The United States has a long history of activists seeking social, political, economic, and other changes to AmericaåÑalong with a history of other activists trying to prevent such changes. American activism covered a wide range of causes and utilized many different forms of activism. American sociopolitical activism became especially prominent during the period of societal upheaval which began during the 1950s. The African American civil rights movement led the way, soon followed by a substantial anti-war movement opposing American involvement in the Vietnam War, and later by vigorous activism involving womenåÕs issues, gay rights, and other causes. The United States remains a land of nearly constant change, and activists play a significant role in the ongoing evolution of American democracy. It seems likely that Americans will remain enthusiastic activists in the future. This exhibition is part of the Digital Library of Georgia.
The United States experienced extensive economic and geographical expansion during the 1840s, as the spirit of Manifest Destiny drove Americans west across the North American continent to exert their influence over new places and peoples. Influenced by this expansionary philosophy, political leaders sought to expand American trade relationships worldwide. One of the first targets of this campaign was to open diplomatic and trade relations with isolationist Japan, which had been closed to western traders for centuries. In 1852, President Millard Fillmore ordered Commodore Matthew C. Perry to lead an expedition to secure Japanese trade and access to Japan‰Ûªs ports for American ships.
From the earliest days of settlement and migration, the people of North America have relied on maps and mapping to understand their environment and place within it. Maps have helped Americans prospect investments, comprehend war, and plan leisure in places unknown. As Americans have used maps to explore the U.S., capitalize on its resources, and displace its Native peoples, maps have shaped American cultural ideas about travel, place, and ownership. This exhibit explores the cultural and historic impact of mapping through four specific moments in American history: migration along the Oregon Trail, the rise of the lumber industry, the Civil War, and the popularization of the automobile and individual tourism. It concludes with a look at maps in the age of computers, the Internet, and beyond. These moments demonstrate the influence maps have had over how Americans imagine, exploit, and interact with national geographies and local places. This exhibition was created as part of the DPLAåÕs Digital Curation Program by the following students in Professor Helene Williams's capstone course at the Information School at the University of Washington: Greg Bem, Kili Bergau, Emily Felt, and Jessica Blanchard. Additional revisions and selections made by Greg Bem.
Tuning into the radio is now an integrated part of our everyday lives. We tune in while we drive, while we work, while we cook in our kitchens. Just 100 years ago, it was a novelty to turn on a radio. The radio emerged at the turn of the twentieth century, the result of decades of scientific experimentation with the theory that information could be transmitted over long distances. Radio as a medium reached its peakåÑthe so-called Radio Golden AgeåÑduring the Great Depression and World War II. This was a time when the world was rapidly changing, and for the first time Americans experienced those history-making events as they happened. The emergence and popularity of radio shifted not just the way Americans across the country experienced news and entertainment, but also the way theyåÊcommunicated. This exhibition explores the development, rise, and adaptation of the radio, and its impact on American culture.
Amidst tensions over European political and territorial boundaries, the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand by a Serbian terrorist in 1914 derailed peace in the western world by sparking World War IåÑone of the highest-casualty conflicts in modern times. While European nations quickly engaged, the United States immediately declared neutrality. By 1917, however, remaining neutral was no longer an option. The Great War would bring the United States out of isolationism and onto the world stage. It would also change life on the American home front forever. A centralized government took control of American life in an unprecedented fashion by instating a mandatory military draft, controlling industries, initiating food and ration restrictions, and launching elaborate campaigns to encourage patriotism. One of the most important, if temporary, changes brought by the war at home came from the stifled flow of labor, as men were pulled away by the draft and immigration slowed. The need for American labor provided second-class citizens, such as women and African Americans, a brief opportunity for better jobs. This glimpse would help foment in them a desire for more and equal opportunities after they were pulled away once more at waråÕs end. This exhibition was created as part of the DPLAåÕs Public Library Partnerships Project by collaborators from Digital Commonwealth. Exhibition organizer: Anna Fahey-Flynn.