Industrialization and Expansion (1877-1913)
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The beginning of U.S. expansion overseas, in the late 1800s and early 1900s, coincided with the peak years of racial violence and lynchings in the United States. Meanwhile, jingoists insisted that the United States should spread "civilization" to other peoples around the world. Anti-imperialists pointed out that ongoing racial injustices were…

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Item Type: Cartoon
Date: 1898

In 1898 the United States won the Spanish-Cuban-American war and took control of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines. That same year, it also annexed the Hawaiian islands. This 1899 cartoon reflects the belief held by many anti-imperialists that this expansion of U.S. power did not fit the nation’s democratic ideals.

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Item Type: Cartoon
Date: 1899

The Spanish-American War ended in December, 1898, when Spain surrendered to the U.S. and negotiated a peace treaty that sold Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines to the U.S. Cuba remained independent, but firmly under the influence of the United States. The Philippine Republic went to war against the U.S. to defend its independence. The brutal…

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Item Type: Cartoon
Date: 1902

This excerpt from Elizabeth Ewen's Immigrant Women in the Land of Dollars describes the economic relationships of working-class immigrant families at the turn of the century. The female head of the family played an important economic role, often being the recipient of pay envelopes from an entire family of workers, which may have included husbands…

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Item Type: Book (excerpt)
Date: 1985

The first Chinese eateries in America sprang up in 1850s California and catered to Cantonese miners and railroad laborers. Known as "chow chows" (Chinese slang for anything edible), they were identified by yellow triangle signs. By the 1880s San Francisco's Chinatown community supported several upscale Chinese dining establishments. Reviews from…

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Item Type: Book (excerpt)
Date: 1889

The heroine of Theodore Dreiser's Sister Carrie is a small-town girl thrust into the big-city life of a bustling late-nineteenth-century Chicago. In this passage Carrie, on the verge of poverty after losing a job in a garment factory and desperately seeking work, stumbles into "The Fair," one of the city's department stores. (Although Dreiser…

Item Type: Book (excerpt)
Date: 1900

San Francisco's Chinatown was a thriving commercial center for Chinese immigrants in California. By 1856, there were already thirty-three Chinese-owned groceries and general stores that sold a wide variety of goods and foodstuffs, mostly imported from China, including rice, dried mushrooms, tofu, fruits, and vegetables.

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Item Type: Book (excerpt)
Date: 1898

Henry George was a reformer and utopian whose 1886 New York City mayoral campaign as the Workingman's Party candidate had the makings of a popular uprising. Although George finished second, behind Democrat Abram S. Hewitt and ahead of Republican Teddy Roosevelt, the campaign sent shockwaves around the established political and financial order, and…

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Item Type: Book (excerpt)
Date: 1879

This short essay describes the origins of San Francisco's Chinatown, as well as some of its major economic, political, and social facets. The essay also describes the challenges San Francisco's Chinese community faced from the city's white politicians and residents.

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Item Type: Article/Essay
Date: 2005

This essay outlines the events leading the massacre of Sioux Indians at Wounded Knee, including the role of Ghost Dancers, and the chaotic violence that ensued on December 29, 1890.

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Item Type: Article/Essay
Date: 2007