History were without power and the perfection of
and Changes due to History
the Gilded Age of late 1800’s and early 1900’s, a time period that essential
government intervention was provided in big business and banking to protect
workers, promote sound banking practices, clean up the cities and make them
healthier and to improve rights for underrepresented Americans. The Gilded Age,
growing production and industrialization was rising at an enormous rate. In the
North, factories were booming and inventing new and more efficient ways to
produce goods. This created more employment opportunities, and for some a way
into the middle-class of society. Men, women and children were entering the
workforce. Mass production in factories and industry made it possible to lower
the prices of goods and made them more readily available for the public
consumer. Railroads expanded across the U.S. making it more economical to ship
and receive goods. The steel industry was making leaps and bounds in new
processes of making a stronger and better product. Electricity was becoming
more available to areas that were without power and the perfection of the light
bulb by Thomas Edison brought light into homes and factories, changing the way
society shopped, worked and the way they took part leisure activities.
ways that these corporations expanded and the new ideas of production were not
always the safest for the workers. The hours were long and the environment was
dangerous, occupational hazards were not addressed nor were they a concern. Men
and children working in coal mines would develop black lung disease, industrial
equipment did not have any safeguards to prevent injury from moving parts.
Occupational safety was of no concern and workers did not have any rights, if
they did not keep up the pace or were injured, they would be fired on the spot.
It wasn’t until labor leaders tried to
get workers to come together and form unions did any change take place. In the
infancy of the unions they were weak and had a hard time getting workers to
come together collectively. It wasn’t until late 1800’s did the unions start
gain strength and lobby for change.
Unions would organize strikes against
employers when working conditions were unsafe and pay was lowered. The strikes
and union lobbying did produce some gain for workers safety and rights but it
wouldn’t be fully effective until the government stepped in and changed the way
big businesses operated. Together the
unions and the government changed the playing field and gave more of an
advantage to the workers in ways of rights and protection. One of first
significant United States unions was the National Labor Union (NLU) this union
included both skilled and unskilled workers. The laws, acts, legislation and
agreements made by the Presidents and congress during this time are still
evident today in the industrial world and have made business and working for
business a better place.
the enormous amount of jobs in the cities due to industrialization, and the
tremendous influx of immigrants looking for work, a new American culture was
born. Urban societies began to develop, these were the areas where middle-class
and lower-class workers would live and reside. The conditions of some of these
areas were not the best or even good for that matter. In larger cities like
Chicago, New York and St. Luis housing was scarce, close and tight living areas
for the poor was common, that and with the lack of proper sanitation and sewers
made these areas a breeding ground for disease and illness. These areas were
normally called shanties and slums. Diseases like Cholera, a violent sickness
and diarrhea would cause dehydration and in some cases death anther common
illness at the time was Typhoid fever is an infectious disease caused by drinking
contaminated water. These living conditions of the poor and unskilled led to
the government trying to prevent disease and enacting new policies. Among these changes were medical examinations
at Ellis Island in New York for incoming immigrants, cities refurbishing and
rebuilding sewers and sewage containment facilities, updating the city water supply
and inspecting the shanty’s and slum housing areas. These new developments
drastically lowered the disease and disease rate in the large cities and are
still a fundamental operation in cities and towns today.
Political rights and political changes were beginning to
come into play during the Gilded Age. The seventeenth amendment would allow the
people to elect their senators and each state would have two senators in the
Senate, the amendment also placed a six year term limit on the seat. Prior to
this amendment the senators were chosen by the state legislatures. Women’s
suffrage also came into play, the nineteenth amendment was passed and gave
women the right to vote. Prior to this
amendment women did not have that right, starting in the mid 1800’s a movement
for women’s suffrage began and was
fulfilled with the passing of this amendment. This was an enormous victory for
the women’s rights movement and would give them momentum from there on out.
The Roaring Twenties, this was the era of consumerism and
the breaking of the American economy. The United States emerged from World War
I as a global power, industrialism was in full swing due to supporting the war
effort. At the start of the 1920’s the opportunity of being able to obtain
luxury and material things had come to many Americans. Being a part of the
middle-class was more readily available than had ever been before. This was a
time of entertainment, luxury items, convenience, conveyance and stature. Young
Americans were enjoying Jazz music on the radio and listening to records, most
Americans were enjoying going to the movies, frequenting dance halls and going
to baseball games. The only ones it seemed that were left behind from the
progress of the twenties were the rural farmers, with all the advancements in
technology and the lower prices of crops after the war, many rural Americans
found themselves in financial hardship and had to give up and leave all that
they had, homes and land that had been in the family for years, to move away
and try to find work.
The twenties were also a time of great economic disaster.
The stock market was booming and speculators were trying to cash in on every
opportunity. The stock market was soaring and shares were going up, however,
most of these purchased shares were bought with borrowed money. Speculators
were buying up shares trying to make a quick dollar buying all the stocks they
could by a practice called over-speculation, there were no regulations on
companies setting up or selling stocks, banks were loaning money to those that
didn’t have the means to repay and there were little to no regulations on how
banks managed their business. Americans were living beyond their means,
dysfunctional business and banking practices would come to a head and lead to
lead to the stock market crash of 1929.
Black Tuesday as
it is called, was the day the market crashed and thousands of businesses and
investors were wiped out. In a panic Americans would go to the banks to
withdraw their money, the banks could not pay them due to the banks investing
the deposited money in the market, production came to a halt and businesses
were laying off workers by the droves, businesses were trying to recover and
recuperate the only way they knew how or could.
Production was half of what it was, unemployment was mounting every day
and the public was uneasy with the banking institutions. With businesses failing, Americans out of
work, and no money in the banks, this started a downward spiral into an
economic disaster known as the Great Depression.
Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal. Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected the 32nd
President of the United States in 1933. Roosevelt is the
only President to serve four terms, he served from 1933 until 1945. Roosevelt
was elected while the Great Depression had a full grip on the U.S. economy. Roosevelt
was determined to repair the economy and the causes behind the economic depression.
One of the first things Roosevelt did, was to declare a bank holiday which
closed the banks in order to stop people from withdrawing their money and to
reopen them after they were inspected and found financially safe.
Another swift action by Roosevelt was to reduce
wages of government employees and repeal prohibition in order to make immediate
funds available to the government. Roosevelt devised a plan called the New
Deal, this plan comprised of numerous agencies and acts, and programs that
would help the economy, American citizens and business. This plan would be
instituted in phases, the New Deal and the Second New Deal. In the first part
of the New Deal, Roosevelt created government agencies and programs to help
with unemployment and restore America’s faith in the banking institutions.
Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was one of the first programs from Roosevelt
and the New Deal, it created millions of jobs over the next ten years. The CCC
consisted of thousands of unemployed young men and they would repair, replenish
and restore the land and natural resources. The Tennessee Valley Act, this act
enabled the government to provide inexpensive electricity to rural areas along
the Tennessee River by building dams, these dams reduced flooding and provided
hydroelectric power. Overall Roosevelt enacted a dozen plus new programs and
acts in his first hundred days, from banking regulation and overhaul, help for
people to buy and obtain a mortgage to agriculture programs that helped farmers
in their time of need.
effects of these and many more programs for relief and recovery by Roosevelt
were great and at a time when America needed them the most. Roosevelt altered
the role of government in the economy like it never had been before. He
regulated banking and the stock market to provide a more stable and accountable
system. Roosevelt went away from the “laissez-faire” Hoover style of government
and business relationship and put government hands-on business and industry. Roosevelt
was relentless when it came to bringing America back up and fulfilling his
campaign promises to the American people.
effects of these programs are still endured today. The Federal Deposit
Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the FDIC protects, insures and guarantees money
that is deposited into banks. Social Security provides benefits to the elderly,
disabled and unemployed. Tennessee
Valley Authority (TVA), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulates the
stock trading industry, and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) that
allows government to guarantee mortgages with banks, to name a few, these
programs are still around and operated today. There was no area of government,
business or public affairs that Roosevelt didn’t touch or make better in some
Civil Right Movement era, the Civil Rights Movement from 1950s-1960s was a
monumental and exciting time in the pursuit of minorities rights and equitable
treatment. This was a time of reform and the gaining of equality from outdated
and discriminatory laws and practices and alteration in American society. The
Civil Rights Act of 1964 proscribed segregation in industries to include
restaurants and theaters this was also to include public places like public
schools and libraries, the Civil Rights Act also barred biased employment and
hiring practices. Rosa Parks was an instrumental figure during the civil rights
movement, while on a bus with seating segregation in Montgomery, Alabama, she
refused to move to the designated “colored” area of the bus and sat in a seat
designated for “whites”. Her opposition to the segregation and not moving from
the “whites” seating area of the bus resulted in her arrest. On the day of
Rosas’ conviction, a boycott led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. against the buss
industry began and lasted longer than a year, it was ended only after the
Supreme Court ruling that segregation was unconstitutional.
Martin Luther King Jr. not only led the bus boycott in Rosa Parks name but also
was one of the most influential leaders in the civil rights movement, he was
well known for his non-violent advocacy and adhered to that in his resistance
and protest rallies. His belief was that
all people were equal no matter their sex, race or creed. Dr. King dedicated
his life to the equal treatment of all people and fought for the rights of
blacks and minorities throughout his career until his assassination in 1968,
Dr. King has a national holiday dedicated to him and is the only non-president to have had this done for them.
has come a long way in the process of trying to eradicate racism and
discrimination against blacks and while we are way better than before we still
have a ways to go. Discrimination and racism is still around today although not
as prevalent as in the past. Groups still lead marches and protest to fight for
black equality. The Million Man March in 1995 was a march of blacks that
assembled at the Washington Mall in D.C. to protest the treatment of blacks and
to bring together the black community, another recent movement is the Black Lives
Matter movement to protest the treatment and or killing of blacks by police and
officers of the law.
attacks on the U.S., whether domestic or foreign has completely changed the
role of government and the way society lives in modern times. The bombing of
the Alfred P. Murrah Federal building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995 by
Timothy McVeigh that killed 165 people and injured hundreds more changed the
way Federal buildings are protected. Executive Order 12977 created the Interagency
Security Committee to establish standards for federal facilities.
September 9, 2011 (9/11) attacks were a succession of organized terrorism.
These attacks consisted of the high jacking of four commercial passenger
aircraft. Orchestrated by al-Qaeda via Osama bin Laden, nineteen hijackers
seized and took control of four passenger aircraft. Two of these aircraft were
flown (crashed) into each one of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in
New York City, another was flown into the Pentagon Building in Washington D.C.
and the last aircraft, the hijackers were overcome by some passengers and the
plane did crash but it did not hit its intended target but instead crashed in a
field thanks to the heroes onboard. In all these four hijacked aircraft killed
more than 2.900 people.
have no scruples about whom they kill or injure for their cause, in April of 2013
during the Boston Marathon, two bombs exploded at the finish line killing three
and injuring more than 200. This attack was perpetrated by two young former
Soviet Republic men.
to these attacks and the nature of terrorist attacks, the U.S. Government has
responded in many ways. The U.S. prior to domestic terrorism was prepared for
conventional warfare and tactics, not those perpetrated by terrorists. The government has ramped up security in and
around airports, transportation and federal buildings. Air safety is more a
concern and priority than ever, screenings, x-rays, baggage inspection,
property and personal scrutiny are more of the upmost priority when it comes to
flying now. The government has also started collecting data and information on
individuals, groups and the public to try and forbade another attack.
Patriot Act, signed by George W. Bush in 2001, gave intelligence authorities
like the CIA, FBI and NSA to ease drop, collect or steal data and information,
and use data retrieved from cell phones without the user’s permission for
security purposes. These purposes are not always forthcoming from those whose
gather it nor are they forthcoming with what information or how much
information they have collected.
Snowden worked for the NSA, Snowden went public and he released information
about the NSA and the work he did for them. A whistle blower as he is called,
Snowden revealed that the NSA was gathering data, information and listening to
whom and whomever they wanted to, all in the name of national security.
are just a couple of the by products that have been created by terrorism and
terrorist attacks. These measures seem harsh and cumbersome to some people and
required, necessary and essential to others. I feel there is a fine line
between protecting our country and its people and ease dropping and stealing
information and data from its people.
thing is for certain, the U.S. is determined to eradicate, prevent and hinder
all terrorist activity within its own boarders and throughout the world, I
don’t agree with all the tactics being performed but it seems we are a little
safer because of it. Our rights as a citizen and protection afforded from our Government
gets into a grey area or blurred if you will, but I still feel we live in the
greatest Nation on Earth.