The key aspects of the US history in the period 1865-1900 in the light of the following issues: positive and negative Reconstruction Era processes’ aspects, while taking into account the rights of the minorities and the racial discrimination issues; the industrialization as the positive key factor of the US rapid development; federal policy towards Native Americans and African Americans; immigration.
Successes and Failures of Reconstruction
It is possible to consider the Reconstruction Era as a positive for the US development, but it still has its pros and cons. Among the positive achievements of the Reconstruction of the US is the reunification of the Union after the 4 years of separation. The US was restored by putting together the separated territories. As for the core achievements of the Reconstruction it is possible to consider the following: the Southern and the Northern economy expanded in order to implement the collaboration between these two economical units. The additional laws were developed for protection of newly freedmen and were providing them with a right of vote and to have the freedom of speech. Freedmen’s Bureau and some other small associations were established. The key task for such organizations was protecting the homeless and the poor. Everyone was provided with a right to receive education. The implementation of the Enforcement Act of 1870, which “banned the use of terror, force, or bribery to prevent people from voting because of their race”. In other words, the slaves were freed.
The Following issues are identifies as the main disadvantages of the system: the new racist movement Ku Klux Klan appeared. The core strategy of Ku Klux Klan was not to limit the right for freedom of the African Americans. The representatives of Ku Klux Klan wore robes and masks and have introduced themselves as Confederate soldiers. The distinguishing feature of their movement was setting the homes of African Americans on fire. The South distinguished with the total poverty. When the White people lost their lands after the reforms and the Black people were freed, their rights were still unequal, as they were not provided with job opportunities. The industrialization process in the Southern part of America was flowing rather slowly. The new approach towards farming was applied and it implied the sharecropping and tenant farming. That is why such an approach was not fair in relation to the laborers of the land. Another negative aspect of the Reconstruction was the high level of corruption. The implementation of Black codes meant the oppression of the Black people’s freedom. The last two negative aspects of Reconstruction were the elevation of the taxes and the Jim Crow Laws, which were directed to the racial segmentation and discrimination (Keene 404).
The course of US industrialization and its social costs
While carrying out the analysis of the industrialization and its impact on the US social life, it is important to refer to the background of this notion. The industrialization (or the industrial revolution) was a period from the end of 18th and the beginning of 19th centuries, which has been characterized by significant changes in the majority of areas of human activity: manufacture, agriculture, transportation, technology, etc.
The positive outcomes of industrialization include the following: rapid development and support of technology; application of the scientific approach towards the improvement of existing technologies.
As a result, the economical, social, and cultural values were affected and changed radically. The industrialization process began in Britain and than it has been rapidly popularized all over the world and in the US in particular.
It is possible to make a conclusion that the industrialization process in US has not only improved the labor conditions, but also has radically changed the human values, and the attitude towards life in general. Finally, the US society went through the transformation from the craft-based society to the industrial one.
To the Positive aspects of the industrialization process it is possible to outline the following: wage-based work, mechanization of the factories; practical implementation of the mass production; general trend for the urban living.
The manufacturing process increased the productivity and mechanization. The technology was now easy to use, affordable and powerful. Overproduction, growing of inequality in the welfare distribution and the unemployment are considered to be the main negative consequences of industrialization.
Federal policy towards native and African Americans
It is possible to consider the indigenous communities, particularly the African Americans, as the people, who inhabited the certain territory before the invasion; have the historical continuity in that place, and consider themselves and the separated groups or societies from those, which are currently prevailing in such territories, or parts of them. In the US, the problem of indigenous peoples has got its historical background, which was caused by multinational social structure of the United States’ society. Some sociologists call the US a ‘melting pot’, the country, which has got multinational society from the very beginning of its existence.
At the end of 19-th century, beginning of the 20-th century, the racial discrimination was inherent to all spheres of human life and activities: education, job searching, health care, cultural, lending and even to occupying some positions in governmental structures.
When the first people moved to the West, they have changed the behavior of the ingenious people, their customs and traditions. Also the cultural aspect of the social life changed significantly. According to Frederick Jackson Turner, such changes may be considered “the significance of the frontier”. Turner has considered that the main reason of the unlimited opportunities in the psychological sense was provided to the settlers in 1883 by the unlimited resources of the land available for their needs. That, in its turn, leads to the frivolous behavior of the settlers, waste of the natural resources, and further occupation the territory while not taking into consideration the basic needs of indigenous people. The federal policy, in turn, has not been oriented to protect the rights and freedoms of the African American.
It is important to put an emphasis on the fact that in 1866-1915, million people immigrated to the US. The lion share of immigrants have come from northern and western European countries and they have been unemployed, discriminated and there has been shortage of food, that situation has implied the threat of war.
Approximately one quarter of the immigrants were not intended to make this country their permanent home. Their families left in Europe and the “stake” in America was planned to be made and after that, these people wanted to go home and to purchase there a property and to start some business.
The only people who appreciated the immigrants were the industry employers, whose core reason was unlimited pool of cheap labor. These immigrants have created the competition on the labor market and that is why the Native Americans did not appreciated them. In addition, the different religious approaches and illiteracy were the reasons for an unfriendly attitude towards the foreigners and strangers (the immigrants have been called so).