Before the Great War

Before the Great World War had begun, the United States experienced a period of economic revival. The Progressive Era had begun. The Progressives fought to achieve numerous reforms that would aid the country in the long run.

WEB DuBois
WEB DuBois
Two African American activist leaders, WEB Dubois and Booker T Washington, sought to help out their race in different ways. Dubois' approach was for African Americans to gain political and social rights as a prerequisite to economic independence. Washington believed that they should focus on learning industrial skills in order to gain better wages.

At the end of the 19th century, about nine in ten African Americans lived in the south. During 1910-30, about a million African Americans migrated to the north in search of better jobs. This became known as the Great Migration.

‚ÄčThe Progressive Era became known as a time of increased activism and optimism for a new generation of feminists. Carrie Chapman Catt become the new president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). They strived to gain equality, but slowly died down after gaining the right to vote in 1920 (Nineteenth Amendment). National Amerian Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). They strived to gain equality, but slowly died down after gaining the right to vote in 1920 (Nineteenth Amendment).

While many believe that the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand brought on the war, there were other minor occurences that piled up and, eventually, provoked the start of the war. Some of these include, but are not limited to:

  • 1879: The Austro-German Treaty.
  • 1882: The Triple Alliance established between Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy.
  • 1889 - 1913: The Anglo-German Naval Race.
  • 1904: The Entente Cordial, agreed between France and Britain.
  • 1912: Anglo-French Naval Agreement.
The growing number of alliances surely did spark interest in a World War.

In 1913, Woodrow Wilson was sworn in as President of the United States of America. Wilson continued the country's belief in neutrality. Wilson said,

"The effect of the war upon the United States will
external image Neutrality%20Cartoon%201.GIF
external image Neutrality%20Cartoon%201.GIF
depend upon what American citizens say and do. Every man who really loves America will act and speak in the true spirit of neutrality, which is the spirit of impartiality and fairness and friendliness to all concerned...The people of the United States are drawn from many nations, and chiefly from the nations now at war. It is natural and inevitable that there should be the utmost variety of sympathy and desire among them with regard to the issues and circumstances of the conflict. Some will wish one nation, others another, to succeed in the momentous struggle...I venture, therefore, my fellow countrymen, to speak a solemn word of warning to you against that deepest, most subtle, most essential breach of neutrality which may spring out of partisanship, out of passionately taking sides. The United States must be neutral in fact, as well as in name, during these days that are to try men's souls."

external image Enemy%27s_language.jpg-Woodrow Wilson's Declaration of Neutrality

Prior to the World War, Immigration flourished. People were people were immigrating from all over the world, but mostly from European countries. However, a feeling of anti-immigration (known as nativism) spread like wild fire. Many Americans did not like the new immigrants because they were "stealing" their jobs. The Irish settled in the North and often worked in factories, the Germans settled in the West and farmed, the Chinese settled in California due to the recent Gold Rush of 1849, the others were mostly scattered around the country in groups called "ghettos".

  1. A Survey of American History by Alan Brinkley
  2. AMSCO United States History: Preparing for the AP Exam