!. How does painter describe the relationship between economics and politics during this period? Is it a functional relationship or could it stand to be improved?If so explain.
During this time the economics and politics leaned heavily towards the employers, who controlled most of the politicians. Part of this is because like the European kings of old the wealthy believed that they were wealthy because of almost divine intervention. They saw themselves as the caretakers of the responsibility that came with wealth.At the same time the politicians were convinced that for us to grow they needed to support the employers and the captains of industry. Also at the same time many politicians were there because of the contributions of the wealthy. In a sense the focus on growth and an economy that rewarded the industrialist was at this time a very natural position for a country that was growing and expanding with the railroads going west, and the power of the industrial expansion. the people who had migrated to urban areas at first welcomed the opportunity for jobs, But soon realized that by working for these large corporations they were used as tools and warm bodies, that they themselves had very little identity and were used as cogs to make the machinery work..
Of course it was not functional from the perspective of the workers. Their lives were dominated by the company that they worked for , often from sun up to sundown, many without any days off. The abuses heaped on them were not even acknowledged by the employers, and the hours that they worked and conditions they worked in were not safe in any regard. What could be done would be to organize , but these attempts were fought by the employers and aided by a federal government that was paid for by the wealthy. The labor movement did try to fight , but were often shut down when they got to court, or often before it ever got to court.
2. How does Painter integrate the concept of race into the overall economic theme of her book.?
The first part of the book race rarely comes up other than in the south. When she finally gets into it she contrasts the perspective of two black leaders, Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Dubois. Although they both want the same thing they go about it in two very different ways; Washington wants to work through black businessmen to create an economy that will bring up the black race. At the time there were several black men that had built businesses and were succeeding. He remembered how after the war in the south there had been many black politicians in southern states, but that they had not been able to fight the southern Democrats in the state houses of the south. after the end of reconstruction there were few black politicians left. He believed that if they could show the value of their business they may be taken seriously. This was a very slow process that would mean that blacks would learn to live with “Jim Crowe” laws. Om the other hand you had W.E.B. Dubois who wanted blacks to stand up to injustice at all times.His belief was that blacks , could best show their value by succeeding and standing proud for who they were. He realized that the two centuries of slavery and no education had crippled their progress, but believed all along that they were equal to the whites. He wanted to see blacks assert themselves, and earn respect by what they could accomplish. He believed that the blacks that would succeed had a responsibility to lead other blacks.
This was the dilemma of the black population , two opposing thoughts on how to integrate into society. The problem that blacks had in the workplace was that many unions would not accept them, even though they were beginning to be represented in the workforce other than agrarian farmers in rural America. There were a few that did enlist black workers but most did not at that time.
3.Is World War I a continuation of the trends that Painter describes in her book , or is it a break with what comes before?
There is a break from 1914-1916 as a lot of the men and women that were leading them seemed to be absorbed in the anti-war movement leading up to the first World War. William Jennings Bryant would become secretary of state and was working towards keeping us out of the war. Teddy Roosevelt seemed to shift his focus towards getting us in the war. The women’s suffrage movement also was directing their attention towards peace, and seemed to leave labor relations behind. In 1914 the economy had slowed down and there was massive unemployment in most large cities. The direction of the labor movement turned towards the church’s and charity groups to supply food and shelter to the unemployed. By 1915 the economy shifted as we started supplying the allies with goods. the labor movement at this time was trying to shift with the changing economy. Once America entered the war the women entered the workforce but was not paid equally to men doing the same jobs. Their was an effort to make equal pay the law of the land , but was defeated. There was some movement in labor , spurred by women in the workforce but not much was done. The labor Unions during 1917 and 1918 did see drastic increases in new members. until the war ends for the most part they are enlisting new membership. There was major wage increases during this period , but inflation ate most of that up, so that workers were in no better shape than before