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POLSC301: American Political Thought

Unit 6: The Industrial Age   At the close of the 19th century, the American landscape was changing from one of small family farms and businesses to one characterized by growing cities and large corporate entities.  In this unit, you will learn how these economic and social changes shaped American political thought at the time.

Unit 6 Time Advisory
This unit should take you approximately 13.5 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 6.1: 3 hours

☐    Subunit 6.1.1: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 6.1.2: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 6.2: 3.5 hours

☐    Subunit 6.2.1: .5 hours

☐    Subunit 6.2.2: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 6.2.3: .5 hours

☐    Subunit 6.2.4: .5 hours

☐    Subunit 6.2.5: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 6.3: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 6.3.1: .5 hours

☐    Subunit 6.3.2: .5 hours

☐    Subunit 6.3.3: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 6.4: 5 hours

☐    Subunit 6.4.1: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 6.4.2: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 6.4.3: 2 hours

Unit6 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:

  • Discuss the philosophical underpinnings of “American Exceptionalism.”
  • Trace the evolution of capitalism in American political and economic discourse.
  • Describe the economic theories of laissez-faire and free market capitalism.
  • Compare and contrast imperialist and anti-imperialist philosophy at the turn of the twentieth century.
  • Analyze the connection among nativism, racism, and immigration policy. 

6.1 “American Exceptionalism”   6.1.1 Anglo-Saxon and American Superiority   - Reading: Josiah Strong’s Our Country: Its Possible Future and Its Present Crisis (1885) Link: Google Books’ version of Josiah Strong’s Our Country: Its Possible Future and Its Present Crisis (1885) (ePub format on Google Books)
 
Also available in:

[HTML](http://www.questia.com/read/11531366?title=Chapter%20I.%250aThe%20Time%20Factor%20in%20the%20Problem.)  
    
 Instructions: Read Chapters I (“The Time Factor in the Problem”),
II (“Natural Resources”), and XIV (“The Anglo-Saxon and the World’s
Future”).   
    
 Note on the Text: Throughout this book, Strong argues that the
Anglo-Saxon, particularly the American Anglo-Saxon, is superior to
other nationalities.  In the first two chapters, you will learn what
Strong believes makes America an exceptional country when compared
to others around the world.  Then, in the final assigned chapter,
Strong argues that American Anglo-Saxons will play a significant
role in the future of the world.  
    
 Terms of use: The material above is in the Public Domain.

6.1.2 The Frontier and Turner’s Thesis   - Reading: PBS’ The West: “Frederick Jackson Turner” Link: PBS’ The West: “Frederick Jackson Turner” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the short biography and summary on the webpage, which will provide some context for understanding the subsequent reading on Turner’s “frontier thesis.”
 
Terms of use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Fordham University: Modern History Sourcebook’s version of Frederick Jackson Turner’s “The Significance of the Frontier in American History, 1893” Link: Fordham University: Modern History Sourcebook’s version of Frederick Jackson Turner’s The Significance of the Frontier in American History, 1893 (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Read the excerpts of Turner’s thesis (1893).
     
    Terms of use: The material above was provided by the Modern History Sourcebook.  Permission has been granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use, but not commercial use.  You can find the original version here.

6.2 Capitalism and Free Markets   - Reading: The Concise Library of Economics: Robert Hessen’s “Capitalism.” Link: The Concise Library of Economics: Robert Hessen’s “Capitalism.” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the entry on the definition and history of Capitalism.  This reading covers subunits 6.2.1-6.2.4.
 
Note on the Text: Hessen’s entry offers great historical background on the concept of Capitalism and how it has evolved overtime.  The information contained in the entry will provide you with an excellent foundation for exploring concepts in the entire subunit (6.2.1- 6.2.4).
 
Terms of use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

6.2.1 Defining Capitalism   - Reading: The Concise Library of Economics: Robert Hessen’s “Capitalism.” Link: The Concise Library of Economics: Robert Hessen’s “Capitalism.” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the entry on the definition and history of Capitalism.  Note that this reading will cover the material you need to know for subunits 6.2.2-6.2.5.
 
Note on the Text: Hessen’s entry offers great historical background on the concept of Capitalism and how it has evolved overtime.  The information contained in the entry will provide you with an excellent foundation for exploring concepts in the entire subunit 
 
Terms of use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

6.2.2 Adam Smith and the Birth of Capitalism   - Reading: The Concise Library of Economics’ “Biography of Adam Smith (1723-1790)” Link: The Concise Library of Economics’ “Biography of Adam Smith (1723-1790)” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this biography of Adam Smith.  Pay close attention to the section of the text that comments on Smith’s philosophy on wealth and charity and his seminal work, The Wealth of Nations.
 
Terms of use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: The New York Review of Books: Amartya Sen’s “Capitalism Beyond the Crisis” Link: The New York Review of Books: Amartya Sen’s “Capitalism Beyond the Crisis” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please read this article which, although focusing on the 2008 financial crisis, includes oft-lectured points by Sen and other scholars on Adam Smith and how he has consistently been misunderstood over time.
     
    Terms of use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

6.2.3 Wealth, Poverty, and Responsibility   - Reading: Fordham University: Modern History Sourcebook’s version of Andrew Carnegie’s “Gospel of Wealth” (1889) Link: Fordham University: Modern History Sourcebook’s version of Andrew Carnegie’s “Gospel of Wealth” (1889)  (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read the text of Carnegie’s “Gospel of Wealth.”
 
Note on the Text: Andrew Carnegie was one of the richest men in America at the turn of the 20th century.  He clearly benefitted from free-markets and capitalism in the United States.  Many considered Carnegie a ruthless businessman, yet he chose to be a great benefactor to many causes.  In this reading, you will learn about Carnegie’s sentiments about his riches and about the duty he saw for himself (he believed that the wealthy should take care of the less fortunate). 
 
Terms of use: The material above was provided by the Modern History Sourcebook.  Permission has been granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use, but not commercial use.  You can find the original version here.

6.2.4 Problems with Laissez-Faire Economics and Free Markets   - Reading: Henry George’s Progress and Poverty (1879) Link: Henry George’s Progress and Poverty (1879) (HTML)
 
Also available in:
ePub format on Google Books
 
Instructions: Read “Introduction: The Problem of Poverty in Amid Progress.”

 Note on the Text: Appalled by the shocking poverty he saw around
him in one of one of the world’s wealthiest countries, George
ponders in this book where mankind had gone wrong and what could be
done about it. During the nineteenth century, the circulation of
*Progress and Poverty* was second only to that of the Bible. To this
day, no other book on economics has been as widely distributed.  
    
 Terms of use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

6.2.5 Government as Catalyst of Economic Growth   - Reading: Project Gutenberg’s version of John Stuart Mill’s The Principles of Political Economy Link: Project Gutenberg’s version of John Stuart Mill’s The Principles of Political Economy (HTML)
           
Instructions: Under “Book V: On the Influence of Governments,” please read “Chapter I. On The General Principles of Taxation.”
 
Note on the Text: Principles of Political Economy was one of the most important economics textbooks of the mid-nineteenth century. Besides discussing descriptive issues such as which nations tended to benefit more in a system of trade, Mill also discusses ideal systems of political economy and critiques proposed systems such as communism and socialism.
 
Terms of use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

6.3 Imperialism and Trade   6.3.1 Expanding American Influence Beyond Its Shores   - Reading: History of Cuba’s version of “The Teller Amendment” Link: History of Cuba’s version of “The Teller Amendment” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the text of the amendment.

 Note on Text: The Spanish-American War was a conflict in 1898
between Spain and the United States, as the result of American
intervention in the ongoing Cuban War of Independence (then a
Spanish colony).  Entry into the war was somewhat controversial as
it exposed U.S. imperialist tendencies.  In order to reassure
anti-imperialist elements on the eve of declaring war on Spain,
Congress adopted a measure, sponsored by Senator Henry M. Teller of
Colorado, pledging that the United States would not annex Cuba. 
While the Teller amendment pledged that the United States would not
annex Cuba, it did not prevent us from interfering in the internal
affairs of Cuba after the war was over.  
    
 Terms of use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Reading: Fordham University: Modern History Sourcebook’s version of Rudyard Kipling’s “The White Man’s Burden” (1899) Link: Fordham University:  Modern History Sourcebook’s version of Rudyard Kipling’s “The White Man’s Burden” (1899) (HTML)
     
    Instructions:Read the brief introduction and then the entirety of this poem.
     
    Terms of use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

6.3.2 Anti-Imperialist Sentiments   - Reading: W.W. Norton and Company’s version of “Platform of the Anti-Imperialist League” (1899) Link: W.W. Norton and Company’s version of “Platform of the Anti-Imperialist League” (1899)
 
Instructions: Please read the League’s platform.

 Note on Text: During the late 1800s, the United States acquired a
number of offshore territories during the so called “Age of
Imperialism.”  Some of these lands were purchased (for example, the
United States government purchased Alaska from Russia), while others
were acquired as a result of military conflict, as was the case in
Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines.  During this era, the
Anti-Imperialist League formed to stop the spread of American
hegemony around the world.   
    
 Terms of use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

6.3.3 China and the Open Door Policy   - Reading: Mount Holyoke College’s version of Secretary of State John Hay’s “The Open Door Note” (1899) Link: Mount Holyoke College’s version of Secretary of State John Hay’s “The Open Door Note” (1899) (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the text of Hay’s Open Door communiqué.
 
Note on the Text: In the late 1800s, many countries (including the United States) saw China as a clear imperialist opportunity.  Although Americans appeared to have the “best interests” of China in mind in this document, Secretary Hay is really articulating America’s desire to not be left out of the Chinese markets, even though America was not seen as a major “world power” at that time.
 
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6.4 Immigration and Racism   6.4.1 America—“Land of Freedom and Opportunity”   - Reading: Emma Lazarus’ poem, “The New Colossus” (1883) Link: Emma Lazarus’ poem, “The New Colossus” (1883) (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read the introduction, the background of the poem on the first page and the full-text of the poem. 
 
Terms of use: The material above is available for viewing in the Public Domain.

6.4.2 Nativism and Backlash: American Restrictions on Immigration   - Reading: The Atlantic Monthly (digital edition): Francis A. Walker’s “Restriction of Immigration” (1896) Link: The Atlantic Monthly (digital edition): Francis A. Walker’s Restriction of Immigration (1896) (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read this article by Francis Walker, originally published in the Atlantic Monthly in June of 1896.
 
Note on the Text: Francis Walker was a well-respected scholar in the 1890s.  This essay expresses the sentiments of many Americans at the time concerning the need for restricting immigration.  This essay was written just a year before Congress passed a bill authored by Senator Henry Cabot Lodge that required all immigrants to be literate in English.  (The bill primarily targeted “new immigrants” from Southern and Eastern Europe.)  It was later vetoed by President Grover Cleveland.
 
Terms of use: This material is available in the public domain.

6.4.3 The Continued Plight of African Americans   - Reading: History Matters’ version of “The Atlanta Compromise Speech” (1895) Link: History Matters’ version of “The Atlanta Compromise Speech” (1895)
 
Instructions: Please read the short introduction and text of Washington’s speech at the Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlanta, Georgia.
 
Note on the Text: During this speech, Washingtonpublicly accepted disfranchisement and social segregation as long as whites would allow black economic progress, educational opportunity, and justice in the courts. Washington’s overall philosophy of accommodation rather than agitation of the white racist hierarchy was not without its critics, then and today.  For example, W. E. B. DuBois (see below) believed the speech was insufficiently committed to the pursuit of social and political equality for blacks.
 
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  • Reading: PBS’ “The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow”: “W. E. B DuBois” Link: PBS’ “The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow”: “W. E. B DuBois” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please read the short biography of DuBois.

    Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Yale University: Avalon Project’s version of W. E. B. Dubois’s The Souls of Black Folks Link: Yale University: Avalon Project’s version of W. E. B. Dubois’s The Souls of Black Folks (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please read “The Forethought” and Chapters I–III of DuBois’s book.
     
    Note on the Text:  On the launch of this groundbreaking treatise, DuBois stated, “For the problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color-line.” Setting out to show to the reader “the strange meaning of being black here in the dawning of the Twentieth Century,” DuBois explains the meaning of the emancipation, and its effect, and his views on the role of the leaders of his race.
     
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