The United States from the Late 19th Century to the Eve of World War II

History 124A

Fall 2017
Section: 
1
Instructor: 
Location: 
145 Dwinelle
Day & Time: 
TuTh 3:30-5
Class Number: 
15035
Units: 
4
  • This course satisfies the American Cultures Requirement.
  • For individuals born at the end of the Civil War in 1865 and living through the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, their 76 years of life would have witnessed profound technological, social, and ideological change. Innovations such as the telephone, airplane, and automobile transformed American business and reoriented social life. As the power of businesses grew, factory workers and farmers responded with uneven success. Masses of Americans quit laboring on the farm and moved the cities, women gained the right to vote and entered the paid workforce in greater numbers, while African Americans mostly remained trapped in low-paying occupations and segregated neighborhoods. At the same time, immigrants arrived in droves until the –golden door” banged shut. As America became more ethnically diverse and economically stratified, various ideologies developed to justify or critique these changes. This course will examine these diverse ideas and experiences by tracing the three main themes of business and technology, race and rights, and definitions of freedom from the Civil War till World War II. In the sixty-five years between the end of Reconstruction and the beginning of World War II, the United States became an industrialized, urban society with national markets and communication media. This class will explore in depth some of the most important changes and how they were connected. We will also examine what did not change, and how state and local priorities persisted in many arenas. Among the topics addressed: population movements and efforts to control immigration; the growth of corporations and trade unions; the campaign for women's suffrage; Prohibition; an end to child labor; the institution of the Jim Crow system; and the reshaping of higher education.