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By Noel J Kent
The various key matters about the usa as we input the twenty first century have been already taking form as we entered the twentieth century. enterprise mergers, U.S. army intervention (in the Philippines), alternate disputes with China and Europe, racial violence, excessive degrees of crime, emerging source of revenue gaps among wealthy and terrible, risky inventory industry costs, homelessness within the towns, the risks of immigration, and the domination of cash in elections -- most of these significant nationwide matters in 1900 are accepted in a few shape to american citizens this day. The kingdom grappled for the 1st time with a sequence of complicated new demanding situations: distribution of wealth and financial chance; the shape race and ethnic kinfolk may still absorb a rustic of accelerating variety; the connection among titanic enterprise and govt; how the us, as a brand new global energy, may still act abroad; and a number of others. Written in a fluid and hugely readable kind, Kent's ten chapters contain a colourful narrative heritage of the foremost occasions of this pivotal yr that maintains to resonate a century later.
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Additional info for America in 1900
Collis B. Huntington, industrialist, 1900 An American who was middle-aged in 1900 was living in a different country from the one he had grown up in. True, in rural stores men in faded work overalls still sat around potbellied stoves, munching on soda crackers from the ubiquitous cracker barrel, and talking crops, weather, and politics. On autumn days their wives stored away preserved peaches, plums, berries, sweet potatoes, and apples in cellars. But over the last generation, the United States, in the throes of an unparalleled wave of industrialization, had undergone monumental changes—railroads, the outriders of a new era, spanning the continent, the new open-hearth steel furnaces coming on line, steamships replacing sail, the telegraph and telephone zipping messages across the continent in seconds.
This lifestyle was, in turn, faithfully mimicked by the better off in the middle classes. The notion of what passed for the art of fine living, however, had been dramatically altered by the fantastic new wealth produced throughout the last quarter-century. Now the recently arrived American industrial-financial aristocracy a la the Vanderbilts, Harrimans, and Huntingtons made the signature of their class Fifth Avenue castles, Newport mansions, 100-foot yachts, private railroad cars, and European expeditions.
Railroads were heaped on the bankruptcy courts like pickup sticks. Three million were jobless and wage cutting was widespread. The market prices of grains and cotton nose-dived and Great Plains farmers by the thousands lost their holdings. Real income declined 18 percent from 1892 to 1894. “The country began to be overrun with tramps,” ran one contemporary account. “Men out of work and stopping to beg a meal and permission to sleep in barns … began to be seen daily. …11 It seemed to at least some within the nation’s elite that unless prosperity could be restored, the country might lurch out of control.
America in 1900 by Noel J Kent