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Modern America: Urban America: The American City in the 20th Century

America’s self image, forged in the era of Thomas Jefferson’s yeoman farmers, is of a rural nation. The great landscape of the West often dominates popular culture and Americans imagine themselves as independent and self-sufficient, shaped by the western frontier. Yet there is also a long urban tradition in the United States that has equally shaped the development of American culture. The rise of the great metropolis in the late 19th century was due to the existence of enormous wealth in the cities, built upon industrialism and immigration.

Theodore Roosevelt

The primary sources compiled in the following set are designed to provide snapshots of Theodore Roosevelt during different periods of his life, beginning with a photograph of his birthplace/childhood and extending through the late stages of his life. Some of the sources are outwardly pro-Roosevelt, while others question Roosevelt’s integrity and represent a more anti-Roosevelt perspective. Certain topics play a prominent role in the documents, particularly Roosevelt’s role in the Progressive Movement and Imperialism. 

Immigration During the Progressive Era: Intro to Primary Sources

This lesson is designed to expose students to the immigrant experience through primary and secondary sources. Students may focus more on the difference between primary and secondary sources through the lens of immigration. An extensive number of primary and secondary sources round out this lesson focused on skills that will carry students well into their middle and high school years.

Immigration and WWI

Included in the following primary source set are a variety of resources ranging from sheet music to promotional fliers and propaganda materials. Immigrants in the United States during and after the wartime era surrounding WWI were encouraged to offer their support in a variety of contexts. The first worldwide war (called the Great War at the time) roiled emotions for immigrants from countries all over the globe. Loyalty became a priority. At the same time, immigration from most European countries of origin became impossible.

Eugenics: Preoccupation with Genetic Fitness and Threats of Difference & Disability

The Eugenics movement in the early 20th century United States, a pseudo-scientific amalgamation of social Darwinist philosophy and animal breeding management, gained widespread approval across the country and influenced many internationally, most notably in the the Nazi racial policies of the era leading up to World War II.

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