Sources of Freedom Exercises

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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