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The American Horizon Volume II

Jun 4, 2020 at History Essays

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The American Horizon Volume II is a unique storyline of the United States of America. It is one of the rare books that provide the history of the US in a chronological order. However, this book also provides a balanced history of the state from a global context. The history of America is clear from the authors’ point of view. The author uses migration of people, different ideas, and things to produce a masterpiece of history of the US. In this book, the expertise and specialty-based knowledge are combined to provide a perfect representation of America. The book is divided into chapters. Each chapter unravels facts, based on proofs, about American history. From this, a researcher may be able to draw various conclusions about different periods in American History (Schaller et al. 997).

As stated in the previous paragraph, the book covers various aspects of American history. It is possible to draw conclusions about historical events from the book. Just by reading The American Horizon Volume II, a reader gets a grasp of what has been taking place in America. The knowledge can be used to explain the events occurring in the current US. The book covers the topic of the Reconstruction of America in chapter 15. It also covers the topic of industrialization in chapter 17. The topic is further expounded in chapter 18. In this chapter, a reader gets to understand the effects of industrialization in America. The book also includes a history of the development of the women's movement and social reform. Furthermore, the book also talks about age of progressive reforms in chapter 20. The aim of this writing is to give a historical account of these historical eras (Schaller et al. 1000).

Reconstructing America

Chapter 15 of The American Horizon Volume II covers the period of reconstruction in America. The era of reconstruction is estimated to have been between 1865 and 1877. This part of the writing is aimed at analyzing this chapter. The other objective is to argue that the era of reconstruction was characterized by various successes and failures. In other words, the reconstruction of the US was neither a total success nor failure. In the chapter, various proofs of reconstruction of America are cited. Visual documents such as letters dated to the era are also present. Examples of such documents are a letter written by Jourdon Anderson in 1865. Another is an excerpt from American Reconstruction, written by Johnson in 1868 (Schaller et al. 1011).

The term reconstruction of America can be interpreted in two senses. First, it could mean the transformation that characterized the southern part of the US between 1863 and 1877. On the other hand, it could cover the history of the entire state between 1865 and 1877. The reconstruction of America took place after the American civil war. After the civil war, various attempts were made to redress various inequalities. The reconstruction was also aimed at readmission of the coming together of the 11 states that had united before or during the outbreak of the civil war. Reconstruction has for long been seen as the rise of black supremacy. However, since the 20th century, the word had been assigned a different meaning. Since the 20th century, the word describes the attempt to achieve interracial democracy. The reconstruction proceeded to touch the politics of the US. New laws and amendments were made to change the definition of citizenship in America. In South America, black communities joined hands with white allies. For example, they worked together to form and vote in the Republican Party. Reconstruction was thus the redefinition of government and its responsibilities (Schaller et al. 1011).

The origin of reconstruction took place in 1863. The debate over matters of reconstruction began during the Civil War. In December 1863, President Abraham Lincoln announced the first program for reconstruction. April 9, 1865, was the date that civil war ended. Some of the success of the reconstruction was the attempt to abolish the slavery in 1865. Andrew Johnson, the Vice president to Abraham Lincoln announced the plan for reconstruction. This was after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, a week after the end of Civil War. He had asked the Southern state to vow loyalty and abolition of the slave trade before it was re-admitted to the Nation.


The failures of the reconstruction were numerous. For example, other states including Mississippi refused to adopt full civil rights to African-Americans. Other states also adopted their own versions of reconstruction. Restrictive Act was enacted that was offensive to the African-Americans. The Act not only resembled the old system of slavery but also encouraged forced labor (Schaller et al. 1014).

However, success was also witnessed. For example, one of the successes of the reconstruction was the formation of the bureau that catered for the need of refugees. The bureau also catered for the needs of abandoned lands and freedmen. The bureau was aimed at providing assistance, such as health services and education. The bureau was enacted on March 3, 1865. This program was admitted under the department of war. In addition to this, Congress also passed the Fourteenth Amendment. This was designed to provide civil freedom and citizenship to the slaves who were freed (Schaller et al. 1011).

Congress passed the first reconstruction act on March 2, 1867. This was characterized by the carving out of five military districts from the south. In this era, black males were allowed to vote. However, the black were still not accorded full citizenship rights as the women were barred from civil responsibilities. Nonetheless, by the end of the civil war, more than 100 African Americans held the official office (Schaller et al. 1011).

Industrialization in the US

The order of Industrialization in America can be traced back to 1877. The era lasted for about a century. The American Horizon Volume II features this era in chapter 17. In the book, a reader can note various factual insights that shed light on the causes and implications of industrialization in America. In the book, we see visual documents such as advertisements of the sewing machines. The authors also shed light on child labor that was widely practiced in that era. It follows what is necessary to study the account of industrialization in the US. Nonetheless, its social implication ought not to be left behind (Schaller et al. 1017).

Industrial revolution in the US was characterized by the production of goods. In the era, goods were produced at homes and factories. It all started with goods produced by hand. However, by the end of industrialization period, various machines had been invented. These machines were used to aid the bulky production of goods. Other changes were seen in the transport and communication sector. These changes transformed the lives of Americans to a high extent. Changes in the communication sector include the production of print materials. This is clear in American Horizon Volume II. The book features this era in chapter 17, where the authors cite ‘New England Magazine’ in 1893 (Schaller et al. 1011).

Industrialization in the US was triggered near the end of the eighteenth century. This was when Samuel Slater established a cotton mill in the US. The manufacturing technology had been adopted from Britain. After this, many other mills sprung. In the next few decades, factories were powered by water. Industrialization started from the Northeast of the US and spread all over the US. This called for the development of transport. For example, the increased industrialization in the north posed the need for railroads and canals as the means of transport. These were used to carry goods from and to the northeast. This also encouraged trade and technological innovation in the nineteenth century (Schaller et al. 1012).

Some of the technological advancements include the invention steam-boat, telegraph, and sewing machine. After the Civil War, the phase of industrialization increased. This period was named the Second Industrial Revolution. In 1869, the first railroad that traversed the whole continent was completed. This made it easy to transport raw materials, people, and products.

Various social changes accompanied industrial revolution in the US. For example, by the end of 1900, over 18,000,000 immigrants made their way to the US to seek employment. Multiple of factories, including a steel mill, had been established. Over 4,000,000 Americans left their personal means of making a living and joined industrial workforce (Schaller et al. 1014). This included many women and even children. Child labor had become rampant by 1880. In addition, people were exposed to dangerous working conditions. This included long working hours. After the Civil War, workers organized themselves to protest against these issues. By 1892, Industrialization had encouraged rural urban migration in the US. This paved way to the development of slums (Schaller et al. 1014).

The Development of the Women's Movement and Social Reform

The women’s movement was necessary, as women wanted to acquire equal status to men. They needed to have social, economic, and political empowerment. The movements were further triggered by the need to establish legislative protection against discrimination based on sex. The movement was characterized by a series of conventions, for example, ‘The Seneca Falls Convention’ in 1848. The women’s right movement was formalized by the publication and release of ‘Declaration of Sentiments’ in 1848. In the document, series of political, social, and economic grievances were listed to show that the position of women had been diminished. At that time, women were not allowed to own property. They were even paid less than men when it came to employment (Schaller et al. 1020).

However, the first feminist publication was noted in 1792. This document had been written by Mary Wollstonecraft who was a women activist in Britain. Towards the middle of the 19th century, various women organizations had been formed. These organizations had been formed to promote women’s suffrage. An example of these organizations is the National Women Suffrage Association (NWSA) in 1890. Another one was the American Women Suffrage Association (AWSA) formed in 1900 (Schaller et al. 1020).

Various social reforms followed women activism. For example, in 1878, Susan B. wrote and submitted a proposal that women should be allowed to vote. In 1890, Wyoming was made the first state of women suffrage. These movements attracted many wealthy and educated women. This resulted in increased funding and political professionalism in the movement. The campaign also attracted numerous demonstrations and parades in main cities. The movement also paved way for Anthony Amendment. The amendment was corrected as the 19th amendment and became law in 1920 (Schaller et al. 1019).

The Progressive Movement in the US

The Progressive Movement in the US was notable between 1900 and 1918. The American Horizon Volume II covers the era in chapter 20. In the chapter, various historical captions are included. This includes historical excerpts, such as Helen Keller’s ‘Strike against War’ in 1961. The beginning of the 20th century was the onset of the transformation of the association between the people of the US and their democratic government (Schaller et al. 1021).


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The outstanding results of the era were the 19th and 18th Amendments. These were women's suffrage and prohibition. However, these reforms come at the end of the era of progressive reforms. The reforms were the by-products of various political and social changes that changed the relation of the state with the citizens of America. The changes transformed the expectations of the government to the people (Schaller et al. 1023).

One of the social changes in the era was the transformation of the US into an urban state. Big organizations became the controllers of the country’s economy. Furthermore, the population of immigrants increased, as many Jews and Russians flocked the industrial areas by 1892. This caused the mushrooming of slums and reduced wages. Furthermore, party leaders took advantage of desperation and ignorance of the newcomers to benefit their parties. For this reason, progressives began first as a social movement, and the letter turned into a political movement. The movement was started by the rejection of Social Darwinism by the middle-class. They believed that problems such as racism, poverty, greed, class warfare, and racism could be solved (Schaller et al. 1024).

According to them, these could be solved by providing a safe environment, good education, and comfortable workplace environment. Progressives believed that the government could be used as a tool for change. Social reformers and journalists, such as Jacob Riis became the voice behind progressivism in 1917. They compelled Americans to understand the meaning of democracy. They also exposed the evil of corporate greed and combated the fear of immigrants (Schaller et al. 1024).


Leaders encouraged people to register to vote and stand against corruption. The need for people to decide on how issues should be addressed was stressed. Progressivism made its way to the national level when Theodore Roosevelt became the head of state in 1910. However, progressivism came to its end in World War I. Since the war exposed Americans to cruelty to an extent that progressive language was associated with the war (Schaller et al. 1027).

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