The Top 10 for the 20th Century: National Affairs

By Bresler, Robert J. | USA TODAY, November 1999 | Go to article overview

The Top 10 for the 20th Century: National Affairs


Bresler, Robert J., USA TODAY


The following events, many totally unexpected, changed the course of American history and the lives of our people in the century that has just passed. Any selection of 10 significant dates is bound to be personal and arbitrary. Crucial events such as the Cold War, the Vietnam War, the Watergate scandals, and the Information Revolution have been omitted because they do not unfold in one flash. The following dates began a series of events that left the U.S. a different country.

The assassination of William McKinley and the rise of Theodore Roosevelt (Sept. 6, 1901). The bullet that elevated Roosevelt to the presidency brought a change in the office and the direction of the nation. He was an outspoken proponent of an energetic presidency and more active Federal government. He used the presidency as a "bully pulpit" to rally the people around his programs for a National Park system, anti-trust policy, food and drug regulation, and strong navy. He set the model for governing that greatly influenced the presidencies of the 20th century and the forthcoming waves of liberal reform.

Woodrow Wilson asks Congress to declare war on Germany (April 2, 1917). In an impassioned message to Congress, Pres. Wilson, enraged by German U-boat attacks on American merchant vessels, called for a war "to make the world safe for democracy." While World War I accomplished nothing of the sort, this Wilsonian vision has influenced U.S. foreign policy ever since. Every conflict from World War II to Kosovo has had a Wilsonian justification, and many Americans came to accept a missionary role for the U.S. with global implications.

Charles Lindbergh begins his transatlantic flight from New York to Paris (May 16, 1927). This was more than a media event. Lindbergh had demonstrated the potential of intercontinental flight and helped to spur an entire industry. The world became smaller and more interconnected, and time and distance took on a new meaning.

Black Thursday and the stock market crash (Oct. 24, 1929). Despite historical myths, the stock market crash did not immediately engender the Great Depression. It did, however, begin a complex chain of events that left the U.S. economy in shambles and brought an old order to its knees. The election of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal with the regulations of banking and finance, the Social Security System, the protections for organized labor, and the minimum wage might not have come about without that tragic event. In some regards, the crash began the second American Revolution.

The bombing of Pearl Harbor (Dec. 7, 1941). For many Americans, this may be the most memorable date of the century. In an instant, the world changed. The oceans were no longer two moats protecting the U.S. from the ancient quarrels of Europe and Asia, and, with America's entry into World War II, the nation was to become a superpower with global responsibilities a previous generation would never have imagined.

The bombing of Hiroshima (Aug. 6, 1945). World War II ended with a bang, not a whimper. The beginning of the atomic age meant that weapons of mass destruction could erase civilization and perhaps even life on Earth. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Top 10 for the 20th Century: National Affairs
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.