Modern America (1914-1929)
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Progressive social scientists, like economist Alvin S. Johnson, disagreed with those who held Mexican and other immigrants as racially inferior an undesirable. Instead, he and his peers claimed that Mexican government and culture were "inferior" and welcomed the opportunity to "Americanize" Mexican migrant workers.

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Item Type: Article/Essay
Date: 1916

Carl Sandburg's free verse celebrated ordinary people and American landscapes both rural and urban. Sandburg, the son of Swedish immigrants, was active in Socialist politics and saw himself as the poet of working people.

Item Type: Fiction/Poetry
Date: 1916

The poetry of Carl Sandburg often documented the lives of ordinary working people in his adopted city of Chicago. Here he contrasts the backbreaking work and simple lunch of a railroad laborer with the comfortable lives and fine food enjoyed by the passengers on a first-class dining car rushing by. Despite the use of the pejorative term "dago" (an…

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Item Type: Fiction/Poetry
Date: 1916

Carl Sandburg was born in Galesburg, Illinois, to a poor Swedish immigrant family. After leaving home at the age of thirteen, Sandburg drifted, working odd jobs, traveling as a hobo, and serving in the Spanish-American War. A fellow soldier convinced him to enroll in Lombard College, where he attracted the attention of Professor Phillip Green…

Item Type: Fiction/Poetry
Date: 1916

Professor John R. Hawkins wrote this short pamphlet on behalf of the NAACP. In it he outlines African Americans' demands for justice and equality at home following World War I. The NAACP makes 14 demands in response to Wilson's "14 Points," in which the president outlined a plan for peace in the post-war world.

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Item Type: Article/Essay
Date: Circa 1916

In 1916, the National Women’s Party (NWP) began picketing the White House. NWP members criticized President Woodrow Wilson for going to war “to make the world safe for democracy” in World War I, while in the United States women were denied the right to vote. Police arrested the picketers for blocking traffic, and a judge sentenced them to…

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Item Type: Artifact
Date: 1917

In 1916, a new militant suffrage group, the National Women’s Party (NWP), was formed. Led by Alice Paul, the NWP began picketing the White House. NWP members criticized President Woodrow Wilson for going to war “to make the world safe for democracy” in World War I, while in the United States women were denied the right to vote.…

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Item Type: Photograph
Date: 1917

Between 1916 and 1930, over a million African Americans living in the South migrated to cities in the North and West in what has become known as the "Great Migration." Many who were considering whether or not to leave the South sought information and assistance from the Chicago Defender, a black newspaper that vigorously advocated migration. In…

Item Type: Newspaper/Magazine
Date: 1917

Reproduced below are the lyrics to America's best-known World War I song, "Over There." Written by George M. Cohan, the song was widely performed by various artists (initially by Charles King) from its publication in 1917. Cohan later recalled that the words and music to the song came to him while traveling by train from New Rochelle to New York…

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Item Type: Music/Song
Date: 1917

"True Sons of Freedom," by Charles Gustrine, is a poster depicting African-American soldiers fighting against the German army. Three hundred and fifty thousand African Americans participated in the segregated U.S. army during WWI, but they were often limited to being support troops. Many units found combat fighting alongside the French, and some…

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Item Type: Poster/Print
Date: 1918