Great Depression a drastic decline in the economy that led to widespread unemployment and poverty in the 1930s
feminist a person who is actively concerned with achieving social, political, and economic equality for women
29.4 Innovation and Technology Transform the American Economy
New ideas and technologies have always helped to shape the American economy. In the 20th century, change came faster than ever before.
Early in the century, new techniques made manufacturing more efficient. Automaker Henry Ford introduced the moving assembly line and kept working to improve it. By the end of 1914, Ford had reduced the time it took to make one car from more than 12 hours to just 93 minutes. Other industries adopted his methods. Less time spent in production meant lower costs. When factories could produce goods more cheaply, prices could be lowered, and manufacturers could pay workers more. With wages rising, more and more families entered the middle class.
An even bigger change was the shift to an “information economy” after about 1970. By 1990, only one in five workers were manual laborers who made or moved things. Increasingly, Americans were “knowledge workers” who created and used information or ideas. Examples include engineers, lawyers, managers, and computer programmers.
This shift was made possible by the computer revolution. With computers, businesses could work with information more efficiently than ever before. In 1981 the IBM company began selling its first “personal computer.” These desktop machines soon changed millions of jobs. Computers also became a consumer good. People began using them at home for both work and play, and to connect with one another over the Internet. Created in the 1960s, the Internet soared in popularity after the World Wide Web was developed in 1989.
Despite a growing middle class, millions of Americans were left behind in the changing economy. In 2002, about one in eight Americans lived in poverty. The rate of poverty was twice as high for African Americans and Hispanics as for whites. Immigrants were poorer, on average, than American citizens.
Immigrants confronted other challenges as well. Even legal immigrants did not enjoy all the same rights as citizens. For instance, they could not vote or hold many government jobs. Life was even more challenging for undocumented immigrants—people who entered the United States without official permission from the government. By law, these immigrants could not hold a job, though millions did. Most of these jobs, such as farm work, were very low paying. Undocumented immigrants could be forced to leave the country at any time.
Despite these challenges, newcomers continued to flock to America in search of a better life. By 1998, one in ten people in the country were immigrants.
The Information Age put a computer on nearly every desk and created a demand for “knowledge workers,” people who work with ideas, information, and technology.
Internet a network that allows computers in locations around the world to share information
undocumented immigrants people living in the United States without official permission from the government
29.5 The Constitution Guarantees Individual Rights
You have learned that the U.S. Constitution is a “living document” that changes with the times. Since 1914, amendments and court rulings have broadened the Constitution’s protection of individual rights.
One key Supreme Court decision concerned segregation. The Fourteenth Amendment guarantees all Americans “equal protection of the laws.” In 1896 the Supreme Court had allowed segregation as long as the facilities for blacks and whites were “equal.” The Court revisited this issue in Brown v. Board of Education in 1954. This case challenged racial segregation in schools. The Court ruled that separate educational facilities were inherently (by nature) unequal. This decision ended segregation in schools, but not in other aspects of American life. It wasn’t until the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that segregation based on race, gender, religion, or nationality was outlawed in all public facilities.
The Sixth Amendment guarantees the right to a fair trial for anyone accused of a crime. But what if an accused person can’t afford a lawyer? In 1963, the Supreme Court ruled in Gideon v. Wainwright that all accused persons have the right to a lawyer. If they cannot afford to pay a lawyer, the government must provide one.
One of Americans’ most precious rights is the right to vote. In 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment guaranteed this right to women in federal elections. Voting rights remained an issue for other groups, however. Recall that after Reconstruction, some southern states made voters pay poll taxes. These taxes were used to keep poor people, especially African Americans, from voting. The Twenty-fourth Amendment, ratified in 1964, prohibits poll taxes in federal elections.
Until 1971, citizens had to be 21 years old to vote. That year, the Twenty-sixth Amendment guaranteed the vote to citizens who were at least 18. The amendment was ratified at the height of the Vietnam War. Hundreds of thousands of young soldiers risked their lives in this conflict. Many Americans felt that youths who were old enough to fight and die for their country were old enough to vote.
The Constitution is more than a historical document. It grows and changes through amendments and court decisions.
29.6 Individuals Can and Do Make a Difference
Ever since the Revolution, individual Americans have worked for a just society in which all people enjoy equal rights. Let’s meet several people who took on this challenge during the 20th century.
It was 1954 when the Supreme Court ruled against segregation in schools. In 1957, a federal judge ordered desegregation in the public schools of Little Rock, Arkansas. That year, nine African Americans enrolled in the city’s all-white Central High School. An angry mob threatened to lynch them. Federal troops were sent to protect the “Little Rock Nine.” The example of these brave students inspired many Americans to support the cause of civil rights.
In the 1960s and 1970s, millions of Americans joined in a new women’s movement. Much of the credit for sparking this movement went to Betty Friedan. Her 1963 book The Feminine Mystique challenged the notion that women should be content to be just wives and mothers. This idea, she argued, was used to keep women from competing on equal terms with men. In 1966 Friedan founded the National Organization for Women (NOW). Today, NOW is the nation’s largest feminist group.
In the 1960s, farm workers found a champion in César Chávez. For decades, migrant farm workers like Chávez had suffered from low wages and poor working conditions. To strengthen the workers’ power in bargaining with employers, Chávez began the United Farm Workers union. In 1968 he led a nationwide boycott of California table grapes to put pressure on grape growers to deal with the union. The boycott made Americans around the country aware of the farm workers’ plight.
In the 1980s, a new and terrifying disease, AIDS, emerged. At first, little was known about how AIDS spread. People with AIDS often faced fear and prejudice.
A teenager named Ryan White was diagnosed with AIDS in 1984. While ill, White had been given blood infected with the virus that causes AIDS. In December, school officials refused to let him come back to school. He faced threats from students, parents, and even teachers. Bravely, White spent the next five years educating the nation about AIDS. He died in 1990 at the age of 18. That same year, Congress passed a law named after Ryan White to help pay for the care of people with AIDS.
César Chávez used peaceful protest to call the nation’s attention to the plight of migrant farm workers.
AIDS Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, a disease that weakens the body’s ability to fight off infection and illness
29.7 Chapter Summary
In this chapter, you learned about some of the major changes in American life since 1914. You used a timeline as you made links between 20th century events and those of earlier times.
A major issue in the 20th century was the continuing struggle for equality. Several groups made important progress. Women won the right to vote. African Americans led the fight for civil rights and against segregation and discrimination. Religious minorities won greater acceptance. Yet inequalities remain an issue today.
More than ever before, education became a key to advancing in American society. Today’s economy requires educated, skilled workers. Students who lack high school diplomas enjoy much less success than high school and college graduates.
The economy continues to change because of innovation and new technology. In recent decades, the computer revolution has reshaped American life both at work and at home. Despite economic progress, however, millions of people continue to live in poverty. African Americans, Hispanics, and immigrants are more likely to be poor than white Americans.
Since 1914, court decisions and constitutional amendments have broadened the protection of individual rights. The Supreme Court ended segregation in public schools and guaranteed the right of all accused persons to a lawyer. Constitutional amendments ended poll taxes and gave 18-year-olds the right to vote. These changes help meet the national promise of liberty and justice for all.
Individual Americans also worked for a more just society. The Little Rock Nine, Betty Friedan, César Chávez, and Ryan White all took action to make life better for Americans. They showed that ordinary people can make a big difference.
In this book you have learned about many individuals who have helped to nurture the American dream of freedom and equality. That dream connects all of us living today with those who have come before us. Some day, Americans will write the history of our own time. What part will you play in that history? What actions will you take to make a better world for the Americans of tomorrow?
Individuals making a difference: These teen volunteers are helping to build homes for people in need.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Investigating History 426
The Declaration of Independence 470
Delegates to the Constitutional Convention 473
The Constitution of the United States 474
The Bill of Rights and Later Amendments 482
Presidents of the United States 489
The Pledge of Allegiance 490
The Star-Spangled Banner 491
Political Map of the World 492
Physical Map of the World 494
Political Map of the United States 496
Physical Map of the United States 498
State Correlations 523
The Native Americans
The World of the Native Americans
Native Americans lived on a vast and varied continent. In the Great Basin, it was hot and dry most of the year, but in the Eastern Woodlands, water was plentiful in most seasons and winter snows blanketed the land. Wherever they lived, Native Americans had to adapt to their surroundings. The environment affected everything from building materials to clothing choices. It is not surprising that Native Americans developed such a strong respect for nature. All parts of nature, including the people, were viewed as one community.
A traditional prayer of the Diné (Navajo), who lived in the Southwest, celebrates that community of nature and people. In this prayer, the author uses the word beauty to describe the world. What does beauty mean for the author? How does this compare with the way you see your world?
As I Walk with Beauty
As I walk, as I walk
The universe is walking with me
In beauty it walks before me
In beauty it walks behind me
In beauty it walks below me
In beauty it walks above me
Beauty is on every side
As I walk, I walk with Beauty.
Create an illustrated dictionary entry for the term beauty as used by the Diné in the prayer “As I Walk with Beauty.” Include these elements:
• A definition of the term beauty in your own words
• A synonym (a word similar to the meaning of beauty)
• An antonym (a word opposite to the meaning of beauty)
• An illustration that represents the term beauty
European Exploration and Settlement
Investigating Primary Sources
Christopher Columbus Experiences a New World
When Christopher Columbus landed on the island of San Salvador in 1492, he thought he had found a new route to Asia. He didn’t realize that he had stumbled upon two entirely different continents: North and South America. These two continents were truly a “New World” to Columbus and to the other Europeans who came after him.
On his return voyage, Columbus wrote to Luis de Sant Angel, Treasurer of Aragon. De Sant Angel had given Columbus significant help for his expedition. In the letter, Columbus records his impressions of the island he called Hispaniola and its people. Following is part of that letter. What do you think this experience must have been like for Columbus?
Hispaniola is a marvel. Its hills and mountains, fine plains and open country, are rich and fertile for planting and for pasturage, and for building towns and villages. The seaports there are incredibly fine, as also the magnificent rivers, most of which bear gold…There are many spices and vast mines of gold and other metals in this island. They have no iron, nor steel, nor weapons, nor are they fit for them, because although they are well-made men of commanding stature, they appear extraordinarily timid. The only arms they have are sticks of cane, cut when in seed, with a sharpened stick at the end, and they are afraid to use these. Often I have sent two or three men ashore to some town to converse with them, and the natives came out in great numbers, and as soon as they saw our men arrive, fled without a moment’s delay although I protected them from all injury.
Letter of Columbus to Luis de Sant Angel Announcing His Discovery (1493)
Columbus fought for years to obtain financing for his voyage in 1492. Of course, he wanted to prove to his investors that their money had been well spent. Is Columbus telling the whole truth in his letter? You be the judge. Read the letter again and assess its credibility by answering these questions:
1. Who did Columbus write this letter to?
2. Do any statements in the letter seem exaggerated? Which ones?
3. Which statements in the letter are definitely facts? (Facts are things that actually exist or have actually happened.) List at least three facts.
4. Which statements in the letter are opinions? (An opinion is a view or judgment that may or may not be factual). Write down one statement that you think is Columbus’s opinion.
5. How would you rate the truthfulness of this letter on a scale of 1 to 10?
6. Why do you think Columbus chose to write this letter? What were his motives?
The English Colonies in America
Investigating Primary Sources
The Mayflower Compact
In Chapter 3, you read about the voyage of the Mayflower to America. Many of the passengers on the tiny ship were Separatists, people who wanted to break away from the Church of England. We know these people as the Pilgrims, but they called themselves the Saints. The other passengers, whom the Saints called Strangers, were not members of the Saints’ congregation. Some of the Strangers were still loyal to the English church.
Could this diverse group of Saints and Strangers live and work together? Even before the Mayflower reached landfall, there had been tension between them. Keeping peace and order in a challenging new environment would be essential to their survival.
While still on board the ship, 41 men signed what later became known as The Mayflower Compact. This famous document appears below. What promises do the colonists make? To whom do they promise “obedience and submission”?
In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread sovereigne Lord, King James, by the grace of God, of Great Britaine, France, and Ireland king, defender of the faith, etc., having undertaken, for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith, and honour of our king and country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the Northerne parts of Virginia, doe, by these presents, solemnly and mutually in the presence of God, and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politick [form a government], for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enacte, constitute, and frame such just and equall laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meete and convenient for the generall good of the Colonie unto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In witness whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cap-Codd the 11 of November, in the year of the raigne of our sovereigne lord, King James, of England, France, and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fiftie-fourth. Anno. Dom. 1620. Governor William Bradford Of Plimoth Plantation (1647)
Many historians believe that the Mayflower Compact is directly related to the Magna Carta, the English Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, and the U.S. Constitution. You can use the index of this book to find information about these important documents. Use that information to create a timeline that includes all five documents. Show the year each document was completed. Then write a paragraph explaining what type of government was proposed in all five documents. Your paragraph should show how these documents are related.
Life in the Colonies
Investigating Primary Sources
The First Great Awakening and Revolutionary Thinking In Chapter 4 you read about the First Great Awakening, a religious revival that swept across the colonies in the 1730s. Historians argue that this “awakening” helped prepare the way for the American Revolution.
The following readings are from two sermons that support this argument. Both sermons were written long before the Revolution. Neither minister set out to cause rebellion. What ideas can you find in these sermons that might encourage colonists to challenge the King of England?
The wrath of kings is very much dreaded, especially of absolute monarchs, who have the possessions and lives of their subjects wholly in their power, to be disposed of at their mere will…. But the greatest earthly potentates [rulers] in their greatest majesty and strength, and when clothed in their greatest terrors, are but feeble, despicable worms of the dust, in comparison of the great and almightly Creator and King of heaven and earth. It is but little that they can do, when most enraged, and when they have exerted the utmost of their fury…. The wrath of the great King of Kings, is as much more terrible than theirs, as his majesty is greater. Luke 12:4, 5 [states] “And I say unto you, my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that, have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom you shall fear: fear him, which after he hath killed, hath power to cast into hell: yea, I say unto you, Fear him.”
Jonathan Edwards Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God (1741)
The essence of government (I mean good government…) consists in the making and executing of good laws—laws [that provide for] the common [welfare] of the governed.… We may very safely assert these two things in general, without undermining government: One is, That no civil rulers are to be obeyed when they [make laws] inconsistent with the commands of God…. All commands running counter to the declared will of the supreme legislator of heaven and earth, are null or void: And therefore disobedience to them is a duty, not a crime.—Another thing may be [argued] with equal truth and safety, is, That no government is to be submitted to, at the expense of that which is the sole end of all government, —the common good and safety of society.
Jonathan Mayhew A Discourse Concerning Unlimited Submissionand Non-Resistance to the Higher Powers (1750)
Historians believe there is a connection between the First Great Awakening and the American Revolution. From your reading of the sermon excerpts, list at least two ways in which these major events might be related. Then write a paragraph that answers the following question: How might these sermons promote rebellion against a king?
Investigating Primary Sources
Independence Is “Common Sense”In Chapter 5, you read that the first shots of the American Revolution were fired on Lexington Green, in Massachusetts, in April 1775. War had started, but many colonists were still uncertain about declaring independence from Britain.
For several months, there was little fighting outside of Massachusetts. Then, early in 1776, revolutionary feelings received a boost when a Patriot named Thomas Paine published a fiery pamphlet called Common Sense. In it, Paine made a strong case for independence. England, he stated, had lost touch with its American colonies. Furthermore, Britain had dragged the colonies into unnecessary wars with Britain’s enemies. And, Paine wrote, American trade had suffered under British control.
Paine’s arguments won thousands of colonists to the revolutionary cause. Below is an excerpt from Common Sense. What words and phrases does Paine use to convince people that independence is the right path? Which events in the 1760s and 1770s made Paine’s ideas even more powerful?
As a long and violent abuse of power, is generally the Means of calling the right of it in question (and in matters too which might never have been thought of, had not the Sufferers been aggravated into the inquiry) and as the King of England had undertaken in his own Right, to support the Parliament in what he calls Theirs, and as the good people of this country are grievously oppressed by the combination, they have an undoubted privilege to inquire into the pretensions of both, and equally to reject the usurpation of either….
The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind. Many circumstances hath, and will arise, which are not local, but universal, and through which the principles of all Lovers of Mankind are affected, and in the Event of which, their Affections are interested. The laying of a Country desolate with Fire and Sword, declaring war against the natural rights of all Mankind, and extirpating the Defenders thereof from the Face of the Earth, is the Concern of every Man to whom Nature hath given the Power of feeling….
Thomas Paine, Common Sense (1776)
Design a cover for Thomas Paine’s pamphlet Common Sense. On the front, include
• the title
• the author’s name
• the date of publication
• a simple drawing that reflects the theme of the pamphlet
On the back cover, include
• a two-sentence description of the author