Essay 1: Reconstruction and African-Americans
Reconstruction is undoubtedly one of the most controversial periods in the American history. It began during the American Civil war and later strengthened after the implementation of the Thirteenth Amendment. The new law freed all African American slaves, who played a major role in helping the Union defeat the South. The Reconstruction Era was aimed at promoting racial equality and restoring the South to the Union. Blacks were very active agents during the Reconstruction because they wanted to claim full rights of an American citizen.
African Americans demanded for the implementation of laws that would ensure equality among the black and white communities. Despite the abolition of slavery, Africans Americans were still being denied other rights such as voting and property ownership. However, after the passing of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments between 1867 and 1869, all citizens were allowed to vote despite their skin color, race or previous condition of servitude (Schaller 186). Furthermore, African Americans were demanding to be allowed to hold public offices so that they can be able to contribute towards legislation making.
During the Reconstruction Era, racial prejudice, especially in the South, had worsened. The white community had felt threatened by the government’s efforts to ensure racial equality. Furthermore, they were supported by democrats who were also opposed to racial equality. They joined forces with republicans to thwart government efforts. Through vindictive political schemes, the opposition undermined nearly all attempts by Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. In addition, African Americans, due to their ignorance and inexperience, were easily manipulated by carpetbaggers and scalawags. Through corruption and other underhand deals, anti-reconstruction activists swayed the political stands of African Americans. The activities of the Ku Klux Klan also affected the Reconstruction process because its members opted for intimidation and violence to silence political leaders.
The end of the Reconstruction had significant impacts on the lives of African Americans in the South. The decade of radical reconstruction ended slavery in the United States, which was widely practiced in the Sothern States. Furthermore, it empowered African Americans to participate in American politics. To the African Americans in the South, this meant that they were able to change or remove policies that seemed to promote racial prejudice.
It is undeniably true that African Americans played a critical role in determining the outcome of the Civil War. Two of the promises the Union offered slaves during the civil were freedom and racial equality. The Reconstruction Era saw these promises fulfilled by the government. Even tough it faced significant opposition from a majority of white citizens, reconstruction contributed significantly to the lives of African American in the Southern States.
Essay 2: U.S. Economy Civil War to World War I
The civil wars had significant impacts on both Northern and Southern States. Destruction of farms and abolition of slavery had significant effects on Sothern States, which were predominantly engaged in agricultural production. In regards to the Union, they had to spend substantial amount of money to fund the war. High rate of inflation and a tainted currency worsened the failing American economy. The government had to make changes in most industries to revamp the deteriorating economy.
Between 1865 and 1914, the United State underwent momentous industrial revolution that transformed the country’s economy (Higgs 50). Industrialization and other business activities that were initially practiced in the North had begun in the South. Even though their economy remained predominantly agrarian, investors from the North introduced substantial capital and started businesses and industries that boosted the South’s economy. The South was further opened to industrialization after the government expanded the infrastructure that linked the North and the South.
Rapid increase in supply and demand for steel in the United States promoted entrepreneurial development within the country. The increase in supply of steel led to the development of cities. Construction of more residential houses and industries increased the population in urban areas. Americans and foreigner were attracted to the business opportunities and impressive economic growth. More investors established their business in the cities and employed millions on American citizens. Increased per capita income increased sales and motivated farmers in engage in larger agricultural production.
Settlement of European colonists in the United States revamped the country’s agricultural production. An established transportation infrastructure opened foreign markets for American products such as tobacco, rice, fish, indigo and cotton. Industrialization and modernization had come along with better farming techniques, which were applied by American farmers. Expansion and rapidly growing population that moved towards the fertile lands of the West, increased supply and production of these goods.
industrialization are the major factors that led to the steady economic growth between
the Civil War and World War I. A stable political systems and strong economic
potential of some areas in the United
States attracted more foreign inventors, who
opened up channels for American exports. The South’s huge agricultural and
industrial potential contributed significantly towards this growth. By the time
World War I began, the United
States had become one of the most
industrialized countries in the world. Its economy had improved significantly due
to improved technology, rapid industrialization and increased exports.
Higgs, Robert. The Transformation of the American Economy, 1865-1914: An Essay in Interpretation. New York: Wiley, 1971. Print.
Schaller, Michael. Reading American Horizons: Primary Sources for U.S. History in a Global Context. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012. Print.