We need jobs!

Unemployed men vying for jobs at the American Legion Employment Bureau in Los Angeles during the Great Depression.

Selling apples, Jacksonville, Texas. October, 1939. Photographer: Russell Lee. Many tried apple-selling to avoid the shame of panhandling. In New York City, there were as many as 6,000 apple sellers on the street.

One of most significant characteristics of the Great Depression is the lack of jobs. The stock market crash in 1929 triggered the mass depression that last for several years. Many people were out of a job.

Picture one depicts a crowd of people fighting to get their names registered.Picture 2 shows a lady with a cart selling apples.
Compared to the crowd, this lady seems to be more independent, tough and have more control of her life.
Although picture 1 shows a more striking image of how desperate people were during the hard-time.


President Harding and The Teapot Dome Scandal

Warren G. Harding was the 29th President of the United States (1921-1923). A Republican from Ohio, Harding was an influential self-made newspaper publisher. His conservativism, affable manner, and ‘make no enemies’ campaign strategy made Harding the compromise choice at the 1920 Republican National Convention.

After Harding won an election, he rewarded friends and political contributors, referred to as the Ohio Gang, with financially powerful positions. Scandals and corruption eventually pervaded his administration.

Polls of historians and scholars have consistently ranked Harding as one of the worst Presidents. His presidency has been recently evaluated in terms of presidential record and accomplishments in addition to the administration scandals. The most recent Presidential rankings have had various low results for President Harding.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/r7p7C6nTNog" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Teapot Dome Scandal

This video clip is produced by Gary Leevnthal in 2009. The 29th President of United States Warren G. Harding and Albert Fall are depicted in the video, as they involved in the Teapot Dome Scandal.

The most notorious scandal was the Teapot Dome affair. The affair took its name from Teapot Dome, a rock formation in Wyoming that looked like a teapot and, more importantly, stood atop a large government naval oil reserve. Teapot Dome is a simple case of bribery. Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall, a former senator from New Mexico and a friend of Harding’s, was convicted of taking bribes from oil executives. Oilman Harry Sinclair obtained leases to drill for oil at Teapot Dome, Wyoming, and Edward Doheny acquired leases for reserves at Elk Hills, California. Fall received in the neighborhood of $400,000 in cash and gifts from Doheny and Sinclair. Like the details of the various Enron accounting maneuvers, the details of the oil leasing were complicated. For the public it was reduced to Fall granting favors to friends who had given him a great deal of money.


The great migration

The great migration during 1910 to 1940 described in Foner’s book has a long-term effect on American politics, economics and culture. As picture above shows, up to 1.5 million African American moved from southern states to North, to look for jobs and search a peace place to live. Detroit, chicago and Cleveland are among the most popular destinations. And the reason simply is, the rail fare was the cheapest.

Carrying a sign in front of a milk company, Chicago, Illinois, July 1941 John Vachon, Photographer Gelatin-silver

In Foner’s book, the discrimation against newly arrived African American was not talked enough. Many black workers were having a hard time to get promoted and many of them simply couldn’t find a simple job, as second picture depicted.


Milwaukee Sewer Socialism




Sewer Socialism is a term described the American socialist movement that centered in Milwaukee Wisconsin. With the creation of the Socialist Party of America, this group deemphased social theory and revolutionary rhetoric and in favor of honest government and efforts to improve public health.  The Sewer Socialists fought to clean up what they saw as “the dirty and polluted legacy of the Industrial Revolution,” cleaning up neighborhoods and factories with new sanitation systems, city-owned water and power systems, and improved education.









In 1910, the Socialists won most of the seats in the Milwaukee city council and county board. This included the first Socialist mayor in the United States, Emil Seidel, who also received the nomination for Vice-President on the Socialist Party ticket in the 1912 election with Eugene Debs.

This movement ended in 1960 when Frank P. Zeidler left his office as Milwaukee mayor. 


Immigrants being transported on horse-drawn wagon, Buenos Aires, Argentina


Immigrants in English class given by Training Service of the Department of Labor in Ford Motor Co. Factory, Detroit, Michigan 


 While both pictures give us a sense of people being in immigration, the second one tells us why United States was considered the best destination of immigration. Unlike other countries at that time, companies in the United States were more willing to spend money and time to train their immigrant workers. We can easily identify the different attitude of these two group of people. People in the upper one were more gloomy, probably worrying their future while those workers in the lower one seemed more eager to learn and more confident about their lives in the US.


Sherman Anti-Trust Act (1890)




















The Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 was the first Act passed by the U.S. Congress to prohibit trusts.

It passed the Senate by a vote of 51-1 on April 8, 1890 and then passed the house by a unanimous vote of 242-0 on June 20, 1890. The bill was signed into law on July 2, 1890 by then President Benjamin Harrison.

The Sherman Act authorized the Federal Government to dissolve trusts but failed to define the critical terms in the law. In spite of that, the law achieved some success against some famous trusts such as Standard Oil Company, American Tobacco Company, and 100 years later, Microsoft.


Forgive, but never forget

David Blight’s new book, “Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory”, talks about political motivation behind the different history memories of the American Civil War. This topic gets my attention immediately since I have experienced something similar myself. Being a Korean Chinese, I learned both Chinese and Korean History. One thing they have in common is that both countries suffered deeply from Japanese invasion early this century. Generations after the invasion, however, students of these three countries have a very different idea towards the war.

Once I had a conversation about history war with one of my Japanese friends. He insisted that the invasion of Korea was to help the Korean people since that’s what he was taught at school. He said the occupation of Korea and part of China was just an ‘expansion’, was to build ‘a better East Asian.’ For me, my history textbook talks about how Japanese army killed Chinese in the number of millions.

Just like explained in the “Race and Reunion,” some Japanese want to gain their political influence by changing the way to remember the war, portraying their criminal ancestors as heroes. Textbook has power to reinforcement an ethnic community and be proud of one’s country. People distort history to make young generation feel proud while they are learning “great” commitments their ancestor did.

To be fare, I don’t think they are the only one who remembers history politically motivated. Korean and Chinese governments emphasize the killing to remind their people that, as bad as the governments can be, they are way better than the foreign invaders.



Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall


We ARE The History!

Remember when you were a kid? You read all these exciting history stories and started wondering what it is like to have your name written in the history book. “I must be famous or do some big things” you told yourself. Not anymore! To be part of the history, all you need to do is to tweet.  It can be about anything: being late for work, getting a new TV, real-time road condition updates, or comments on political issues. The Library of Congress announced that they started a plan to archive all the public tweets, which counts in hundreds of millions a day. Your comments on a latest movie could live in the cyber world forever next door to Mr. Obama’s greeting to the American people.  Everyone is part of the history now, even though for most of us, our share is quite small.

In a democratic society, where the leaders are fairly elected by the people, what the ordinary people think is more important than some celebrities. Part of the reason why the history book is full of big names is that the historians don’t have the means to dig in collectively every little thing that ordinary people said, did in the past. Now they do. If I dare to let me imagination fly, I can see future historians figuring out the source of certain social problems based on all the tweets. They might conclude that the beginning of archiving the tweets is a shining start of new era. 

Don’t be too optimistic though. Privacy will always be a problem. Some people would welcome a way to opt out the chance of being part of the history.  Some others don’t even bother to tweet. Without further popularization, tweeter will be limited on its ability to draw the big picture.  Let’s just hope everybody like to tweet.


what if historical events had facebook statuses