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T. Roosevelt to Hoover

Bolstered by waves of immigrants and capital wealth from post–Civil War industrialism, by the 1890s, the United States rivaled the great European powers. The rapid development from an agrarian, rural society to an industrialized, urban one, however, created problems that threatened to tear apart the country’s social order. The growth of working-class areas in the cities led to overcrowded slums as well as an underclass. The unsightly consequences of expansion seemed to betray the very promise of the American dream.

Industrialists, frequently through violence, beat back attempts by laborers to organize for workers’ rights. The Panic of 1893 caused devastating hardship across all levels of socie ...
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Image and text © National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, 2023

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