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US History

Answer the following reponses in complete sentences and paragraph form. You should construct your responses in such a manner that a person totally unfamilar with the subject will have complete understanding of the material.

1. What is the American Indian Movement (A.I.M)
2. Describe Asa Whitney's plan for a railroad and why he failed.
3. Describe the development and function of "Credit Mobilier" at the Union Pacific Railroad to include the eventual Congressional inquiry.
4. Why was the Triangle Shirtwaist fire of 1911 so devastating?
5. Identify and explain three reasons the United States would involve itself in imperialism.
6. Discuss the influence William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer had on the Spanish-American War.

Thank You.

Solution Preview

Hi There,
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<br>Here are some responses to your queries:
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<br>1. In the 30 years of its formal history, the American Indian Movement (AIM) has given witness to a great many changes. We say formal history, because the movement existed for 500 years without a name. The leaders and members of today's AIM never fail to remember all of those who have traveled on before, having given their talent and their lives for the survival of the people.
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<br>At the core of the movement is Indian leadership under the direction of NeeGawNwayWeeDun, Clyde H. Bellecourt, and others. Making steady progress, the movement has transformed policy making into programs and organizations that have served Indian people in many communities. These policies have consistently been made in consultation with spiritual leaders and elders.The success of these efforts is indisputable, but perhaps even greater than the accomplishments is the vision defining what AIM stands for.
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<br>(source: http://www.aimovement.org/ggc/history.html)
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<br>Other helpful websites regarding AIM:
<br>www.dickshovel.com/AIMIntro.html
<br>members.aol.com/Nowacumig/aim.html
<br>www.horizons.k12.mi.us/~aim/
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<br>2. A Corridor of Exchange
<br>In the Pacific Railroad, Whitney found his purpose. Since 1830 pamphleteers had unsuccessfully championed its construction. The merchant now took up the cause. Whitney knew that linking coasts would unlock the commercial potential of China while eliminating infernal ocean commutes. He believed a railway would become the corridor of exchange between Europe and Asia, placing America at the center of the world's attention. Best of all, he saw vast opportunity for human improvement. "[It] would bring all our immensely wide-spread population together as one vast city; the moral and social effects of which must harmonize all together as one family, with but one interest -- the general good of all." An entire continent would open itself to be settled by the throngs of the East. And, he thought, the natives of those vast lands would join the American family.
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<br>Self-Financing Scheme
<br>Whitney's optimism was overly idealistic but in accordance with his times. Manifest destiny, the idea that European Americans should and would expand the nation's boundaries, gripped the nation's imagination. The land-grabbing presidency of James K. Polk would soon increase territorial holdings to the Pacific. Groups of emigrants already moved west in search of fortune or homestead. And in 1845 Senator Zadock Pratt introduced the Memorial of Asa Whitney to legislators, calling for construction of a railroad west from Lake Michigan. Whitney foresaw a self-financing enterprise. He asked that government grant him 60-mile strips of land along the length of his route. Sale of this land to settlers would finance construction of the road. As settlement increased so would progress westward. For himself Whitney asked only those lands left unsettled upon completion. Excess profits would maintain the road or finance public education.
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<br>Undeterred Optimism
<br>In spite of Whitney's evangelism, Congress tabled the proposal. Undeterred, Whitney unleashed a publicity campaign that would last six years. He became an incredibly popular speaker and a darling of the newspapers. In Washington, however, other matters clouded progress. Territorial expansion led to bitter debates in the legislature over whether those lands would allow slavery. The issue was divided by sectional interests, and culminated in the tenuous Compromise of 1850. As years passed, and the country grew westward, those settlers Whitney hoped might fund his project instead ate up sections of his route. Alternate schemes were introduced, and opponents such as Thomas Hart Benton discredited Whitney's vision and the authenticity of his intentions. The merchant insisted, "I have but one motive, or object, and that is to see this great work successfully accomplished, which would be a sufficient reward for my labors."
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<br>Defeated
<br>It was not to be. In 1851 Whitney's proposals were rejected one last time. Defeated, he faded into private life. He would live to see the completion of the transcontinental railroad accomplished by other men. Those speculators understood what he had not: that government support, business and spoils, not philanthropy, could build the railroad.
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<br>Ultimately, Whitney's major contribution was to make the road a popular topic of public debate. He caused it to take hold in the public mind, and there the idea resided even after his defeat. In 1869 he was largely forgotten, but Sacramento's May 8th jubilee, celebrating the railroad's completion, toasted his pioneering vision.
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<br>(source: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/tcrr/peopleevents/e_early.html)
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<br>3. Crédit Mobilier of America , ephemeral construction company, connected with the building of the Union Pacific RR and involved in one of the major financial scandals in American history. Oakes Ames, Thomas C. Durant, and a few other influential stockholders of the Union Pacific organized the Crédit Mobilier under an existing Pennsylvania charter, which they took over. Acting for both the Union Pacific and for their newly created construction company, they made contracts with themselves. Oakes Ames, as head of the Crédit Mobilier, in 1867 assigned contracts to seven trustees to build the remaining 667 mi (1,074 km) of road for a total sum that brought profits variously estimated at from $7 million to $23 million. This process depleted generous congressional grants to the Union Pacific and left it under a heavy debt by the time of its completion in 1869. The scandal became political when Ames (a U.S. Representative), to forestall investigation or interference by Congress, sold or assigned shares of the Crédit Mobilier stock to members of Congress at par, although the shares were worth twice as much at the time. He wrote to Henry S. McComb, an associate, that he had placed the stock "where it will produce the most good to us" and subsequently forwarded a list of Congressmen who had received or were to receive shares. Later friction between Ames and McComb facilitated the publication of these letters in Charles A. Dana's New York ...

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