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1 A New World
2 Beginnings of English America, 1607–1660
3 Creating Anglo-America, 1660–1750
4 Slavery, Freedom, and the Struggle for Empire, to 1763
5 The American Revolution, 1763–1783
6 The Revolution Within
7 Founding a Nation, 1783–1789
8 Securing the Republic, 1790–1815
9 The Market Revolution, 1800–1840
10 Democracy in America, 1815–1840
11 The Peculiar Institution
12 An Age of Reform, 1820–1840
13 A House Divided, 1840–1861
14 A New Birth of Freedom: The Civil War, 1861–1865
15 “What Is Freedom?”: Reconstruction, 1865–1877
16 America’s Gilded Age, 1870–1890
17 Freedom’s Boundaries, at Home and Abroad, 1890–1900
18 The Progressive Era, 1900–1916
19 Safe for Democracy: The United States and World War I, 1916–1920
20 From Business Culture to Great Depression: The Twenties, 1920–1932
21 The New Deal, 1932–1940
22 Fighting for the Four Freedoms: World War II, 1941–1945
23 The United States and the Cold War, 1945–1953
24 An Affluent Society, 1953–1960
25 The Sixties, 1960–1968
26 The Triumph of Conservatism, 1969–1988
27 Globalization and Its Discontents, 1989–2000
28 September 11 and the Next American Century

Chapter 17: Freedom's Boundaries, at Home and Abroad, 1890–1900

Sources of Freedom

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This chapter concentrates on the limitations of freedom, including that of farmers, immigrants, blacks, women, and colonial subjects. The chapter opens with the Homestead Strike, which demonstrated that neither a powerful union nor public opinion could influence the conduct of the largest corporations. Farmers also illustrated that not everyone benefited from the prosperity of the industrial revolution. The chapter examines how the farmers mobilized into a political force culminating in the 1892 organization of the Populist Party. Attempting to build a broad base, the Populists courted labor, women, and black farmers. Their party dissolved after the defeat of William Jennings Bryan in 1896.

The chapter then explores the "New South." Blacks after Reconstruction faced disenfranchisement, threat from the lynch rope, and Jim Crow laws sanctioned by the Supreme Court's decision on Plessy v. Ferguson. The "new" immigrants from southern and eastern Europe faced growing restrictions on their freedom in the face of nativism. The Chinese were singled out and permanently excluded from immigrating to America in 1882 and they had to fight through the court system to gain a few liberties. Chinese-American missionary Saum Song Bo in Voices of Freedom highlights their plight in an ironic statement about freedom. Taking a different approach toward the limitations of freedom put upon blacks was Booker T. Washington, who preached a policy of accommodation and vocational education. Likewise, the American Federation of Labor took a more realistic approach towards unionization. Women, barred from suffrage, were nonetheless politically active in clubs and national organizations like the Women's Christian Temperance Union. All three groups, then, found ways to accommodate for the limitations placed upon them.

The chapter ends by examining America's rise to world power. By expanding abroad in search of markets and new frontiers, America fought Spain in 1898 and won for itself a number of territorial possessions. With the annexation of the Philippines, Guam, and Puerto Rico, the United States took on an imperial role, restricting the freedoms of the Constitution to those peoples.


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