American Experience

Season 11 Episode 1

America 1900

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Aired Monday 9:00 PM Nov 18, 1998 on PBS
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America 1900
AIRED:
An overview of life in the United States at the dawn of the 20th century - unforeseen opportunities and unplanned for challenges.
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    • TRIVIA (1)

      • With widespread adoption of electricity and the telephone and the introduction of newer technologies like indoor plumbing, movies, and automobiles, 1900 was one of the years when a huge number of inventions were embraced.

    • QUOTES (2)

      • Donald Miller (historian): (on UMWA leader John Mitchell's approach to immigrant miners and their lack of unity) And when he spoke to miners, it was this - you don't have to drink, if you're Irish, with Italians, but you work with them and to get anything done in the way of improvements in the work force at the job, at the job site, you've got to bury your antagonism, temporarily, and join with these people in a common effort. Otherwise, you know, you're just fodder, cannon fodder for the capitalists. He had a refrain. Everywhere he went it was the same - "The coal you mine is not Slavic coal. It's not Irish coal. It's not Polish coal. It's not Italian coal. It's coal."

      • John M. Staudenmaier (historian): When you read the letters that immigrants sent back to the old country...again and again you'll read something like, "I lost a finger and it's been hard while it's been healing. And it's a hard place, America. And don't send Joseph. He's not strong enough for America. But you can send the others. This is a great land and we can make a new start here."

    • NOTES (3)

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