How to Use Evidence Worksheet How and why did Americans fight over the definition of “the people” in the late 19 th and early 20 th centuries? How did those fights over who “the people” are lead people to reconsider and transform such American values as liberty, equality, democracy, and individualism? GENERAL CLAIMS The emancipation of slaves, the immigration of new ethnic groups to the United States, and growing class divisions made Americans uncertain about who “the people” actually were. After the Civil War, many Americans feared that the rise of industrial capitalism threatened to make such traditional values as liberty, equality, individualism, and democracy only available to a select few. Many Americans grew skeptical of individualism because it threatened to destroy the social harmony of the Republic. In its place they promoted the idea of “the people,” a unified group of equal and free persons. In order to preserve American democracy, many
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