists continued to demand for equality; Dubois and the NAACP started to criticize the government for advocating democracy, but not offering it to all within the nation. Nevertheless, the government ignored these requests, regardless the truthful statements of Dubois and other activists.

As the U.S. involved itself in WWI, radicals, reforms, and critics were surprisingly suppressed. Civil Liberties and constitutional rights were also not provided to the public. Only, pro-war individuals received freedom to advocate their beliefs, as long they were not seditious. Criticisms of American motives in the war were also intensely punished. “John white, an Ohio farmer was sentenced to twenty-one months in prison for saying that the murder of innocent women and children by German soldiers was no worse than what the United States had done in the Philippines” (Foner 178). At the end of the war, some of these progressive movements were revived and continued to impact society.

-In Response to Aleksandra-
You make a great connection between conflicts and national improvement. I didn’t consider the impact of wars and other conflicts on the overall status of the nation. However, you helped me realize that most of the fighting in American history resulted in national progress.


This is Simit Christian,, Aleks posted before me.

Robert Keller said...

American social movements during the period leading up to and immediately following World War I gained momentum due to the war. The women’s suffrage movement was greatly affected by the war. Men were drafted into the armed services to fight in the war. Since most of the men were off fighting, factories hired women to manufacture war materials. After realizing that they could handle jobs outside of the house, women were able to strengthen their fight for equality.
The women’s suffrage movement encouraged the United States to enter World War I. Women wanted to enter the workforce, however they were not able to do so before the war. During the war, most of the country's men were fighting. Women were needed to replace the men who were off at war. Without World War I, women might have never entered the workforce.
I agree with Simit that African Americans were able to benefit from the availability of jobs. I didn't realize that they were able to benefit when there was still segregation and extreme racism. I thought that prevented African Americans from progressing in society.

Briana Kohm said...

"The Story of American Freedom" by Eric Foner stated that "the enlistment of democracy and freedom as ideological war weapons, qualities that set the country apart from German authoritarianism, inevitably inspired demands for their expansion at home." This basically means that Germany was not afraid to expand their homeland in order to become a better country. As were it seems that he is saying we are the cowards who must use weapons to deffend them. A group called the CPI or Committe on Public Information was a government agancy during world war one that sought to shape public opinion in support of the war efforts through many different medias.The American red cross was another organization that was very important to World war one. This was an oppertunity for the women of the United States to volunteer and help the men in need of medical services. "The labor movement played a major role in the Progressive Era. Some unions formed for development of different classes of society," as Dana staed was also very true. Labor unions joined together to form different groups to support the wage cuts, the suffrage in factories, and many other issues in the big industries.

Ms. Francis said...

Brianne G-: Thoughtful and reflects a fundamental understanding of the key themes of the chapter, but little concrete detail is provided.

Katie - G: Some examples are provided to illustrate your points, but the analysis should be more sophisticated for a grade in the E range.

Dana - G: I like that you focused specifically on the labor movement as a way to show the momentum/ spirit of the era. For a higher grade, more concrete detail is needed.

Alexsadra- E: This post illustrates an in-depth understanding of the chapter and era. I am left with questions regarding HOW the negative aspects of an era are self-corrected in the cycle of national history, but intrigued by that idea.

Simit- E: A sophisticated and analytical read of the chapter. Are you convinced that strife and progress are indivisible? Are there any exceptions to this rule? I wonder if that is a somewhat fatalistic view on human progress (though I'm not at all arguing it to not be true.)

Rob- G: I'm pleased that you focused on women's suffrage (which no one else did and is a significant byproduct of WWI.)I do think, however, that more analysis and connections are called for in this post, which seems a little limited. Also, the conclusion of your post seems to take issue with Alexsandra and Simit's suggestion that conflict must exist in order for society to progress. I think this discontinuity merits further thought/exposition. If you feel like writing more on this point for a higher grade, I encourage you to do so.

Brianna - G-: You post some main ideas but overall, this blog is lacking focus and critical detail. I'm certain if we had had seminar, you would've said a lot more and encourage you to add to this post.

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