As a matter of fact, every country in the world experiences different events throughout the history that influence future development. The period of reconstruction is usually associated with scientific breakthrough, changing of values in the society, and a new era. The American society went from the period of Reconstruction (1865-1877) after the civil war in the Gilded Age (1870s-1901), which is considered to be the epoch of intense economic and demographic growth by the progressive era (1901-1919) because of necessity to modernize all the spheres of human activity.
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After the civil war, the American society faced a period of Reconstruction. Socio-economic conditions in the United States were not appropriate for the number of people who lived on the territory of the state. The conflict between the North and the South aggravated the position of the United States. It is related to the loss of economic connections because of military conflict, class, and racial confrontations within the country.
A lot of men were involved in military operations and could not support the economy of the country with a high-quality labor force, “as was to be expected, the returned soldiers are flooding the streets already, unable to find employment”.i
After the conflict was resolved, those soldiers who returned could not be employed because of the economic collapse.ii The Civil War consequently led to significant changes in classes. It destroyed slavery and the power of slave owners. This influence passed to the bourgeoisie. The re-distribution of resources led to the development of capitalism in the United States. Nevertheless, many problems were associated with lack of rights for African-Americans and distribution of land between the citizens. iii The African-Americans experienced “transformation of every aspect of their life”.iv
The Gilded Age is characterized by intense economic and demographic growth. The victory of North in the Civil War gave the opportunity to capitalism to gain momentum. The United States began to develop capitalistic relationships rapidly. During this time, the biggest financial operations took place. It gave a push to emerging of financial fraud, speculation, and misfeasance. One of the fundamental roles in speculations played the railroad construction.
In 1869, began the construction of the first transcontinental railroad. It was one of the most expensive and perspective projects. However, this project was characterized by speculations. Such projects created an illusion of a Golden Age. However, the banking collapse of 1873 resulted in a decrease of stocks in the railroad sphere. This situation was the result of corruption on the state level. Republicans, who hold the power for many years, contributed to the issue of corruption.
This problem influenced the life of workers in a significant way, “mass meeting and demonstrations of the unemployed took place all over the country”.v People showed their dissatisfaction by strikes and parades.vi These processes affected the United States and consequently led to the creation of opposition to Republicans and strengthening of Democrats.
The necessity to modernize all the spheres of human activity led to the progressive era. The fact that there were a lot of inner problems resulted in a desire of population to change the governmental structure and eliminate corruption. As a result, people began to expose the plans of corrupted authorities, fight against corruption, and struggle for democratic transformation.vii Progressive era was crucial for the history of the United States.
People realized that the government should support interests of society and not let monopolization and corruption. A number of events stimulated the progressive era. It is significant to point out that the accident at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory was crucial to that time. Almost 200 people died because of poor working conditions.viii This accident is believed to be a catalyst for the progressive era. The tragedy fostered changes and inspired different movements to proclaim a fight against the system.
After the catastrophe, a legal reform concerning industrial accidents was created. A number of humans’ lives drew the attention of the politicians and contributed to the transformation of the industrial sector in general. Sanitation norms and working conditions received the priority. Progressive era fostered reforms and improvements in all the spheres of human activity in the United States and consequently led to strong changes in the economy and national moods. As a result, the United States received the opportunity to succeed in the First World War and became one of the most dominant state across the globe.
In conclusion, it is worth noting that the period of Reconstruction, the Gilded Age, and progressive era were the results of the processes that occurred in the society and government that time. The desire to modernize and improve the system consequently led to changes and transformation of the country. It is of paramount importance to note that these processes are related to the modern position of the United States in the world.