APUSH Unit VII Essay Prep: Early 1900s up to WWI (1890-19

Once again, a couple of questions have been left out because of incomplete information.

(1) How successful were progressive reforms during the period 1890-1915 with respect to TWO of the following?

Industrial Conditions   Urban life   Politics

Synthesis: Reforms after 2nd Great Awakening: women & temperance (these two are similar to Progressive reforms that resulted in the 18th and 19th amendments)

Contextualisation: Politics- Removing party corruption, the idea of the Secret Ballot – but did not include many immigrants, 17th and 19th Amendment


Industrial Conditions

  • Square Deal
    • Conservation of natural resources, controlling corporations, protecting consumers
    • Roosevelt = “trust buster”
    • Elkins Act→ makes rebates from railroads to companies (like Standard Oil) illegal
    • Sherman Anti-Trust Act(1890) & Clayton Anti-Trust Act (Clayton was passed under Wilson in 1914)
      • Restrict trusts and help consumers
      • Clayton strengthens Sherman – not to be used vs labor unions, more specific, etc
      • Northern Securities Case
        • 1902- Roosevelt attacked the Northern Securities Company, a railroad holding company organised by financial titan J. P. Morgan and empire builder James J. Hill (they sought to achieve a virtual monopoly of the railroads in the Northwest); Court held up Roosevelt’s antitrust suit and ordered the company to be dissolved
        • Angered big business, but greatly enhanced Roosevelt’s reputation as a trust buster
        • Under the Sherman Anti-Trust Act
  • The Jungle→ Meat Inspection Act
    • “Hit America in the stomach instead of the heart”
    • Reforming the meat industry and making it more sanitary
    • Pure Food and Drug Act
      • “For preventing the manufacture, sale, or transportation of adulterated or misbranded or poisonous or deleterious foods, drugs, medicines, and liquors, and for regulating traffic therein, and for other purposes.”
  •  Triangle Shirtwaist Company → NY reforms
    • Workplace disaster→ Inspired reforms in NY by Florence Kelley and Frances Perkins to better conditions for women

Urban Life

  • How the Other Half Lives-Jacob Riis
  • Crowded and unsanitary/disease- slums and tenements
  • inspired President Roosevelt to close the worst of the lodging houses and city officials to reform and enforce the city’s housing policies
  • His book shed light on the deplorable conditions that the underclass lived in
  •  Jane Addams and Hull House→ Settlement houses
    • Opened doors to newly arrived immigrants
    • Good conditions
  •  Sewage improvement– more efficient infrastructure and tech (like modern toilets)
  • Air pollution concern begins to show—
    • Women also played a pivotal role in the antipollution movement of the Progressive Era. Alice Hamilton increased public awareness of toxic chemicals and their health effects. The Settlement House movement, led by women like Jane Addams, worked to better city services and conditions within immigrant neighborhoods. Smoke pollution also greatly concerned women at this time. Reacting to their increased laundry load in filthy conditions, as well as concerns about their husbands’ and children’s health, women dramatically altered the general public’s conceptions of smoke. Up to this time, many had conceived of smoke as either a disinfectant or the necessary cost of progress. Women educated their fellow citizens on the health dangers of smoke, and their activism led to smoke-pollution-control laws in every major city in the United States by 1912. Men took control of this issue within legislative circles, stressing technology as a way to reduce smoke or burn the coal more efficiently.”  (taken from http://www.pollutionissues.com/Pl-Re/Progressive-Movement.html#ixzz4a09PCJfW)
      • Though this was not as successful in terms of reforms, it marked the beginning of concern of air pollution
    •  Environmental standards were passed and in general, awareness was raised
    • Parks were made to help preserve natural resources

(2)  Compare and contrast the foreign policies of Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson.

Synthesis: Washington and Adams: Washington’s Farewell Address emphasised the need for to stay out of foreign affairs versus Adams who was involved with the XYZ Affair and the Quasi-War. Both George Washington and John Adams emphasised the need to stay out of foreign affairs by wanting to follow the same non-intervention policies and circumstances; however, Adams had difficulty maintaining the same neutrality as Washington.

Contextualisation: You can compare and contrast how each president approached domestic issues differently. Wilson went after the institutions while Roosevelt personally went in to solve problems. An example of be Wilson’s passing of the Clayton Anti-Trust Act of 1914 compared to Roosevelt’s handling of the Northern Securities Case



  • Gentlemen’s Agreement: Japan would stop Japanese immigration to America if Roosevelt got rid of segregation against them in schools
  • Big Stick diplomacy: the use of military force to intimidate other countries
  • Roosevelt Corollary: gave US the right to intervene in Latin American politics if their international debts weren’t paid
  • Panama Canal: exploit Pacific/Asian markets through invasion of Panama
  • China’s Open Door Policy: opens free trade in Asia and basically subjugates the Chinese into letting foreigners have free reign within swathes of their territory


  • Fourteen Points/League of Nations: advocated for free trade, open seas, open treaties
  • “Make the world safe for democracy”
  • Moral Diplomacy (ex. the US supporting democratic Latin American countries)
  • Wilson had tried to stay neutral until the Zimmerman Telegram – cause Wilson to propose war to Congress the next day


  • Roosevelt’s policies tended to lean toward the economic benefits. Wilson’s foreign policy was dominated by WW1, focusing more on alliances and negotiating the end of the war versus Roosevelt’s economic foreign policies.
  • Wilson was more of an idealist, while Roosevelt was more aggressive in his policies (ex: sending the US Navy around the world known as the “Great White Fleet; also as Secretary of Navy under McKinley, Roosevelt wanted to engage with Spain in the Philippines)
  • Both Presidents wanted to establish America as a world power and advance the nation
  • Both were progressives and encouraged federal intervention the economy and in their opinion, saw that Congress was incompetent in the matters of foreign policy

(3) Assess the relative influence of TWO of the following in the American decision to declare war on Germany in 1917.

German naval policy                     American economic interests

Woodrow Wilson’s idealism          Allied propaganda

Synthesis: War of 1812- caused due to the British attempts to seize  American ships made Jefferson believe that British were trying to restrict American trade with Napoleon.

Contextualisation: Wilson’s Idealism– He believed that the war had to be ended, in order for their to be peace in the world and in his war address to Congress he said: “ the world must be made safe for democracy.” Example: His Fourteen Points and within it, the League of Nations.


German Naval Policy

  • The sinking of the Lusitania, Arabic and the Sussex led to innocent Americans dying and it showed how Germany had no qualms about sinking ships without warning, even if they held no contraband (Sussex Pledge)
  • Germany announced resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare (they knew they would lose the war without it, and were willing to risk America entering. They were suffering from the British naval blockade)
  • Zimmerman Telegram (which the British made public in hopes of persuading America to enter the war)
  • German naval policy and their constant promising to no longer harm passenger ships, only to go against their word and torpedo ships, made it difficult for America to remain neutral

American economic interests

  • U.S. had loaned hundreds of millions of dollars to the Allies (more than the Germans, so it would benefit them more if the Allied Powers won)
  • Wall Street supported the war (selling of arms)
  • Congress supported the war because it benefited the economy
  • (could include how some believed America was becoming imperialist/capitalist & how the wealthy were gaining more wealth and becoming richer while the American government exploited people)
  • Debs said that the United States were “tyrants, autocrats, red-handed robbers and murders… disloyalists and traitors ”- Ohio State convention of the Socialist Party.
    • He believed that the United States was under plutocratic rule, interested in capitalism, imperialism, exploiting people and causing war to make money.

(4) Analyze the roles that women played in Progressive Era reforms from the 1880s through 1920. Focus your essay on TWO of the following.

I didn’t include it, but remember to analyse like what it says in the question.

Politics    Social conditions    Labor and working conditions

Synthesis: Industrial Revolution

Contextualisation: The social change within the era. For example, the flapper culture and increasing independence of women from the sphere of the home.


Labor and Working Conditions

  • Women in the Knights of Labor– wanted equal pay
    • Two women were leaders in the Knights of Labor: Leonora Barry, the general investigator for women’s work, and Elizabeth Rogers, head of the Chicago Knights assembly.
    • 10% of members = women
    • Not allowed in AFL
  • National Consumers League of 1890- concerned with improving working and living conditions of women in the workplace
  • Muller v. Oregon: protecting women and children in workforce
  • Triangle Shirtwaist Fire in 1911: girls worked 12hrs/day in cramped place and because emergency supplies weren’t right, they died in the fire
    • Inspired reforms in NY by Florence Kelley and Frances Perkins to better conditions for women


  • Men still dominated politics but women were advancing
  • Western states had started to grant women suffrage in local elections (Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho had done it late 1800s and even more states were catching on)
  • There were a few female Muckrakers — Ida Tarbell, Francis Keller, Helen Hunt Jackson
    • Ida Tarbell- exposed corrupt Rockefeller oil industry
    • Francis Keller- as above
    • Helen Hunt Jackson- wrote A Century of Dishonor
  • Women’s Christian Temperance Union
    • Advocated social reform in favour of temperance
  • National American Woman Suffrage Association
    • Advocated for the right to vote
  • 19th Amendment ratified in 1920
  • Women’s Peace Party 1915
    • By Jane Addams & Carrie Chapman Catt

(5) Analyze the impact of technological innovations on the lives of TWO of the following groups. Confine your answer to the period 1865–1920.

Only had the synthesis and contextualisation points for this one.

Factory workers    Middle-class urban residents    Midwestern farmers

Synthesis: The modern information age and everything that entails.

Contextualisation: Farmers — Allowed for commercial farming by reducing the tiresome, hard work on the farms. The railroads that were connected to markets in the East also helped farmers in giving them a bigger market to sell their produce. It negatively impacted them by causing them to have more debt from bank loans and overproduction; and led to the emergence of the Populist movement. (If you’re good, you can connect the Panic of 1893 to some of the disadvantages of technology during this time period.)

Here’s the link to the CollegeBoard page for this prompt.

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