The Pros And Cons Of Reconstruction

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Oriented around a free market economy and the tenets of liberalism, democracy encourages diversity within a political body, mutual respect and tolerance among citizens, and self-interest for the common good. However, by no means is democracy synonymous with freedom, for the latter cannot be defined so clearly. A man’s definition of freedom following the Civil War (1865-1915), for instance, was as personal to him as his name and in some cases, his life. Whether abstract or concrete, social or political, the notion of freedom emerged from the Civil War as a motto of hope and change. But to the chagrin of many—whites and blacks, Americans and immigrants—it would remain a figment of their imaginations, a fictitious promise perpetuated by a democratic …show more content…
In the years to come, the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment (1868) recognized and protected all American citizens under the law, and the Fifteenth Amendment (1870) granted African American men the right to vote. In addition, Congresses’ founding of the Freedman’s Bureau in 1865 sought to repair the devastation that the Civil War left in its wake. Offering housing, education, and other basic amenities, the Bureau benefitted former black slaves and poor white farmers alike. A shortage of funds, coupled with the racial attitudes of Reconstruction, led to the premature closing the Bureau however, and ultimately a setback to reform. To makes matter worse, land was hard to come by. This fact forced the majority of freedmen to endure a life that eerily resembled chattel-slavery under the agricultural of system sharecropping. In the eyes of many former slaves and poor white farmers, the system and its lack of infrastructure seemed to perpetuate a poor living standard and lack of civil liberties, rather than offer any tangible evidence of freedom. Change, as it happens, is not always quick to …show more content…
By the turn of the century, the Transcontinental Railroad’s labyrinthine tracks connected the Eastern and Western United States which shortened cross-country travel by several weeks. The Railroad was evidence of America’s fascination with machines, but also also represented American motion and modernity, literal and figurative progress. Despite ingenuity and opportunity, conditions did not improve for immigrants or blacks at the beginning of the 1990’s, and they would not until the American public was to confront the “state of the States, in what became known as the “Progressive Era.” Dissatisfaction with Industrial Capitalism and the harsh conditions that resulted from competition, led to the nation-wide reform movement that hoped to bring the system up to date, to regulate and deal with the precarious technological innovation the country witnessed at the turn of the century.
From a Birdseye view, this period known as the Second Industrial Revolution was a story of progress and incredible

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