History of the United States from 1877 to 1917: Industrial Revolution
There are five important things that every American citizen needs to know about the time period from 1877 to 1917:
#5. The 1896 Presidential elections in which William McKinley was elected, marked one of the most important elections of the 19th century since the beginning and the end of Civil War when Abraham Lincoln was the President.
The 1896 elections were highly symbolic in that the victory of McKinley also meant victory for the urban middle-class over the agrarian interests of the West and South. The signing of the Gold Standard Act by McKinley eliminated the economic danger posed by the idea of free silver ...view middle of the document...
& W.E.B). A good example is Martin Luther King Jr. However, his idea of conformity largely served to justify the inequality and segregation that the whites were perpetuating against the blacks. Most evident to me is his speech in 1895 which came to be referred to as the Atlanta “Compromise” Speech. This speech was followed by the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Plessy v. Furgeson case that “separate, but equal” was constitutional (Velm 188).
This ruling was only pronounced unconstitutional 60 years later in the Brown v. Board of Education case (Scheb and Stephens 490). However, this does not imply that the cause of this long duration between segregation and integration was Booker T. Washington; rather, it was not of much help for a black leader to support conformity and segregation at a time when blacks were desperate to achieve integration and equal rights. Nevertheless, his ideas of education and peace were good and contributed in a significant way to the success of Civil Rights movements of the 1960’s (Booker T. & W.E.B).
#3. Large corporations and businesses and not politicians, takes control over America following the rise of the railroad industry.
The railroad industry saw a period of remarkable growth and served as the engine that fuelled the economy during this period of industrial revolution. However, corrupt practices riddled the industry amidst the huge profits from the business. Government regulation did not halt corrupt practices as railroaders used even unethical means to obtain huge profits. For instance, the officials who formed the construction company; Crédit Mobilier, awarded themselves with enormous rates as they worked for the same company as contractors upon hiring themselves. They used these unethical means to accumulate huge profits (The Gilded Age & the Progressive Era (1877–1917)).
Investigations into this scandal revealed that several U.S Congressmen were involved in receiving bribes from the company’s officials in order to conceal these corrupt practices. Railroads also sold their stocks at inflated prices besides awarding favoured companies with non-competitive rebates. In Wabash case, the ruling of the Supreme Court favoured corrupt railroads. This led to the passing of Interstate Commerce Act by the Congress in 1887 in order to protect consumers and farmers from unfair business practices (The Gilded Age & the Progressive Era (1877–1917)). These events show that in the absence of effective government regulation, it paves way for monopolies that are exploitative. Though much has been done to regulate big corporations, their influence in today’s politics is still evident.
#2. Banking reform is one of the most important...