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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

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Booker T. Washington Recommends that African Americans "Cast Down Their Buckets"

In 1895, Booker T. Washington gave what later came to be known as the Atlanta Compromise speech before the Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlanta. His address was one of the most important and influential speeches in American history, [...]

Booker T. Washington Puts Economic Advancement Ahead of Political Rights

Booker T. Washington, born a slave in 1858, was the most influential black leader at the turn of the century. He had worked as a laborer and domestic servant after the Civil War, eventually attending Virginia's Hampton Institute. In 1881, he founded [...]

A Senator Speaks in Support of Empire (short version)

In this 1900 speech to Congress, the Republican Senator from Indiana, Albert J. Beveridge, strongly advocates the annexation of the Philippines. The term Malay refers to people from the Malay Peninsula, the Maylay Archipelago, and nearby islands in [...]

William Jennings Bryan Speaks Out Against Imperialism

Initially supportive of U.S. expansion in the Philippines, Democratic presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan soon made anti-imperialism a standard plank in his stump speeches during the 1900 campaign.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt Redefines Liberty

President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave this speech in Philadelphia at the Democratic National Convention in 1936, at which he was nominated for a second term. In it, he explained why New Deal reforms and spending programs were necessary. Roosevelt [...]

A Southern Planter Argues that "the Negro Will Not Work"

After the Civil War Confederate leaders and planters argued that their lands, taken (confiscated) by the Union army or abandoned during the war, should be returned to them. Those who wanted freedmen to take over and farm the lands pointed to the [...]

Thaddeus Stevens Calls for Redistribution of Confederate Land

On January 6, 1865, General William T. Sherman issued Special Field Order #15, which gave millions of acres of land along the Atlantic coast to emancipated slaves, in lots of not more than 40 acres per family. In March 1865, Representative Thaddeus [...]

A Native American Chief Explains the Source of Indian-Settler Conflict

Red Cloud, an Oglala Lakota chief, led a two year war against white settlers and railroad outposts between 1866 and 1868. Red Cloud's War, sometimes called the Powder River War, took place in parts of the Wyoming and Montana territories that were [...]

Native American Warriors Describe the Threats to their Way of Life

Native American warriors in the 19th century attacked the various people and institutions that threatened their way of life on the Great Plains. In these speeches to federal agents during the Indian Wars of the 1860s, Indian leaders attempt to [...]

A Senator Speaks in Support of Empire (short version with text supports)

In this 1900 speech to Congress, the Republican Senator from Indiana, Albert J. Beveridge, strongly calls for the United States to annex the Philippines.

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