Politics, Reform, and Expansion, 1890-1900

By Harold U. Faulkner | Go to book overview
Save to active project

The Restless Decade

THE 1890's separated not only two centuries but two eras in American history. These years saw the gradual disappearance of the old America and the rather less gradual emergence of the new. They witnessed the passing of the frontier and the rise of the United States to a position of world power and responsibility which was to make any return to her old isolation increasingly difficult, if not impossible. Old issues were dead or dying; sectional tension was no longer a force of much importance in politics, and efforts to revive it proved unavailing. Most important of all, the triumph of industry over agriculture was now assured. The Industrial Revolution, if not completed, had gone so far as to make turning back to the ways of a simpler agrarian society out of the question. Yet by no means all Americans--perhaps not even a majority--were able to recognize or willing to acknowledge the significance of these momentous changes. The face of life was being perceptibly altered; thought, in many cases, had yet to accommodate itself to the fact. The American people, Henry Adams said, "were wandering in a wilderness much more sandy than the Hebrews had ever trodden about Sinai; they had neither serpents nor golden calves to worship. They had lost the sense of worship . . . ."1 In their uncertainty they looked to the past for guidance and reassurance, but the past was of little assistance in confronting the problems of a new era.

The Industrial Revolution pushed the great questions of slavery and sectionalism into the past; by 1900 the Civil War belonged to a bygone age seen now through the filter of romance. Veterans on both sides cherished memories of the war, but they could now celebrate their

The Education of Henry Adams ( Modern Library ed., New York, 1931), p. 328.


Notes for this page

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.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

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

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Politics, Reform, and Expansion, 1890-1900


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

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?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 320

matching results for page

Cited passage

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

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.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?