America experienced various reforms and developments in periods between the Reconstruction and World War II in which it became urbanized, highly populated and with changes in the economy, works, culture and political views. These changes influenced American ideas of federal government’s roles as discussed.
All Americans needed protection, respect and freedom thus; the federal government had to confirm that states appreciated civil and political rights of all citizens and, reunite Americans from the social, political and economic destructions that resulted from the civil war. The federal government’s role in reconstruction period was to maintain a biracial and democratic government that was established because of slavery destruction at the end of civil war. The Civil war left around 620,000 dead participants, unlike the previous wars whose life destruction averaged a half the number. During the war, societies fought against themselves, and slavery became rampant. Due to the civil war’s effects, the government in reconstruction period desired to lead the world in showing human liberty and the achievement of this was through ending slavery and promoting political democracy.
The gilded age followed Reconstruction era and its government lacked influential and appealing presidents thus resulting to raised poverty among the American Indians, a greedy society with several scandals and a corrupt government. However, this is the period that United States economy, population, and territory grew uniquely due to the federal government’s role to integrate the West into America for social and economic imitation of the North. Major changes happened on the land redistribution from the American Indians to native American farmers and railroad corporations. This resulted in high rates of American immigration, developments of agriculture, commerce sectors and industries, reconstruction and expansion of railways, and social and political changes in America. Integration of the west Europe enabled United States’ economy to grow faster than the West European’s countries because of its ability to access other world economies. The federal government also allowed immigrants both from Europe and from China in large quantities to work as free laborers on farms, and on railroads thus highly contributing to an improved American’s Economy and Demography.
Americans experienced capitalism-related problems such as tax hikes, hindrances to international trade and lack of government funds in the great depression era. In eras before the great depression, the federal governments had little concern for the citizensт welfare thus leading to high rates of unemployment and hunger during the great depression. The citizens did not view financial support as a federal government’s role until when President Roosevelt’s policies begun the federal government’s social welfare systems. The president’s policies highly improved living standards through increased employments, improved federal housing, protection and fair markets. For example, federal emergency relief administration offered $500M to states for reliefs, and later promotion of employment achieved through labor unions. President Roosevelt through the federal government managed to end some of the problems experienced during this period.
Despite the changes experienced in America, restrictions on freedom, rights and opportunities to the American citizens were evident in various eras between Reconstruction and World War II based on social and political groupings as discussed in the following paragraphs.
Race became a boundary of freedom to former slaves in 1865 when President Johnson enacted the notorious Black Codes laws that restricted the rights of the former slaves into becoming forced reliant plantation laborers, a factor that led to interference of federal system and nature of American citizenship by the Republican Congress in 1866. Race determined an American citizen’s qualification for voting until the fifth constitutional amendment that prohibited race as a voting qualification. In 1870s race again became a voting restriction for American immigrants and blacks in order to monitor corruption in America, promote political principles and to banish citizens who could not meet the requirements of Republican politics.
Gender inhibited full access of freedom and rights to some Americans. For example, African American men could neither vote nor hold offices during the reconstruction era until in 1867 when those in defeated Southern Union were permitted to vote and hold administrative centers. The gender factor limited women from accessing some job opportunities such as getting into the U.S military because they would face threats and highly criticized. In World War II, women were incorporated in the military in a large quantity for the first time in America thus being able to advocate for women’s civil rights through movements. President Roosevelt became significant in U.S by creating war manpower commission that encouraged women to join war careers.
Eras before the end of World War II war marked with social class differences in America, which highly determined the ability of the individuals to access their freedom. Racial differences became the leading cause of class differences. The whites had the highest class and had access to all freedom. Minorities had low social classes thus had limitations in some of their freedom, for example, African Americans subjected to slavery could not access their rights and freedom until the end of civil war when they attained a second-class citizenship. The second class citizenship allows access to limited freedom opportunities unlike members of first class citizenship. Minorities had unequal opportunities in the government, jobs and ownership of property with the whites.