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American History

Submitted by patticlark on Wed, 02/24/2021 - 10:36

Ordinary workers and artisans felt threatened by new machines, which were created due to the technical progress, although new manufacturing techniques had practical conveniences for American industrial development. Craftsmen and artisans found that these techniques destroyed the significance of their work, as they expressed their personality with producing an object. In addition, they were afraid of the possibility to be thrown of business because new technologies provided greater efficiency. Thus, artisans alienated industrial workplace, fearing that it might turn them from independent entrepreneurs into dependent wage laborers. Nevertheless, the situation was profitable for elites as industrialists got the opportunity to increase production

The differences in economic and social development resulted in emergence of different conflicting cultures. New market economy, which was spread in the North, was based on free labor and was the opposite to the economy of South, which was founded on slavery. Thus, the concepts of freedom were also different, because the Southern concept of democracy consisted in liberty of white people and their predominance over African-Americans, while Northerners believed that freedom depended on equality of opportunity for everyone.

The call for annexation of the occupied areas and further expansion in the 1830s and 1840s were justified by Manifest Destiny. Politicians and propagandists used it for propaganda of expansionism among people. The annexation of Texas was called a fulfillment of the American Manifest Destiny. Nevertheless, the main reason for expansion was population growth. O.Sullivan himself wrote that the increasing population of the United States required the outlet, which would be provided by territorial acquisitions. O.Sullivan claimed that American nation was destined to occupy the whole continent, which is actually, an obvious excuse for expansionist policy of President Polk.

Initially, abolitionists who had many female members provoked women’s rights activists to take action. Women actively took part in their crusade and demanded an equal role in the antislavery movement at the same time. Female abolitionists were convinced that the principles, which justified the liberation of slaves, might be applied to the emancipation of women. Although most male abolitionists did support them, Garrison linked blacks’ and women’s struggles for equality. Additionally, married women were compared to slaves, as they had no right to own property, bring a suit to court or even keep their own names. Women’s rights movement has a lot in common with abolitionist movement and other reform movements, which also began to turn into legal solutions.

Northern and Southern Americans had completely different views concerning economics and slavery. Moreover, they were divided because of industrialization, as it changed their lifestyle. While Northerners were mostly clerks and factory workers, Southerners were predominantly farm boys, as the industrial revolution was not as noticeable in the Southern states as it was in the North. Industrialization also resulted in great flow of immigrants to the North of the USA. All these aspects have influenced the attitudes of both regions towards each other. The sectionalism was also promoted by politicians. Northerners considered the South was inhabited by idle planters, poor whites and slaves. At the same time, Southerners were convinced that only hypocritical money-grubbers and abolitionists lived in the North.
Slavery symbolized the gap between the North and South in all spheres of life, including economy, culture, political and social views. Actually, slavery divided the country into two different states with various nations and cultures. Apologists had three main arguments, trying to describe slavery as ‘a necessary evil.’ First, Africans were made to be slaves and it was their natural status. Second argument was that the Scriptures sanctioned slavery. Third, slavery is compatible with the humanitarian spirit of the nineteenth century.

The Republican Party had a strong position on several points, such as an unsettled land on the West and slavery issue on the South. It was illustrated in their slogan ‘free soil, free labor, freemen’. By the ‘free soil’, the Republicans meant the land of unsettled West, which can be granted to ambitious immigrants for improving their social and economic position. To achieve their goal, the Republicans argued for prohibition of slave labor, which was legal on the South. Although the Republicans opposed slavery, some of them were racists, and the decision to liberate slaves was rather political. Firstly, Republicans wanted to populate the Western states with their supporters, but it would be impossible if slaveholders would use slave power. It meant that they would monopolize the industry, while free white workers would not be able to compete with them.

Northerners expected Lincoln to be more moderate than his Republican opponent Seward, who was indeed rather radical. Nevertheless, it happened that his anti-slavery platform resulted in a walkout of South states. Among all candidates, only Lincoln and Douglas had a chance to win in the North states, while Southerners had to make a choice between Breckinridge and John Bell. The results of the election were viewed as a catastrophe in the South. Southerners saw the victory of Lincoln who had no support in the Southern states, as an insult to their honor and hostile to their interests.

The Emancipation Proclamation turned the Civil War into a crusade against slavery. The abolition of slave labor became a goal of the war. It was also beneficial for the Union as a military decision, because one-quarter of the slave population gained freedom during the war and many of them joined the Union army. The decision to enroll former slaves to the army became extremely significant for the victory of the Union because two hundred thousand African-Americans were immensely motivated to fight for their freedom against planters, therefore, their contribution is hard to underestimate.

After numerous defeats of the Union army as well as making the emancipation of slaves a war aim, people from the Northern states became demoralized because they were not willing to die for slaves. Obviously, public opinion was also dictated by racial prejudices. For this reason, the Union government implemented the Enrollment Act, which allowed wealth men to pay a fee and avoid military service. This act provoked violent riots among those men who had no money to pay a fee. The Confederate States also had a hard time, as their economy was tumbling down. Slaveholders were losing control over their slaves who were aware of the Emancipation Proclamation. At the same time, white Southerners who had no slaves considered the Civil War as ‘a rich man’s war and a poor man’s fight. The desertion from the both sides was very high, as many people had become disillusioned with a necessity of the war. The only way to overcome it was to start winning battles.

First of all, African-Americans struggled to become free citizens of a democratic republic. They were seeking education, acquisition of land and independence from their former owners. In addition, landless blacks wanted to maintain their own economic communal relationships rather than transfer to the individual piecework system, but their intentions were restricted by the government. African-Americans from cities had to live in segregated society. They were constantly discriminated because of their skin color. For instance, they could gain admittance to many restaurants, hotels and even public transport. Black Codes made black unemployment a crime, restricted blacks’ right to own property, etc. Moreover, a lot of African-Americans were killed by whites during the Reconstruction.

Grant’s administration and its southern policy are considered to be the main reasons of Reconstruction’s failure. The problems brought by the Black codes were not solved and the courts usually did not consider complaints of blacks against whites. Nevertheless, the Reconstruction handed down a strong legacy, such as the Fourteenth and the Fifteenth Amendment. Giving equal rights to all Americans was the most significant achievement in this period. The Fifteenth Amendment also became the most revolutionary of all constitutional amendments, as all citizens of the USA acquired the right to vote.