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As strong opponents of the war, the Federalists held the Hartford Convention in that hinted at disunion. National euphoria after the victory at New Orleans ruined the prestige of the Federalists and they no longer played a significant role as a political party. So, with the assistance of foreign bankers, they chartered the Second Bank of the United States in The Republicans also imposed tariffs designed to protect the infant industries that had been created when Britain was blockading the U.
With the collapse of the Federalists as a party, the adoption of many Federalist principles by the Republicans, and the systematic policy of President James Monroe in his two terms —25 to downplay partisanship, the nation entered an Era of Good Feelings , with far less partisanship than before or after , and closed out the First Party System.
The Monroe Doctrine , expressed in , proclaimed the United States' opinion that European powers should no longer colonize or interfere in the Americas. This was a defining moment in the foreign policy of the United States. In , President Andrew Jackson , 7th President of the United States, ran for a second term under the slogan "Jackson and no bank" and did not renew the charter of the Second Bank of the United States of America, ending the Bank in In , Congress passed the Indian Removal Act , which authorized the president to negotiate treaties that exchanged Native American tribal lands in the eastern states for lands west of the Mississippi River.
Jacksonian Democrats demanded the forcible removal of native populations who refused to acknowledge state laws to reservations in the West; Whigs and religious leaders opposed the move as inhumane. Thousands of deaths resulted from the relocations, as seen in the Cherokee Trail of Tears. After the First Party System of Federalists and Republicans withered away in the s, the stage was set for the emergence of a new party system based on well organized local parties that appealed for the votes of almost all adult white men.
The former Jeffersonian Democratic-Republican party split into factions. They split over the choice of a successor to President James Monroe , and the party faction that supported many of the old Jeffersonian principles, led by Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren , became the Democratic Party. As Norton explains the transformation in Jacksonians believed the people's will had finally prevailed.
Through a lavishly financed coalition of state parties, political leaders, and newspaper editors, a popular movement had elected the president. The Democrats became the nation's first well-organized national party Opposing factions led by Henry Clay helped form the Whig Party.
The Democratic Party had a small but decisive advantage over the Whigs until the s, when the Whigs fell apart over the issue of slavery. Behind the platforms issued by state and national parties stood a widely shared political outlook that characterized the Democrats:. The Democrats represented a wide range of views but shared a fundamental commitment to the Jeffersonian concept of an agrarian society. They viewed the central government as the enemy of individual liberty. The "corrupt bargain" had strengthened their suspicion of Washington politics.
Jacksonians feared the concentration of economic and political power. They believed that government intervention in the economy benefited special-interest groups and created corporate monopolies that favored the rich. They sought to restore the independence of the individual the "common man," i. Their definition of the proper role of government tended to be negative, and Jackson's political power was largely expressed in negative acts.
He exercised the veto more than all previous presidents combined. Jackson and his supporters also opposed reform as a movement. Reformers eager to turn their programs into legislation called for a more active government. But Democrats tended to oppose programs like educational reform mid the establishment of a public education system. They believed, for instance, that public schools restricted individual liberty by interfering with parental responsibility and undermined freedom of religion by replacing church schools.
Nor did Jackson share reformers' humanitarian concerns. He had no sympathy for American Indians, initiating the removal of the Cherokees along the Trail of Tears. The Second Great Awakening was a Protestant revival movement that affected the entire nation during the early 19th century and led to rapid church growth. The movement began around , gained momentum by , and, after membership rose rapidly among Baptist and Methodist congregations, whose preachers led the movement. It was past its peak by the s.
It enrolled millions of new members in existing evangelical denominations and led to the formation of new denominations. Many converts believed that the Awakening heralded a new millennial age. After the abolitionist movement redefined itself as a crusade against the sin of slave ownership. It mobilized support especially among religious women in the Northeast affected by the Second Great Awakening. William Lloyd Garrison , a radical abolitionist, published the most influential of the many anti-slavery newspapers, The Liberator , while Frederick Douglass , an ex-slave, began writing for that newspaper around and started his own abolitionist newspaper North Star in The American colonies and the new nation grew rapidly in population and area, as pioneers pushed the frontier of settlement west.
Native American tribes in some places resisted militarily, but they were overwhelmed by settlers and the army and after were relocated to reservations in the west. The highly influential " Frontier Thesis " of Wisconsin historian Frederick Jackson Turner argues that the frontier shaped the national character, with its boldness, violence, innovation, individualism , and democracy.
Recent historians have emphasized the multicultural nature of the frontier. Enormous popular attention in the media focuses on the "Wild West" of the second half of the 19th century. As defined by Hine and Faragher, "frontier history tells the story of the creation and defense of communities, the use of the land, the development of markets, and the formation of states". They explain, "It is a tale of conquest, but also one of survival, persistence, and the merging of peoples and cultures that gave birth and continuing life to America.
The Hispanics in California " Californios " were overwhelmed by over , gold rush miners. San Francisco by had become the economic hub of the entire Pacific Coast with a diverse population of a quarter million.
From the early s to , the Oregon Trail and its many offshoots were used by over , settlers. Wagon-trains took five or six months on foot; after , the trip took 6 days by rail. Manifest Destiny was the belief that American settlers were destined to expand across the continent. This concept was born out of "A sense of mission to redeem the Old World by high example After a bitter debate in Congress the Republic of Texas was annexed in , leading to war with Mexico, who considered Texas to be a part of Mexico due to the large numbers of Mexican settlers.
The Mexican—American War —48 broke out with the Whigs opposed to the war, and the Democrats supporting the war. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the war in Many Democrats wanted to annex all of Mexico, but that idea was rejected by southerners who argued that by incorporating millions of Mexican people, mainly of mixed race, would undermine the United States as an exclusively white republic.
Simultaneously, gold was discovered in California in , attracting over , men to northern California in a matter of months in the California Gold Rush. A peaceful compromise with Britain gave the U. The central issue after was the expansion of slavery, pitting the anti-slavery elements in the North, against the pro-slavery elements that dominated the South.
A small number of active Northerners were abolitionists who declared that ownership of slaves was a sin in terms of Protestant theology and demanded its immediate abolition. Much larger numbers in the North were against the expansion of slavery, seeking to put it on the path to extinction so that America would be committed to free land as in low-cost farms owned and cultivated by a family , free labor, and free speech as opposed to censorship of abolitionist material in the South.
Southern whites insisted that slavery was of economic, social, and cultural benefit to all whites and even to the slaves themselves , and denounced all anti-slavery spokesmen as "abolitionists.
Defenders of slavery argued that the sudden end to the slave economy would have had a profound and killing economic impact in the South where reliance on slave labor was the foundation of their economy. They also argued that if all the slaves were freed, there would be widespread unemployment and chaos. Religious activists split on slavery, with the Methodists and Baptists dividing into northern and southern denominations. In the North, the Methodists, Congregationalists , and Quakers included many abolitionists , especially among women activists.
The Catholic , Episcopal and Lutheran denominations largely ignored the slavery issue. The issue of slavery in the new territories was seemingly settled by the Compromise of , brokered by Whig Henry Clay and Democrat Stephen Douglas ; the Compromise included the admission of California as a free state in exchange for no federal restrictions on slavery placed on Utah or New Mexico.
Abolitionists pounced on the Act to attack slavery, as in the best-selling anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe. The Compromise of was repealed in with the Kansas—Nebraska Act , promoted by Senator Douglas in the name of " popular sovereignty " and democracy. It permitted voters to decide on the legality slavery in each territory, and allowed Douglas to adopt neutrality on the issue of slavery.
Anti-slavery forces rose in anger and alarm, forming the new Republican Party. Pro- and anti- contingents rushed to Kansas to vote slavery up or down, resulting in a miniature civil war called Bleeding Kansas. By the late s, the young Republican Party dominated nearly all northern states and thus the electoral college.
It insisted that slavery would never be allowed to expand and thus would slowly die out. The Southern slavery-based societies had become wealthy based on their cotton and other agricultural commodity production, and some particularly profited from the internal slave trade. Northern cities such as Boston and New York, and regional industries, were tied economically to slavery by banking, shipping, and manufacturing, including textile mills. By , there were four million slaves in the South , nearly eight times as many as there were nationwide in The plantations were highly profitable, due to the heavy European demand for raw cotton.
Most of the profits were invested in new lands and in purchasing more slaves largely drawn from the declining tobacco regions. For 50 of the nation's first 72 years, a slaveholder served as President of the United States and, during that period, only slaveholding presidents were re-elected to second terms. Slave rebellions, by Gabriel Prosser , Denmark Vesey , Nat Turner , and most famously by John Brown , caused fear in the white South, which imposed stricter oversight of slaves and reduced the rights of free blacks.
The Fugitive Slave Act of required the states to cooperate with slave owners when attempting to recover escaped slaves, which outraged Northerners. Formerly, an escaped slave that reached a non-slave state was presumed to have attained sanctuary and freedom under the Missouri Compromise. The Supreme Court's decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford ruled that the Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional; angry Republicans said this decision threatened to make slavery a national institution.
After Abraham Lincoln won the election , seven Southern states seceded from the union and set up a new nation, the Confederate States of America Confederacy , on February 8, It attacked Fort Sumter , a U. Army fort in South Carolina, thus igniting the war.
When Lincoln called for troops to suppress the Confederacy in April , four more states seceded and joined the Confederacy. A few of the northernmost " slave states " did not secede and became known as the border states ; these were Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri. During the war, the northwestern portion of Virginia seceded from the Confederacy.
In response to the attack, on April 15, Lincoln called on the states to send detachments totaling 75, troops to recapture forts, protect the capital, and "preserve the Union", which in his view still existed intact despite the actions of the seceding states.
The two armies had their first major clash at the First Battle of Bull Run Battle of Manassas , ending in a Union defeat, but, more importantly, proved to both the Union and Confederacy that the war would be much longer and bloodier than originally anticipated.
The war soon divided into two theaters: In the western theater, the Union was relatively successful, with major battles, such as Perryville and Shiloh along with Union gunboat dominance of navigable rivers producing strategic Union victories and destroying major Confederate operations. Major General George B. McClellan was put in charge of the Union armies. The main action was Union success in controlling the border states, with Confederates largely driven out of Maryland, West Virginia a new state , Kentucky and Missouri.
The autumn Confederate campaign into Maryland was designed to hurt Union morale and win European support. It ended with Confederate retreat at the Battle of Antietam , and Lincoln's warning he would issue an Emancipation Proclamation in January if the states did not return. Making slavery a central war goal Energized Republicans in the North, as well as their enemies, the anti-war Copperhead Democrats.
It ended the risk of British and French intervention. Lee's smaller army won at the Battle of Fredericksburg late in , causing yet another change in commanders. Lee won again at the Battle of Chancellorsville in May , while losing his top aide, Stonewall Jackson.
But Lee pushed too hard and ignored the Union threat in the west. Lee invaded Pennsylvania in search of supplies and to cause war-weariness in the North.
In perhaps the turning point of the war , Lee's army was badly beaten at the Battle of Gettysburg , July 1—3, , and barely made it back to Virginia. Foreign trade increased, with the United States providing both food and cotton to Britain, And Britain sending in manufactured products and thousands of volunteers for the Union Army plus a few to the Confederates. The British operated blockade runners bringing in food, luxury items and munitions to the Confederacy, bringing out tobacco and cotton.
The Union blockade increasingly shut down Confederate ports, and by late the blockade runners Were usually captured before they could make more than handful of runs. Grant gained control of the Mississippi River at the Battle of Vicksburg , thereby splitting the Confederacy. Lincoln made General Grant commander of all Union armies. In , Sherman marched south from Chattanooga to capture Atlanta, a decisive victory that ended war jitters among Republicans in the North who feared they might fail to reelect Lincoln in Lincoln won a landslide.
The last two years of the war were bloody for both sides, With Sherman marching almost unopposed through central and eastern Georgia, then moving up through South Carolina and North Carolina, burning cities, destroying plantations, ruining railroads and bridges, but avoiding civilian casualties. Sherman demonstrated that the South line the long-term ability to resist a northern invasion. Much of the heartland of the Confederacy was physically destroyed, and could no longer provide desperately needed food, horses, mules, wagons, boots or munitions to its combat armies.
In spring Grant, realizing that Lee was unable to replenishes casualties, while Lincoln would provide replacements for Union losses, launched a war of attrition against Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. This war of attrition was divided into three main campaigns. The first of these, the Overland Campaign forced Lee to retreat into the city of Petersburg where Grant launched his second major offensive, the Richmond-Petersburg Campaign in which he besieged Petersburg.
After a near ten-month siege, Petersburg surrendered. However, the defense of Fort Gregg allowed Lee to move his army out of Petersburg. Other Confederate armies followed suit and the war ended with no postwar insurgency. The American Civil War was the world's earliest industrial war. Railroads, the telegraph, steamships, and mass-produced weapons were employed extensively. The mobilization of civilian factories, mines, shipyards, banks, transportation and food supplies all foreshadowed the impact of industrialization in World War I.
It remains the deadliest war in American history, resulting in the deaths of about , soldiers and an undetermined number of civilian casualties. According to historian Allan Nevins the Civil War had a major long-term impact on the United States in terms of developing its leadership potential and moving the entire nation beyond the adolescent stage:. In a single stroke it changed the legal status, as recognized by the U.
The owners were never compensated. Plantation owners, realizing that emancipation would destroy their economic system, sometimes moved their slaves as far as possible out of reach of the Union army. By June , the Union Army controlled all of the Confederacy and liberated all of the designated slaves. The severe dislocations of war and Reconstruction had a large negative impact on the black population, with a large amount of sickness and death. Reconstruction lasted from Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, to the Compromise of The major issues faced by Lincoln were the status of the ex-slaves called "Freedmen" , the loyalty and civil rights of ex-rebels, the status of the 11 ex-Confederate states, the powers of the federal government needed to prevent a future civil war, and the question of whether Congress or the President would make the major decisions.
The severe threats of starvation and displacement of the unemployed Freedmen were met by the first major federal relief agency, the Freedmen's Bureau , operated by the Army. Three " Reconstruction Amendments " were passed to expand civil rights for black Americans: Ex-Confederates remained in control of most Southern states for over two years, but changed when the Radical Republicans gained control of Congress in the elections.
President Andrew Johnson , who sought easy terms for reunions with ex-rebels, was virtually powerless in the face of the Radical Republican Congress; he was impeached, but the Senate's attempt to remove him from office failed by one vote.
Congress enfranchised black men and temporarily stripped many ex-Confederate leaders of the right to hold office. New Republican governments came to power based on a coalition of Freedmen made up of Carpetbaggers new arrivals from the North , and Scalawags native white Southerners.
They were backed by the U. Opponents said they were corrupt and violated the rights of whites. State by state they lost power to a conservative-Democratic coalition, which gained control of the entire South by Paramilitary groups, such as the White League and Red Shirts emerged about that worked openly to use intimidation and violence to suppress black voting to regain white political power in states across the South during the s.
Rable described them as the military arm of the Democratic Party. Reconstruction ended after the disputed election. The Compromise of gave Republican candidate Rutherford B. Hayes the White House in exchange for removing all remaining federal troops in the South. The federal government withdrew its troops from the South, and Southern Democrats took control of every Southern state. They passed segregation laws and imposed second-class status on blacks in a system known as Jim Crow that lasted until the Civil Rights Movement.
The latter half of the nineteenth century was marked by the rapid development and settlement of the far West, first by wagon trains and riverboats and then aided by the completion of the transcontinental railroad. Large numbers of European immigrants especially from Germany and Scandinavia took up low-cost or free farms in the Prairie States. Mining for silver and copper opened up the Mountain West. The United States Army fought frequent small-scale wars with Native Americans as settlers encroached on their traditional lands.
According to the U. Bureau of the Census , from to The Indian wars under the government of the United States have been more than 40 in number. They have cost the lives of about 19, white men, women and children, including those killed in individual combats, and the lives of about 30, Indians. The actual number of killed and wounded Indians must be very much higher than the given Fifty percent additional would be a safe estimate The "Gilded Age" was a term that Mark Twain used to describe the period of the late 19th century with a dramatic expansion of American wealth and prosperity, underscored by the mass corruption in the government.
Reforms of the Age included the Civil Service Act , which mandated a competitive examination for applicants for government jobs. Other important legislation included the Interstate Commerce Act , which ended railroads' discrimination against small shippers, and the Sherman Antitrust Act , which outlawed monopolies in business.
Twain believed that this age was corrupted by such elements as land speculators, scandalous politics, and unethical business practices. Beard and Matthew Josephson , some historians have argued that the United States was effectively plutocratic for at least part of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era.
Morgan and John D. Rockefeller began to amass vast fortunes, many U. By American industrial production and per capita income exceeded those of all other world nations. In response to heavy debts and decreasing farm prices, wheat and cotton farmers joined the Populist Party.
From to , peak years of immigration, more than 22 million people migrated to the United States. Many immigrants were craftsmen especially from Britain and Germany bringing human skills, and others were farmers especially from Germany and Scandinavia who purchased inexpensive land on the Prairies from railroads who sent agents to Europe.
Poverty, growing inequality and dangerous working conditions, along with socialist and anarchist ideas diffusing from European immigrants, led to the rise of the labor movement , which often included violent strikes. Skilled workers banded together to control their crafts and raise wages by forming labor unions in industrial areas of the Northeast.
Before the s few factory workers joined the unions in the labor movement. Samuel Gompers led the American Federation of Labor — , coordinating multiple unions. Industrial growth was rapid, led by John D. Rockefeller in oil and Andrew Carnegie in steel; both became leaders of philanthropy Gospel of Wealth , giving away their fortunes to create the modern system of hospitals, universities, libraries, and foundations.
The Panic of broke out and was a severe nationwide depression impacting farmers, workers, and businessmen who saw prices, wages, and profits fall. The resultant political reaction fell on the Democratic Party, whose leader President Grover Cleveland shouldered much of the blame.
Labor unrest involved numerous strikes, most notably the violent Pullman Strike of , which was shut down by federal troops under Cleveland's orders. The Populist Party gained strength among cotton and wheat farmers, as well as coal miners, but was overtaken by the even more popular Free Silver movement, which demanded using silver to enlarge the money supply, leading to inflation that the silverites promised would end the depression.
The financial, railroad, and business communities fought back hard, arguing that only the gold standard would save the economy. In the most intense election in the nation's history, conservative Republican William McKinley defeated silverite William Jennings Bryan , who ran on the Democratic, Populist, and Silver Republican tickets. Bryan swept the South and West, but McKinley ran up landslides among the middle class, industrial workers, cities, and among upscale farmers in the Midwest.
Prosperity returned under McKinley, the gold standard was enacted, and the tariff was raised. By the U. Apart from two short recessions in and the overall economy remained prosperous and growing until Republicans, citing McKinley's policies, took the credit. Dissatisfaction on the part of the growing middle class with the corruption and inefficiency of politics as usual, and the failure to deal with increasingly important urban and industrial problems, led to the dynamic Progressive Movement starting in the s.
In every major city and state, and at the national level as well, and in education, medicine, and industry, the progressives called for the modernization and reform of decrepit institutions, the elimination of corruption in politics, and the introduction of efficiency as a criterion for change. Women became especially involved in demands for woman suffrage, prohibition, and better schools; their most prominent leader was Jane Addams of Chicago, who created settlement houses.
Progressives implemented anti-trust laws and regulated such industries of meat-packing, drugs, and railroads. The United States emerged as a world economic and military power after The main episode was the Spanish—American War , which began when Spain refused American demands to reform its oppressive policies in Cuba. Cuba became an independent country, under close American tutelage. Although the war itself was widely popular, the peace terms proved controversial.
William Jennings Bryan led his Democratic Party in opposition to control of the Philippines, which he denounced as imperialism unbecoming to American democracy. McKinley easily defeated Bryan in a rematch in the presidential election. After defeating an insurrection by Filipino nationalists , the United States engaged in a large-scale program to modernize the economy of the Philippines and dramatically upgrade the public health facilities. In when Arizona became the final mainland state , the American Frontier came to an end.
The canal opened in and increased trade with Japan and the rest of the Far East. A key innovation was the Open Door Policy , whereby the imperial powers were given equal access to Chinese business, with not one of them allowed to take control of China. As World War I raged in Europe from , President Woodrow Wilson took full control of foreign policy, declaring neutrality but warning Germany that resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare against American ships supplying goods to Allied nations would mean war.
Germany decided to take the risk and try to win by cutting off supplies to Britain through the sinking of ships such as the RMS Lusitania ; the U. Pershing arrived at the rate of 10, a day, while Germany was unable to replace its losses. The result was Allied victory in November President Wilson demanded Germany depose the Kaiser and accept his terms in the famed Fourteen Points speech.
Wilson dominated the Paris Peace Conference but Germany was treated harshly by the Allies in the Treaty of Versailles as Wilson put all his hopes in the new League of Nations. Wilson refused to compromise with Senate Republicans over the issue of Congressional power to declare war, and the Senate rejected the Treaty and the League.
Presidential candidate Gerrit Smith argued for and established women's suffrage as a party plank. One month later, his cousin Elizabeth Cady Stanton joined with Lucretia Mott and other women to organize the Seneca Falls Convention , featuring the Declaration of Sentiments demanding equal rights for women, and the right to vote.
The women's rights campaign during " first-wave feminism " was led by Stanton, Lucy Stone and Susan B. Anthony , among many others. The movement reorganized after the Civil War, gaining experienced campaigners, many of whom had worked for prohibition in the Women's Christian Temperance Union.
By the end of the 19th century a few western states had granted women full voting rights,  though women had made significant legal victories, gaining rights in areas such as property and child custody. Around the feminist movement began to reawaken, putting an emphasis on its demands for equality and arguing that the corruption of American politics demanded purification by women because men could not do that job.
Suffragists were arrested during their " Silent Sentinels " pickets at the White House, the first time such a tactic was used, and were taken as political prisoners. The old anti-suffragist argument that only men could fight a war, and therefore only men deserve the right to vote, was refuted by the enthusiastic participation of tens of thousands of American women on the home front in World War I. Across the world, grateful nations gave women the right to vote.
Furthermore, most of the Western states had already given the women the right to vote in state and national elections, and the representatives from those states, including the first woman Jeannette Rankin of Montana, demonstrated that woman suffrage was a success.
The main resistance came from the south, where white leaders were worried about the threat of black women voting. Congress passed the Nineteenth Amendment in , and women could vote in Politicians responded to the new electorate by emphasizing issues of special interest to women, especially prohibition, child health, and world peace. Meanwhile, Protestants mobilized women to support Prohibition and vote for Republican Herbert Hoover.
In the s the U. While public health facilities grew rapidly in the Progressive Era, and hospitals and medical schools were modernized,  the nation in lost , lives to the Spanish flu pandemic. In , the manufacture, sale, import and export of alcohol were prohibited by the Eighteenth Amendment , Prohibition.
The result was that in cities illegal alcohol became a big business, largely controlled by racketeers. The second Ku Klux Klan grew rapidly in —25, then collapsed. Immigration laws were passed to strictly limit the number of new entries. The s were called the Roaring Twenties due to the great economic prosperity during this period. Jazz became popular among the younger generation, and thus the decade was also called the Jazz Age. The Great Depression —39 and the New Deal —36 were decisive moments in American political, economic, and social history that reshaped the nation.
During the s, the nation enjoyed widespread prosperity, albeit with a weakness in agriculture. A financial bubble was fueled by an inflated stock market , which later led to the Stock Market Crash on October 29, In , Democratic presidential nominee Franklin D. Roosevelt promised "a New Deal for the American people", coining the enduring label for his domestic policies.
The result was a series of permanent reform programs including Relief for the unemployed, assistance for the elderly, jobs for young men, social security, unemployment insurance, public housing, bankruptcy insurance, farm subsidies, and regulation of financial securities.
State governments added new programs as well, and introduced the sales tax to pay for them. Ideologically the revolution established modern liberalism in the United States and kept the Democrats in power in Washington almost continuously for Three decades thanks to the New Deal Coalition of ethnic Whites, Blacks, blue-collar workers, labor unions, and white Southerners.
It provided relief to the long-term unemployed through numerous programs, such as the Works Progress Administration WPA and for young men, the Civilian Conservation Corps. Large scale spending projects designed to provide private sector construction jobs and rebuild the infrastructure were under the purview of the Public Works Administration.
The Second New Deal was a turn to the left in —36, building up labor unions through the Wagner Act. Unions became a powerful element of the merging New Deal Coalition , which won reelection for Roosevelt in , , and by mobilizing union members, blue collar workers, relief recipients, big city machines, ethnic, and religious groups especially Catholics and Jews and the white South, along with blacks in the North where they could vote.
Roosevelt seriously weakened his second term by a failed effort to pack the Supreme Court, which had been a center of conservative resistance to his programs. Most of the relief programs were dropped after in the s when the conservatives regained power in Congress through the Conservative Coalition.
Of special importance is the Social Security program , begun in The economy basically recovered by , but had a sharp, short recession in ; long-term unemployment, however, remained a problem until it was solved by wartime spending. In the Depression years, the United States remained focused on domestic concerns while democracy declined across the world and many countries fell under the control of dictators.
Imperial Japan asserted dominance in East Asia and in the Pacific. Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy militarized and threatened conquests, while Britain and France attempted appeasement to avert another war in Europe.
Roosevelt positioned the U. Japan tried to neutralize America's power in the Pacific by attacking Pearl Harbor on December 7, , which catalyzed American support to enter the war. The main contributions of the U. Much of the focus in Washington was maximizing the economic output of the nation. This was achieved by tens of millions of workers moving from low-productivity occupations to high efficiency jobs, improvements in productivity through better technology and management, and the move into the active labor force of students, retired people, housewives, and the unemployed, and an increase in hours worked.
It was exhausting; leisure activities declined sharply. People tolerated the extra work because of patriotism, the pay, and the confidence that it was only "for the duration", and life would return to normal as soon as the war was won. Most durable goods became unavailable, and meat, clothing, and gasoline were tightly rationed. In industrial areas housing was in short supply as people doubled up and lived in cramped quarters.
Prices and wages were controlled, and Americans saved a high portion of their incomes, which led to renewed growth after the war instead of a return to depression. The Allies saw Germany as the main threat and gave highest priority to Europe.
American ground forces assisted in the North African Campaign that eventually concluded with the collapse of Mussolini's fascist government in , as Italy switched to the Allied side. On the home front , mobilization of the U. The wartime production boom led to full employment, wiping out this vestige of the Great Depression. Indeed, labor shortages encouraged industry to look for new sources of workers, finding new roles for women and blacks.
However, the fervor also inspired anti-Japanese sentiment , leading to internment of Japanese Americans. The terms of this executive order resulted in some , people of Japanese descent living in the US removed from their homes and placed in internment camps. Two-thirds of those interned were American citizens and half of them were children. United States Supreme Court case. Research and development took flight as well, best seen in the Manhattan Project , a secret effort to harness nuclear fission to produce highly destructive atomic bombs.
Army Corps of Engineers. Robert Oppenheimer was the director of the Los Alamos Laboratory that designed the actual bombs. The first nuclear device ever detonated was an implosion-type bomb at the Trinity test , conducted at New Mexico's Alamogordo Bombing and Gunnery Range on 16 July The Allies pushed the Germans out of France but faced an unexpected counterattack at the Battle of the Bulge in December.
The final German effort failed, and, as Allied armies in East and West were converging on Berlin, the Nazis hurriedly tried to kill the last remaining Jews.
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