Historical Concepts

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Historical concepts are essential in understanding the social, economic and political changes that have occurred since the America’s independence in 1776. The purpose of the essay is to explain changes in race relation which resulted from reconstruction, the consequences of industrialization, the rise of the progressive movement and American imperialism.

Three major changes in the race relations caused by reconstruction

            Reconstruction was the period from 1865 to 1877 when America's political class was determined to unite the nation after the civil war. Even though Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in 1865, the ideas of reconstruction were furthered by Andrew Johnson. The first change was the amendment of laws. For example, the thirteenth amendment by the Congress abolished the slave trade in the Southern States. Once slavery was successfully abolished, the Congress passed the fourteenth amendment which enhanced the human rights by advocating for equal voting rights and protection of citizenship under the law. Finally, the fifteenth amendment by the Congress prohibited any form of discrimination against the minority races like the Black Americans.  Secondly, the migration patterns changed significantly. Reconstruction allowed a free movement of individuals from the Northern to the Southern States. Besides, the former slaves were able to migrate to any part of America and competed with their former masters for wages and job opportunities in the firms.  Individuals who moved from the Northern States were known as carpetbaggers because they were considered opportunists.  Finally, there were changes in the working conditions. The races of color were given job opportunities in the white-controlled firms and paid wages unlike in the slavery period when they were subjected to forced labor without compensation.

Two consequences of industrialization on American politics and society

            The industrialization in the United States began nine decades after independence in the late 19th century. The first consequence was the establishment of America as a world economic power which gave it high political impetus in the global space.  For example, America entered into political alliances with nations like Japan in exchange of economic commodities produced in the industries. Besides, industries had a significant impact on urban politics because the owners wanted to pass labor laws that would protect their firms and therefore contested political seats. For example, the Fair Labor Standards Act was passed in 1938 to protect the urban industries against unfair labor practices like poaching of employees and workforce mistreatments. The second consequence was the rise in urban population which had positive and negative repercussions.  As the unemployed Americans moved from the rural to urban areas in search of employment, the population in towns increased and made it easier for the firms to get labor force. However, crime rates increased in the unable areas because the available job opportunities in the urban-based industries could not meet the demand for the labor force by the unemployed and unqualified or semi-qualified youth. Besides, the society’s workforce structure was also changed because the government introduced laws which regulated the working hours that American workers were expected to spend per day. Workers in the industries formed social organizations which they used to negotiate with the employers about compensation.

The rise of the progressive movement

            The progressive movement was formed in the 1890s and operated till early 1920s. The movement had the objective of solving problems caused by the 19th-century industrial revolution and urbanization. The movement can be explained by considering the following three descriptions.

Description of the role that religion and social morality played in promoting progressive reforms

            The religious wing of the progressive movement was led by the Social Gospel. The wing was in charge of combating social evils in America like poverty brought by natural forces like crime, injustice and government suppression.  The wing operated from Colorado where great men like Thomas Uzzell pushed the government to pass laws and make amendments that would help them attain their goals of combating social evils. For example, the Methodist People’s Tabernacle established the employment bureau which helped in the reduction of poverty. Besides, the church came up with free medical dispensary to assist the poor in society.  The Presbyterian Church also contributed significantly to the progressive movement. For example, Reverend Mark Mathews led a group that investigated crime in Colorado and denounced all manner of corruption. He declined to receive church contributions from corrupt businesspeople and politicians.  However, the southern states concentrated on the social evils which they believed were dragging the country behind. For example, the eighteenth amendment prohibited the sale of alcohol in the southern states.

Two Reform movements that define the progressive era

            The first reform movement was the human suffrage organization which advocated for the rights of women to take part in the political process through voting.  The reform movement was brought by the formation of National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) in 1890 which received the support of President Woodrow Wilson in the 19th century.  Secondly, the prohibition movement played a significant role in the progressive era. The movement advocated for a ban on alcohol consumption which was believed to be the cause of social problems like crime and alcohol. For example, the 18th

amendment was passed to prohibit the sale of alcohol courtesy of pressure from the movement.

An impact of progressive movement on American politics

            The progressive movement brought an about the recognition of women's rights to vote which had a significant impact on the American politics.  Women had the mandate to contribute to essential Acts like the Meat Inspection Act of 1906 and election of politicians. Consequently, the female gender had their voice heard in the political arena and their grievances were better addressed after the progressive era.  For example, Carrie Chapman led women in the drive of voicing their opinions directly to the elected politicians.

Role of Imperialism in leading the United States into Hawaiian Annexation and Spanish –American war

            The American Imperialism was the period in which the nation expanded its territories and gained dominance over its belligerents.

Hawaiian Annexation

            The conflict involving Hawaiian Annexation was fought between the United States, France, and Great Britain. The United States wanted to gain control over Hawaii and the islands because of its fertile grounds and sugarcane production.  The annexation of Hawaii to be part of America happened in 1839 under the leadership of President William McKinley. Besides, the Islands wanted to get off high tariffs charged by the France and Britain on their sugarcane. Annexation helped Hawaii to be recognized as a territory and avoid harassments from the other two nations.

Spanish-American War

America wanted to help Cuba attain independence because of atrocities committed against the Cubans by the French government. Consequently, President William McKinley led government gave huge financial support to the Cubans. When the French sunk America's ship in the Havana harbor because of the latter’s involvement in Cuba, President McKinley declared war against France. The conflict took ten weeks and resulted into a peace treaty which saw Cuba being an independent nation.


Reconstruction, progressive movements, imperialism, and industrialization, played significant roles in the achievement of the American dream. The essay has described the four concepts and how they impacted American history.

November 13, 2023


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American History

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