I am in agreeance with my classmates about Foner going more in depth about African Americans. The lives of Africans Americans went through the most dramatic change in the last century according to Foner. Blacks were now in corporate settings and in the 1990′s, an economic boom helped raise the African American averge income quicker than whites.
Although prosperity came for African Americans, there were still troubled times on the horizon. Discrimination never went away. Foner needs to go more in depth about this topic. He made it seem as if the economic increase in a small population of Blacks represented the majority of them.
February 12, 1937,New York Herald-Tribune, “Qualifying Test For Supreme Court Jobs”
Many people were very critical about the Supreme Court’s willingness to accept the New Deal. This cartoon was drawn at the time when FDR won his second term as president with a landslide victory.The cartoon shows FDR saying a command and the Supreme Court Justices abiding by what he said. The artist of the cartoon depicts the justice scales and the Constitution in the trash can.
According to Foner, “the court’s willingness to accept the New Deal marked a permanent change in judicial policy” and many begin to worry that FDR was becoming more of a dictator and making way for presidents after him to become dictators. Some felt that the court became more supportive of the New Deal because of FDR’s “court packing” proposal that he made to Congress (which was rejected). I think that some of the justices felt that FDR might replace them.
The roots of the “Roaring Twenties” can easily be traced to the unprecedented growth of the new American automotive industry. Basically created because of Henry Ford’s perfection of the process of mass production with his development of the moving assembly line in the early part of the 20th century, the rapid expansion of the industry gave way to one of the most prolific eras of economic boom in American history.
1920's Automobile Factory
In chapter 20, Foner mentions that “The automobile was the backbone of economic growth.” Citing that the production of cars had tripled annually during the 1920′s. What is the most significant aspect in measuring the success of the 1920′s with the explosion of the auto industry, however, is that although Automotive factories would seem to replace the steel and textile factories that were the driving force behind the inturstrial boom of the late 19th century, it would actually bring expansion and success to the production of ”steel, rubber, oil production, road construction, and other sectors of the economy. It prompted tourism and the growth of suburbs…” (Foner, 722)
Many economists believe that the production of steel is one of, if not the, most important factors in determining the health, and direction of the economy – high levels of steel production mean high levels of new construction, and in the production of cars. This still holds true today (for further explanation see, \”Steel Industry Will Signal Recession\’s End\”).
The Roaring Twenties are recalled as the crazy age of social revolutions of sexes and behaviors. The social revolutionists from that era, especially the flappers (the young, sexually liberated women), were ultimately violating the religious and social taboos that were once strictly enforced. It was probably beyond the imagination of most Americans before the 1900s.
A video depicting our grannies, the women of Roaring Twenties, is located at the bottom of the post. The video, which has footage taken from the 1920s, illustrates the gregarious and luxurious life-styles of the brave women of the age of breaking former social taboos.
*It is worthwhile to note that Foner has described the reaction from Europe as positively amazed and envious. The actual wording is reproduced here: “Observers from Europe, where class divisions were starkly visible in work, politics, and social relations, marveled at the uniformity of American Life.”
I understand that Foner do not wish to go more depth for this topic, but I find his claim to be single-opinionated and without enough supporting evidences. Certainly, some Europeans probably had admired the liberal lifestyles of Americans; however, it’s hard to imagine that conservatives and religious Europeans would give recognition to the flappers. Foner’s claim probably had not given us a very accurate image, or is not well-supported enough to convince certain readers.
I think the words in the image are a pretty adequate caption, but take a minute to think about what the flag means to us today - because according to what's written in chapter 19, its not even close to what it came to represent during WWI.
In chapter 19 there is section entitled “Coercive Patriotism”, wherein Foner briefly describes the extent to which the Patriotism of World War I era America was sometimes nothing more than a forced loyalty.
The American flag became more than just the sign of a nation, it became a symbol of commitment to democracy and a test of a person’s true patriotism. He even goes so far as to say that “Persons suspected f disloyalty were forced to kiss the flag in public; those who made statements critical of the flag could be imprisoned.”
Apparently, freedom of speech didn’t really apply to those speaking of anything other than freedom.
While Foner’s coverage of the topic does seem sufficient as compared to that of some other points (like the era’s rapid advancement of war technology), I feel that, especially when considering the book’s title ‘Give Me Liberty’, it would have made sense to go in depth to describe the extent to which the American People’s freedom seemed to be rather non existent. Maybe its just a modern ideal, but since when is forcing anything on the people of our nation really the American way…?
World War I ended with the peace treaty signing called the Treaty of Versailles. Within this treaty, the victors asked for unreasonable demands. Some of these demands include putting all the blame of this war on Germany, dividing the land up, occupying the lands rich of iron and coal, restriction on Germany’s future army size and even ask for astronomical reparations reaching between $33 billion to $56 billion. Wilson initially wanted to this to be a peace treaty that ended future wars, but with such demands, anger and frustration was bound to lead into another war. The only thing good that came out of this treaty in Wilson’s eyes was the League of Nations.
Foner’s description of the Treaty of Versailles was well made but seemed a bit vague. It didn’t seem like it completely covered all aspects of this treaty. Foner confirmed my knowledge of this history in that this treaty was unjust and over demanding.
During the beginning of World War I, there brought many controversies in the United States to whether to join the war or not. There were groups such as the Industrial Workers of the World and the Socialist Party whom were completely against entering in this war. They deemed this war as “a crime against the people of the United States.” With so much negativity towards this, the Wilson administration created the Committee of Public (CPI) on April 1917 to counter these groups. The job of the CPI were to create propaganda to promote people to join the war efforts in order to fight for their liberties. Edward Barnard considered this as a “intelligent manipulation” to the masses.
Foner did a good job explaining how the Wilson Administration went about to counter the negative feelings about war and ultimately convincing people into joining the war. This confirms what I’ve thought about propaganda being used and added in a way on how propaganda was distributed
Prohibition is one of the drastic changes that happened during the course of World War I. Looking through the course of American history, it is perhaps unbelievable that alcohol, one of the foundations of pleasure for many citizens, would be banned. On top of that, the banned was even written in an amendment, which is ridiculously difficult to be passed. Although Eric Foner only spent a little more than half page on the topic, he was able to inform us about many details of the topic. In three paragraphs, he had informed me things that I didn’t know, such as 1) how the Anti-German attitude generated hatred toward German breweries, 2) labor reformers wanted prohibition to have a more disciplined work force, and 3) the Baptists and Methodist were opposing drinking in a political way. Foner may not have given us a full picture of prohibition, but he did well to inform us by squeezing in as much information as possible in three paragraphs.
The Birth-Control Movement is one of the heated reforms in the 1900s. Since women were gaining power as they participate in the labor force, they were demanding more rights as a human being and as a citizen of the United States. This movement was changing the role of the government because it demanded the government to further interfere with the sexual behaviors of its citizens. It would demand the government to allow people to use contraceptive devices, which were banned during the Progressive Era. Margaret Sanger, one of the birth-control reformers, was arrested and sentenced to prison for distributing contraceptive devices. The issue of birth control was also religious, since having intercourse for the sake of pleasure was considered as a sin by Christians. By allowing the usage of birth control devices, the government would get many hassles from religious organizations.
The David Blight book sound very interesting because it sound like a different book that’s not only expressing different views but also questioning them. Its a book about the story behind a story. I think that anyone reading the book will benefit from it because they might learn something new and change their perspective on what really happened during the Civil war. From the reading the book review I realized that memory is a very important part of history. For example, before books history was passed down from generation to generation through stories that were told from memory.
I believe that all shared experiences are remembered in different ways. For example, the war in Vietnam. Some people might say that the war was justified but others will say that it was not only a waste of money and time but many lives were lost unnecessarily. Also, one can say that the war in Vietnam was worth it because it showed that the US was not a force to be reckoned with. The war in Vietnam was politically motivated because it was during the time of the Cold War. During that time there was a lot of political tension between the communist and democratic countries.
Afterthoughts:One of the main points of the book review is there are different memories of the Civil War. In these memories some facts were suppressed and others facts were turned simply into something that couldn’t be further from the truth. Since “memory is a product of history” is history just simply a figment of our imagination since its building blocks are made up?
Citations: Title is a quote from Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams.