Topics in the News
America and World Affairs: Dollar Diplomacy
A New Player.
During the early decades of the twentieth century the United States emerged as a world power. The wisdom and propriety of how it wielded its new-found power in the 1910s have been much debated. Proponents of the U.S. military and international economic policies of that decade have asserted that the country used its influence to promote democracy and economic growth. Critics of those same policies have described them as self-interested military and economic imperialism.
In a world that had been dominated by the great European powers for four centuries, the United States sought its share of international influence and world markets. American interventionism during the 1910s took two forms: military action and political-economic intercession. These methods, dubbed "Dollar Diplomacy" during the presidency of William Howard Taft, continued under his successor, Woodrow Wilson. In his final message to Congress (3 December 1912) President Taft summarized this approach to foreign policy as "substituting dollars for bullets," but, as Taft also noted, "While our foreign policy should not be turned a hair's breadth from the straight path of justice, it may well be made to include active intervention to secure for our merchandise and our capitalists opportunity for profitable investment which shall inure to the benefit...
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America and World Affairs: The Mexican Revolution
The 1910s were a tumultuous decade in Mexican politics, and U.S.-Mexican relations were strained to the limit. Born in poverty, Porfirio Díaz, who ruled Mexico from 1876 to 1911, had worked against French efforts to dominate Mexico in the nineteenth century. For most of his tenure in office he had kept democratic mechanisms in place, but by 1910 he was turning increasingly to coercion. Troops under Diaz's control suppressed strikes by textile workers and miners with bloody violence, and as many Mexican organizations began to oppose him, his regime was beginning to totter. Francisco I. Madero, a member of one of Mexico's ten
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America at War: from Neutrality to Belligerency
Outbreak in Europe.
World War I began in summer 1914 as a conflict among the five "Big Powers" of Europe: Austria-Hungary, Great Britain, France, Germany, and Russia. In the quarter century leading up to the war the animosities between these powers resulted in a series of entangling alliances. Great Britain and Germany had been locked in an arms race on the seas that fueled their distrust of one another. As early as 1894 Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy had formed the Triple Entente, while the French and Russians had concluded a Dual Alliance; by 1904 the British and French had solidified an alliance of their own. The assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary by a Serbian nationalist on 28 June 1914 at Sarajevo was the spark that lit the tinder, setting in motion a series of hurried diplomatic maneuverings that failed to prevent war. The economic, industrial, and military forces of the warring factions were at first fairly closely matched, ensuring a protracted war that lasted for more than four years and four months and exacted an enormous toll in human lives. Though wartime death statistics are impossible to calculate accurately, conservative estimates place the war dead at more than ten million and the maimed and injured at about twenty million.
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America At War: Governing the Home Front
An Expanded Military.
Prior to World War I the United States defense budget was comparatively small. From 1900 to 1914 the country spent less than 1 percent of its gross national product (GNP) on defense. But in May 1916, with tensions between Mexico and the United States high, and war raging in Europe, Congress had increased U.S. military strength by passing the National Defense Act, authorizing an army of 223,000 and a National Guard of 450,000. This act was augmented on 18 May 1917 with the passage of the Selective Service Act, initiating the wartime draft. By 1918 the U.S. Army reached a peak strength of 3.7 million men (2.8 million of whom had been drafted), and by 1917 only Britain and Germany had more naval tonnage than the United States. U.S. war expenditures eventually totaled $17.1 billion, exceeded only by those of Britain and Germany. At home the executive branch of the federal government gained extraordinary wartime powers. Through a series of executive-agency war boards, the Wilson administration effectively controlled the nation's economy with a careful mixture of voluntarism and compulsion.
Financing the War.
The American war effort was financed in large part by five multibillion-dollar federal bond issues. The bonds paid only modest rates of interest (the first, for example, was a thirty-year bond offering 3.5 percent...
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America At War: The Aef in Europe
By 1915 the western front had become bogged down in trench warfare, and within two years the Allied position was becoming increasing tenuous as British, Italian, and French forces sustained massive casualties, mutinies broke out in the French army, and revolutionary forces successfully overthrew the czar in Russia. In April 1917 the Allies' hope was renewed after the United States committed the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) to the fight, but by the time most of those troops arrived a year later, Britain and France had sustained hundreds of thousands of casulties in four years of brutal trench warfare.
The "Yanks" Arrive.
By 1918 the U.S. Army had been expanded into a force of 3.7 million soldiers in sixty-two divisions of 28,000 men. Forty-two of these divisions were deployed to Europe, and within a little more than six months after the first U.S. soldiers entered the fighting, the war was over. The first U.S. action in the war came on 20 April 1918—slightly more than a year after President Wilson had asked for a declaration of war—when a German regiment attacked part of the U.S. Twenty-sixth Division at the village of Siecheprey. It was a bloody introduction to war on the western front for the inexperienced American forces. They fought fiercely, killing approximately 160 Germans while sustaining
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America At War: Wilson's Peace Plan
In an 8 January 1918 address to Congress President Wilson put forward peace terms that became known as the Fourteen Points. Declaring that the United States had no designs on European territory and no desire for monetary reparations, Wilson made it clear from the outset that the United States wanted no part of the secrecy, intrigue, and imperial ambitions that had created the conditions for war. Instead, he hoped to use the war—and American participation in it—as a means to achieving a just peace maintained by a new international system.
Wilson and Versailles.
After the Armistice was signed in November 1918, Wilson gathered together a group of advisers and supporters—together called "The Inquiry"—and sailed for Paris to participate in shaping the terms of the peace. On arrival in Europe he toured western regions ravaged by the war. From Brest to Paris men, women, and children knelt in prayer near the tracks as his train passed, and he was treated as a savior. In the peace conference at Versailles, which convened on 18 January 1919, Wilson was one of the "Big Four" in the negotiations. The other three—David Lloyd George of Great Britain, Georges Clemenceau of France, and Vittorio Orlando of Italy—resented Wilson's high moral tone and disagreed with what they believed to be his overly conciliatory approach to the...
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Domestic Radicalism: The Red Scare
Amid the bloodshed of World War I a revolution took place in Russia in February 1917 (according to the old-style calendar then used by the Russians). Czar Nicholas II was overthrown, and the following October (old-style) communist Bolsheviks (colloquially referred to as "reds"), led by Vladimir Lenin, overthrew a provisional government headed by Aleksandr Kerensky. By March 1919 the Soviet Union was seeking to export its revolutionary communism to other countries. Anxieties over Communist influences in the United States were heightened in April, when thirty-six government officials, including Arty. Gen. A. Mitchell Palmer and Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., were mailed package bombs that were presumed to have come from radicals. By September 1919, after two factions of the Socialist Party of America broke away from that organization to form the Communist Labor Party and the American Communist Party, a "red scare" gripped Americans, for many of whom "radical" was equated with "foreign." The domestic labor unrest that came hard on the heels of the Armistice seemed to signal class warfare, as a general strike in Seattle (January and February), a police strike in Boston (early September), a nationwide steelworkers' strike (late September), and a United Mine Workers strike (November) followed in quick succession.
The Palmer Raids....
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The Initiative, the Referendum, and the Recall.
In the 1910s, and earlier, many local and state political parties were run by political machines that controlled both the nominating and the legislative processes. In response to such corruption voters sought to increase direct democracy by furthering a series of electoral reforms that had begun in the late nineteenth century: the initiative, the referendum, and the recall. The initiative and referendum were first established in South Dakota in 1898, and by the 1910s a score of states had established such laws. The initiative and referendum allowed voters to write policy by passing specific laws. The recall, also widely adopted and used during the 1910s, allowed voters to remove an elected official from office if he failed to carry out the wishes of his consitutents. All three measures reflected a progressive belief in the efficacy of the political process: if the means of electing officeholders could be cleansed of corruption, the government would be responsive to the will of the people.
One political innovation was the commission government, usually composed of three to twelve people, which carried out the legislative and executive functions of a city, county, or township. The city commission form of government was first adopted in Galveston, Texas, in 1900, and by...
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Feminism: The Fight for Suffrage
The United States achieved universal male suffrage in 1870 with passage of the Fifteenth Amendment. Women, however, had to educate, agitate, and organize for another fifty years before they obtained the right to vote in federal elections. On 4 June 1919 Congress passed the Nineteenth Amendment, granting women suffrage, and by August 1920 the requisite number of states had ratified it. It had been a long fight, with roots that can be traced back to Abigail Adams's importuning her husband, John Adams, to "remember the ladies" during the Constitutional Convention. Woman's suffrage was proposed at the 1848 Seneca Falls convention, but the drive to achieve it did not begin in earnest until 1869 with the founding of the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) and the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA). Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton of NWSA focused on national suffrage; Lucy Stone and Julia Ward Howe in AWSA sought state legislation. The merger of NWSA and AWSA into the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) in 1890 proved to be an effective combination leading to final victory in 1919.
Between 1896 and 1910 NAWSA initiated scores of campaigns at the state level calling for referenda on the issue of votes for women, but in the few cases in which referenda were held, none resulted...
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Fighting "Jim Crow": The Battle for Racial Equality
During the 1910s African Americans suffered under a system of legalized race control that sought to deny them equal political, social, educational, and economic opportunity. Invidious methods of racial oppression were in place across the nation but especially in the South. During the 1910s more than 85 percent of African Americans lived in southern states, which had adopted what were known as "Jim Crow" laws in the 1890s and 1900s. While many of their white fellow Americans enjoyed the fruits of the nation's wealth, freedom, and opportunity, blacks were systematically denied civil and political rights, and their labor was exploited. The basis for legalized social segregation of the races was the Supreme Court decision in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), which declared the legality of separate facilities for black Americans. Following this ruling, southern states passed laws forcing black Americans to sit in less desirable seats in theaters (often in back balconies) and in railroad cars (in separate cars or in smoking sections) and to attend black-only public schools, which received much less funding than public schools for whites.
States also passed laws that denied African Americans' political rights by disfranchising them. Legislatures across the South passed laws instituting the poll tax and the...
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Government and Agriculture
For many farmers, especially those in the Midwest and Central Plains states the 1910s were a golden age, particularly in comparison with the lean decades of the late nineteenth century. Though the number of farms rose from two million to 6.4 million between 1860 and 1916, and farm acreage more than doubled, the relative number of farmers (and therefore their electoral power) was diminishing. By 1910 fewer than three in ten workers in the nation were engaged in farming. Productivity and prices rose during the 1910s, and many farmers prospered. The Farmer's Union, established in 1902, sponsored cooperatives for purchasing and storing seed and crops and was active among southern cotton growers and northern wheat farmers during the decade.
The Smith-Lever Act, passed by Congress on 8 May 1914, added to the farming boom by making federal funds available to educate farmers in the latest technological innovations and farming techniques. Money, in the form of matching grants from the states, was apportioned according to farming population. Agricultural colleges, functioning under the U.S. Department of Agriculture, administered programs of education. Yields rose, and the Farm Loan Act of 1916 made it easier for farmers to get loans to purchase new planting and harvesting equipment.
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Government and Business
Regulating the Economy.
The American blend of republican government and capitalist economy, in combination with the nation's vast natural resources, had catapulted the United States into the first rank of world powers by 1910. Nevertheless, the national ideal of freedom had its limits. Enterprising capitalists, free to act as they wished, were amassing vast wealth to the point of monopolizing an entire sector of the economy. Presidents Roosevelt and Taft had used the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 to break up some of the most egregious monopolies, but by the 1910s it was clear to many Americans that further regulation of industrial and financial interests was needed. Thus, the Wilson administration, with help from progressives in Congress and political pressure from a variety of organized reform groups, pushed through a series of measures aimed at making the federal government a more efficient and effective regulator of economic activity.
The Pujo Committee.
Between 16 May 1912 and 26 February 1913 the House of Representatives investigated the "money trust." Named after the chairman of the House Banking and Currency Committee, Rep. Arsene Pujo of Louisiana, the hearings were conducted by committee counsel Samuel Untermeyer. Many individuals from the largest U.S. financial institutions were called to testify, including representatives from...
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Government and Immigration
The New Immigrants.The 1910s were the last decade in American history in which immigration to the United States from Europe was unrestricted. The largest groups to immigrate during the 1910s were from eastern and southern Europe. Motivated by a population explosion in Europe and economic opportunities in the United States, Italians, Poles, Jews (from the Russian pale), Czechs, Slovaks, Croatians, Lithuanians, Bulgarians, Greeks, Romanians, Armenians, Serbians, and Hungarians poured into the country. Between 1880 and 1940, the period that historians have labeled the "new immigration," more than twenty-six million people immigrated to the United States from Europe. It was the single largest mass migration of human beings in world history, and many American cities were flooded by the new immigrants. By 1910
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Government and Labor
As a result of growing agricultural yields and increased manufacturing production, the people of the United States in the 1910s were in aggregate the richest in the world. By 1913 the United States was producing nearly a third of the worldwide manufacturing output, and its $37 billion national income in 1914 was more than triple that of its nearest competitors, Great Britain and Germany. The percapita income of the nearly one hundred million U.S. inhabitants in 1914 was $377, more than one and a half times that of Great Britain, twice that of Germany, and almost ten times that of Russia. As the historian Paul Kennedy has noted, "The United States seemed to have all the economic advantages which some of the other powers possessed in part, but none of their disadvantages." America's aggregate wealth was enormous, but the distribution of these riches was highly skewed. The richest 10 percent of the population controlled well over 50 percent of the nation's wealth, while the poorest fifth lived in relative poverty.
Unions for Skilled Workers.
Around 5 percent of the nation's labor force was organized into trade unions in the 1910s. These skilled workers—such as carpenters, steam-pipe fitters, stonemasons, and bricklayers—were affiliated with the American Federation of Labor (AFL). For the...
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Legislating Temperance: Prohibition
The Problems of Alcohol.
The evils of alcoholism and heavy drinking were well known from the earliest days of American society. In the 1830s Americans were consuming 7.1 gallons of alcohol per capita on an annual basis. Since many abstained, and most women, children, and slaves consumed much less than those who regularly "tippled," the alcohol consumption of regular drinkers must have been much higher than the statistics suggest. One historian refers to the United States as "the alcoholic republic." In 1851 a Maine law outlawed the manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquors in that state, and by 1855 thirteen states had adopted such laws. Many believed that outlawing drinking was the only way to curtail the family violence, recklessness, and workplace problems all too common across the country. Protestant congregations and women's groups led the Prohibition movement, while it was opposed by many working-class men, Catholics, and immigrant groups, such as the Irish and the Germans, for whom drinking was a more significant part of their cultures than it was for Anglo-Saxon Protestant Americans.
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National Politics: The 1910 Elections
The close electoral split between Democrats and Republicans in the years following the Civil War was altered in the elections of 1896. In that year the Republican William McKinley won the presidency with a decisive victory over agrarian Democrat William Jennings Bryan. Thereafter, the Republican Party held a majority of congressional seats for twenty-six of the thirty-four years from 1896 to 1930 and, with only two exceptions, won every presidential election from 1896 until 1932. Except for the 1910s the Republicans dominated American politics for the first third of the twentieth century. From 1910 to 1918 the Democratic Party held a majority of seats in Congress, and Democrat Woodrow Wilson won both presidential elections held during the decade....
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National Politics: The 1912 Republican Nomination Race
A House Divided.
For the Republican Party the 1912 presidential election was a calamity. More than three hundred delegates walked out of the party's national convention and formed the Progressive Party to support Theodore Roosevelt for the presidency. President William Howard Taft, the Republican candidate, retained control of the diminished GOP. Had he been a more astute politician, he might have turned his many accomplishments as president to his advantage. His administration had added more land to the National Parks and National Forests and had broken up more trusts than Roosevelt had done in his seven and a half years as president. (Taft brought ninety legal actions against trusts in his four years as president; Roosevelt had brought forty-four during his nearly two terms.) Farmers were enjoying vast prosperity as prices and profits rose. The economy was dynamic and expansive; unemployment was low; and Wall Street profits were on the rise. Yet by autumn 1912 Taft was beset with political problems. The presidency was the first elective office Taft had ever held, and he lacked the political skill necessary to hold together a divided party. Rather than strengthening a coalition of supporters, each of his successes seemed instead to alienate voters.
The Payne-Aldrich Tariff.
Taft had proved ineffective on tariff reform, and his...
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National Politics: The 1912 Progressive Party Convention
The "Bull Moose" Party.
Theodore Roosevelt's political difficulties in 1912 were of his own making. On election night 1904, amid the excitement of his landslide victory, Roosevelt had pledged himself not to run for another term as president. By 1910, however, he was reconsidering a bid for another term, and in his "New Nationalism" speech at Osawatomie, Kansas, that August he stunned conservative Republicans with his attack on "the sinister control of special interests" and his call for reforms such as income and inheritance taxes, aid to farmers, and improved working conditions. When he formally entered the race as the Progressive Party candidate in 1912, his campaign proved to be one of the most reformist and progressive in the history of the United States.
Progressive Party Convention.
In early August 1912 the Progressive Party held its nominating convention. By then, however, it was clear that most Republican Party officeholders who had supported Roosevelt as a Republican Party hopeful earlier in the year had decided to remain loyal to the GOP. There were, to be sure, a few wealthy businessmen and a few machine politicians who supported Roosevelt, but the great majority of his supporters at the Progressive Party convention were political amateurs, social workers, sponsors of the movement for the initiative and referendum, local...
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National Politics: The 1912 Democratic Nomination Race
Wilson Triumphs.The Democrats held their national nominating convention in Baltimore on 25 June-2 July. As the opening day approached, Speaker of the House James Beauchamp "Champ" Clark of Missouri held the lead in delegates. A former editor, Clark had been a supporter of William Jennings Bryan's populist agrarian politics. Among Clark's challengers was Woodrow Wilson, a relative newcomer to national politics. Though Wilson, a former president of Princeton University, had won the governorship of New Jersey in 1910 with the backing of conservative Democratic bosses, he had proved to be much more liberal than New Jersey party
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National Politics: The 1912 Elections
A Three-Way Battle.
The election of 1912 was bitterly fought. Taft attacked Roosevelt and the Progressives as "dangerous," while Wilson's progressive record as governor of New Jersey and the enormous difficulty of mounting an effective third-party challenge diminished Roosevelt's hopes for victory. Bryan successfully canvassed the West for Wilson, allowing Wilson to restrict his campaigning to the East and Midwest. On 14 October Roosevelt was shot before giving a speech in Milwaukee. The bullet traveled through his spectacle case and his folded speech before causing a deep flesh wound, but Roosevelt went on to deliver his prepared speech to an amazed audience. In the week prior to the election, Vice President James S. Sherman died, and the Republican National Committee named Nicholas Murray Butler, president of Columbia University, as his eleventh-hour replacement on the ticket.
With the Republican Party split in two, Wilson won easily, with 435 electoral votes, to 88 for Roosevelt, and only 8 for Taft. One million women voted in a presidential race for the first time. Wilson received 6,293,120 popular votes, Roosevelt 4,119,582, Taft 3,485,082, and Socialist Eugene V. Debs 900,672. Eugene Chafin, the Prohibition Party candidate, received 206,275 votes, and the Socialist Labor Party candidate, Arthur Reimer, got a scant 28,750....
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National Politics: The 1914 Elections
The GOP Rebounds.
Although the Democrats retained control of both houses of Congress, the Republican Party was considered by many to be the big winner in the congressional elections of 1914. Having placed third in the presidential election of 1912, the GOP's successes in 1914 reaffirmed its broad-based electoral support. Republicans charged the Democrats with fiscal mismanagement, while the Democrats ran on the legislative successes of the first two years of the Wilson administration. In the aftermath of the 1914 elections the Progressive Party was on the brink of collapse. Theodore Roosevelt commented that in the East, "there is not a state in which the Progressive party remains in condition even to affect the balance of power between the two old parties." Republicans picked up sixty-nine seats in the House, where they held 196 seats to the Democrats' 230. In the Senate the Democrats fared better, increasing the number of Democratic senators by five, to 56, to the Republicans' 40.
John L. Moore, ed., Congressional Quarterly's Guide to U.S. Elections, third edition (Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly, 1994);
George Mowry, Theodore Roosevelt and the Progressive Movement (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1946).
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National Politics: The 1916 Republican Nomination Race
Republican Candidates.By late 1915 the leading Republican presidential contenders were former Ohio senator Theodore Burton, Illinois senator Lawrence Y. Sherman, New York senator Elihu Root, and Supreme Court Justice Charles Evans Hughes. Burton's and Sherman's stars faded rapidly, and Theodore Roosevelt's behind-the-scenes efforts for the nomination were rebuffed. (He was not to be forgiven in 1916 for his apostasy of 1912.) Elihu Root, who was seventy-one in 1916, was generally considered too old. His political luster was further tarnished by his involvement in an ill-fated campaign to rewrite the New York State constitution, and Roosevelt's opposition to Root, who had served him as secretary of war and secretary of state, sealed Root's fate. He was unable to muster the necessary number of delegates to win the nomination. In early 1916 Charles Evans Hughes emerged as the Republican front-runner. As a Supreme Court justice since 1910, Hughes had remained above the fray during the bitter political fighting of 1912 and as a result had alienated neither Republican Party regulars nor progressives. As a Supreme Court justice it would have been improper for him to engage in political posturing, and his silence allowed both progressives and conservatives to believe that he supported their views. Progressives remembered Hughes's record as governor of New York, when he had passed workmen's compensation,...
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The Democratic Convention
The Democratic Convention.
The Democrats held their national convention at Saint Louis on 14-16 June 1916 and unanimously declared Wilson their nominee on the second evening. Taking "Americanism" as its central theme, the Democratic platform broke with Wilson's 1912 "New Freedom," declaring instead for more active, regulatory government on a limited number of domestic issues. The platform called for child-labor laws, a living wage, and workmen's compensation for federal employees. In foreign policy the Democrats held that it was "the duty of the United States to use its power…to make secure its just interests throughout the world…and…to assist the world in securing settled peace and justice." This note of internationalism was somewhat contradicted in the speeches delivered by party delegates. Isolationist speeches, especially those stressing that Wilson had kept the nation out of war, were repeatedly cheered, and the phrase "He kept us out of war" was quietly added to the platform.
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National Politics: The 1916 Elections
The Campaign.The fifty-four-year-old Hughes put in a fine showing as Republican candidate for the presidency, undertaking a national speaking tour on which he drove home his "America first, America efficient" slogan with verve and attacked Wilson on the economy and foreign policy. He claimed that Wilson's policies had turned Mexico against the United States and that Wilson had failed to protect U.S. maritime rights in the Atlantic against aggressive actions by Great Britain and Germany.
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National Politics: The 1918 Elections
The election of 1918 was a pivotal contest in American political history. Wilson's efforts to persuade voters to elect Democrats to Congress failed to sway the public and succeeded in alienating Senate Republicans, without whom Wilson's peace plan and the League of Nations were doomed to defeat. For the Sixty-sixth Congress the Republicans regained their majorities in both the House and the Senate, The election was held just prior to the signing of the 11 November 1918 armistice that ended World War I and in the midst a devastating influenza epidemic that killed about five hundred thousand Americans. The campaign was a referendum on Wilson and the Democrats' wartime leadership. Republicans, largely reunited after the collapse of the Progressive Party in 1917, assailed the Democrats' wartime domestic policies and criticized Wilson's war-time diplomacy. Prohibition was also a major issue in the campaign. Most Democrats, especially urban workers and Catholic voters, customarily voted against Prohibition, and Republicans, especially progressives, generally voted for it. The Eighteenth Amendment, which had been proposed on 18 December 1917, was moving toward ratification by the states, and the success of "dry" Republicans in the 1918 elections virtually assured its eventual passage on 29 January 1919.
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Baker, Newton D. 1871-1937
SECRETARY OF WAR, 1916-1921
Mobilization for World War I.
As secretary of war for a president who campaigned for reelection in November 1916 on the motto "He Kept Us Out of War," Newton Baker had the unenviable task of rapidly and efficiently mobilizing American troops once the United States declared war on Germany in April 1917.
Born on 3 December 1871 in Martinsburg, West Virginia, Newton Diehl Baker studied political science, economics, and history at Johns Hopkins University from 1888 to 1892. He often ate meals with Woodrow Wilson, then a young instructor at Johns Hopkins, at a boardinghouse near the university—an event they would reminisce about years later. After receiving his law degree from Washington and Lee in 1894, Baker returned home to Martinsburg and established a law practice. In 1896 Baker's father used his friendship with Postmaster General William L. Wilson to secure a position for his son as Wilson's assistant in Washington, D.C., a post which the young Baker held until March 1897, when the Democratic administration of Grover Cleveland was replaced by the Republican administration of William McKinley.
With his patronage position in Washington a casualty of the election results, Baker took a vacation in Europe....
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House, Edward M. 1858-1938
PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER, 1913-1921
Few men cast a longer shadow in the corridors of power in Washington during the 1910s than Edward Mandell House, who served as President Woodrow Wilson's adviser on European affairs in the years leading up to and during World War I.
Born in Houston, Texas, on 26 July 1858, House entered Cornell University in 1877, leaving before graduation to manage the cotton plantations he had inherited on the death of his father. After he sold the cotton plantations a decade later, he was able to live in financial independence for the rest of his life.
Entry into Politics.
In 1892, while living in Austin, House successfully managed the gubernatorial reelection campaign of James S. Hogg, who appointed House to his staff and made him an honorary "Colonel"—a title House retained for the rest of his life. House withdrew from politics in 1902, but he returned for the 1912 presidential election. Working vigorously in support of Woodrow Wilson, House was instrumental in getting William Jennings Bryan to back Wilson's candidacy. During Wilson's two terms as president, House was the president's most intimate adviser, initially helping Wilson choose his cabinet and subsequently acting as Wilson's de facto secretary...
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Kellor, Frances 1873-1952
PROGRESSIVE PARTY LEADER
A social scientist who believed that government was the most effective vehicle for bringing about social reform, Frances Kellor played an important role in Theodore Roosevelt's 1912 presidential campaign. Her career in the 1910s illustrates the new political influence that educated women could exert through the application of their expertise on a range of social issues.
Born in Columbus, Ohio, on 20 October 1873, Frances Alice Kellor was raised by her mother, Mary Sprau Kellor, in a single-parent household. When Frances Kellor was two, her mother took her two daughters to live in the small town of Coldwater, Michigan, where she supported her two children by working as a housekeeper and washerwoman. Kellor later listed her pastor at the First Presbyterian Church as one of the people who motivated her involvement in social reform. After earning a law degree from Cornell University in 1897, Kellor enrolled at the University of Chicago to study sociology part-time. There she studied aspects of unemployment and crime, arguing in her first book, Experimental Sociology (1901), that the origins of crime were to be located in disadvantaged childhoods, low levels of education, and unemployment and asserting the importance of reforming criminals in prisons....
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Lansing, Robert 1864-1928
SECRETARY OF STATE, 1915-1920
Wartime Cabinet Member.
As secretary of state during World War I, Robert Lansing was over-shadowed by President Woodrow Wilson, who conducted most important foreign-policy matters himself. As the German ambassador to the United States once commented, "Since Wilson decides everything, any interview with Lansing is a mere matter of form."
Born in Watertown, New York, on 17 October 1864, Robert Lansing graduated from Amherst College in 1886. After studying law in his father's law office, he was admitted to the New York State bar in 1889 and became a junior partner in his father's firm in Watertown. In 1890 Lansing married Eleanor Foster, whose father became secretary of state for President Benjamin Harrison in 1892. Reaping the benefits of nepotism, Lansing was appointed associate counsel for the United States in international arbitration and served as counsel on many international arbitration cases over the next sixteen years. In 1907 he became a founding editor of the American Journal of International Law. During the opening months of World War I, Lansing worked as a lawyer in the Department of State, serving as acting secretary during Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan's frequent absences from Washington. When Bryan unexpectedly resigned in June 1915...
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Lodge, Henry Cabot 1850-1924
U.S. SENATOR, 1893-1924
A Conservative Republican.
As a leader of the conservative wing of the Republican Party, Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge of Massachusetts fought the social and political reforms advocated by progressives in his own party and led the successful effort to defeat the Treaty of Versailles in the Senate.
Born into a prominent Boston family on 12 May 1850, Henry Cabot Lodge graduated from Harvard College in 1871 and from Harvard Law School in 1874. In 1876 he received the first political science Ph.D. ever granted at Harvard, writing his thesis on Anglo-Saxon land law. From 1873 to 1876, with the backing of Henry Adams, Lodge edited the North American Review. He was a lecturer on U.S. history at Harvard from 1876 to 1879, and for a time it seemed that he would pursue a career in academia. During the 1880s and 1890s he published several biographies and histories, including Life and Letters of George Cabot (1877), a biography of his mother's grandfather; A Short History of the English Colonies in America (1881); Alexander Hamilton (1882);Daniel Webster (1882); and George Washington (1888).
Entry into Politics.
In 1879 Lodge was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives on the Republican...
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Pershing, John J. 1860-1948
GENERAL, U.S. ARMY, 19O6-1924
Already well known for his masterful command of troops in Mexico in 1916, Gen. John J. Pershing led American troops in Europe during World War I, tipping the scales in favor of the Allies at a critical point in the war and thus ensuring their victory.
Early Life and Career.
Born in Linn County, Missouri, on 13 September 1860, John Joseph Pershing entered West Point in 1882. During his final year he was appointed senior cadet captain and became president of his class, graduating thirtieth in his class in 1886. He served as a cavalry officer in New Mexico during campaigns against Apache chief Geronimo's warriors in 1886 and in South Dakota during skirmishes at Wounded Knee Creek against the Sioux in 1890 and 1891. In 1891-1895 he taught military tactics at the University of Nebraska, where he took a law degree in 1893. In 1897-1898 he taught at West Point, where the cadets nicknamed him "Black Jack" Pershing because of his strict disciplinary approach. He fought in Cuba during the Spanish-American War of 1898, distinguishing himself on the field of battle. His...
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Wilson, Woodrow 1856-1924
PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, 1913-1921
A Wartime President.
At the outset of World War I President Woodrow Wilson believed that the United States had no stake in this conflict of imperialist European rivals and promised to keep America out of the war. Yet he ended up presiding over the first total mobilization of American troops for war and winning a Nobel Peace Prize for his role in negotiating the peace treaty that ended that war.
Born in Staunton, Virginia, on 28 December 1856, Thomas Woodrow Wilson was named after his maternal grandfather, but in his twenties Wilson dropped Thomas from his name. The son of a Presbyterian minister, he grew up in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina and later recalled that one of his earliest memories was of standing outside a gateway in Augusta, Georgia, at the age of four and "hearing someone pass and say that Mr. Lincoln was elected and there was to be war." As a child, Wilson had a learning disability that kept him from reading until age nine, but by seventeen he was possessed of an able intellect. He entered Davidson College in North Carolina in...
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People in the News
In January 1911 Sen. Jonathan Bourne of Oregon became the first president of the National Progressive Republican League. In 1907 he had been the first U.S. senator to be elected by popular vote. He lost his reelection bid in 1912.
On 24 April 1913 Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan called for a permanent court of arbitration to avoid future wars.
In 1915 Carrie Chapman Catt was elected president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), a position she had previously held from 1900 to 1904. Her leadership skills helped to bring about the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment.
In September 1919 Gov. Calvin Coolidge of Massachusetts fired striking police officers in Boston. Coolidge's assertion that "no one has the right to strike against the public safety" made the future president a national political figure.
Following the U.S. declaration of war in April 1917, President Woodrow Wilson appointed Herbert Hoover head of the Food Administration. Hoover's efficient and compassionate efforts in supplying surplus American food to Europe brought the future president his first public recognition.
On 5 August 1912 Hiram W. Johnson of California was nominated for vice president on the Progressive Party ticket. Johnson, who had been elected governor...
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Nelson W. Aldrich, 73, conservative Republican senator from Rhode Island (1881-1911), coauthor of the Payne-Aldrich Tariff of 1909, and author of the "Aldrich Plan," which laid the groundwork for the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, 16 April 1915.
Randolph Bourne, 32, radical political writer best known for his antiwar essays published in The Seven Arts magazine, 22 December 1918.
William E. Chandler, 81, secretary of the navy (1882-1885), secretary of the Republican National Committee (1868, 1872), and Republican senator from New Hampshire (1889-1901), 30 November 1917.
Daniel De Leon, 61, leader of the Socialist Labor Party and a founder of the Industrial Workers of the World, 11 May 1914.
Stephen B. Elkins, 69, railroad and mining magnate, Republican senator from West Virginia (1895-1911), and author of the Elkins Act of 1903, which forbade railroads from offering rebates to shippers, 4 January 1911.
Charles W. Fairbanks, 66, vice president of the United States (1905-1909) under Theodore Roosevelt, 4 June 1918.
Joseph Benson Foraker, 70, conservative Republican senator from Ohio (1897-1909), 10 May 1917.
William J. Gaynor, 65, Democratic mayor of New York City (1910-1913), 12 September 1913....
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John Bertram Andrews, Labor Problems and Labor Legislation (New York: American Association for Labor Legislation, 1919);
Charles A. Beard, American City Government: A Survey of Newer Tendencies (New York: Century, 1912);
Beard, American Government and Politics (New York: Macmillan, 1914);
Beard, An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States (New York: Macmillan, 1913);
Beard and Mary Ritter Beard, American Citizenship (New York: Macmillan, 1914);
Henry Bruere, The New City Government: A Discussion of Municipal Administration Based on a Survey of the Ten Commission Governed Cities (New York: Appleton, 1916);
Frederick A. Cleveland, Organized Democracy (New York: Longmans, Green, 1913);
Benjamin Parke De Witt, The Progressive Movement: A Non-Partisan, Comprehensive Discussion of Current Tendencies in American Politics (New York: Macmillan, 1915);
Rheta Louise Childe Dorr, What Eight Million Women Want (Boston: Small, Maynard, 1910);
Samuel John Duncan-Clark, The Progressive Movement: Its Principles and Its Programme (Boston: Small, Maynard, 1913);
Pauline Goldmark, Josephine Goldmark, and Florence...
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Important Events in Government and Politics, 1910–1919
- On March 17, Congressman George W. Norris of Nebraska introduces a resolution to limit the power of Speaker of the House of Representatives Joseph G. Cannon of Illinois. Two days later the measure passes, an indication of the growing strength of Progressive Republicans against the "old guard" Republicans represented by President Taft and Representative Cannon.
- On March 26, Congress amends the Immigration Act of 1907 to prohibit criminals, paupers, anarchists, and diseased persons from entering the United States.
- On June 18, Congress passes the Mann-Elkins Act, which extends jurisdiction of the Interstate Commerce Commission to include telephone, telegraph, cable services, and wireless companies. It also augments ICC's power to regulate railroads.
- On June 20, Congress authorizes the citizens of the New Mexico and Arizona territories to form state governments and frame constitutions.
- On June 25, Congress establishes the Postal Savings Bank (PSB) system. People who deposit their money in savings accounts with the post office receive 2 percent interest. (The PSB is abolished in 1967.)
- On June 25, Congress passes the Publicity of Campaign Contributions Act, which requires members of Congress to report campaign contributions.
- On June 25, Congress passes the...
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