American History: Prohibition, Anti Trust, Social Darwinism and More

Herbert Spencer
Herbert Spencer

Herbert Spencer and Social Darwinism

–A political theorist, and philosopher known for his application of Charles Darwin’s book “Origin of Species” to sociology. He felt that “Survival of the fittest” intended that the rich man had more opportunities to survive, especially given the squalor that the poor generally lived. While, Spencer felt that change was necessary, he never did more than excite the idea of change and give basic ideology for sociology.

The Organic Analog

  1. Both society and organism grow during most of their existence; baby to adult, town to city.
  2. As they grow, they become increasingly complex.
  3. The progressive differentiation of structure is also accompanied by progressive differentiation of function

Fundamental differences between society and organism

  1. The parts of an organism form a concrete whole, whereas different areas of society are free and relatively dispersed.

2. Parts of the organism invariably exist to benefit the whole (tautological), whereas in society, the whole exists merely for the benefit of the individual

Who- Herbert Spencer, Charles Darwin, other scientific, political theorists, philosophers,

When- 1850’s

Where- Victorian England, US

Why- His social theories predate those of Charles Darwin

Importance- Connected scientific theory to sociology and philosophy.

Triangle Shirt Waist Fire 1911
Triangle Shirt Waist Fire 1911

Triangle shirtwaist fire 1911

 – A large fire in the Ache building, at the corner of Greene and Washington Place in New York City, which resulted in the deaths of 146 workers. The fire is historically important due to legislation passed thereafter concerning factory safety standards, and its spur in the growth of the “International Ladies Garment Workers Union. The top three floors of the Asche Building were occupied by the owners of a garment factory which employed as many as 500 mostly female immigrant workers.

Who- Garment factory owned by Max Blanck and Isaac Harris; employees, garment workers union

When –March 25, 1911

Where- New York City

Importance- legislation passed, spur garment union

Why – fabric on floor, smoking, flammable textiles, no fire extinguishers

Andrew Carnegie
Andrew Carnegie

Andrew Carnegie and the Social Gospel

-The duty of the man of wealth," Carnegie said, is "to consider all surplus revenues which come to him simply as trust funds, which he is called upon to administer... in the manner which, in his judgment, is best calculated to produce the most beneficial results for the community." (Carnegie,

Who- Andrew Carnegie, other philanthropists

When- early 1900’s

Where- United States

Importance- Laid the groundwork for public welfare systems

Why- Carnegie felt leaving large sums in primogeniture was not to the well being of the inheritors.

Imperialism “White Man’s Burden”


Analysis of a Rudyard Kipling Poem may to some appear racist, however this issue pursues in politics today, and thus should be considered of some value due to the fall of communism etc.

Where- England

When- 17th Century

Why- IT entails a full adoption of democratic and peaceful ways of life

Importance- Peace, democracy, equality, imperialism is  worth war

A.T. Mahan
A.T. Mahan

A.T. Mahan – Sea Power

Rear Admiral Alfred Mahan, a United States Navy officer, theorized that those countries with the greatest sea power would likely attain the most power.  In his book “Influence of Sea Power Upon History” Mahan exerted his feeling that in 18th century contests between England and France; it was  use of naval power that  was the deciding power in the outcome.

Who- Mahan

When- early 1900’s

Where- The unites States Navy

Why- aided in the growth of large naval sea power in the United States

Importance- supported the manifest destiny in the US

Clayton Anti-trust Act

- A 1914 legislation which had more propensity to protect the consumer; it further defined the Sherman Anti Trust Act of 1890 in that consumers injured by violations could sue for damage.  The legislation brought to the House of Representatives by Alabama Congressman Henry De La Mar Clayton where it passed 277 – 54. The Senate version passed shortly after in September 1914. A final revised Senate-House copy was placed into effect on October 8, 1914. The document forbade price discrimination between purchasers, mergers and acquisitions that would extensively lessen competition, and exempted unions and agricultural organizations.

Who- Henry De La Mar Clayton Alabama House of Representatives, Senate House coalition

When -1914

Where-Unites States

Importance- Labor Union exemption, Consumer involvement

Why- Answer issues not examined in the Sherman Anti-Trust Act

More on Anti trust

19th Amendment- Women’s Suffrage

- A long awaited Amendment to the Unites States Constitution supported by President Wilson, which offered women the right to vote. Due to the rallying women of the National Women’s Party Legislators who were against women receiving these rights were not reelected.

Who- Silent Sentinels, Woodrow Wilson, National Women’s Party

When- Ratified August 18th 1920

Why- Led to greater equality among citizens, women had taken on greater roles during wartime

Importance- “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

18th Amendment- Prohibition

- The 18th Amendment prohibited the use of intoxicating spirits in the US and any of its territories, as well, it denied the right to import or export spirits. The Volstead act identified which beverages were considered illegal and excluded alcoholic beverages used for religious purposes.

Who- Woodrow Wilson, Senate, and Congress

When- One year from ratification January 16th 1920

Why- The use of alcohol was becoming more acceptable to many more Americans.

Importance- First amendment to have deadline for ratification, it’s unpopularity among certain groups led to a rise in organized crime.

17TH Amendment—Direct election of Senators

- Provided the people of the Unites States with the capability to elect their own Senators, rather than allow a state legislators the appointment of these officials.

Who- Robert La Follette (WI), George Norris (NE), William Randolph Hearst (publisher), William Borah (ID), George Haynes(political theorist)

When- Utilized election of 1914

Why- Solve disputes on weather a senator’s election was by plurality or majority

Importance- The amendment changes the constitution to the form “chosen by the Legislature thereof" with "elected by the people thereof."

16th Amendment Income Tax

- “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.” Prior to an 1895 case, Pollock v. Farmer’s Trust and Loan all taxes were considered indirect, excises, imposed by geography rather than population.

Who- Congress, Woodrow Wilson, Pollock, Farmers Trust and Loan, other court cases

When February 3, 1913

Why – identify differences between direct and indirect taxes, excises

Importance- Overturned Supreme Court Decision Pollock v. Farmers Trust and Loan

Bureau of Corporations

- Although the legislations required a breakup of trusts under Presidents Cleveland and McKinley, these laws were not properly enforced.  In 1903 Theodore Roosevelt created the Bureau of Corporations to more thoroughly investigate business practices and aid in forming anti-trust cases against large corporations. Corporations that did not follow regulations cases went directly to the Supreme Court.

Who- Theodore Roosevelt, Corporations

When- February 14, 1903

Why-Investigate illegal activity of the tobacco, cotton, meat-packing, oil and steel, industries

Importance- legislation to stop illegal practice already in place; the government just did not enforce these acts before the bureau’s examination of these practices.

Hepburn Act

- A legislation that would regulate the railroad industry by authority of the Interstate Commerce Commission. A realized goal of President Theodore Roosevelt it gave the ICC the power to set maximum railroad rates, it discontinued free passes to loyal shippers, and gave ICC to the right to review a newly standardized record and bookkeeping of shipping details. This act covered all bridges terminals ferries, sleep cars, and express companies and all appeals to the legislation went directly to the Supreme Court.

Who- Theodore Roosevelt, ICC, Railroad entrepreneurs

When-June 29, 1906

Where- United States

Why-Favoritism to certain railroad lines, anti-trust, anti-monopoly

Importance- Regulated unfair railroad practices

The actress Minnie Pearl, left the price tag on her hat like many people did during the depression; this signified wealth.
The actress Minnie Pearl, left the price tag on her hat like many people did during the depression; this signified wealth.

Laissez-Faire Government

- Economic Theory which suggests that a “free market” is best left alone. However, during the American Great Depression, the populace saw “strict free market economics” brought on by the breakup of trusts and monopolies. The increasing government role in economics lead to policy of “strict free market economy” arguably employed in America before or during the Great Depression. Our gold based economy and a changing market price for gold created surpluses, then deficits. The deficit led to a slump in which America lost most of its gold based treasury, and then a run on the banks led to depression. To fix this domestic issue first, a tax increase, next an overprinting of the dollar. Overprinting laid the framework for inflation.

Who- Herbert Hoover, Franklyn D. Roosevelt, Federal Reserve policy,

When- 1930’s until WW2

Where- United States

Why- Could eases economic depression?

Importance-easily maintains a free market society

Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson

American Atlantic Empires

- America became an economic power in the 1890’ and sought new sources for raw materials, similar to the European powers when colonizing the Americas. Many groups sought a more aggressive foreign policy.


 When- early 1897-1920

Where- Panama, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Philippines

Who- Theodore Roosevelt, Henry Cabot Lodge, W. Taft, Woodrow Wilson

Why- more democratic methods to those imprisoned by foreign rule; revival of manifest destiny

Importance- areas once enslaved by foreign rulers gained democracy on many occasions; and America gained natural resource through Wilson’s “Dollar Diplomacy”

Spanish American War

- A war fought between Spain and the US during 1898, when America demanded a peaceful resolve to Cuban fight for independence. Many foreigners felt that this was an American attempt to alleviate Spain of its remaining overseas territories in the Caribbean. The sinking of the USS Maine lead America to trounce Spain in an easy victory led by then Officer Theodore Roosevelt. “Yellow Journalism” on the part of William Randolph Hearst did nothing to aid the situation.

Who- Spain, US, Theodore Roosevelt, William R. Hearst

When April- August 1898

Where- Cuba, Philippines

Why Spanish resistance to democracy

Importance- Gave America control of Puerto Rico, Guam, Philippines

Captains of Industry, Robber Barons

 - A robber baron was a 19th century businessperson or banker who dominated industries by destroying competition and amassing large amounts of money through disreputable business practices.  To rob and leave the competition baron was a popular practice until antitrust legislation passed in the United States.

Who—John D. Rockefeller, Henry Ford, Jay Cooke, Leland Stanford

When—1800’s – antitrust legislation enforcement

Why- Forced even middle-class businessmen out  job

Importance- created a disproportioning of money across the US large enough to cause the Great Depression.

Robert La Folette
Robert La Folette

Robert LA Follette- The Wisconsin Idea

- A series of political reforms during the late 1800’s and early 20th century advocated by the Wisconsin Governor/Senator.  These reforms include the adaptation of primary elections, workers compensation, state RR regulation, the direct election of US senators, and progressive taxation In addition, La Follette “spearheaded” the Progressive party .

When-1901 – 1925

Where- United States

Why- strengthen our democratic system to work for the poor and rich, prevent 30 year senators people did not like anyway, adapt to party type atmosphere that became A post constitutional trend,

Importance- strengthened constitutionals gov’t for the people, by the people”

William Allen White
William Allen White

William Allen White

- Renowned editor of the Kansas City Star and the Emporia Gazette, White, became friends and allies with Theodore Roosevelt. He won the 1923 Pulitzer Prize for ‘To an Anxious Friend” an editorial he wrote about free speech. He won National and Republican fames for an editorial “What’s the Matter with Kansas.” And the “Revival of Democracy” which maintains that Americans appeal to their new freedom’s maintained by antitrust acts

Who- Rep. William Allan White

When- 1910

Why- White was Well Known for his thoughts and opinions about the well-being of his home state and country.

Importance-Wrote Clean articles not “Yellow Journalism” wrote about the revival of democracy

The Progressive Party Platform

 - A political party created by Theodore Roosevelt when the Republican Party nominated Taft in his stead. He ran for President with a vice presidential nominee California Governor Hiram Johnson. The Progressive platform reinstated Roosevelts Ideas on government intervention on selfish interests.

Who – Theodore Roosevelt, Hiram Johnson

When – election 1912

Where- United States

Why Republican Party believed Roosevelt in failing health

Importance- formation of a new party with distinctly progressive platform

New Freedom

 - Policy of Woodrow Wilson included antitrust modification tariff revision and banking reform. While he was elected e changes his manor and went with new Nationalism platform

 Who Woodrow Wilson

When 1912 election

Why – apply a different principle to platforms major views

Importance-While Wilson believed in the freedom of monopolies he knew policy must change or democracy would not survive.

New Nationalism- Progressive

-Political platform of Roosevelt in 1912 election against republicans and Democrats. His Osawatomie Kansas speech in 1910 argued for human welfare. A powerful government could regulate economy, guarantee social justice called for the expansion of government agencies to regulate the weak from exploitation. Roosevelt was influenced by Herbert Crowley ‘s book Promise of American Life.

Who T. Roosevelt, Herbert Crowley

When- 1910-12

Why- gain presidential nomination, prevent exploitation of children and women in labor situations

Importance- gave the nation a platform to fight the gov’t and large businesses

Anti Saloon League Prohibition

Anti Saloon League Prohibition- The Anti Saloon League was a leading lobbyists for prohibition in early 20th century, which began a progressive movement to outlaw drinking in the US. In 1895, it became a National organization and created the 18th amendment prohibition which outlawed drinking in the US.

Who- Anti Saloon League

When early 1900’s

Where- United States

Why- Growing number of alcoholics in US

Importance – concentrated on legislation not hierocracy

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suziecat7 5 years ago from Asheville, NC

This is a very comprehensive Hub.

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