The history of the African-Americans cannot be mentioned without the reference to the slave trade and the slavery period. This is where all started with the dark history of how these people faced challenges in terms of discrimination and social abuse. However, after the Civil War of 1865, it appeared that matters were not as bad for these people. Their hope of a better life in America stared with the Reconstruction Amendments1. Before President Lincoln was assassinated in 1865, he announced of the plans to incorporate the confederates as fast as possible. His move started with the Thirteenth Amendment which was ratified in December, 1865. This amendment was the last nail in the coffin of slave trade as it totally went against it. This could have been said to be a sigh of relief for most of the freed slaves who lived in fear of slipping back into the same.
The short period between 1865 and 1877 is largely referred to as the season of hope for the African Americans2. It was at this time that they felt that they actually had the chance to live without the fear of being treated as foreigners. They could own property and also be regarded as citizens who could enjoy some of the rights such as the right to own property and to be free. It was at this time that they could enjoy their civil rights to the maximum. These developments sounded too enticing for the African Americans who lived in the southern regions. As such, they fled from the Southern U.S States into Kansas. This happened in the 1879 and 1880. These newcomers were regarded as the exodusters3. Among the factors which made them seek new places to live was the rumor that slavery could be reinstated. The reconstruction period was not very long and the fears of the African Americans were soon to come true. The Southerners were not very happy with the developments, and held the resentment of the African Americans. At this point, it is worth noting that most of the African-Americans lived in the South. Incorporation of the confederates meant that they had to adhere to the American ways, which included setting the slaves free. With such opposition, it was definite that something bad would come up.
Problem started showing when the Jim Crow Laws came into place. These laws were formed by White Supremacists who believed that the blacks could not be their equals. They relegated the blacks to second level citizens. Once again, the African-Americans had almost no political power or public voice. The disenfranchisement and segregation once again became a reality. In as much as they could not be enslaved, yet they could no longer enjoy the civil rights that they had enjoyed before. In a matter of time, the seasons of hope and reconstruction were gone, leaving the African-Americans high and dry with no civil rights. Due to these problems, there was the need for a force that could help in maintaining order in a land where trouble between the Whites and Blacks was eminent. This led to the Fourteenth Amendment4. This gave enormous powers to the Federal Courts to deal with justice matters at the state level. The matters that were beyond this could be referred to the Supreme Court where amicable solutions would be sought. As such, it can be said that the Supreme Court tried to assert the civil rights of the African Americans. However, this was not a simple endeavor, and the struggle between the Blacks and Whites on matters of the civil rights went on for a long time.
Before industrialization became a reality in America, most of the industries existed at the cottage level. That is, they were run at a small scale in individuals’ homes. However, the revolution came about and everything changed. These changes were received differently by the workers. The paragraphs below give a more concise picture of what the situation was like.
The first major shift was that the production shifted from the artisan level to the factory level4. This meant that the production had to increase since mass production was the main point of industrial revolution. To foster this move, there was the need for new inventions. The developments came in different stages. For instance, in the iron and steel manufacture, the open-hearth furnaces as well as the Bessemer process were great innovations. These, coupled with the developments in science led to the increase in production5. In order to ensure mass production there was the need for proper organization and planning in the industries. This called for improvement in the communication sector. This led to the development of technologies such as the telephone and telegraph which ensured that managers could communicate over long distances to manage and organize labor.
With increased production came the need for development of better infrastructure to aid in the transport of raw materials as well as finished products to and fro the industries. This led to the improvement of the rail roads and road networks into the interior6. Eventually, the entire workplace was transformed and everything was done in a different manner.
The developments were quite a welcome development to the industrial workers. Of course, it cannot be denied that some of them had their issues to be opposed to the move. This was mainly because they would lose their grip on what they considered to be rightfully theirs. The move from artisan level to skilled labor meant that the artisans who had no special skills became redundant and were out of business. This was not easy for them to take. However, for the skilled artisans, this was a life-changing opportunity. They got elevated to better paying jobs at the factories6. They could make more money. Undoubtedly, it is very clear that with an elevated income level, a corresponding elevation of the living standards results. The artisans joined a different status in the community where they joined a higher living class. Another advantage to the skilled laborers is that they could go about their duties without much of a struggle. With the inventions of new machinery and sources of power, even the simple activities were made much simpler for them.
In a nutshell, the industrial revolution transformed the lives of the people in a wholesome way. The labor unions arose and industrial activities such as strikes became a reality. In the social front, it led to the creation of status quo base don two major classes. There were the skilled laborers who earned much and amassed a lot of wealth. On the other hand, there were the immigrants who offered cheap labor such as mining and lived in poor standards. The revolution, besides boosting the economy, also brought about a sharp divide between the haves and the have-nots in the society.
Divine, Robert A. et al. The American Story: Penguin Academics Series, Vol. 2. (5th ed.). New York, NY: Pearson, 2012).