Pivotal Decades The United States 1900 1920 PDF/EPUB

  • Paperback
  • 432 pages
  • Pivotal Decades The United States 1900 1920
  • John Milton Cooper Jr.
  • English
  • 08 March 2015
  • 9780393956559

10 thoughts on “Pivotal Decades The United States 1900 1920

  1. Bryan Alexander Bryan Alexander says:

    A solid history of the United States from 1900 1920 which I'm reading in my uest to study the American progressive movement Pivotal Decades is very readable well organized A nice mix of narrative and analysis The biases pro Wilson very liberal centrist are interesting as wellsee belowThere's an awful lot to comment on here given the richness of the subject and how much material Cooper manages to work in Let me pull out some bits I found fascinating The huge political and economic power of the Northeast The birth of the term progressive 161 Muckracking boomed then stopped lasting only about 5 years 1902 1907 or so 89 Both voter participation and US birth rate failed to grow in this period 1 253 372 Economic ineuality seems to have built up in this period laying the groundwork for the 1920s 82 3 White racism against blacks and other races ran deep one historian called these decades the 'nadir' for black Americans since the abolition of slavery 71 Gifford Pinchot offers a fascinating example of an early Green an environmentalist in power Celebrity culture takes off in 1900 1920 focused on movie and sports stars 253 293 370 The AFL American Federal of Labor worked to get Americans supporting WWI and opposed women in the workforce 306 308 Perhaps my favorite weird even Gothic passageOther stories hinted that president Wilson had gone insane and that his wife and doctor Grayson were keeping him locked up Bars that had been put up years before to protect windows from the Roosevelt boys' baseballs were cited as evidence that the White House was harboring a lunatic 351Weaknesses of the book one is its fierce love for Roosevelt and especially Wilson Wilson emerges as a grand if ultimately tragic hero by the end and Cooper goes to some effort to minimize his problems The book also suffers from my perspective by fighting hard to maintain a semi Clintonian centrist viewpoint So while Cooper celebrates the advances of women this is the period where women finally win the vote he avoids criticizing imperial adventures Wilson Taft TR look just fine in this respect Wilson's willingness to use force abroad before WWI is fascinating and foreshadows much of the 20th centuryWilson and Secretary of State Bryan actually extended the previous Republican administrations interventionist policies in the Caribbean and Central America 224Cooper downplays the US invasion of several Soviet port cities during that civil war insisting that Wilson was reluctant to do so and did little To his credit Cooper at least refers to some of these policies most spectacularly the Veracruz assault as fumbling 224 and bullying weaker nations 225Wilson's creation of an enormous power to fight WWI appears in a generally positive light He launches the Selective Service Administration an office to be dreaded two generations hence and it even sparks a small armed rebellion The draft succeeds in bringing up the bodies despite being corrupt and marked by subterfuges 271 The army experimented with indoctrination programs 281 Wilson's administration seized the railroads 290 set prices via the clearly named Price Fixing Committee 291 created an enforced patriotic conformity 294 and birthed a federal propaganda office whose Orwellian titles was the Committee on Public Information 294 Cooper does blame Wilson for smiling upon the antics of the CPI criticizing him in a curiously weak way Wilson was failing at a task that he valued most and had once practiced best as a political leader education of the public 296 That said education slides uickly into propaganda seems obvious Cooper also blames Wilson's staff for this than the man himself 297 Perhaps most notoriously the Wilson administration embarked on using governmental coercion to stifle dissent 287 a series of violations bad enough for Cooper to admit them as a great failure for Wilson as a war leader and the ugliest blot on his record as president 297 This is the administration which convinced a willing Congress to pass the Alien and Sedition Acts not to mention the deliberately vague Espionage and Trading with the Enemy Acts These were the first institutional mechanisms by which the federal government could regulate freedom of expression 300 The federal government censored publications blocked one Congressman from taking his elected seat and jailed presidential candidate Eugene Debs check the war Cooper tries to defend Wilson on this 300 The Supreme Court issued its famous clear and present danger ruling against some free speech Wilson's attorney general foments and rides the political waves of a Red Scare jailing thousands and exiling many to the Soviet Union without due process And the feds inspired states and localities to take their own steps to keep people in the war vein 301ffSimilarly Cooper uncritically lauds the huge growth in finance 255 267 276 319 while often portraying unions as dangerously radical and slighting left wing figures In fact Cooper notes that at no time in American history was there greater tolerance and openness towards socialism than in 1910 and several years afterward 146; Pivotal doesn't draw much attention to the way Democrats fought to exclude that challenge When Wilson wins large numbers of industrial workers in the 1916 election there's no sense in the text that he was competing with socialists anarchists syndicalists and communists 255 In a telling passage Cooper has Wilson privately wanting to increase taxes on the rich but being unable to do so because he needs wealthy people and the financial community to buy war bonds 291 292While Cooper notes the persistence of white racism its role in American life and politics is downplayed especially when race riots look like evenly balanced matches rather than typically exercises in white violence Cooper uietly notes presidential racism The plight of black Americans also evoked little interest or disagreement from Roosevelt or Wilson in 1912 184 Wilson muttering that wartime service made blacks too unruly eual treatment overseas had 'gone to their heads' 287 but doesn't follow up on this The 1919 race riots cf this book ie open and savage white violence against blacks didn't elicit any reaction from federal authorities 331 On a global level Cooper credits Wilson with sparking the end of European but not American colonialism without a word about those colonized peoples' thoughts or actions 338I suspect this bias what I'm thinking of as a liberal centrist or centrist one is the reason Prohibition doesn't receive much attention in the book even though it grew into a powerful national force at the time Embraced by many liberals and progressives it became embarrassing after its failure and something to be forgotten afterwards Both conservatives and liberals supported Prohibition in fact as a fine exercise in bipartisanship Listen to Cooper's description of that allianceIts vision of moral uplift contained roughly eual measures of evangelistic Protestant conformism and humanitarian impulses to improve health safety and family life 128Related to Prohibition is Cooper's admiration for the expanded executive power grown by TR and Wilson He criticizes abuses of power at times but saves words for bungled use of the executive For example Wilson's WWI buildup looks pretty good organization except for demobilization for which the administration hadn't made any plans 321 Wartime price fixing doesn't seem to be a problem until ending it triggered a severe recession 322 Otherwise Pivotal Decades seems to bask in the presidency's powers which helps us understand somewhat the appeal of the imperial presidency to liberals Cooper mentions Wilson scorning support from 'disloyal Americans' and appealing for 'one hundred percent Americanism' 251 without a shudder Ditto Wilson's resorting to executive action to circumvent Congress 263 This is where the broader progressive movement's focus on power comes in Progressives of various persuasions welcomes opportunities to experiment with new forms of governmental economic and social intervention in civilian as well as military life 287To his credit Cooper turns critical during both TR's and Wilson's later careers He implies that that great political strengths sometimes backfired as when Wilson's fierce political partisanship 194 cost him the ability to be practically bipartisan 311ff Wilson's very personal governing style which apparently gave him diplomatic and domestic success led him to decline to involve himself in debates during 1919 over economic reform labor conflict race relations prohibition or civil liberties 330 ie to participate in much of American political life At a different level there are some curious statements which appear to contradict each other or what I know of history Cooper credits the US entry into war with turning WWI into a genuine world war 268 even though fighting had been deeply multicontinental since 1915 The book deems the Federal Reserve to be part of the government a public institution 197 198 but also mentions it acting independently against the government without sanction 292 Cooper thinks the possibility of any European communist rising after 1917 to be pipedreams 303 then mentions communist revolutions and actual rule in Germany and Hungary 325 It's hard to say that Wilson's Fourteen Points don't mean ending the Austria Hungarian empire given their support of the freedom and autonomy of little nations 316I have dwelled on my criticism in this review but don't want to give an entirely unfavorable impression As noted above Pivotal has many many strengths I'll add the layout is impressive as the book contains a great deal of images including well chosen cartoons good election maps and useful photographsOnward to the next book in my progressive studies

  2. Matthew Perry Matthew Perry says:

    This book was one of my texts for a 20th century history class in my graduate program I usually do not get excited over reuired readings but this book proved to be very well written and very interesting This book goes into detail about the political wranglings of the early 20th century We learn about the driving forces behind prohibition and how many politicians played this card to gain election All together I would reccomend this book not only for history students but for anyone simply interested in the era

  3. Jeremy Perron Jeremy Perron says:

    Now my march through the ages brings me to the early decades of the twentieth century It was an era of dynamic political leadership and technological innovation of a maturing nation trying to figure out its destiny This was a time where old ideas were being challenged and America was going to fight in an a great international conflict known as World War I In the aftermath of the war the United States would decide if it was going to play a leadership role in the world And that decision would to go in the opposite direction of world leadership preferring instead retreat and withdrawalThe century began with the reelection of the last Civil War veteran to occupy the White House William McKinley the 25th President of the United States would win his re election against William Jennings Bryan Months into his new term McKinley would be assassinated and his cowboy vice president Theodore Roosevelt would assume the officeOne of the main themes of Copper's book is how rich America was in leadership during this time period Each political party produced an incredible president who would help reshape the nation and the office of the presidency The Republicans produced Theodore Roosevelt by accident Placed in the vice presidency in an effort to get rid of him Roosevelt would become our most dynamic president ever No vice president who assumed the presidency had ever even been re nominated but Theodore Roosevelt in 1904 would go on to win a term in his own right due to his incredible performance in the White House The Democrats produced Woodrow Wilson an academic who gained the office because of a scism within the Republican Party between Roosevelt and Taft Wilson had studied the American political system his entire life and was about to make theory reality He would bring back the tradition of presidents delivering the State of the Union address in person He would hold regular press conferences and his success with the Congress in producing legislation that was lasting such as the Federal Reserve dwarfed that of his predecessorsIt was ironic that Roosevelt resembled Jefferson in his intellectual range and depth There was no predecessor whose legacy and influence particularly on states' rights and the support of limited governmental responsibilities the new president disliked As a self proclaimed Hamiltonian Roosevelt meant to exalt the power and prestige of the federal government As a self anointed heir of Lincoln and Civil War Republicanism he yearned to preserve his party's fidelity to nationalism and centralization But the resemblance to Jefferson was than intellectual Roosevelt likewise uickly became a patron of science scholarship art and literature Prominent among the Roosevelts' freuent and well publicized guests were the painters John La Farge and Frederic Remington the sculptor Augustus Saint Gaudens the historian James Ford Rhodes and the Western novelist Owen Wister The president promoted scientific research thought the Smithsonian Institution which had been founded in 1846 and boosted public art by commissioning Saint Gaudens to redesign the nation's coins In all through his public pronouncements associations and private encouragement and criticism Roosevelt made himself a cultural arbiter such as the United States had rarely seen before in a president p36Even the president who served in the middle of the two giants was a great intellectual named William H Taft Despite being a one term president who was incapable of using the pulpit of the presidency as his two rivals could Taft not only continued with the trust busting started by Roosevelt but he also had surpassed him Taft even beat John D Rockefeller's great machine Standard Oil One of the reasons Presidents Roosevelt and Taft had been so successful is they did not take permenant sides when it came to management and labor They sided with whoever they felt was in the rightThe greed of the rich and the envy of the poor repelled him eually and during the 1890s he had repeatedly feared incipient social revolution Roosevelt had then stood unhesitatingly with pro business Republicans against radicals and Bryanite Democrats whom he had luridly likened to the zealots of the French Revolution Yet he had never believed that the cure for ills caused by the growth of big business and industry lay in choosing sides In 1894 Roosevelt had told his friend Henry Cabot Lodge that to control mobs he would send troops who were 'not over scrupulous about bloodshed; but I know that banker the merchant and the railroad king well too and they also need education and sound chastisement' p37 8Cooper points out that in addition to the presidents on the next level on the American political ladder the men who lost the presidential elections were great men as well William Jennings Bryan was a legend in his own day who had helped reshape the way presidential candidates campaign Charles Evans Hughes would go on to become chief justice of the United States Supreme Court Only Al Parker who was nominated in 1904 did not go on to become a legend There were also incredible senators and governors during this period such as Henry Cabot Lodge and Robert La Follette Among the African American community men such as Booker T Washington and WEB Dubois were continuing the debate that they had begun against each other and for the African American community in the 1890s And there were also women such as Jane Addams who was a pioneer in the area of social workCopper also discuss the average American whose life was increasingly changing because of technology The rise of America's past time and the celebrity status of baseball greats such as Babe Ruth and the infamous 'Shoeless' Joe Jackson who was involved in the Black Sox scandal that tainted the 1919 World SeriesBut the biggest event of these decades was World War I America tried to stay out of the war 'over there' for the longest time but unrestricted submarine warfare and the Zimmerman note would tip America into the conflict Led by their commander General 'Blackjack' Pershing American soldiers would conduct themselves valiantly Having to go through the horror of war they helped push the tide and were ultimately responsible for victory over the Empire of the KaiserBut combat was not an unrelieved horror Because most American troops saw action in the summer and fall counteroffensives of 1918 they experienced the exhilaration of a war of movement World War I produced its share of colorful tales of fighting and inspiring stories of heroism such as Corporal later Sergeant York Eually celebrated heroes had already emerged from the ranks of aviators The minuscule but highly publicized air war had long provided both the movement missing on the ground and the opportunity for knight like individual combat Before 1917 enough Americans had joined the French air arm to form the nucleus of the Army Air Corps in France Captain Eddie Rickenbacker a former automobile racer who went to France as General Pershing's chauffeur and learned to fly there downed twenty six German aircraft and later became a pioneer in civilian aviation p282Instead of the America embracing its role as a leading world power the United States would ultimately shrink from its responsibility Woodrow Wilson would fail at what had mattered to him most the League of Nations This travesty would do a great deal of damage to America's next generation John Milton Cooper does a great job telling the story of the early twentieth century America I highly recommend this book to anyonePresidents Washington and Adams had done it but Jefferson had ended the practice

  4. Anthony Buccitelli Anthony Buccitelli says:

    A basic survey political history of the US from 1900 1920 Pretty well done although Cooper is in my opinion way too eager to be even handed and often ends up trying weakly to justify or to condemn some pretty objectionableidiotic behavior on the part of his historcal actors This is especially true of one of his pet favorites Teddy Rooseveldt While Rooseveldt was a colorful and dynamic leader Cooper's presentation freuently borders on adulation and consistently ignores the fullest implications of some problematic strains in Rooseveldt's thinking especially on race In this regard Cooper makes little to no effort to situate Rooseveldt's racial views in the larger pseudo scientificsociological eugenic movement of the period and ignores Rooseveldt's freuent references to the biological inferiority of non white races PP 107 108 124 Instead of openly labelling these racist positions however Cooper points out simply that in his own way Rooseveldt was outdoing Southern whites in blaming the victims of racism Small wonder that TR failed to hear the anguished cries of distress of these Americans 102 This half hearted condemnation is virtually buried under a mountain of praise for Rooseveldt's other progressive doctrines As a sort of faux ami it acuits Cooper of the charge of failure to address race without actually addressing the full culturalpolitical implications of the issue Other insatnces of this kind are less controversial perhaps but represent places where Cooper appears to be trying to render coherency to the actionsstatements of actors that actually seem to be inconsistant This suggests to the reader that Cooper may be unduly reductionist in his treatments of the thinking of some figuresThese are definitely major issues but as long as the reader is aware of them while reading this work it is a good introduction to the politics and foreign affairs of the US in the early twentieth century

  5. Dave N Dave N says:

    I wanted to like this book because it's one of the few historical surveys that offer insight into the period between 1900 and 1920 and especially because it's a chronological survey mostly which is rare for the period try and find one of the latter half of the 19th century The problem is that so much of the small details are wrong the hill that TR and the Rough Riders rode up as San Juan Hill instead of Kettle Hill; he listed the title of John Maynard Keynes's book as The Economic Conseuences of Peace instead of The Economic Conseuences of The Peace that I have to imagine some of what Cooper wrote on the post Taft years which I'm not as familiar with must be wrong as well Add to that the fact that there must be over 50 half page photos the vast majority of which are totally unnecessary that the book runs at least 40 pages longer than it should When you're looking for a historical survey and see that it's 400 pages you think That's a good length Then when you realize that the amount of reading actually contained in it is closer to 300 pages you start to uestion whether topics are being covered in enough depthUnfortunately there aren't too many options out there for this kind of book focusing on this exact period If like me you're looking to brush up on your US history you'd likely be better served reading individual books of a narrow scope presidential bios are particularly good in this period

  6. Brent McCulley Brent McCulley says:

    A rich text that really dives in depth on the political societal cultural and sociological structure of America during a mere twenty years namely from 1900 1920 Milton Cooper Jr does an excellent job at displaying unbiased information that isn't normally taught in our American history courses out of national pride or fear The honesty and forthrightness found in the text regarding the true nature of the slander malice mud slinging and propaganda is just sheer brilliance Moreover there are also pictures from campaign stops to political cartoons sprinkled in and around the text throughout the book All in all a pleasant and insightful read Much information was verified as I went through this book; a must read for the American historianBrent McCulley 102413

  7. Renay Renay says:

    Cooper presents a well founded and supportive case that the early 1900s were significant in ushering in the US foreign policy shift from isolation to involvement He traces a number of significant themes within domestic policy such as reform the labor movement women's rights and racism to show how these decades were formative for the subseuent events after WWII Very dense read but very well written Worth the time to pick it up and discover how these were pivotal decades

  8. Hans Hoffmann Hans Hoffmann says:

    If you have read Barbara Tuchman's fantastic book The Proud Tower I think this book is a relevant and great add The importance of the first two decades shaped the nation for the rest of the century This period laid the groundwork for much of what followed international relations race relations the red scare the FBI the Fed the key character Teddy and Woodrow I highly recommend this book

  9. B. Hallward B. Hallward says:

    Despite the rather tiresome thesis that the first two decades of the twentieth century were really really important and also a golden age in politics this is an adeuate if unspectacular history of 1900 1920 in America though the author does tend to white wash the leaders he admires A clear uick read

  10. Frederick Frederick says:

    This is a very interesting book although I think the author shows a distinct bias for Wilson and against Roosevelt Of course that is just my impression It helped to read Roosevelt's autobiography and Wilson's The New Freedom while I read this book to get context and the words of the men the author was critiuing

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Pivotal Decades The United States 1900 1920❮Download❯ ➸ Pivotal Decades The United States 1900 1920 Author John Milton Cooper Jr. – Thomashillier.co.uk These were the years in which two of our greatest presidents—Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson—transformed the office into the center of power; in which the United States entered the world sta These were the years in which two of The United PDF ↠ our greatest presidents—Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson—transformed the office into the center of power; in which the United States entered Pivotal Decades MOBI :↠ the world stage and fought its first overseas war; in which the government's proper role in the economy became a public uestion; and in which reform became an imperative Decades The United PDF/EPUB Â for muckraking reporters progressive politicians social activists and writersIt was a golden age in American politics when fundamental ideas were given compelling expression by thoughtful candidates It was a Decades The United States 1900 ePUB ½ trying time however for many Americans including women who fought for the vote blacks who began organizing to secure their rights and activists on the Left who lost theirs in the first Red Scare of the centuryJohn Cooper's panoramic history of this period shows us where we came from and sheds light on where we are.

About the Author: John Milton Cooper Jr.

John M Cooper born is an American The United PDF ↠ historian author and educator His specialization is late th and early th century American Diplomatic History Cooper is currently Professor Pivotal Decades MOBI :↠ Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin Madison.