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Reconstruction and Race Ties
In the United States, the era after the Civil War, which ended in 1865, is known as the Restoration period. In the effort to establish racial democracy and the abolition of slavery, this time represented a milestone. Despite vigorous opposition from African Americans, it was for many years a commonplace in the region. In all states in the world, the 13th Amendment, passed in 1865, abolished slavery (Williams, 2011). The abolition of slavery was then followed by the introduction of the Law on Civil Rights, which aimed to prohibit the restriction of such freedoms, such as land possession, freedom of movement, and freedom of expression based on race and colour. The laws aimed at achieving parity, equity, and justice regardless of different racial backgrounds. This culminated in the passing of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868, which entrenched basic civil rights in the Constitution (Stroud & Schomp, 2007). The Reconstruction era also changed race relations with regards to voting rights and discrimination on a racial basis. This was passed in 1870 in the 15th amendment, that gave equal rights to all citizens regardless of race or color (Williams, 2011).
Consequences of Industrialization
The Industrial Revolution in the United States in the 19th century played a significant role in shaping the political sphere of the country. Industrialization gave rise to the United States as a global economic power, which formed the foundations of relations with other countries in the world. Industrialization in the United States occurred in the second phase of the Industrial Revolution after the first phase took place in Europe (Meyer, 2003). Before it, most Americans lived in rural settings. The Industrial Revolution culminated in social changes that saw a significant increase in urbanization, with cities such as Boston and New York developing rapidly. The emergence of factories required skilled and unskilled labor, which led to an upsurge of urban societies. By 1900, 40% of Americans lived in urban areas, compared to a mere 6% in the 1800s (Williams, 2011).
With regards to the consequences of politics, industrialization led to the conflict between the traditional culture of slave labor and industrialized society, which relied on paid workers. Workers became a vocal political faction, which pushed for issues such as unionization and fair labor practices. Labor politics were mainly fueled by the urge to control and reap optimal benefits which resulted from the industrialization process. This led to the passing of numerous labor laws such as Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (Meyer, 2003). Labor politics are still a progressive contentious issue in the United States.
The Progressive Movement
The Progressive era in the United States between the 1890s and 1920s saw the development of the Progressive Movement. It sought to deal with challenges emanated from the industrial revolution (Williams, 2011). The movement sought to achieve equality, eliminate corruption, and promote justice. For instance, the social Gospel Movement advocated for changes that would make society more humane by eliminating negative aspects such as poverty, which was associated with industrialization. Christian Protestants during the second Great Awakening were against social evils such as alcoholism, prostitution, and slavery, which were deemed to be religiously wrong. Discouraging these acts was morally right towards promoting progressive change.
Different reform movements emerged during the Progressive Era. For instance, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union(WCTU), formed in 1874, applied Christian morals to mobilize women against prostitution, and alcoholism. The movement also advocated for women suffrage and recognition of their rights (Williams, 2011). Another reforms movement during the era was the Social Gospel Movement, which was based on Christian doctrines and asserted that the return of Jesus Christ would not happen if social ills persisted in society. The group was pro-socialist and blamed capitalism for the ills that gave rise to them.
The Progressive Movement was responsible for the enactment of various legislations, some of which are still applicable. For instance, the era led to the legislation and ratification of the 17th Amendment, which required senators to be elected by the people, as opposed to the previous system where they were appointed by the state legislature (Williams, 2011). This aimed at giving people the political power to elect the leaders of their choice.
Role of American Imperialism in Historical Conflicts
American imperialism can be linked to several historical wars and conflicts. For instance, in the war in Philippines America sought annexation of the Philippines as a strategy to expand its territories with commercial interests in mind. American imperialists also claimed that the Philippines was incapable for ruling itself and would eventually fall to other imperialists such as Germany, and deny America the power that would come with having the country as its territory (Immerman, 2010). The role of American imperialism was also evident during World War I as the country perceived itself as a global power with regards to military, economic, and political elements. Imperialists in the country hence sought to extend their powers to countries that were considered to be weaker in these fronts like, Cuba, Puerto Rico and Samoa among others (Immerman, 2010). America joined the war with commercial interests; ranging from exploration of national resources, expansion of international trade and sourcing of raw materials to further fuel industrialization.
Meyer, D. R. (2003). The roots of American industrialization. Maryland: JHU Press.
Immerman, R. H. (2010). Empire for Liberty: A History of American Imperialism from Benjamin Franklin to Paul Wolfowitz. New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
Stroud, B., & Schomp, V. (2007). The Reconstruction Era. Marshall Cavendish.
Williams, W. A. (2011). The contours of American history. New York: Verso Books.
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