No doubt that America was built on these ideas but there was a constant struggle along the lines of race, color, and class. The essay will depict these fault lines. It will discuss the different event which will reveal this division
Firstly it will take the issue of race. Due to racial fault lines, African Americans have been constantly marginalized. They immigrated during the colonial period as African slaves. The importation of indentured slaves saw a constant surge. Their number increased to 70,000 by 1790 from 7000 in 1680. This set the stage for racial conflict. From that period onwards, they were treated as slaves and inferior.
In 1852, Fredrick Douglass made a speech that lambasted the instituion of slavery. At the start of his speech, he gave views related to American independence. After eulogizing America, he, then, goes on to criticize that American principles have not been extended to the African Americans. Here his criticism is not limited to anyone. It is for the whole nation that has failed to honor the promise made in the declaration of independence. He opines that the promises------- liberty, equality, and democracy made in the revolution were enjoyed by the white people. Such universal principles were not given to black people who are the prime victims of this inequality.
This shows the struggle between the two races. In the 1860s abolitionists ked the movement to end slavery. It led to civil war and in the end led to the end of slavery. In January 1865, the amendment abolishing the institution of bondage in the United States was proposed in congress. Congress ratified the amendment in December 1865, thus formally abolishing the institution of slavery. The reconstruction was the period when measures were enacted to address the problem of racial inequality. The southern states introduced Black codes in 1865 and 1866 to strip the availability of opportunities for the Blacks. In the northern states, the black codes were viewed as an effort to offset the effects of the 13th amendment and allow the remnants of pre-war slavery to continue and entrench themselves. To counter these effects, other laws were passed to tilt the balance in favor of the black race. The civil right act was enacted in 1871. It has a special purpose to fight against the Ku Klux klan. Grant, the president of America, employed this to undermine and destroy the Ku Klux klan, which saw its resurgence and revival at the end of the 20th century. Similarly, the article also mentioned that enforcement acts were passed. These were passed in 1870-71 by the central government to guarantee that black people can hold offices and can enjoy security and protection under the law. As demonstrations were held to hamper African Americans to vote. The acts were passed to ensure that such blacks cast their vote safely.
The situation does not stop here. The division continued as Jim Crow laws were passed. Its purpose was to keep Americans from attaining equality and become equal citizens. no doubt that the institution of slavery was ended but the division was there.
In the second half of the 20th century, the division became more prominent. In this instance, the brown vs board of education was very important. In 1954, the court pronounced separation in government-funded schools as invalid and void. The appointed authority pronounced that a choice ought to be made on the assumption that isolation has a hindering impact on training or not. It may very well be said that the choice and assessment introduced for this situation were of groundbreaking incentive for American culture. The court has suitably contended that isolation was an indication of disparity winning in the public arena. On the off chance that it has proceeded, it has verily kept down America from gaining ground. As ethnic minorities comprise a significant part of the American populace, the continuation of this approach would imply that most individuals are kept away from understanding their maximum capacity and adding to the public turn of events. Isolation was subverting their schooling and this has an immediate effect on the public turn of events. To guarantee that training ought to be made comprehensive and accessible for all, this choice was incredibly fundamental.
The Second movement that has played an important role to further the cause of racial equality was the civil rights movement that was started in the 1950s. The civil rights movement was an array of movements that sought an end of oppression for African Americas, end of segregation, racial equality.
The system of racism has enslaved all of America'' and reflects the systematization, structuralization, and institutionalization of racism in the USA. It stipulates that the racist mindset has made inroads in every department and aspect of American life. It also depicts that prevailing xenophobia has engulfed the whole country and hampering its progress. Due to prevailing discrimination, conflicts are becoming rapid around the country. For instance, the recent case of George Floyd who was murdered by a policeman by strangling his neck for nine minutes. The murder shows how racism has entrenched itself in that fundamental concept of humanity is often overlooked. The entrenched racism has pitted people against each other leading to a spate of conflicts and fights. The rise of white terrorism, in recent years, shows how overall America is scared by this wave of bigotry and hate. The murder of minority communities has created deep rifts in American society, which affect the whole country in one form or another. The xenophobic ideology that was initially used against African Americans has enveloped the whole nation. Now, black people are not the only subject of this racist violence, rather it has expanded to other communities, undermining American notions of liberty, equality, and democracy. Today, Hispanic communities confront many problems to get assimilated and the main reason is the racism faced by them.
As with race, the division exists along gender lines. Women were oppressed and subjugated. The struggle began with the start of the Seneca convention in 1848. It can be portrayed as a gender revolution. Gender revolution also has different phases in which it has evolved to become a more comprehensive concept. For instance, the first wave of gender revolution further women's right to voting. The second wave emphasized the notion of women itself, what it entails and what it has been supposed to perform in the patriarchal social order.
The gendered division gained new momentum in the progressive era. In this era, women also came at the forefront due to the space created by activism. Secondly, the marginalization and subordination of women was the most important factor for the suffragist movement to initiate. It was deemed that women have no right to participate in the public space and the primary duty of the women is to be responsible for household chores. As a result, women were not given education and were denied their socio-politico rights. For instance, in 1860 only two percent of the women were doctors while the majority of the women were limited to household chores even those who have got an education. So, this decades-long marginalization was engendering the seething anger. As a result, it resulted in the suffragist movement.
The movement has evolved over the years in certain phases and changed its tactics to further its causes. The first phase of the movement started with the Seneca falls convention held in New York in 1848. In this phase, mostly conventions were held which apprised the women of their rights. This phase did not entail any mass campaign to further the rights of women.
The next phase of the movement started in 1860 which saw the emergence of organizations to further women’s right to vote. For instance, the National Woman's Suffrage Association was formed in 1869 by Susan B. Anthony and Cady Stanton. Similarly, the American Woman Suffrage Association was formed by Lucy Stone. As the black men were granted voting rights, this encouraged women to form organizations and engage in activism. In this phase, the activism was started to fight for the right to vote but was irregular and does not reflect a coordinated effort on the part of the women.
The third phase of the movement started in the 1890s and this phase was actually the key phase that played a major role in granting women the right to vote. In the third phase of evolution, the tactics were revisited. The two organizations of women's suffrage united to present a joint platform and coordinate their efforts. Another new turn in the movement was the increased activism on part of the women to fight for their rights. Here, the progressive era also played an important role to further the cause of the suffragist movement. The strikes by women workers and their bold attitude created a space for the cause of women in society.
The fourth phase was a short one but it saw the materialization of the women’s right to vote. The contribution of women in world war one changed the attitudes related to women and helped to change the perceptions which assisted their political cause.
In the end, the house of representative and senate passed the 19th amendment in 1918 and 1919 respectively. Here, the mass campaign was initiated for the ratification of the amendment by two-thirds of the state. On 26 August 1920, the amendment was officially ratified.
The gender divisions took a particular turn after the second half of the 2oth century. It was due to the sexual revolution of the 60s era. Firstly, the sexual revolution changed the entrenched beliefs about sex. The sex has been liberalized where partners willing to do sex were given leeway. The sex has been deregulated. Women were allowed to express their sexual satisfaction and jettison the notions of sexual passivity. Women now entered marriage with greater sexual confidence and if this did not satisfy their demands, they were allowed to divorce. Dating has become more common and couples were to date before marriage. Moreover, the literature that was spurred during this era also contributed to sexual awareness. The sexual behavior became more or less equal as it allowed both men and women to freely and openly express their sexual desires. The wearing of bold dresses and openly adopting nudity also changed the sexual behaviors. Apart from changing sexual behaviors, it also engendered a change in society’s beliefs related to sex. Previously, sex was deemed as a private affair that began to change. The openness of sex also spurred a debate that transformed the deeply held belief that sex should not be discussed. As a result, sexual awareness began to emerge and sex became a topic that should be debated and explored. Moreover, it also changes the belief that men only can have extra-marital affairs. Previously, the sexual attitude of women was stringently regulated and it was deemed highly despicable for women to have an extra-marital affair. Nonetheless, the situation changed after the revolutions. Society began to see women’s sexual desire and gave regard to them. It was deemed appropriate for women to express their sexual desire and can have sexual relations with more than one man. Furthermore, society began to accept the concept of nudity and separated it from the traditional concept. The rejection of bra and wearing of skirts has become a common spectacle. Gradually, society began to accept this transformation which vitiated the obsolete views of sex.
American history is also mired by the class divisions. The division is mostly generated due to the struggle between capitalists and workers. Firstly the class division manifested In the form of the American revolution. For instance, it was deemed as the struggle between the ruling class in colonial America with that of British America. Here the opinion of Thomas Paine can be articulated to reveal this struggle. Thomas Paine then goes on to expand on the principle of representative government. Here he uses an analogy to say that some people are placed on an island and they develop ties with them and rule the faraway nation. These lawmakers have no ties with the people whom they are governing. Here he says that people will be more satisfied if they have a say or participate in the formulation of rules that are enacted to govern them. These ideas also reflect the modern ideas of democracy, liberty, and equality. His primary argument was that people should be aware of and have the freedom to decide the laws that govern them. By doing so, the rulers who are placed on the faraway island will also develop working and strong relationships with the masses. Here, his ideas were enlightened in two ways. Firstly he argued for a government that should be based on the will of the people. secondly. He put forward his notion of liberty by arguing that people should have the freedom to participate in the formulation of the laws. This shows that the struggle was two-pronged. It was the struggle of ideas and economical interests between the two classes.
After independence, the class struggle was between capitalists who were keen to pursue their interests and the working class who were keen to curb the exploitation. This class struggle manifested In many periods. In the 19th century, many struggles and strikes were carried out by workers against the transgressions of workers. For example, the great railroad strike of 1877 points to this class struggle in America. Similarly, many leaders have espoused socialism and endeavored towards it reflecting the class struggle. The most prominent of them in the late 18th and early 19th century were Booker T. Washington and W.E.B Du Bois. Later, Bois's ideas became more radical as he asserted capitalism was the root cause of racism and became interested in Communism.
The class struggle that was always present took a turn after the great depression. After the great depression, America as a nation felt threatened by socialism and communism. Due to the great depression, the appeal of socialism increased and people were keener to join this. Consequently, America also changed its economic model to prevent people from gaining adherence to socialist ideas. This reflects the class struggle in American history where one was keen to protect and further its interest whereas the second class was eager to win its rights.
The above discussion has explored American history concerning division in the race, gender, and class perspective. It has shown these divisions by giving examples from history in the form of people and their views and indifferent form of struggle.References:
- American History: The Civil War and Reconstruction: Amendments, Acts, and Codes of Reconstruction.”
- HAUCH, G. (n.d.). Gender and revolution in Europe, 19th-20th centuries.
- Escoffier, J. (2021, February). Sexual Revolution.
- Women's suffrage.”
- “1776: Paine, Common Sense (Pamphlet).”