The publisher, Henry Luce, in the year 1941, argued that the twentieth century would be recognized as the “American century.” He emphasized that the country was moving towards internationalism, entailing economic and political cooperation with other states and nations. The history of events in the United States between 1900 and 1960, being the progressive era and the cold war era respectively, do not justify Henry Luce’s argument. The best way to describe the 1900-1960 period is America’s battlefield dominance due to the increased blood-shedding and destroyed livelihoods, all in the name of expansionism and internationalism.
During the progressive era, Americans were on the verge of dissatisfaction. This resulted from the loosened social mores, increased political radicalism, unprecedented foreign immigration, and environmental destruction. Battlefield dominance was the norm, particularly among the minority groups who fought for their freedom. Influential leaders who championed Black progress, such as Booker T. Washington, made crucial remarks in his Atlanta Compromise speech. Washington emphasized being a representative or advocate of Negro civilization at the Cotton States in 1895. He stood his ground in his fight for Black progress, emphasizing they had the right to work in agricultural practices, mechanics, engage in commerce, and offer domestic work services and other professions.
Further, feminine activists like Alicia Blackwell also shared their sentiments about women’s suffrage. Blackwell declared the need for women to vote because it was fair, right, and gave them the chance to use their voice to choose lawmakers since they were not any different from the men. As seen in the American Yawp, the Library of Congress reveals images of women who silently protested for constitutional support of women’s suffrage. They questioned the U.S government’s efforts in addressing women’s suffrage before the enactment of the 19th Amendment. Generally, this widespread dissatisfaction of the African Americans portrays the
Still, other conflicts contributed by the First World War, Great Depression, the Second World War, Cold War, and heightened discriminatory practices against blacks had adverse consequences during this progressive era. For instance, during the Cold War, the multifaceted rivalry between the mid-1940s to mid-1960s challenged the unity of American citizens. According to the National Security Council, a secret report in the 1950s revealed that the United States could not move towards isolationism without promoting the aggressive extension of communism globally. The idea of freedom was peculiar, leading to violence and war between the United States and the Soviet Union States.
Generally, the denial of social equality among African Americans during the progressive era and the cold war was questionable. Furthermore, the heightened rivalry, promotion of civil inferiority, and aggressive expansionism were questionable. Hence, these actions do not make this period be recognized as the American Century due to the increased rivalry contributed by suppressed freedoms and rights, mainly among the minority groups.
American Yawp. “The Progressive Era.” Chapter 20. https://www.americanyawp.com/reader/20- the-progressive-era/
American Yawp. “The Cold War” Chapter 25. https://www.americanyawp.com/reader/25-the- cold-war/
Blackwell, Alicia. “Answering Objections to Women’s Suffrage (1917).” American Yawp, Chapter 20. https://www.americanyawp.com/reader/20-the-progressive-era/alice-stone- blackwell-answering-objections-to-womens-suffrage-1917/
National Security Council (NSC). “NSC-68 (1950).” American Yawp, Chapter 25. https://www.americanyawp.com/reader/25- the-cold-war/nsc-68-1950/
Washington, Booker. T. “Booker T. Washington & W.E.B. DuBois on Black Progress (1895, 1903).” American Yawp, Chapter 20. https://www.americanyawp.com/reader/20-the- progressive-era/booker-t-washington-w-e-b-dubois-on-black-progress-1895-1903/