Sunday, June 18, 2006

Abby Week #2 Blog

Web Assignment #5

From 1880 to 1920 many new immigrants were coming to America. This group of immigrants is called the “new immigrants” because it was the second major wave of immigration. There were both “push” and “pull” factors that caused many immigrants to come to America. In “From Lithuania to the Chicago Stockyards, 1904,” the main “push factors,” the reasons the main character wanted to leave his country, was because Lithuania was being oppressed by Russia. The Shoemaker says, “We all knew he [242] meant my five years in the army. Where is your oldest son? Dead. Oh, I know the Russians--the man-wolves! I served my term, I know how it is. Your son served in Turkey in the mountains” (Kaztauskis, Paragraph 7). During the Lithuanian oppression, it appears that men were being drafted into the Russian army. Another “push factor” was the economy. The Russians during the time were taking the Lithuanians’ goods that they were making and it therefore made the Lithuanian people very poor. This caused the Lithuanian people to have an economic downfall. The Shoemaker shows this economic downfall when he says, “You have only poor things, for rich Russians get our good things” (Kaztauskis, Paragraph 4). The “pull factors,” the positive reasons the immigrants decided to come to America, are also shown in this article. One “pull factor” that brought Kaztauskis to the United States is the civil liberties. Everyone wants to be free and America offered this. Kaztauskis says, “'Life, liberty and the getting of happiness.' Oh, that is what you want” (Kaztauskis, Paragraph 18). Another factor pulling immigrants to the United States is the thought that getting a job was easy and therefore you could get rich. The Shoemakers tells Kaztauskis, "I tell them to go where they can choose their own kind of God--where they can learn to read and write, and talk and think like men--and have good things!" (Kaztauskis, Paragraph, 15). The Shoemaker is trying to convince him to go not only because of his civil liberties but also because he can have “good things.” Kaztauskis stays in Lithuania until his mother passes away. As soon as she does, however, he leaves for America. Kaztauskis stayed since his parents did not want him to go, but with his mother dead, his father gave him permission to go to America. His father might have given him permission after his mother was dead because he had lost hope or maybe because he was hoping for a better life for his son. His parents are the reason he stayed at first and with his mother gone and his father giving him permission, it was time for him to go to America.

When the narrator first came to America he did not know what to do or much about the country. He just knew what the Shoemaker had told him and he knew that he was free. At first he had to rely on people that he met to help him. His new friends tell him that he needs to get a job and then help him to get one. When he goes to a factory to work, a policeman points out certain people to come in and work. When he is not picked he goes home and asks his friends for advice. The narrator tells us that, “Then one man told me to give him $5 to give the special policeman. I did this and the next morning the policeman pointed me out, so I had a job” (Kaztauskis, Paragraph 37). The narrator realizes that not only is America very different then he thought but it is also very hard to live in. However, very soon he was learning English and telling his friends to come over to America. The narrator also discusses the need for unions to raise his wages and politics. It interesting that he says that a man spoke to them and he seemed nice so they elected him president. It shows how the immigrants are participating in voting but not involved in politics. In the end, he says, “With more time and more money I live much better and I am very happy” (Kaztauskis, Paragraph 48). In the end the narrator is happy even though it was very hard for him in the beginning.

I agree with Voelker’s interpretation of the narrative. I do believe that it is a story that’s “too good to be true” (Voelker). He goes on to say that the story emphasizes to many points to be a true story. Voelker is right when he says, “with its vision of American dream, with the old shoemaker's condemnation of John D. Rockefeller, and with the Lithuanian's unqualified support of the labor movement” this story has too many aspects and lessons to be one man’s story. I do not think that Poole completely made the story up but I would imagine that he has combined several different stories and elaborate a bit. I believe that Poole’s story, even though if not completely factual, is still very accurate of the feelings of the time period.

Immigrants came to America because it was a free land of opportunity. However, they were often shocked that there was a lack of opportunity at times. People often couldn’t find work and it was a hard country to live in. When one lived in the cities there was a lot of poverty and one often times lived in unsanitary conditions. On the other hand, when you lived in the country you often times lived in remote locations where the farming business was always in jeopardy of being taken over by big business. Either way, the United States did not have as many jobs and opportunities as the immigrants thought. They believed they would live in a sanitary facility and make lots of money but this was not the case. The other problem was that many Americans had a feeling of nativism and did not like the immigrants. There became leagues to keep the immigrants out and they would act violently towards the immigrants. Overall, America had many great ideals but when immigrants first came to America they did not experience those ideas that they had about the country right away.

I found the story very interesting but I especially like when he talked about his actual time in the United States. One thing that I really found interesting was his political responses and how he just heard a man give a speech and decided he seemed good to run the country. I find it very interesting how in this era so many people voted to express their right to vote yet they had no idea who they were voting for; for either someone told them to vote for a certain candidate or they just heard a speech by him. This story was very interesting and gave a clear picture of immigration at the time.

Web Assignment #6

The war posters during World War I were used to not only recruit men to the armed forces but also to get women to buy war bonds and other items that gave money to the United States Government for the war. The posters recruiting men to war pull on the “American value” that men need to take care of women. In two of the posters a women is telling a man to go to war for her by showing women encouraging the men to go to war. The most influential one is the poster in “Constructing the American Past” that says “Gee I wish I were a Man, I’d join the navy” (pg 131). This poster shows a women wishing she could be like a man and thus encouraging men to go to war. Another type of recruitment poster shows strong men going to war and looking like warriors. The other posters are encouraging women to buy products. They all use aspects of “American values” by saying “support your men,” but one was very interesting because it also portrayed the women as warriors. It said that they need to save America by buying war stamps like Joan of Arc saved France. Like Creel said, the posters made by the Committee on Public Information are supposed to explain the war, get people involved in the war (either by serving in the armed forces or by buying war goods), and encourage support of the war. All of the posters accurately portrayed most of this information.

In the war posters, the Germans are portrayed in a bad light. When countries are at war they often are rude about the citizens of the other country. The Germans in the posters are referred to as “Hun,” a derogatory word used to describe the Germans during the war (Constructing, 133). In the posters women are portrayed as an essential part of the war. They are seen buying goods to support the war and also are encouraging men to go fight in the war. The government wanted the people to be involved in the war. They wanted them to support the war by fighting or by giving money. They wanted everyone to feel like they were helping in the war efforts. Over all the government wanted the country to come together and unite.

During the war, the government did not uphold the freedom of speech law in fact they completely violated it. The government passed a Sedition Act in 1918 which “prohibited talking negatively about the war” (my notes). Eugene Debs, a former presidential candidate, was arrested and not released until Warren Harding took office in 1921. The American government was not upholding the right of free speech since they did not even let people voice their true feelings about the war.

Current day advertisements for the army focus on the great training one can receive. They always talk about how they give you great skills and will prepare you for the future. This tactic appeals to many people who are looking for a way to get a further education. It also appeals to their parents since the army will not only teach them great skills but will also help pay for college. The army also does not show combat scenarios but oftentimes shows men and women doing work on computers. This is very different from the recruitment methods during World War I. The old method advertised being a part of history, protecting women, and protecting your country. This method would not be as accurate today, since first off women serve in the military and also there is not as much of an emphasis on protecting the country in modern day society. In the end, one can see that the methods have changed from protecting your country to helping plan a future for yourself.

I believe the poster relate very well to our discussion on “power and participation.” The Germans wanted power and so did every other country. The need for power is definitely a factor behind the war. Another issue is the United States government needing power. They need a strong armed forces and this is exactly what the advertisements were after. They also want participation from the America citizens. They wanted the women to buy goods as the men went off to war. The government really wanted everyone to participate in the war. One could also say that it also relates to “visions and collisions,” since the war was over different visions and therefore there was a collision. However, I believe that the most relevant theme in our class discussions would have to be “power and participation.”

Web Assignment #7

During the late 1800’s and early 1900’s the American people were not used to seeing many pictures of extremely poor white people living in poverty. The pictures indicated a real problem because they showed white Americans from every background, some people whose families could be traced back to the founding fathers, some who had immigrated, some who lived out west, some who lived in the cities, some who had been rich and some who had always been poor. The American people were use to seeing African Americans living in squalor but not white Americans. This hit the American people because they for the first time saw people from all races and backgrounds living in poverty.

Some of the pictures show programs that were created in the New Deal. Several pictures say in the caption that they are taken at a Farm Security Administration’s camp or medical facility. Although the New Deal was setting up many programs to help Americans they were still living in what was really a camp site. These Americans had no running water, electricity or a sturdy roof. Some on Roosevelt’s programs in the New Deal addressed this issue, but there were so many Americans that needed help.

I find the pictures of the families especially interesting. I always am very affected by pictures of small children living in horrible conditions. You could just see on the children’s faces how hungry, tired and sick they were. I couldn’t believe how ripped their clothes were. This seems like a superficial comment but the fact of the matter is that a child running around in ripped clothes with no shoes on is very dangerous for their health. They could easily catch an illness especially in the winter. In the end I must say that the pictures of the families with children really affect me the most.

“Visions and collisions” during the 1900 to 1938 period is easily traced. During this time many people gained power and also lost it because of groups’ visions and their collisions with each other. One vision that was thought by many white southerners, and in this period more northerners as well, was that African Americans and immigrants were beneath other Americans. There were several groups that took action against the African Americans and immigrants. One of the most significant groups that re-arose during this period was the Ku Klux Klan. The KKK had died down a bit since the period after the Civil War but once again they built themselves up. Other groups that were against immigrants were the American Protective Association and the Immigration Restriction League. Both of these groups visions collided with immigration and therefore they would use violence against immigrants. There are many other groups who also had issues and therefore could be put in the “visions and collisions” group. For example, women during this time were fighting for their right to vote. Government and many men believe they shouldn’t be allowed to vote; many women believed they should and therefore there was a collision in their points of view. Many things happened from 1900 to 1938 and a strong pattern of “visions and collisions” can be traced.

I have thought about the above historical evidence, and I have come to the following conclusions. The early to mid 1900’s were like a social rollercoaster. As Dr. Martin showed us there is always ups and then downs and they follow a sine wave. Well, during this time this method could be used to describe the social aspects and life/work conditions. The era starts off with great immigration and the Progressive era. There are some dips in the wave, like the anti-immigration groups, but over all there is a major immigration flow and the Progressives are trying to make society and America better for everyone. We have an impactful President, Theodore Roosevelt, who helps the laborers and helps to regulate big businesses. Everything is going along and then we have World War I. Even, though America is successful in the war, war is never a socially good thing. Next the country goes through a very social and upbeat time, the 1920’s. And, of course this also ends with the Great Depression and once again the country is socially dejected (there is not much of a social life) and the working and living conditions meet an all-time low. Then, the New Deal brings us out of the depression and once again the social United States is flourishing, with artist, writers, plays, and movies. So as one can see the early to mid 1900’s follow a sine curve when one talks about the social aspects and the life/work conditions.


At 2:11 PM, Blogger lucas said...

Lucas' Comment #1

In your blog you said "On the other hand, when you lived in the country you often times lived in remote locations where the farming business was always [in] jeopardy of being taken over by big business." This may have been true in some cases, but I don't think this was the main aim of big industry. They had plenty of land, workers, and resources in the cities. In addition to that, the farming community was still in a period of relative prominence. In "1890 the [Farmer's]alliances had gained control of the Nebraska legislature and held the balance of power in Minnesota and South Dakota" (Out of the Many, 392). If Industry was a threat to farms close to urban areas, it most certainly was not in these more remote locations. In addition to that, Teddy Roosevelt's campaign would pass the Hepburn Act, which "strengthened the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC), established in 1887 as the first independent regulatory agency, by authorizing it to set maximum railroad rates and inspect financial records" (Out of the Many, 420). The farm, during this era, was still strong and well protected by government which is what has helped it survive till the modern day.

At 11:25 PM, Blogger lucas said...

I found this very enlightening- " I find it very interesting how in this era so many people voted to express their right to vote yet they had no idea who they were voting for; for either someone told them to vote for a certain candidate or they just heard a speech by him" (Abbey's blog). This is a trend that most likely began during this era and has continued to the modern day. People are given ideas about "their" candidate when often the information they are given is innacurate. Or even worse, in some instances, they vote based on nothing more than an economic pay off. This is very dangerous for democracy and in reality deprived these immigrants of much needed political power during the period.


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