Reconstruction period in the united states of American history is the period during and after the civil war in the country. The major issue was trying to solve political, social and economic problems as a result of war. It also involved the reuniting of the eleven states that had earlier seceded during and after the war. Abraham Lincoln had passed a bill which was intended to give rights to the blacks when the split among the republicans and the democrats widened. After his assassination president Andrew Johnson continued with Lincoln’s policies and passed what is termed as the fourteenth amendment.
This was highly opposed in the south where riots broke out as result of the bill. The congressional elections of the year 1866 gave the radical republicans smashing victory. These new government regained power and in such the newly earned right were at risk. In the following ten years it followed the congressional reconstruction also termed as radical reconstruction. This lasted for ten years and began with the reconstruction acts of the 1867. This act ensured that the ten states that had seceded had been reunited and divided into five military units under the supervision of the United States army.
The condition for the readmission was to accept the fourteenth and fifteenth amendment. The fifteenth amendment catered for the civil rights of the freed men. The newly created government of the day was made up of political coalitions of blacks, carpetbaggers; northerners who had gone to the south and scalawags; southerners who had cooperated with blacks. This was seen as a temporary creation and most of the southern white disagreed with the government and were even hostile to them.
From this early stage of changes the American history has composed of class and race. It has been widely thought that the term American fits for the individuals who are white. The history indicates that the indigenous tribe has become alienated and the owners or so called Americans claim citizenship and ancestry. In the projection history the white society is slowly diminishing especially in the major cities where initially they were the majority. It is estimated that if the trends is maintained by the year 2056 the white society in America will be the minority.
After the settling of the early whites they established government. The government never included the indigenous tribe in fact the government tried to assimilate them into the new culture forcefully. The native Indians refused these attempts and they were sent reservation camp. In this camp the government supplied the essential stuff and used any means to make sure they remained there. There were also very many conflicts among the Indians and the miners, ranchers and the settlers as they encroached in to their communal lands.
As the governments constantly tried to assimilate the Indians they gave them land and citizenship only after the Indians had owned a piece of land for than twenty five years. This is clear demonstration that the first immigrants who today claim to be bothered by the current immigrants were worse than the current ones. The Indians lost more than half of their lands to settlers and cultural erosion was at the highest levels. Through the first immigrants many Indians who had lived in the old America were put into a completely new way of life. It was until 1934 that the government passed the Indian reorganisation act which was directed at protecting the tribal and communal life in the reservations.
After the first immigrants settled down there was a new breed of immigrants which came in as labourers. Initially as it is said there were twenty Africans who first travelled to America. They were not slaves but workers but as the class established the caste system dictated that the black became the slaves. The text also claims doctors measuring the size of craniums. The white had bigger craniums and claimed to be intelligent compared to the blacks. This caste system or the second class citizen definitely led to the black labour.
This was done without any regard to the rights and protections legislated in the fourteenth amendment. In the south there was a image of a sambo that depicted it being and free but could not take care of itself. Amazingly the people from this region accepted that slavery was evil but could not resist the cheap labour. The labourers worked in hemp, rice or tobacco fields, constant rebellions happened and the southerners deemed them as childish and savage. The African American conditions deteriorated by everyday because of racism and even lynching.
The racial segregation got worse that the justice system recognised and allowed it on the basis of segregated but equal. Since then the African American has been in the middle of the American history. The north recorded the worst racial discrimination acts against the blacks. There was segregation of hospitals, churches, transportation, theatres, education and any other activity. The black society was regarded as criminals, attacked by white workers, targeted for virulent racism and only those who had property could vote. Such practices have gone on for very long time. Escalations have been evident in recent riots like the watts riots in the sixties and the racial riots in the nineties. The overall effect that such kind of behaviours has led to is stereotypes. In America the every culture has its stereotype resulting from many years of segregation and oppression.
The American history is full of immigrations disputes among the immigrants themselves. The funny part is that the only rightfully allowed person to claim immigration problem the Indians whom are not even considered in any opinion. The difference is who was here first disregarding the red Indians. The Hispanic group has also played a major role in shaping the history of America. The Chicano represents the largest group of the Hispanic immigrants and it is projected to outnumber that of the African America.
The initial reason for their movement was to try and escape the Mexican revolution. Other found themselves as foreigners in their own land as the United States changed borders with Mexico. This was as a result of the treaty that was signed by the two governments. Soon the Chicanos started to trek to El Norte for better lives. The conditions of the Chicanos enabled them to move from Mexico to United States without any passports. The construction of railway line also enabled them to move into the United States as workers.
The Chicanos provided cheap labour for the American economy enabling production at very low cost. This placed the United States at the top of business world since their products had very competitive prices. The payment of the Chicanos was very poor; 1.25 dollars for eight hours, and women would work as seamstresses or maids for three dollars for sixteen hours a day. By 1920 the records show that over twenty percent of the Mexican population had moved to the United States in fact in Texas the Chicanos migrants recorded eighty percent of migrant workers. The presence of the Chicanos in the American history has helped improve the economic status overtaking the economies of the other powerful countries.
The other group that is constituted in the history of the immigrants are the Chinese. Initially the Chinese are believed to have moved into the United States of America to avoid the opium wars and other forms of domestic unrest. After the migration most of the Chinese worked as miners however the whites pushed them out. It is also important to note that the Chinese were always paid one third less than the whites. In the state of California the Chinese built roads and also worked in agriculture sector.
Through their irrigation system they improved the value of land tremendously within two years. The land that was previously being bought for twenty eight dollars per year was then selling one hundred dollars a year. The racial discrimination especially from the white society was evident; they were represented as vampires having the slanted eyes, dark skin, thick lips and a tail. They were regarded as savage, childish, having inferior morals and very lustful. Further the Chinese were officially regarded as non white in 1854 when the court reversed the rule of murder of a Chinese by Hall.
The relevant law at the time stated that a mullato or black person or Indian is not allowed to provide any evidence favouring or against a white person and from then onwards the Chinese joined the list of those who could not provide evidence. As the Chinese became the best choice of labour riots against by unemployed whites against employed Chinese erupted. This situation forced the Chinese to join self employed sectors like stores, laundries and restaurants. The business did so well over years creating employment for thousands of Chinese immigrants and other people. The sector was also the most affected during the riots of Rodney King shooting in Los Angeles. To this date there is rampant modern day slavery; many Asians are being transported to the United States to work as slaves.
Irish immigrants resulted as they escaped the hostility of the English frontier. The British had decided to colonise the state and by 1700 the British owned around eighty six percent of the Irish land. This combined with the famine resulted in migration to America is search of better way of life. For the Irish it was easy to get citizenship as they blended in as whites. The Irish moved into America into broad groups the Catholics and the Protestants.
Before the 1800 the Irish Protestants moved to the frontier where land was cheap and became farmers. Their counter parts came in big numbers from around 1840 and directly moved into the cities. In these places they provided labour in mills, railroads and canal construction. This was easy as they did on the expense of the blacks and the Chinese. Some major construction work that is attributed to Irish based contractors and labourers are the likes of Erie Canal.
The Jewish American moved to America to escape from religious persecution. Many came from Russia. Although as migrants they were well educated and once in America they tried to liberate other slaves especially the blacks and the Hispanics. The advantage that they had, had been the fact not until their success nobody saw them as scapegoats. Over time they had joined into business world and also were recording the highest number of students in the high learning institutions.
This led to introduction of quota system where no more than twenty percent could be admitted. However the Jews were very clever and could give away their unimportant cultural practices to fit into the society, this saw the highly controlled Jews easily assimilate into the American way of life. They changed their dressing, names and accepted the American holidays. This enabled them to move to the upper class neighbourhood although this was not well received.
The Japanese moved to America in the 1890s men first then followed by women. The reason for the migration was solely for economic reasons only, they worked and lived in California and Hawaii until the year 1924 when the government decided that they do not qualify to be Caucasian. This in turn meant that they could not get citizenship. As they continued to work in the farms their children were not allowed education because they were expected to serve as second generation labourers. The country also promoted women immigration into Hawaii rather than California to avoid prostitution. Japanese have been accredited with laying a foundation for the current economy in Hawaii.
All these describe how different races found themselves in the United States. The common factor is that they all wanted a chance to have a better life may be apart for the African Americans who were dragged into slave ships. The one thing that is clear none of these groups left their ancestral lands to become slaves. It appears the whites had managed to organise the policies to put themselves above the rest and consider themselves as the rightful owners of this new found land. Despite all the bad things that have happened in the American history it clear that many impacts have moulded the United States of America to be what it is today; we take a critical look at the contribution made by immigrants as a whole.
The society has been highly divided across the line of their races. This was as a result of the initials classism and caste system. In modern day it is clear that human rights are very well observed but still ethnic divisions can be felt. Racism is still practiced among the Native Americans, African Americans, Asian American, Latin American, Muslim American and many other small minority groups. The immigrants are still struggling to recover from generations of slavery imposed on them by the whites.
The new generations that are born free of slavery learn about the history about how their fore fathers were tortured and discriminated by the fore fathers of the neighbours. This scenario requires very strong spirits to be able to live freely without carrying on the hatred. It worrying that racism has been use as the basis of making government policies. The European Americans are said to be favoured through voting rights, citizenship, immigration rights, literacy, acquisition of land and the general procedures in criminal cases.
According to the federal bureau of investigations it shows that since 1995-2002 the white people are the second target for the hate crime in New York. It has been evident that there have been racist sentiments from several presidents. For example President Roosevelt said that the most righteous war is war against the savages and the rule of cementing the dominant race should be applied. The manifest destiny also states that Native Americans are inferior race and it upon the European people to civilize the primitive people of the pacific, Asia and Africa.
The policy also states that these are the white man burden. It also believed that racism had an important role creation of United States policy regarding Middle East and the general treatment of the Arabs. It also through racism and other interest did bush attack Sadam Hussein in claiming that he had weapons of mass destruction. The government also eliminated the racial qualification for Asia during the Vietnam War. This racial based agenda was supposed to help identify the United States allies.
The immigrants have also resulted in naming of the several places around the continent. The very well known examples include; San Antonio among others that have Hispanic names, Iowa and Massachusetts which are originally native Indian names. A Chinese immigrant known as Ah Bing also made the famous Bing cherry.
Names like ok initially ‘oke’ to mean it is so in native Indian, Yankee from the ‘yankwis’, the jazz and blues, rock and roll has African American origin. It is also believed that the American cowboys learnt herding from the Mexican and during the process they adopted terms like stampede from ‘estampida’, lariat from ‘la reata’ and lasso from ‘lazo’. Famous songs like white Christmas, God bless America and Easter parade were composed by a Russian Jew immigrant known as Israel Baline.
The economy of the United States could not be where it is was it not for the hard work done by the slaves. The Walt Whitman termed as vast hopeful and surging army made of workers. They worked in all the corners of the continent ranging from the cotton fields in the south, cane fields in Hawaii, textile mill the new England, factory garments in new York, copper mines in Arizona, farm orchards in California and salmon canneries in Washington.
Furthermore they were involved in construction of the transportation system; railroad. This overall provision of cheap labour enabled United States to participate in international trade. The trade with Europe and the Asia helped the economic growth which has propelled the country to be the world’s superpower.
The immigrants also participated in civil wars. After Abraham Lincoln declared freedom for the blacks the southerners never accepted that black people should be free. The first war was fought over racism specifically regarding slavery. In recognition of those who fought to protect the government he said that brave men fought and among them were black men. 186000 thousand African Americans took part in the battle and were termed as black men in blue. These men were buried in patriot graves; Lincoln termed them as actors of the American history and not just victims of exploitation and discrimination.
In the history of immigrant many prominent people have been born in the lineage of the immigrants. These people have greatly influenced the political economic and social orientation in the current America. Some examples include presidents; John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Theodore Roosevelt, Bill Clinton, George Bush, Barack Obama among others, Walt Disney, grace Kelly, Scott Fitzgerald.
The American society has the richest ethnic and racial diversity. This is a resource that is yet to be utilised. Once the all the people in the United States are equal before the eyes of the law and to each other then it will be possible to celebrate those differences and find how to optimise that as a national resource.