Era of American Reforms essay
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The Enlightenment was very important part of the history. It determined nearly all parts of social life of old America. The biggest influence was in religious, governmental and political spheres. The Enlightenment ideas and beliefs centralized the United States. It led the country to something different as new visions of life formed the country for its future changes. Before and after the civil war the most of the ideas of the Enlightenment became the basics for further democratic tracts (the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence). They stood for new concepts of natural rights, freedom from oppression. The Enlightenment followers planted new seeds in minds of simple people. They introduced new structure of the government, and explained what governors should be like. The ideas were modern and fresh for pre-revolutionary and modern America. The impact of The Enlightenment did not even miss religious life bringing many refreshing changes into it. Thomas Jefferson was honorable representative of the movement.
Nevertheless, after the American Revolution many of the Enlightenment dimmed. New British taxes became the last straw which pushed people to The Revolution. They demanded more money to cover their war expenses abroad. Before there were only taxes meant to support local governmental projects. Many people still laugh at the tea taxes, the Stamp Tax, which, obviously, the society did not welcome. People wanted changes; they wished to have their own government, which would serve only to their needs, but not other country’s needs. Most of the new ideas based on the Enlightenment principles. The revolution took place in a while. Every household discussed the new ideas of the natural rights. The ideas were very progressive and natural for quickly developing society. However, British governors stood against changes. It became clear that reforms were the necessity, and the new government needed to protect progressive ideas.
The beginning of the whole movement started with the Declaration of Independence. It promised freedoms to every citizen of the United States; it guaranteed each man a right to represent his community himself in the government after the voting of the members of the community. It is clear the Enlightenment philosophy made huge influence on the development of the country. Of course, the revolution was a must. Though no one can say for sure, how it would be, if America remained the colony of the United Kingdom.
At the beginning of the 19th century, American social life went through many transformations. The development was so furious that it did not pass unnoticed by anyone in the country. Everybody felt its influence, which was not always positive. The economy went up. The exploration of the new territories began. There were major changes in politics, religion. It was the beginning of first reforms and labor movements. There was urban and industrial development, and improvement of infrastructure. Even women obtained some rights. All the changes required new order, which lead to a Civil War.
For some period of time before the Civil War, the North and the South went their own ways in development. There were two times more people living in the North than there were in the South. There were more cities in the South which grew all the time demanding and attracting new work forces from other countries. The economy looked stronger and diverse in commercial, agricultural, financial, manufacture, and transport spheres. On the contrary, there were few little cities in the South and one third of all population were slaves involved mostly in agriculture. The slavery slowed industrial development of the cities of the South. New technologies were not much welcomed. However, it did not prevent the South from gaining wealth, and its economy part grew either. It may look surprising, but those who did not wish to change their lives invested much in the Industrial Revolution of the country in the North to service southern agriculture. As the Northern part began to be more democratic, there still was present an old order in the South which reminded the feudal times. There were few extremely powerful landowners who were laws and rights for other people. Of course, they would not will to share their influences and lose anything. Some smaller farmers, who had couple slaves in their farms, followed them. At the end of this chain were white people who had no land in their possession.
Such huge differences in the life styles of two parts of the US restrained the country from applying new reforms without involving itself in the war. If the South would be so conservative they may do it without wasting any life.