The end of the civil war in 1865 was expected to bring many changes across America. The leaders had to come up with new laws and as such specific practices such as slavery were abolished. The south which was heavily reliant on slaves working on farms underwent many significant changes during that particular era. The reconstruction of the south brought many successes and failures. The first significant success of reconstruction was slaves getting freed. The abolishment of slavery throughout the nation led to the freeing of over 3 million slaves who could now reunite with their families. The freedman’s bureau was established to provide basic necessities for the slaves before they could organize themselves to start new lives (Randall, n.p). The reconstruction also led to the provision of education to all children regardless of their skin color.
Many universities that exist to date were established during the period and provided quality education to people in the region. However, not all was well during the reconstruction period. First, the economy of the south dipped tremendously because most freed slaves choose to move to the north where better opportunities existed. The few that remained were deep in debt because of the sharecropping farming method with the white plantation owners (Randall, n.p). Poverty in the area was at an all-time high. The reconstruction period also led to the emergence of racist groups such as the Kun Klux Klan. The group was opposed to freedom for blacks and often set fire to their homesteads while conducting hate campaigns aimed at discrediting the government.
The agrarian movements such as Grange, which was formed in the late nineteenth century, were aimed at fighting for the rights of farmers. Although agriculture had been the backbone of the US economy for a long time the civil war and the changing global agricultural market had significantly affected the agricultural sector. The Grange movement was established in 1867 to bring farmers together so that they could leverage for better farming practices. The campaign was a defender of farmer’s rights and soon became a political movement. During reconstruction, the sharecropping system left many farmers in a cycle of debt and led to the fall of the movement. The farmer’s alliance was another popular agrarian movement. The alliance was mainly politically motivated (Ron, 297). Farmers needed people in the government to implement changes they had yearned for so long. It introduced new market systems, processing plants, and built factories. The alliance’s political strength helped to pass many laws over the next two decades that helped revive agriculture in the nation.
The local markets in America were unable to sustain the nation, and the country saw massive potential in global markets. Imperialism was mainly founded on economic, political, geographical and cultural issues. America wanted to be a good neighbor to its neighbors and often provided financial or military support in exchange for a resource in the recipient nation. It also wanted to compete with its European counterparts who had enjoyed success through the imperialist policy. For example, the US influence in the Philippines acted as its doorway to the Asian market that was enormous. America also wanted to share its political beliefs with other nations. The country provided military support to Hawaii Island and Guam (Kiernan). The US become an imperial power through the acquisition of new territories. Its deceptive tactics in avoiding conflicts with European nations except for the Spanish-America war of 1998 further strengthened its global position. The world wars contributed heavily to the country becoming a superpower as it provided weapons and other resources to the waring countries becoming a global financial giant. The country’s foreign policy has helped it remain where it has for decades through its humanitarian and aid efforts.
Kiernan, Victor. America: From White Settlement to World Hegemony. Zed Books Ltd., 2015.
Randall, James Garfield, and David Donald. The Civil War and Reconstruction. Pickle Partners Publishing, 2016.
Ron, Ariel. “Farmers, Capitalism, and Government in the Late Nineteenth Century.” The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era 15.3 (2016): 294-309.