Reconstruction and Industrialization
Assignment 1: “America’s Post-Civil War Growing Pains” Reconstruction and Industrialization 1865-1900 Four years after the first shots were fired at Fort Sumter the Civil War ended with the Union’s Victory over the Confederacy. Though the war was over, there were still many problems that needed to be resolved in order to reunite the states as a nation. The time period in which steps were taken to rebuild the nation is known as reconstruction. Reconstruction lasted from 1865 until 1877. The influence of reconstruction can be seen in the society and also in politics during that time period.
Following Reconstruction the nation had to rebuild its economy; industrialization brought in more factories and industries which helped to provide jobs to citizens of the newly reunified states. Though there were negative and positive aspects to reconstruction and industrialization these two concepts molded the United States into the country it has become today. Post civil war reconstruction was needed in order to unite the states. In 1863 Abraham Lincoln created guidelines that explained what needed to take place in order for a state to be considered reconstructed.
These guidelines became known as the Ten-Percent Plan. The Ten-Percent Plan declared that once 10% of the persons who voted in the 1860 election in that state swore an oath of allegiance to the United States that state would be considered reconstructed, and could set up a new state government (Schultz 2012, p. 277). This plan was challenged by the Wade-Davis Bill which wanted the percentage to be fifty instead of ten however; the bill was vetoed by President Lincoln (Schultz 2012, p. 277). Lincoln’s 10% plan only remained in place for two years.
When Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in 1865, Andrew Johnson took his place as the President of the United States. Andrew Johnson and Abraham Lincoln were opposites in the political realm. In fact Lincoln selected Jackson as his running mate in order to show unity between northerners and southerners, and democrats and republicans (Schultz 2012, p. 278). President Johnson did not do a good job in reuniting the north and south during reconstruction. Promptly after taking office President Johnson put into action his plan for reconstruction.
This plan included granting amnesty to Confederate persons if they took a loyalty oath to the United States and also pardoned Confederate leaders who were not able to take the oath (Schultz 2012, p. 278). This allowed previous leaders of the confederacy to reclaim their power after the War. If Lincoln had not been assassinated these confederate leaders would not have been able to reclaim their power so easily. The leniency of Johnson’s reconstruction plan allowed for the south to continue discriminating against African American persons (Reconstruction, n. . ). It is proven that Johnson did not care much for the well being of African American people. Under President Johnson southern states imposed black codes on African Americans. These black codes kept African Americans oppressed and were similar to the black codes that were in place before the Civil War (Schultz 2012, p. 279). It can be debated that if Lincoln would not have been assassinated many of the problems African Americans had to face in the south would not have been implemented.
This argument is supported by Johnson’s veto of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and racist comments he made following the rejection of the bill (The Politics of Andrew Johnson, n. d. ). Also, Johnson did not try to stop the south from imposing black codes on African Americans. Following Reconstruction was the Industrial Revolution. Charles More describes industrialization as both the absolute growth of industry, and its expansion relative to the other sectors of the economy, those being agriculture and services (2000, p. 3).
Industrialization first took place in England, the favored results of this movement encouraged its expansion (Schultz 2012, p. 292). Industrialization in America began with the large demand for supplies to support the war. This aided in the growth of factories in order to manufacture goods (Schultz 2012, p. 292). The expansion of railroads was also a great advancement made during the industrial revolution. Railroads were built throughout the country and allowed for good to be transported more easily, cheaper, and more reliable (Schultz 2012, p. 293).
With industrialization came more jobs, and because majority of industrialization occurred in big cities this encouraged farmers to leave the fields and moved to cities to work in factories (Schultz 2012, p. 293). With the constant growth of businesses and manufacturers in the north, the population of northern cities grew. In a forty year time span the population on New York City grew by 1. 2 million people (Schultz 2012, p. 302). This growth was called urbanization. Since the cities were growing at such a rapid pace building developers cut codes and built make shift buildings called tenements for people to reside (Schultz 2012, p. 02). Tenements were low income apartment buildings. These apartments were small and cramped and sometimes referred to as railroad flats because their layout was similar to that of the box railroad cars (Apartment House, Encyclopedia Britannica). With the high demand of materials and jobs factories were being built in the same manner as the tenements. These buildings did not follow building codes and resulted in many fires (Schultz 2012, p. 303). Perhaps one of the most devastating fires was that of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City March 1911.
Over one hundred persons were victims of the fire; and in some cases whole families were killed because they all were employed at the same factory (Triangle Fire, n. d. ). This tragedy resulted in the creation of more strict building codes and inspections. Though reconstruction and industrialization did improve the country, slavery was abolished, and African Americans were granted citizenship by the fourteenth amendment of the constitution, there were still laws being enacted to discriminate against African Americans and immigrants.
As it was throughout history life for African Americans was significantly better in the north than the south. By 1880 vigilantly groups in the south had become significantly more violent to African Americans. Lynching and burning African Americans became extremely popular amongst the Ku Klux Klan. In a span of 10 years about 2,000 black men were lynched in the south (Schultz 2012, p. 322). By 1890 Jim Crow laws were put into place. Jim Crow laws segregated African Americans and whites from attending the same schools, eating at the same restaurants, drinking from the same water fountains and even using the same restrooms (Schultz 2012, p. 22). African Americans were not the only groups discriminated against. White Americans discriminated against Native Americans and also Chinese persons. Whites did not want Native Americans to inhabit the lands in the western part of the country. This opposition resulted in wars between the Native Americans and whites. As a result of these wars reservations were opened which gave Native Americans land to inhabit to continue their traditional ways of living (Schultz 2012, p. 329). Chinese immigrants came to America for job opportunities just as any other immigrants did in that time period.
In 1882 Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act which stopped Chinese persons who were already living in the United States from becoming citizens and also banned the immigration of such persons for ten years (Schultz 2012, p. 332). Reconstruction and Industrialization may have had their negative aspects, but have aided in the development of the United States. The perils of reconstruction resulted in a more unified country. Industrialization jump started the post war economy and led to more jobs and a more culturally diverse America.
No change has ever occurred in history without some form of struggle, opposition, or war. The positive impacts of reconstruction and industrialization can not because of the struggle. Without reconstruction and industrialization the United States of America would not be the country it is today. Reference Page History Matters. (1988). The Politics of Andrew Johnson. Retrieved from http://www. umuc. edu/library/libhow/apa_examples. cfm#websites More, Charles. (2000). Understanding the Industrial Revolution. Taylor & Francis Routledge. Retrieved from EBSCOhost https://web-ebscohost-com. ibdatab. strayer. edu/ehost/detail? [email protected]&vid=5#db=nlebk&AN=63920. PBS. (2010). Triangle Fire. Retrieved from http://www. pbs. org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/triangle/player/ History. (No date). Reconstruction. Retrieved from http://www. history. com/topics/reconstruction Schultz, Kevin M. (2012). Hist, Volume 2 (2nd ed. ) Mason, Ohio: Cengage Learning. Apartment House. The Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved from EBSCOhost http://www. britannica. com. libdatab. strayer. edu/EBchecked/topic/29370/apartment-house? anchor=ref106508
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