Free Essay

Reconstruction to the Present

In: Historical Events

Submitted By tevans70
Words 1610
Pages 7
William Evans
HIS 202
Instructor Griffin
December 4, 2013
Five Most Important Historical Events from Reconstruction to the Present History 202 at York Technical College covers historical events in America from Reconstruction to the present time. During this span of time, there were many wars and conflicts, as well as political, economic, and social changes that impacted the United States. While all events in history have some impact, not all are equally as important. I feel the five most important topics discussed in this class were the Industrial Revolution, the assembly line, the New Deal, the atomic bomb, and the Civil Rights Act. The Industrial Revolution was one of the most important events in United States history. The Industrial Revolution changed the way of life for Americans as many moved from an agrarian society in rural towns to an urban society in big cities where factories were located. Industrialization led to improvements in transportation and the railroad system which allowed factories to more efficiently transport raw materials. Additionally, the expansion of the railroad system led to the expansion of the United States bringing more remote parts of the country into the national market (“Rise”). The factory system led to increased production and created more jobs, but the working conditions were less than desirable with low wages, long hours, and unsafe conditions. These conditions led to the rise of labor unions and strikes demanding better pay and safer work environments (“Economic”). This led to the passing of laws and regulations protecting employees. The factory system also created different social classes with wealthy industrialists, a prosperous middle class, and a working class. Many factory workers were immigrants looking to create a new life in the United States and this led to a more diverse society (“Rise”). Had the Industrial Revolution not taken place, the United States might have remained and agricultural society and westward expansion would have been limited. Also, there might not be any laws and regulations protecting workers and society might not be as diverse. Therefore, the Industrial Revolution played an important role in improved working conditions, expansion, and creating a diverse culture in the United States. Henry Ford’s use of the assembly line to improve production of automobiles was another significant development shaping history in the United States. Without this invention, the economic development of the United States would not be anywhere near where it is today. The assembly enabled mass production of automobiles giving Americans greater mobility than ever before. With the increase in automobiles came economic growth in the United States creating thousands of jobs and new businesses. Not only were workers needed to work on assembly lines to produces cars, but also for road construction as the government began funding highway design. The steel and oil industries also grew as a result of mass production of automobiles as materials were needed to build and fuel cars. Service stations began popping up and mechanics earned a living fixing any problems with cars, as well as selling gas and other items. As Americans increasingly purchased cars, the travel industry also grew leading to the growth of motels. Diners, drive in movies and grocery stores also became growing businesses (“The Age”).
Having the freedom to get out and do things also gave rise to the entertainment industry as more Americans had access to radio and movies. With the expansion of radio came an increase in advertising to attract consumers and eventually led to a materialistic culture. The popularity of celebrities and access to movies led to an increase in the number of movie houses that were now affordable to middle class Americans. Athletic events became another popular entertainment venue for Americans who loved baseball, boxing and college football. A negative impact of the affordable car was the access teenagers had to transportation which led to an increase in premarital sex and changing values in American culture (Griffin 2). If the assembly line had not been developed to increase production of the automobile and make it more affordable for the average American, the highway system, malls, restaurants, and other business might be non-existent in the United States today. The social life of American’s would be completely different and probably more family focused. Americans would do more at home and interact with nearby neighbors than they do today rather than always being on the go. The New Deal had a major impact on the history of the United States. The New Deal was a relief program designed to help Americans recover from the Great Depression. It created employment opportunities for minorities, started public construction projects and expanded the role of government (Griffin 1). One major accomplishment of the New Deal was the establishment of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, or FDIC. The FDIC provided insurance on bank deposits up to $5000 and placed regulations on the sale of securities on the stock exchange. The FDIC returned trust in banks encouraging Americans to once again deposit their money in banks. Therefore banks had money to lend for the expansion of industry and agriculture to create more jobs and produce more goods (Harman). The Civilian Conservation Corps, or CCC, was another program established under the New Deal. This program created job opportunities for nearly three million young men ages 18 -25 to work on conservation projects such as planting trees, maintaining forests, stocking rivers and lakes with fish, restoring historic battlefields, and clearing beaches and campgrounds (“Civilian”). Additionally, many other programs such as expanding Social Security, the Homeowners Loan Corporation and the National Labor Relations Act were implemented as part of the New Deal (“The 1930s). Had these relief and construction programs not been implemented, the Great Depression would have lasted years longer and the United States may never have recovered. Also, the government would not have as much power over the economy. If the New Deal had not been established, many of the social welfare programs in existence in the United States might not be available today and Americans would be more self-reliant. The atomic bomb changed foreign relations for the United States. While other countries had the technology to create an atomic bomb, the United States was the only one who used one. Dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki not only put an end to World War II, but also put fear in other countries as to how powerful the United States military was. This event gave the United States a role of superiority in nuclear weapons and spurred the nuclear arms race where countries were competing to build the best nuclear weapons and ultimately led to the Cold War (“The Atomic”). Had the United States not made the decision to drop the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, there would have been a long, drawn out war. Also, the United States would not have become the superpower they are today. Instead they would have been seen as weak in the eyes of other countries for not following through with the threat to drop the bombs. Finally, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had a lasting impact on American society. This was groundbreaking legislation that gave equal rights to minorities and women. This act ended segregation in public places such as schools, restaurants, theaters, parks, and hotels. It also banned employment discrimination on the basis of race, gender, sex, religion, or national origin (“Civil”). Had this legislation not passed, American society might still be segregated today. This would have caused civil unrest and possibly led to another civil war as riots would have increased in number and violence. One significant event that would not have happened without the passage of the Civil Rights Act is that President Obama would never have been elected. Many events have change American culture from Reconstruction to the present. Throughout this semester in HIS 202, I found the Industrial Revolution, the creation of the assembly line, the New Deal, the atomic bomb and the Civil Rights Act to be the five most important events or developments discussed. Each of these events had important economic, social, and political impacts on American society.

Works Cited
“Civil Rights Act”. A & E Television Networks. 2013. Web. 2 Dec 2013. Retrieved from
“Civilian Conservation Corps”. A & E Television Networks. 2013. Web. 2 Dec 2013. Retrieved from
“Economic Growth and the Early Industrial Revolution”. US 2013. Web. 2 Dec 2013. Retrieved from .
Griffin, Carol. HIS 202 Unit 2 Part 5 Great Depression and New Deal. 2013. Web. 2 Dec 2013 Retrieved from
Griffin, Carol. HIS 202 Unit 2 The 1920s. York Technical College. 2013. Web. 2 Dec 2013. Retrieved from
Harman, John. “The Great Depression and the New Deal”. Ethics of Development in a Global Environment. 1999. Web 2 Dec 2013. Retrieved from “Rise of Industrial America, 1876-1900”. Library of Congress. Web 2 Dec 2013. Retrieved from .
“The 1930s”. A & E Television Networks. 2013. Web. 2 Dec 2013. Retrieved from
“The Age of the Automobile”. US 2013. Web. 2 Dec 2013. Retrieved from
“The Atomic Bomb: Hiroshima and Nagasaki”. 2013. Web. 2 Dec 2013. Retrieved from

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