America in 1900 by Noel J Kent

By Noel J Kent

The various key concerns in regards to the usa as we input the twenty first century have been already taking form as we entered the twentieth century. enterprise mergers, U.S. army intervention (in the Philippines), alternate disputes with China and Europe, racial violence, excessive degrees of crime, emerging source of revenue gaps among wealthy and bad, unstable inventory marketplace costs, homelessness within the towns, the hazards of immigration, and the domination of cash in elections -- a majority of these significant nationwide concerns in 1900 are generic in a few shape to americans this present day. The country grappled for the 1st time with a chain of complicated new demanding situations: distribution of wealth and financial chance; the shape race and ethnic family members should still take up a rustic of accelerating variety; the connection among colossal enterprise and govt; how the U.S., as a brand new global energy, may still act in a foreign country; and a number of others. Written in a fluid and hugely readable kind, Kent's ten chapters include a colourful narrative heritage of the most important occasions of this pivotal 12 months that keeps to resonate a century later.

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What also was passed over in the media and elsewhere was any meaningful attempt at assessing the tumultuous decade just ending. The late nineteenth century had been an era of massive, pulverizing change, and the Gay Nineties had brought its epic conflicts and contradictions to a head. Quite suddenly, the expansive vistas of an earlier America seemed to have vanished: “Now the nation seemed filled. ”2 Life was culturally ajar and dislocated. Throughout the nineties, tensions and conflicts were being thrown up faster than the capacity of existing institutions to cope with them.

Americans circa 1900 were not unaware that the turning of the century was coming at a watershed moment in their country’s history: The United States was simultaneously coming to economic maturity and making its debut as a major international player. ” Yet this also meant unprecedented challenges as new issues arose and older ones were recast into new molds. Americans would engage a trio of provocative questions:23 • How should the nation address the logic of markets in concentrating increasing wealth and economic power in corporate elites and big business, while marginalizing vast numbers of working and poor people?

Arizona copper mines, Carolina textile mills, and Massachussets shoe factories were all hiring. Some manufacturers even noted a lack of skilled employees, and railroads complained of a dearth of workers to help maintain and expand their facilities. During harvest season, farmers in Kansas and Oregon were paying an unheard-of three or four dollars per day for scarce agricultural labor. Just before Christmas 1899, a spree of holiday buying seemed to validate President McKinley’s claim that “unusual prosperity” was the rule of the day.

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