Era 7 HIGHLIGHTS IN NEW
HAMPSHIRE: Populism, Spanish-American War, Russo-Japanese Treaty, national
and international politics, women and the vote. Progressive Era politics
and reform, changing technologies, World War I, Red Scare, people leave
the countryside, foreshadows of the Great Depression
The Spanish-American War
signaled the United State's new willingness to expand its sphere of influence
globally. The signing of the Russo-Japanese Treaty of 1905 at the Portsmouth
Naval Shipyard brought diplomats to New Hampshire, international prestige
to the United States, and the Nobel Prize to peace broker Theodore Roosevelt.
Roosevelt's ties to the state continued, and, later, some prominent New
Hampshire politicians encouraged and supported Roosevelt's Bull Moose Party.
Political change washed through
the state. The 1902 NH Constitutional Convention passed a resolution to
submit a proposal to the people allowing women to vote. It did not pass,
but New Hampshire voters did ratify the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution
in August 1919.
immigration, and political corruption arising from the Gilded Age following
the Civil War prompted an era of reform, the Progressive Era, that attempted
to solve problems
that many thought had grown
out of hand. Prior to World War I, the state legislature passed much progressive
legislation aimed at using the power of government to regulate business
and ameliorate social ills: a law forbidding free railroad passes for government
officials, establishment of a Public Service Commission, a Mother's Pension
Law, a Family Desertion Act, protective labor legislation for women and
children, help against tuberculosis, provisions for health inspections
in schools, and a requirement to register motor vehicles. The state benefited
from the Weeks Act that established the White Mountain National Forest,
as part of the drive for conservation of resources. Overall, New Hampshire
politicians embraced reform by government, unlike the later conservative
trends in the state.
As new technologies were
adopted, New Hampshire saw all aspects of daily life change. Technology
also made war more brutal than ever. New Hampshire men served as soldiers
in World War I,
and some women joined the
armed forces as nurses, office staff, and communications operators. Women
replaced servicemen in jobs left empty at home, such as shipbuilding and
farming. In the decade after World War I, New Hampshire adopted technologies
on a grand scale: radio, the telephone, electricity, automobiles.
The wide use of technology
shortened the social and psychological distance between New Hampshire and
the rest of the world in a process that would gain momentum over the century.
Cynicism and fear, often
referred to as the Red Scare, reached into New Hampshire after the war.
Almost 300 suspected New Hampshire Communists and labor radicals were arrested
in 1920 as part of U.S. Attorney General Palmer's nationwide raids on suspected
Communists and agitators. The state took on a
more active role in the
education of New Hampshire students with the 1919 school reform, removing
some of the power from local towns and attempting with regulation, organization,
and money to equalize educational opportunities within the state.
Throughout Era 7, much of
New Hampshire's population continued to drain from the rural countryside
to the cities and to other states. Governor Rollins proclaimed Old Home
Day in 1899 to promote
the return of prodigal natives
to their family origins. Many just stayed for the day, and by the 1920s
the state was actively promoting tourism, which changed from long-term
stays by rail passengers to short-term visits by people traveling in automobiles.
The introduction ofskiing by immigrants from Scandinavia began an
industry that supplemented
the usual summertime tourism. By the end of the era. manufacturing concerns
such as the former textile giant Amoskeag Manufacturing Company showed
signs of weakness, foreshadowing The Great Depression to come.