Fairooz Abdullah Simlan1001403147
After the Civil war, North and South America had very different prospects. Their political and economic status were based on different ideas. The South flourished from the slave labor and was depended on slavery and agriculture. The North improved industrially and was less dependent on the business in the rural. By the early 19th century North became the financial center of America. Machines were starting to replace hand labor and new business was starting everywhere, soon there was a change in the industry of America. People were moving to cities in search of jobs. There was a clear difference between the rich and poor which was visible at that time. Widespread discontent was led by the difference in wealth and several new reform movements were stirred by this. That period was known as the rise of the big business. The poor suffered and the rich made more money as the value of living increased.
The business sector was led due to the want to make and use new things. The need for produced goods increased with the growing population, and this caused the creation and development of new products. After the Civil war, America had an abundance of natural resources. The new machines in the factories were powered by water. Railway became a major transportation system in the 1800’s. America had the worlds first transcontinental railway system. Raw materials could be transported by companies to and from the factories. Mail-delivery system was also taken over by the railway in the form of stagecoach. The railway owners were highly profited by this. The business options increased and opened opportunities to make financial investments. By making investments the rich could make more money and become richer. The middle class had a satisfactory life with their own small business and living in their own house in a suburban city. People working in factories, mills and mines were the underprivileged. Their wages for each hour of work was so low that it was not even enough to buy food and there were no work place benefits as well. Industrialization caused farmers to suffer as well. Most farmers had increased production due to the improved farming equipment and techniques. Increased food production meant the prices went down which was a loss for the farmers as they were not making enough money from their crops and there were even times when they would be in debt to the bank.
Reformation in America caused people want to reduce poverty, improve living conditions of the poor and regulate huge companies. This was done to end the corrupted government and have a government which would come forward to the need of its people and be responsible towards them. Though there were attempts to organize laborers and farmers, none of the attempts were flawless. Knights of laborer was one of the first attempts. To begin with, there was never a constructive idea of how the organization would be run and thus due to poor management the organization lost its credibility. American Federation of Labor (AFL) was formed by skilled laborers and was led by Samuel Gompers. This was mainly formed so that the laborers were paid better and there working conditions were improved. Though it was not popular among its members, the eight hours long working hours was considered ideal by them. In 1893, during economic depression, Pullman Palace Car Company, a manufacturer of railroad cars, lowered the already low hourly pay of their workers. Since there living cost was the same, most of the workers were unable to afford their homes and thus were evicted and things even got that bad that they could not even afford food for their family. The workers representative tried to talk to the company’s president about the sufferings of the workers, but the president refused to talk to them and later fired the representatives on trying to do so. The workers decided to leave with their representatives and this caused work to stop. When the American Railway Union (ARU) heard about it, they said that Pullman railway cars were not allowed until the workers were rehired and paid enough. All railway industries joined together to boycott Pullman. As the number of people joining the cause increased, the government started worrying since the railway carried federal mail. To confront the mob, federal troops were sent. The troops killed some people and wounded some more. The workers were furious to find out that the government was acting against them. Where there were troops trying to make the train moving, the protesters destroyed about hundreds of railcars. Sympathy towards the Pullman workers was lost due to their violent behavior. Everything gradually went back to normal and the trains started to move as new nonunion workers were hired.
In the North and south the Democrats and republicans were the strongest parties and for votes they would do small favors. Business interests were favored by most political leaders so that they would be financially helped. At that time the government was corrupted. After Ulysses Samuel Grant came in 1869, he brought in a lot of people he knew in official government positions. They were infamous for getting financial gain from corruption. In the local and state government, corruption was widespread. They made it easier for big business owners who later compensated by paying off the politicians. Andrew Carnegie was a man who had a humble background. He soon became one of the most influential people in America after he began working in a textile factory. He was one of the few people who went from “rags to riches”. While the rich got richer and richer, the poor were the ones who were suffering the most. Poverty struck the middle class as well. The difference in their financial status widened the gap between the classes. Carnegie, being a believer in giving back, spent millions for the development of society and for the people of his country.
The minorities and the immigrants had to suffer the most. African-Americans were not respected or provided with equal rights. The Indians were tried to be whitewashes by separating them and placing them in white communities so that they could be “Americanized”. They called it welcoming the Indians to their community, but they intended to do was to separate the Indians from their tribes. Ku Klux Klan was a racist white supremacy terrorist group which rose after the civil war. They did not want the dismantling of slavery and tried their best to overthrow uprising Republican state government in the south. After the 1aws to punish Klansmen for their crimes were passed around the 1870s, they started to decline. However, their primary purpose was fulfilled as the racial hierarchy was satisfied because they believed white Americans were better than African Americans and they had achieved segregation amongst the whites and the African Americans.
Socialists and photographers were the voice of the people after the Civil War when the underprivileged suffered and the government was corrupt. In their speech and art, the harsh lifestyles were brought forward. Attempts to provide better services for the public was taken; Americans were getting into modern medicine. Hospitals and fire brigades were implemented in the North. Though they were not a perfect medium of service for the civilians then, but it was a start