The Great Depression provides a backdrop which the current American administration may take lessons from in resolving the present-day economic crisis sweeping America and the rest of the world. Finally, the Civil Rights Movement may have seen the embodiment of its first major triumph through the election of Americas first African-American president. During the time of the Reconstruction of the Post-Civil War American South starting from the 1860s, a number of policies in favor of the freed African-American slaves were instituted.
However, these policies were met with fierce opposition from among the Confederates. Eventually, the institution of these policies paved the way for several Constitutional Amendments, including Amendments Fourteen and Fifteen. This event in American history is largely significant because it heralded a reformation in the government although the Confederate States hesitated to agree with much of the changes. African-Americans were given the right to vote and participate in the government as elected officials.
Without these developments during the Reconstruction period, the rest of American might have remained cynical about African-Americans gaining some of the rights that other white men enjoyed as well as intolerant about the very presence of these people in public offices. On a personal note, learning more about the Reconstruction gave me more insight into the events that stirred the beginnings of the modern efforts to achieve social equality across races.
The eras of populism and expansionism define the American generation that took the task of increasing efforts to search for new lands to seize and new markets to dominate. For the most part, the eras were progressive and filled with high tension. While the government became busy gaining land despite the consequence of displacing thousands of Native Americans, local workers across the country were likewise busy engaging in social activism and strikes. Social unrest became the direct result of the widespread poverty and high unemployment rates during the later part of the 1890s.
A popular movement at the time”the Populist movement”is seen as a reaction to the growing threats of industrialization and the urbanization of America where immigrants thrive; America expansion during those years led to the rise in the number of immigrants. These events during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries are major influences in what we see today in contemporary American society. Today, America is a country teeming with people from different races.
There is hardly any part of the American workforce that does not employ or does not have an employee from another country. In a way, immigrant workers have continued to flock to America”some in the hopes of reaching their own American dream”as an effect of the expansionist and populist ideals in earlier times. World War I radically changed the course of human history. The conflict between the Allied and Central powers resulted to the development of new technologies insofar as the global war is concerned.
However, the technological legacy of the way also gave rise to the rapid development in the communications sector. The use of telephone and wireless communication during the war played a vital role. Eventually, these technologies became of better use to civil society. Americans in both public and private sectors can hardly communicate across long distances these days without the use of mobile phones and other forms of wireless communication devices.
Although I was not yet around when the war broke-out, I am now a part of the people who, in a way, continue to benefit from some of the technological legacies of the war. I can call my parents and siblings at home even though I am in some other place. I can make transactions from the comfort of my house without the hassle of going out just by dialing the number of the person I want to call through the telephone. There is reason to believe that the same things hold true for most of the average Americans today.
The Roaring Twenties was a time when the mass production of goods and defined American society. As a result, many goods were made available to middle-class Americans and consumerism became the behavioral trend throughout the population. Women were granted the right to suffrage and, as a result, some of their roles changed. The Arts also proliferated during the 1920s; Jazz music flourished as well as the movement called Art Deco. Perhaps one of the most influential aspects of the Roaring Twenties is the right to vote given to women.
Today, women have the right not only to vote but to actually hold public offices. The most notable contemporary example is the case of Senator Hillary Clinton who ran for the Democratic nomination for the American presidency. It can be said that the elections reform during the 1920s made possible the chance for American women to hold high government positions today. The Great Depression is yet another major event in American history. The economic crisis that hit America that time led to several financial and political reforms in the country.
Under the leadership of former president Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the New Deal, which sought to uplift the country back to prosperity, was established. The era of the First New Deal (1933) saw innovations in banking laws and government work relief programs that provided assistance to the major groups including the industrial and agricultural sectors. On the other hand, the era of the Second New Deal (1934-1936) gave relief supports to workers, a part of which is the creation of the Social Security Act as well as the Works Progress Administration relief program.
The developments during the Great Depression and the New Deal provide a crucial precedent so that the country will be able to identify the necessary measures needed to prevent another large-scale economic crisis. Apparently, the United States appears to be suffering from yet another economic turmoil these days; the policies implemented during the Great Depression offer vital lessons which the current government can learn from. Moreover, I have learned more about the initiatives the people during that time took in order to survive in the midst of a financial crisis.
Finally, the push for equal rights in the United States came to its height during the growing presence of the Civil Rights Movement. African-Americans in the United States during the mid-fifties to the late-sixties stood at the heart of the move for abolishing racial discrimination in the country, a part of which is the call for legal measures to establish anti-discrimination government policies. The Civil Rights Movement largely influenced the contemporary society especially in terms of how the Movement led to the social realization of the fundamental and inalienable rights of African-Americans.
History reveals that African-Americans used to serve as slaves for their white masters and, as a result, they were deprived of some of the basic civil rights that others enjoyed. Had it not been for the Civil Rights Movement, America would not have had its first African-American president. Moreover, the country may still be tolerating racial discrimination not only against African-Americans but also against other races including Asians and Latin Americans. By and large, America is a nation of mixed races ever since it began as a union among the States.
To discriminate the races that comprise the bulk of what it is today is to show the height of hypocrisy and bigotry. All of these six major events in American history share certain roles that have affected and continue to influence the lives of Americans and people throughout the world. There is no doubt that these historical developments in the United States have contributed to a better understanding and appreciation of the past as a tool for preparing ourselves for today and the future.
Brogan, Hugh. The Penguin History of the USA. 2nd Ed. New York: Penguin, 2001.