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Essay on U.S. History

Zimmerman Telegram

The popular Zimmermann Telegram was a confidential diplomatic communication discharged from the German Foreign Office in 1917. The telegram proposed a military alliance between Germany and Mexico if the United States entered WWI against Germany. In return, Germany would help Mexico reclaim the lost territory, including “Texas, New Mexico, California, and Arizona.” The telegram was regarded as the British most significant intelligence coup of WWI. In addition, it coupled the United States outrage over Germany’s resumptions of unrestricted submarine war was the tipping point persuading to join the war. The telegram turned the American public against Germany, fuelled by the repeated German attack on submarine unarmed ships. The telegram is historical as it prompted the United States’ entry into WWI, which afterwards came to an end.

19th Amendment

The 19th Amendment was passed by Congress on June 4, 1919, and ratified on August 18, 1920. The popular Amendment gave women the right to vote. When the Amendment was passed, women were allowed to vote in only twelve states. They were not permitted to participate in political activity; thus, the Amendment created a significant turning point in political women’s history. It allowed eight million women to vote in the presidential elections of 1920. It made the single most significant expansion of voting rights in the United States. Generally, the American electorate shifted dramatically after the ratification of the Amendment. For the first time in history, numerous women were more empowered to venture into broad political interest as voters.

Haymarket Riot

The Haymarket Riot of 1886 was a historical confrontation between Chicago police and labor protestors. Several people, including the police, were injured and killed after the heavy gunfire and bomb explosion. The historical aftermath of the event caused a division in public opinion. According to some people, it heightened anti-labor and anti-immigrant sentiments and suspicion of the international anarchist movements across the nation. Some firmly believed that the anarchist had been sentenced unfairly and perceived them as Martyrs. The activist protestors fought for workers’ rights like an eight-hour workday, which plays a vital role in contemporary labor rights. However, it caused the end of the Knights of Labor. The riot fundamentally became a symbol of the international struggle for today’s worker’s rights. It is basically regarded as a landmark to the origin of international workers’ held on May 1. It also marked the start of extreme social unrest among the working class in the United States, known as the Great Upheaval.

Jane Addams

Laura James Adams (1860-1935) was an “American settlement activist, social worker, sociologist, reformer, and public administrator.” She was the voice of immigrants, lower classes, women, and peace and founded the first settlement house in America. She is the 2nd woman to be awarded the “Nobel Peace Prize.” She founded the “Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom” in 1919, which protested against America joining WWI. She made a considerable contribution in getting the powerful nations to disarm and embrace peace. She led a campaign against child labor, championed women’s rights, and played a vital part in reforming the city, state, and national levels. She also championed establishing “a juvenile court system, good sanitation and factory laws, protective labor legislation for women, and playgrounds and kindergartens across Chicago.” Most importantly, she is the pioneer of the social settlements movement, which embraced the concepts of progressivism.

Image of a poster from the 1930s

There are several visible settlements in poor conditions from the image, and a poster written Hooverville U.S. Mail is also visible. The term Hooverville was a common term for “shacktowms and homeless encampments during the Great Depression” in America. The term was used to insist that President Hoover and the Republican Party were to be blamed for the depression. As a result of the economic crisis, millions of people lost their jobs and homes. Homeowners ultimately lost their homes, and even renters fell behind, forcing millions to live outside the regular rent-paying housing market. People took it to the streets, vacant public lands, under bridges, and culverts where they could build shacks. This is how the shacks appeared as settlements for the thousands of people affected by the depression. Therefore, the picture illustrates one of the Hoovervilles shacktowns that emerged from the great American depression. It’s a clear picture of the impacts of the Great Depression that marked the worst economic crisis in human history lasting from 1929 to 1939. It perfectly portrays shacaktowns of the famous American depression in the 1930s.

“The Spanish American War and World War I”

Over the past years, America has been involved in several wars with other nations that have played a vital role in shaping American history. The “Spanish-American War and World War I (WWI)” are among them. The “Spanish American War was a conflict between the United States and Spain.” The war occured in 1898, which ended the Spanish colonial reign in the United States (Miles, 2022). The war was basically the first significant foreign intervention by the United States, which saw the nation occupying and controlling the Philippines. On the other hand, the outstanding WWI, also referred to as the Great War, was a global war spanning Europe, Asia, and America (Hindley, 2017). The War began in 1914 after the assassination of Archduke of Austria. Initially, the United States was neutral until early 1917 when it entered the war on the Allies’ side, fuelled by a series of events. The German sinking of unarmed ships and the popular Zimmerman telegram was among them.

As the United States was getting involved with foreign warfare, the question at hand was whether the American people supported the war efforts. Evidently, it is clear that the American people supported the wars efforts of their nation. In the Spanish-American war, “the American people were against the Spanish because of how the yellow press had covered the explosion of the USS Maine” (Miles, 2022). The American people were whipped into an anti-Spanish hysteria because of how the press exaggerated the atrocities despite the president’s distaste for war. The result of the explosions made the Americans distrust everything the Spanish said. As a result, the public demanded war which forced President McKinley to send a message to congress giving his support for the declaration of war. When the war was declared on April 25 by the U.S., “the U.S. people were exuberant, and they celebrated as the country went to war” (Miles, 2022). Most of the people distrusted everything the Spanish said.

On the other hand, when WWI broke out in Europe, President Wilson Woodrow declared the United States neutral (Office of the Historian, 2019). The American people supported the policy of non-intervention as none of its interest was at stake. However, public opinion changed after Germany sank the British ocean liner, which caused the death of 128 Americans. In addition, the news of the Zimmerman telegram also caused the American people to change their public opinion of neutrality. The event turned the public opinion against Germany in favor of war. The American public was outraged by the Zimmerman telegram’s news and Germany’s resumption of submarine attacks, hence supporting the war. However, some women groups, like Woman’s peace party led by Jane Addams, protested against the war as it was against conflicts. Ultimately, it is evident that the American people came together to support the war effort and the troops fighting in both wars.

By joining the wars, the course of the wars changed and in the end changed the United States. WWI contributed significantly in shaping Modern America. The war “accelerated income tax and urbanization. In return, it helped make America the pre-eminent economic and military power in the world” (Hindley, 2017). WWI made the United States ‘a world leader” in industry, economy, and trade. It also emerged an official global power that intercede in foreign nations. For instance, it made “diplomatic moves in East Asia and played a central role in ending WWI” (Hindley, 2017). On the other hand, the Spanish American war victory made the USA a world power. The war “resulted in the U.S. gaining possession and control of several new territories” (Miles, 2022). Combined with other territorial possession, it resulted in the development of a new flung territory. Additionally, the United States victory resulted in a peace agreement that forced the Spanish to renounce control on Cuba and ceded supremacy over the nations involved like the Philippines.

To sum up, it is evident that the United States played a paramount role in several wars that shaped its course. Despite the time difference between the two wars, it is evident that the American people ultimately supported both the war efforts. In fact, the American people pushed the government to declare war. However, despite the bloodshed and several deaths, it is also evident that both wars had a significant impact on the status and role of the United States. For instance, as the victors of the Spanish American War, it emerged as a world power. Additionally, with the acceleration of tax in WWI, America emerged to become a world leader. As America played a central role in ending the war, it became a global power allowing the country to intervene in the affairs of foreign countries, which continues to do up to date.


Hindley, M. (2017). World War I Changed America and Transformed Its Role in International Relat. National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

Miles, L. (2022). LibGuides: HIS 211 – U.S. History: Reconstruction to the Present – Textbook: The Spanish-American War and Overseas Empire.

Office of the Historian. (2019). Milestones: 1914–1920 – Office of the Historian.


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