Unit 10: Reshaping the Nation

Essential Questions

  • What are the causes and effects of scarcity?
  • How did the United States respond to the three basic economic questions in the late 1800s?
  • What goods and services shall be produced and in what quantities?
  • How shall goods and services be produced?
  • For whom shall goods and services be produced?
  • Can American culture be defined?
  • What aspects of American life made the United States so appealing to such a wide range of immigrants?
  • For what reasons did immigrants leave their home lands?
  • How did cultural diversity cause hardships while also advances in American Cultural?
  • How did immigrants influence peoples' opinions and social patterns?


A. Problems and progress in American politics: Framework for a changing United States

  1. New problems created a changing role for government and the political system
  2. Scandals, depressions, and limitations of traditional politics resulted in reluctant change, e.g., civil service
  3. National politics were dominated by the Democratic and Republican parties, but third parties occasionally arose to meet special interests
  4. New York State and New York City in an era of machine politics,e.g., the Tweed Ring and Tammany Hall
  5. Prevailing attitude of noninterference ("laissez-faire") as the appropriate role for government, with some regulations to meet excesses

B. The United States developed as an industrial power

  1. Changes in the methods of production and distribution of manufactured goods
    • Transportation developments and their effects on economic developments, 1865-1900
    • Communication developments, 1865-1900
    • Industrial technology, 1865-1900
    • Rise of banking and financial institutions
  2. Increase in the number and size of firms engaged in manufacture and distribution of goods
  3. Increase in the number and skill level of workers; new labor markets
  4. Expansion of markets for manufactured goods
  5. The growth and emerging problems of the cities

C. Growth of the corporation as a form of business organization: Case studies—oil, railroads, steel

  1. One of several forms of business organization
  2. Many firms maintained traditional ways of doing business
  3. Advantages and disadvantages of a corporation

D. Government response to industrial development and abuses

  1. Laissez-faire versus regulation
  2. Interstate commerce: state and national control
  3. Sherman Antitrust Act: bigness as a threat

E. Changing patterns of agricultural organization and activity in the United States and New York State

  1. Unprecedented growth in agriculture
  2. Changes in the methods of production and distribution of farm products—spatial distribution of economic activities
  3. Efficient use of resources combined with competition and the profit motive to improve methods of production

F. Occurrence of many significant and influential changes

  1. Communities grew in size and number
  2. Interdependence increased
  3. Decision-making procedures changed
  4. Technology advanced
  5. Adaptation of, rather than to, the environment—human modifications of the physical environment
  6. Perceptions of time became more formal, e.g., railroad schedules
  7. Political machines influenced daily life

G. The response of labor to industrialization

  1. Industrialization created a larger workforce and more complex work
  2. Working conditions underwent extensive change, which often placed hardships on the workers; roles of women, children, minorities, disabled changed
  3. Early attempts to unionize the workforce met with resistance and failure, e.g., the Knights of Labor and the Haymarket Riot, American Railway Union, the Industrial Workers of the World
  4. Roots of modern labor unionism, e.g., the American Federation of Labor
  5. Labor as a reform movement in other aspects of society

H. The response of the farmer to industrialization

  1. Expanding agricultural production and railroads
  2. Cheap money and high railroad rates
  3. The Grange and state reforms
  4. The Populist movement
  5. The closing of the frontier—limitations of physical environment

I. The immigration experience

  1. Two distinct waves occurred , from the 1840s to the 1890s, and from the 1890s to the early 1920s; migration streams over time
  2. Differences were based on national origins, cultural patterns, and religion
  3. Similarities included motivations for coming and patterns of community settlement
  4. Initial clashes ended in varying degrees of acculturation
  5. Occupational and political experiences varies

J. Case studies of the immigrant experience in the United States and New York State—population characteristics

  1. Acomparison of European immigrants and the black slave experience—human migration's effects on the character of different places and regions
  2. Immigrants as rural settlers in the Midwest
  3. The Chinese experience in the Far West
  4. Mexicans in the Southwest
  5. New York City's ethnic neighborhoods
  6. French-Canadian settlement in northern New York State
  7. Immigration patterns and experiences throughout New York State
  8. Irish immigration: Mass starvation in Ireland, 1845-1850
  9. Immigrants in the local community

K. Legal basis for citizenship in the United States

  1. Citizenship by the "law of the soil"
  2. Citizenship by birth to an American parent
  3. Citizenship through naturalization

L. Responsibilities of citizenship

  1. Civic: A citizen should be:
    • Knowledgeable about the process of government
    • Informed about major issues
    • A participant in the political process
  2. Legal: A citizen should:
    • Be knowledgeable about the law
    • Obey the laws
    • Respect the rights of others
    • Understand the importance of law in a democratic society
  3. The changing role of the citizen