Period 7: 1890-1945 (AP US History)

Period 7: 1890-1945

An increasingly pluralistic United States faced profound domestic and global challenges, debated the proper degree of government activism, and sought to define its international role. Topics may include

 

  • Debates over Imperialism
  • The Progressive Movement
  • World War I
  • Innovations in Communications and Technology in the 1920s
  • The Great Depression and the New Deal
  • World War II
  • Postwar Diplomacy

 

Image Source: Destitute pea pickers in California. Mother of seven children. Age thirty-two. Nipomo, California, a photograph by Dorothea Lange taken in 1936 when she was working for the Resettlement Administration. (Library of Congress)

Famous black and white depression-era photo showing destitute mother with children
  • 10-17% Exam Weighting

Key Concepts

7.1: Growth expanded opportunity, while economic instability led to new efforts to reform U.S. society and its economic system.

7.2: Innovations in communications and technology contributed to the growth of mass culture, while significant changes occurred in internal and international migration patterns.

7.3: Participation in a series of global conflicts propelled the United States into a position of international power while renewing domestic debates over the nation’s proper role in the world.

Debates over Imperialism

Empire Builders

by Robert W. Cherny

Learn about the reactions to the growth of an American overseas empire.

  • Essay

Our Victorious Fleet in Cuban Waters

1898

Print depicting American naval forces off Cuba during the Spanish-American War

  • Primary Source

The War against Spain in the Philippines in 1898

by Richard Meixel

Learn about US naval actions in Southeast Asia during the Spanish-American War.

  • Essay

The US in China

by Warren Cohen

Learn about the US support of the Open Door Policy and reaction to the Boxer Rebellion.

  • Essay

The Open Door Policy and the Boxer War

by Warren Cohen

Learn about how the Open Door Policy served US economic, cultural, and strategic interests in China.

  • Essay

The Progressive Movement

The Politics of Reform

by Julie Des Jardins

Learn about the politics of reform during the Progressive era.

  • Essay

Women in American Politics in the Twentieth Century

by Sara Evans

Learn about women who advocated full participation in American public and political life during the suffrage movement.

  • Essay

The Square Deal

by Kirsten Swinth

Learn about themes of Progressive reform and Teddy Roosevelt's Square Deal.

  • Essay

The Progressive Era to the New Era, 1900-1929

by Daniel Rodgers

The Progressive Era to the New Era (1900-1929) Timeline and essay explaining the domestic and global challenges facing the US.

  • Essay

Disfranchisement of African American voters

1901

Negro Business League response to legal bars to voting in Virginia

  • Primary Source

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire

1911

Sheet music in Yiddish lamenting the deaths in Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire

  • Primary Source

Women and the Progressive Movement

by Miriam Cohen

Learn about the women who sought to address a variety of social problems associated with industrialization

  • Essay

The Supreme Court upholds national prohibition

1920

The Supreme Court upholds Prohibition and the Volstead Act

  • Primary Source

Modern Women Persuading Modern Men

by Jonathan Soffer 

Learn about the women's struggle for suffrage.

  • Essay

Lynching in America

ca. 1926

NAACP broadside presenting the shocking statistics regarding lynching in America

  • Primary Source

World War I

World War I poems: “In Flanders Fields” & “The Answer"

1918

Nurse's diary containing McCrae’s poem reflecting upon the horrors of WWI

  • Primary Source

World War I

by Jennifer D. Keene

Learn about America's role in WWI.

  • Essay

Recruiting posters for African American soldiers

1918

Military recruitment of Black troops during World War I

  • Primary Source

Theodore Roosevelt on the sinking of the Lusitania

1915

Former president urges US involvement in WWI

  • Primary Source

America's role in the world

by Michael Neiberg

Read about American foreign policy between the world wars.

  • Essay

Treaty of Versailles and President Wilson

1919 and 1921

Former Cabinet secretary's statement that "Woodrow Wilson did not fail"

  • Primary Source

Deportation: Its Meaning and Menace

1919

Pamphlet criticizing the US government for its use of the Espionage and Sedition Acts

  • Primary Source

The Dillingham Commission

by Robert Zeidel

Learn about the background to the 1917 Literacy Test Act and the 1921 Quota Act.

  • Essay

Innovations in Communications and Technology in the 1920s

The Rise of Consumerism in the 1920s

by Michael Flamm

Listen to a discussion about purchasing power, occupation, and identity

  • Video

Motor City: The Story of Detroit

by Thomas Sugrue

Read about the origins of Henry Ford's factory system in Detroit and its legacy.

  • Essay

The Roaring Twenties

by Joshua Zeitz

Examine why the 1920s heralded a dramatic break in American social, economic, and political policies.

  • Essay

Birth of a Nation

1915

"Advice Sheet" for theaters restricting access to Birth of a Nation for African Americans

  • Primary Source

The Great Depression and the New Deal

The Great Depression

by David Kennedy

Learn about some of the causes and consequences of the Great Depression.

  • Essay

The New Deal

by Thomas Kessner

Learn about FDR's New Deal.

  • Essay

Jim Crow and the Great Migration

by Jonathan Scott Holloway

Learn about the reasons behind the Great Migration.

  • Essay

The Hundred Days and Beyond

by Anthony J. Badger

Understand how the New Deal functioned as  a "laboratory for economic learning."

  • Essay

Civilian Conservation Corps poster

1938

Enlistment poster for the CCC, which put young men to work improving parks and creating infrastructure

  • Primary Source

Why the New Deal Matters

by Eric Rauchway 

Watch a discussion of FDR's New Deal.

  • Video

Photograph of an abandoned farm in the Dust Bowl

1938

Dorothea Lange photograph depicting the devastation caused by the Dust Bowl

  • Primary Source

The US Banking System

by Richard Sylla

Read about the emergence of the banking industry in the United States.

  • Essay

World War II

World War II

by Kenneth T. Jackson

Learn about US involvement in WWII.

  • Essay

Civilian defense on the home front

1942

Excerpt from The US Citizens Defense Corp handbook explaining the duties and responsibilities of home-front volunteers

  • Primary Source

The World War II Home Front

by Allan M. Winkler

Learn how activities on the home front supported US efforts during WWII.

  • Essay

Japan declares war

1941

Japan's Declaration of War coinciding with the attach on Pearl Harbor

  • Primary Source

From Citizen to Enemy

by Julie Des Jardins

Learn about the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII.

  • Essay

Japanese internment

1942

Broadside instructing the Japanese "to assemble for transport to detention camps"

  • Primary Source

Postwar Diplomacy

Physicists predict a nuclear arms race

1945

"Preliminary Statement of the Association of Manhattan District Scientists" emphasizing the need to control atomic weaponry

  • Primary Source

Truman and His Doctrine

by Elizabeth Edwards Spalding

Read about how and why Truman devised a strategy of containment

  • Essay

Harry S. Truman responds to McCarthy

1950

Truman response to McCarthy, characterizing him as "the best asset that the Kremlin can have"

  • Primary Source

The Origins of the Cold War

by John Lewis Gaddis

Learn about U.S.-Soviet relations from the nineteenth century through the end of World War II.

  • Video

American History Timeline: 1890-1945

Image Citations

Listed in order of appearance in the sections above

Debates over Imperialism

Debates over Imperialism

  • Keppler, Udo J. "His 128th birthday. 'Gee, But This Is an Awful Stretch!'" Puck, June 29, 1904. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
  • Currier & Ives. Our Victorious Fleets in Cuban Waters. New York, 1898. Chromolithograph. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, GLC03534.
  • Ehrhart, Samuel D. "If They'll Only Be Good." Puck, January 31, 1900. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
  • Ricalton, James. West from Ha-ta-men Gate along Huge Ancient Wall between Tartar and Chinese Peking, Scene of a Desperate Charge during Siege - China. New York: Underwood & Underwood, 1901. Photograph. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
  • Keppler, Udo J. "The Tug of War in the Far East." Puck, September 14, 1898. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

The Progressive Movement

The Progressive Movement

  • Riis, Jacob A. Street Arabs in "sleeping quarters." New York, ca. 1888. Photograph. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
  • Woman Suffrage Procession, Washington, DC. Official Program. March 3, 1913. Library of Congress Rare Book and Special Collections Division.
  • Underwood & Underwood. "Good Government Is Practically Applying the Principles Which Make a Man a Good Citizen" - President [Theodore] Roosevelt, Waterville, Maine. 1902. Stereoview. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, GLC06449.22.
  • Harris & Ewing. Woman Suffrage Pickets at White House. Washington, DC, 1917. Photograph. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
  • Jackson, Giles B. Letter to R. C. Burrow, June 22, 1901. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, GLC08907.
  • Rumshisky, Joseph, and Anshel Schorr. "'Mamenu' or The Triangle Victims" (in Yiddish). New York: Hebrew Publishing Co., 1911. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, GLC06225.
  • National Association of Colored Women’s Club. "Lifting As We Climb." Banner, ca. 1924. silk (fiber), wood, paint.
  • Currier & Ives. Woman's Holy War :Grand Charge on the Enemy's Works. New York, 1874. Lithograph. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. 
  • N. Y. State Woman Suffrage Party. How to Vote for Woman Suffrage Amendment, Election Day, November 6th, 1917. Albany, NY, 1917. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, GLC08961.
  • National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. For the Good of America. New York, ca. 1926. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, GLC06197.

World War I

World War I

  • Chandler, Howard John. The Spirit of America -- Join. American Red Cross, 1919. Color lithograph. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
  • Come Out! [Volume 1, No. 2 (January 10, 1970)] Newspaper, GLC09872.02
  • Renesch, Edward George. Colored Man Is No Slacker. Chicago, 1918. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, GLC06134.
  • Roosevelt, Theodore. Letter to Oscar King Davis, June 23, 1915. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, GLC08003.
  • Berryman, Clifford Kennedy. 15 Nations Sign Anti-war Treaty. August 27, 1928. Berryman Political Cartoon Collection, 1896-1949; Records of the U.S. Senate, Record Group 46. National Archives.
  • McAdoo, William G. Statement given out by Ex-Secreatry of the Treasury on Woodrow Wilson, March 4, 1921. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, GLC03967.
  • Berkman, Alexander, and Emma Goldman. Deportation, Its Meaning and Menace. New York, 1918. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, GLC06222.
  • Evans, Raymond Oscar. “The Americanese Wall, as Congressman Burnett Would Build It .” Puck, March 25, 1916. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Innovations in Communications and Technology in the 1920s

Innovations in Communications and Technology in the 1920s

  • Unknown photographer. The First Model T Ford. New York, 1908. Photograph. New York Public Library Digital Collections. 
  • Ford Touring Car advertisement. Alma (Mich.) Record, October 1, 1908, p. 4. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress.
  • "Big Business Banishes the Flapper." Morning Tulsa Daily World, July 16, 1922. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress.
  • Edwards, Jack. "Advice Sheet. D. W. Griffith's 'The Birth of a Nation.'" ca. 1915. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, GLC05091.

The Great Depression and the New Deal

The Great Depression and the New Deal

  • Hoover, Herbert. Letter to Louis L. Emmerson, July 10, 1931. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, GLC03146.
  • Harris & Ewing. President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Washington DC, ca. 1941. Photograph. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
  • Underwood & Underwood. Silent Protest Parade in New York City against the East St. Louis Riots. New York, 1917. Photograph. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
  • Roosevelt, Franklin D. Letter to Henry T. Rainey, June 10, 1933. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, GLC07468.
  • Arizona Civilian Conservation Corps. "Great Oaks from Little Acorns." 1938. Recruitment poster. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, GLC06196.262.
  • Unknown photographer. Photograph of Works Progress Administration Worker Receiving Paycheck. January 1939. Photograph. Record Group 594956. WPA Information Division Photographic Index. National Archives.
  • Lange, Dorothea. Dust Bowl Farmers of West Texas in Town. Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information, June 1937. Photograph. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
  • Pennsylvania. Two shilling and Six-pence note, No. 4665. April 3, 1772. Printed by Hall and Sellers. Signed by Cadwalader Morris, Joseph Swift, and Samuel Hudson. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, GLC01450.226.01.

World War II

World War II

  • United States. War Division. 7th war loan/now all together. Poster. 1945. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, GLC09520.34.
  • US Office of Civilian Defense. Special Civilian Defense Insignia. 1942. Poster. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, GLC09520.36.
  • Treidler, Adolph, and US Army. Soldiers Without Guns. Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 1944. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
  • Hirohito, Emperor of Japan. Declaration of War against the United States and Britain [in Japanese]. December 8, 1941. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, GLC01415.
  • Albers, Clem. Los Angeles, Calif. Apr. 1942. A store for rent in “Little Tokyo” after residents of Japanese ancestry were assigned to War Relocation Authority centers for the duration. Washington DC: War Relocation Authority, April 11, 1942. Photograph. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
  • DeWitt, J. L. US Army. Instructions to All Persons of Japanese Ancestry.  May 3, 1942. Broadside. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, GLC06360.

Postwar Diplomacy

Postwar Diplomacy

  • Kaplan, Irving. "Preliminary Statement of the Association of Manhattan District Scientists." ca. August 1945. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, GLC03152.02.
  • United States. Army. Signal Corps. Winston Churchill, Harry Truman, and Joseph Stalin at Potsdam. ca. July-August 1945. Photograph. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, GLC04457.
  • Truman, Harry S. Letter to Dean Acheson, March 31, 1950. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, GLC00782.22.
  • Clement Attlee, Harry Truman, and Joseph Stalin, seated outdoors at Berlin conference. Germany Potsdam, 1945. Aug. 1. Photograph. https://www.loc.gov/item/96522042/.