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A History of World Societies, Sixth Edition
McKay/Hill/Buckler/Ebrey
Web Exercises
Chapter 28: Nation Building in the Western Hemisphere and in Australia

During the nineteenth century, former European colonies in the Americas and Australia struggled to create independent and viable nation states. The ideology of the French and American revolutions of the eighteenth century - popular sovereignty and equality before the law - strongly influenced each society. (You might want to review these concepts at Chapter 22, "The Revolution in Western Politics, 1775-1815.") The attempts of these countries to create societies based on these goals proved futile. Each country inherited a social structure divided by class, race, ethnicity, and gender. The long reach of the industrial revolution further compounded tension during the nineteenth century. The consequences of this friction are still apparent in these societies today.

Helpful Hints:
  • You may want to begin by printing this page. As you explore different sites, use the printout to refer back to the instructions and questions detailed in each activity.
  • On many web sites you can increase the size of the images by clicking on them. Whenever possible, use the larger images to examine fine details in photographs.
Activity One:
  • When the nineteenth century began, African slavery was present in every society in the Americas. By the end of the century, it had been abolished everywhere. Even so, the question remained as to how to incorporate former slaves into the broader society. No country struggled with this issue more than the United States. Abolition required a bloody civil war, and emancipation further divided white society over the issue of what rights freedmen would obtain.
  • The United States Library of Congress chronicles this account at African American Odyssey. Read the text and study the images in the first six chapters ("Slavery: The Peculiar Institution" through "The Booker T. Washington Era"). This site chronicles the variety of experiences African Americans endured in the United States, from the beginning of slavery in the Americas through World War I.
  • How did African Americans respond to the challenges of slavery and later segregation and disenfranchisment? To answer this question, complete the following task. Make a chronological chart that accounts for key events and developments in African American history. Pay attention to changes in laws affecting slavery, the evolution of antislavery sentiment, the development of African American institutions, economic changes that influenced slavery, and the lives of influential African Americans. After completing your chart, explain how the lives of African Americans had changed between the 1700s and 1920. Had all African Americans achieved broad equality in the United States by 1920? Why or why not? What had African Americans themselves done to effect this change?
Activity Two:
  • Conflict between African Americans and European Americans was not the only division in American societies during the nineteenth century. The advancements in transportation technology and the continued need for cheap labor after the end of the Atlantic slave trade and later slavery itself meant that millions of immigrants arrived in North and South America, particularly in the last half of the century. Go to The Peopling of North America: Population Movements & Migration. Click on "Section 5: Asian and African Labour: Indenture and Beyond" and read the text and study the images at this site. (Click Section 5.1 on the left-hand side of your screen after reading the introduction. Then follow the arrows at the end of each section until you complete the tutorial.) Also study the map at Library of Congress, Map of Migration Patterns, 1858.
  • Your task is to write an essay that explains how industrialization in the nineteenth century changed the ethnic composition of American societies and how these societies coped with these changes. Some questions to consider are as follows. What was indentured servitude? When and where did this form of labor develop? What changes in the global economy, besides the end of the Atlantic slave trade, made the growth of this institution possible? Where did indentured servants originate? What areas in the Americas used this form of labor? What efforts did these societies make to include or exclude these new social groups? How did these new social groups respond to these opportunities and challenges? How did the development of indentured servitude shape the history of the Americas in the twentieth century?
Activity Three:
  • Indentured servants were not the only immigrants to the Americas. Millions of European free laborers also traversed the Atlantic in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. A large number of Asian free laborers also made their way to the Americas. Review Library of Congress, Map of Migration Patterns, 1858. There are many statistics and primary materials on the web regarding this phenomenon in the United States and Canada. For example, study the bar chart at Bar Chart: U.S. Immigration, 1820-1970 and the second graph at Region and Country or Area of Birth of the Foreign-Born Population, With Geographic Detail Shown in Decennial Census Publications of 1930 or Earlier: 1850 to 1930 and 1960 to 1990. Now read the articles at The Immigrant Journey and The Atlantic Monthly: Races in the United States by William Z. Ripley. (This article appeared in an influential American journal in 1908.) Analyze why and how the immigration patterns of free laborers to the United States shifted around the turn of the century and what conflicts arose in America as a result. Begin by tracking both the increase in immigration at the turn of the century and the sources of this immigration. Use the bar chart and graph as aids. The articles provide clues as to why this increase and shift in immigration occurred. The last article, although long, provides a reaction of a native-born Anglo Saxon American to this sudden shift. His views were typical of millions of Americans.
  • To compare the Canadian experience, go The Peopling of Canada (1891-1921) and complete the tutorial. Analyze why and how the immigration patterns of free laborers to Canada shifted around the turn of the century and what conflicts arose in Canada as a result. Make a list of similarities and differences between the Canadian and American experiences. Some topics might be sources of immigration, native-born reactions, and settlement patterns. Was the Canadian experience with immigration around the turn of the century very similar, slightly similar with some key differences, or not at all similar to the American experience? Defend your answer in a paragraph or two.
Activity Four:
  • Another source of friction in the Americas during the nineteenth century was the ongoing struggle between indigenous peoples and European Americans. To begin exploring this conflict in the United States, go to New Perspectives on the West and click "Events" in the navigation bar near the top of the page. When the menu of dates appears click on 1800-1820 and explore the timeline. Click any hyperlink in which you want to see further information and continue this process through the years 1900-1917, paying specific attention to the relationships between Native Americans and European settlers. Define the nature of the conflict between each group, considering how they viewed the territory, how they organized themselves socially and economically, and what technology they possessed. Identify key turning points in relations between Native Americans and European settlers, such as wars, treaties, and so on.
  • For Canada, go to Calgary & Southern Alberta - The Bison Economy of the Southern Alberta Plains. Continue examining this site by clicking "The First Contact with Europeans" at the bottom of the page. View all the hyperlinks at this site, including the last "disastrous conflicts." Complete the same task you did for the United States. For Australia read the essay A Short History of Australia giving special attention to the paragraphs on relations between European settlers and the aboriginal people.
  • After completing this comparative study, write an essay that describes in general terms the conflict that existed between European Americans and Native Americans in the Western Hemisphere during the nineteenth century. Also analyze how European Americans were able to impose their will on Native Americans. What impact did global industrialization have on relations between each group? For example, why did Europeans want the land occupied by indigenous peoples? Where did most of this conflict take place? What technological advantages aided European Americans in their conquest of indigenous people's territory?


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