United State History
The U.S. history has demonstrated the growing role of the federal government in the modern era. From the Progressive Era when the federal government agreed to meet the demands of workers to the Great Recession of 2008, the government has been keen on offering social security to its people, based on various legislations. In the 1960s, issues of civil rights became prominent, as American people for their rights. Lyndon Johnson assumed office with an immediate priority of enhancing civil rights and reducing taxes. In 1964, Congress passed the Civil Rights Bill, which was perceived as one of the best legislation concerning civil rights since Reconstruction. The most critical thing that a government can do is to respect the will of the people while protecting them against social, political, and economic exploitation.
People’s demands resulted in several reform movements. For instance, The Freedom Singers began as a movement that was triggered by a rebellion in Greensboro in 1960 (Rose, 2007). The People’s Party, which was formed in 1971, was instrumental in pushing for minimum wage and returning of American troops back to the country. Progressives were vocal in fighting for the rights of the common person as they pushed for reform that responded to changes brought by modernization. Some of the Progressive reformers accepted that large corporations that abused their powers could not end, but the government should intervene and regulate them to protect the public interests. The New Deal involved activities by the federal government to recover from the problems that were brought by the Great Depression of the 1930s.
The Gilded Age was the best moment for Americans owing to the rapid growth of industries and higher wages. However, Gilded Age also brought abject poverty to millions of immigrants who were brought to America to get better-paying jobs. The problems that were brought by rapid economic growth led to the emergence of the Progressive Era. The Progressive reformers pushed for the reduction of working hours to eight hours per day, as well as the ending of child labor. African American were the most affected by poverty due to discrimination at work. They established civil rights movements, which they used to express their opinions (Rose, 2007). Local governments in the affected region struggled to meet people’s needs, leading to the establishment of public schools to allow children from the affected communities to benefit from free education. The economic growth of the country was affected by depressions that occurred in the nineteenth century.
The New Deal policies were programs enacted by the federal government to offer Americans social security. The policies were meant to cushion Americans from the effect of the Great Depression of 1930, where many people lost their jobs due to the closure of industries. The New Deal offered to provide jobs to the unemployed in the community. The policies were an extension of the Progressive Era ideology, which focused on the legislation of minimum wages, worker compensation, as well as the maximum hours that workers should work for in a day.
The Great Society emerged in 1964 when President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Bill after persuading Congress to pass it. The Great Society became the mantra for President Johnson to implement reform program that included tax cut, poverty program, as well as health and education programs. Johnson’s reform program resembled the New Deal ideology of offering relief to the unemployed, reforming the financial system, and establishing a recovery plan for the economy. Social progressivism was a movement that held the view that government practices should be reviewed to fit the needs of the evolving society. The movement pushed for affordable housing and education for all, which were part of the Greatest Society in fighting poverty
Decisions that were made since the start of the twentieth century have an impact in the contemporary American society because they depicted how the federal government continued to fall into the demand of the people. Although the Vietnam War marked the end of the Cold War, the war had a devastating effect on American soldiers, as well as the U.S. foreign policy (Herring, 2004). The New Deal created a political realignment, where the Democratic Party has won more presidential elections than its rival since the implementation of the policies in the 1930’s. However, the recent Great Recession, which began in 2007, resulted from excess savings, which made mortgage brokers and investment bankers to become greedy for more money (Samuelson, 2011). The federal government’s failure to regulate banks also contributed to the recession.
Although some events have repeated themselves since the twentieth century, Americans have taken significant steps in cushioning their economy, as well as respecting human rights. Various social movements in the U.S. history have helped the country to move forward through enacting legislative acts that focused on fighting poverty and enhancing civil rights. The Great Recession could have been avoided if people were not greedy for money. The government should have been keen on the regulations to ensure that its people are not exploited by rogue banks and other financial institutions.
Herring, G. C. (2004). The Cold War and Vietnam. OAH Magazine of History, 18(5), 18-21.
Rose, L. P. (2007). The Freedom Singers of the Civil Rights Movement: Music Functioning for Freedom. UPDATE: Applications Of Research In Music Education, 25(2), 59-68.
Samuelson, R. J. (2011). Rethinking the Great Recession. Wilson Quarterly, 35(1), 16-24.