Freedom’s Boundaries


Who were the Populists and what did they want?

populist were farmers that came together in the early 1890s. One of the things
they called for is the abolition of the big banks. They claimed that this could
only be achieved if the state purchased more grain as this would allow people
to borrow money at low interest. Another issue that was raised by the populist
was the issue of silver and gold. The populist wanted the government to use
coin silver as they argued that there were a lot of silver compared to gold.
During the period, the government used gold to support the currency. However,
the supply of gold was limited; hence, they opted to print many dollars (Foner 637). The
populist maintained that the United States needed more money so as they could
minimize the interest rate; therefore, they wanted the government to introduce
silver coins.  Therefore, the main issue
with the populist was the interest rates. As many of them were farmers, they felt
that the introduction of the Silver coins enable the farmers to borrow money at
low-interest rates. They also assumed that if the government bought more
grains, this would assist in the reduction of the interests.

Define nativism. How did American immigration change between 1880 and 1920? How did Congress respond to nativism?

was a policy that was raised so as to safeguard the natives from the outside
influencers. Between 1880 and 1920, immigrants from various religious groups
started streaming to the United States state, and this caused a huge change of
the country’s immigration. Initially, many immigrants were predominantly
Protestants. However, in the late 1800s, things started to change, and America
began to attract immigrants from other religions. This led to the rise of
immigrants in the state which seemed to cause some conflicts. The immigrants
had different traits from those of the previous immigrants. For instance, most
of them were literate, and they were also relatively wealthy. However, as more
immigrants started to move to the United States, not many of them had similar
traits (Foner 654). Most of
them were Greeks, Italians, Polish, Russia and other countries in Europe.  Many of these new immigrants were Roman
Catholics or Eastern Orthodox. The immigrants were also illiterate, and they
could not speak English. The immigrants did not share the same political views
with the Native Americans, and this caused tension between them and the state.
Many of these immigrants settled in various cities in the United States. The
settlers also took up low paying jobs and despite the working conditions they
maintained that it was better compared to where they had come from.

the native Americans felt that the immigrants were taking over the job market
especially in the low-wage sectors. This caused anxiety in the country, and
many of the native wanted the immigrants out of the United States.  The Protestants were also uncomfortable with
the new immigrants as they did not share the same religious groups. Therefore,
the religious leaders were at the forefront in the call for the limitation of
the immigrants’ movements into the United States. The Nativism was successfully
established so as to control the flow of the immigrants into the United States
(Foner 654). The
Congress supported nativism, and they took various steps that allowed them to
limit the number of immigrants. One of the steps that were taken by the
Congress was the enactment of the Chinese Exclusion Act. The law was meant to
stop the Chinese movement into the country completely.  The Congress also went ahead to restrict the
Japanese. The Congress also went ahead to limit the mentally ill individuals as
well as contract workers. They also introduced the literacy test that every
immigrant was required to take so as to gain admission.

How did the Women’s Christian Temperance Union play a role in the above question. What were their key goals?

Women’s Christian Temperance Union was on the forefront in the call for the
improvement of the lives of many immigrants who lived in the United States. One
way they felt the immigrants’ lives could be improved was the restriction of
alcohol intake. The Union was against the rise in consumption of alcohol in the
United States (Foner
657). Many women argued that the rise in alcohol consumption was misleading
their men, and it also changed many values among the people. They maintained
that it was taking people away from the ways of God and therefore, it had to be

also felt that the rise of alcohol consumption contributed to poverty. The
Union also called for the protection of Children’s rights especially those who
worked in mills and factories (Foner
657). They believed that the immigrants deserved a better education
opportunity; hence, they called for the improvement of public education. The
Union argued that all people required equal access to education including the
immigrants. Another goal of the Union was to secure Women’s rights. During that
time, many women claimed that their alcoholic husbands were abusing them;
hence, the movement felt that it was important to secure their rights. They
wanted to protect them from their abusive husbands and to allow them to work.
Another primary goal of the Union was the prohibition amendment to the
constitution. However, unlike other goals, this was not achieved.


Foner, Eric. Give Me Liberty!: An
American History
. New York: W.W. Norton & Co, 2014.


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