This section tests your knowledge of major themes in United States history, including but not limited to:
- Susan B. Anthony
- Robert LaFollete
Here are some concepts you should know.
What would become the United States of America was welcoming immigrants from primarily Europe who were seeking a better life. Spanish exploration sparked interest in North America and the vast and prosperous land it had to offer. Immigrants came during this time period for a few reasons:
- religious freedom
- the opportunity to own land and/or their own business
- indentured servitude to pay off debts or earn land
This time period is also marked by the beginning of slaves forcibly brought into what is today the United States from Africa and the Caribbean.
British colonies were thriving in North America, but due to this, Britain was losing many skilled workers who were looking for a better life in North America. Some members of British Parliament called for an end to immigration to colonies in North America.
America became, in Thomas Paine’s words, “the asylum for the persecuted lovers of civil and religious liberty from every part of Europe.”
- 3.9 million people were counted in the first census.
- The English were the largest group represented.
- 20% of the 3.9 million were of African descent.
Immigration was slow during the years directly following the American Revolution and through the War of 1812; however, by 1814, during a time of peace, European immigration (specifically, Great Britain and Ireland) resumed in large numbers.
During this time period, the slave trade was slowing, and the Industrial Revolution was beginning. This time period was marked by immigrants seeking:
- industrial jobs in northern factories, as well as jobs building the Transcontinental Railroad.
- gold- many immigrants from Europe and Asia came to California in search of gold.
- In 1882, congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act which greatly restricted immigration from China.
Towards the end of the 19th century, Mexicans, Eastern European Jews, Russians, and Armenians were all seeking refuge from their war torn countries. At times, immigrants were welcomed in the United States with open arms (for example, when their service was needed in the Civil War or when the economy was strong); however, at other times (when jobs were hard to find), immigrants were cast out and treated with hostility for “stealing” jobs.
The early to mid 1900s were marked by the Depression, war, and immigrants seeking asylum.
- The development of the steam engine reduced the amount of time the trip from Europe to the United States took; this encouraged a large amount of immigrants to make a new life in the United States. Between 1880 and 1930, over 27 million people entered the United States.
- In the 1920s, a series of laws were passed to slow immigration; the Great Depression (1930) also slowed immigration considerably.
- During and following World War II, the United States was tasked with allowing or rejecting millions of war refugees seeking asylum. President Truman urged congress to allow refugees to enter the country. In 1948, hundreds of thousands of refugees were allowed entry.
- The trend of accepting refugees continued in the 1950s when tens of thousands of Hungarian refugees entered the United States.
In 1965, the Immigration and Naturalization Act became law, and immigration policies no longer favored western European immigrants.
- By 1970, Asian immigration rose greatly.
- United States’ immigration policy favored professionals who were usually the first in their families to come, and then, once successful in the United States, brought other members of their families.
- The 1980s-1990s were marked by a surge in illegal immigration; for the first time, illegal immigration became a hot political issue.
Susan B. Anthony
Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) was a crusader in the fight to gain women the right to vote (women’s suffrage movement) in the United States.
Susan B. Anthony impacted society by:
- dedicating her life’s work to fighting for equal rights, specifically for African Americans and women.
- co-founding the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA).
- leading the women’s suffrage movement for almost 50 years.
- presenting a bill to the US Congress in 1878 that gave women the right to vote. This bill later became the Nineteenth Amendment to the US Constitution in 1920, and from that point forward, women had the right to vote.
Robert LaFollette was a Republican turned Progressive from Wisconsin who served as a member of the House of Representatives, the US Senate, and Governor of Wisconsin. He is considered to be one of the greatest US Senators to serve in the position.
Robert LaFollete impacted society in the United States by:
- fighting against and exposing political corruption and inequality.
- developing the “Wisconsin Idea” which secured the passage of several progressive reforms.
- helping pass several laws and reforms in the federal government.
- speaking out against the United States’ involvement in World War I. He believed war would ruin America’s reputation and that the United States should stay neutral.
- standing up for American taxpayers by fighting against corruption and special interests that big business had in Washington D.C.
And that’s some basic info about the United States History content category.