20th Century Dbq

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Throughout the years at the turn of the century, numerous changes occurred in the United States, both positive and negative. These conflicts formed the modern America, and were crucial to the advancement of the nation. Without the events that took place in this time period, the country would not have advanced so greatly. They essentially shaped the nation into what it is today. With all of these major changes that happened many years ago, historians wonder; how did late 19th century and early 20th century conflicts shape today’s American identity? In this time period, three primary individuals explain how the “American identity” was created. Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and William Taft each contributed to these advancements in the United…show more content…
The concept of laissez faire capitalism describes the relationship between the government and independent companies. It is a belief that the government should stay out of the affairs of businesses and let things run on their own. Although this is a concept that has already existed in the nation before the turn of the century, it is just now that it is emphasized and drawn attention to by someone like Woodrow Wilson. In an excerpt from What is Progress, he says, “The government, which was designed for the people, has got into the hands of bosses and their employers, the special interests. An invisible empire has been set up above the forms of democracy. There are serious things to do. Does any man doubt the great discontent in this country? Does any man doubt that there are grounds and justifications for discontent?” This elaborates on what is previously stated; the country is falling into the power of businesses, and change must be made. In addition to bringing attention to this matter, Wilson also led the nation in its journey into WWI. Wilson originally tried to keep the U.S. out of war for as long as possible. However, many factors converged during his presidency which made it necessary to declare war. At first, a British ship with many Americans on board, called the Lusitania, was destroyed by a German submarine. Many…show more content…
In his first annual presidential message, Taft addressed how much the government should involve itself with large American corporations. He said, “Today, more than ever before, American capital is seeking investment in foreign countries, and American products are more and more seeking foreign markets. As a consequence, there are American citizens and American interests to be protected, on occasion, by their Government… The resultant situation inevitably imposes upon this Government vastly increased responsibilities. This Administration is lending all proper support to legitimate and beneficial American enterprises in foreign countries, the degree of such support being measured by the national advantages to be expected. To avoid ceaseless vexations it is proper that in considering whether American enterprise should be encouraged or supported in a particular country, the Government should give full weight not only to the national, as opposed to the individual benefits to accrue, but also to the fact whether or not the Government of the country in question is in its administration and in its diplomacy faithful to the principles of moderation, equity and justice upon which alone depend international credit, in diplomacy as well as in finance.” Evidently, Taft was trying to establish a line that determined how much the government could control. Even

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