American History since 1877
Racial Conflict in the South and the West
Concerning ethnic conflict in the West and South, all involved individuals were segregated based on race; the main dissimilarities were how long and why. The struggle started with slavery in the south and worked its way to the Native Americans; it would spread further to the west with immigrants, including Chinese, Latinos, and Japanese. Therefore, although the racial conflict in the south was linked, the Native Americans also suffered when the vice pushed west.
As an illustration, the black community, after the civil war, was presumed to be regarded as “free.” However, the mentioned word only meant something for those who resided in the north. In the south, the black community was still fighting for their rights, which would persist for years to come. The blacks were struggling both in the West and South to get away from the stigma of being freed slaves. They aspired for economic independence, pursue education, and become full citizens (Turner and Cabbell 94). Based on the Jim Crow laws in the south, although they were able to continue their aspirations, they were to attain them without interfering with the white community. Meanwhile, the blacks in the west that migrated worked on the railroad worked in the mines, became cowboys, established all-black communities (including Kansas, Oklahoma and Nicodemus, and Langston), a few even set up their ranches.
Another group that was mistreated was Native Americans. As part of a Greater Reconstruction, the Congress persisted in pursuing a version of reform in the west. The redistribution of land was on a massive scale and was the focus of change. As such, the government had to subdue American Indians to distribute the land. Land allotment joined with the suppression of native religions and establishment of Indian schools were aimed at individualizing Indians and assimilating them into American society (White). Consequently, the tribes lost much of their remaining land, and their population declined precipitously.
Depression Experiences of Mexican-and-African-Americans
In the course of the great depression, the Mexican, as well as African Americans, experienced similar issues. Nonetheless, in the end, the Mexican-Americans appeared to have fared a little better. The social and economic impacts of the event devastated the many Mexican-American families. There is an extensive history in the US of accepting Mexican laborers when they are required for cheap labor, and they are often deported when the economic circumstances are more precarious to open jobs for Americans (Balderrama et al. 3). Therefore, the scarcity of jobs in the course of the depression led to over a million people of Mexican descent were deported to Mexico.
However, it is evident that few, including the Mexican-Americans, suffered more than African-Americans during the great depression. Based on the “last hired, first fired” notion, the African-Americans experienced the rate of unemployment and were the first to see hours and jobs cut (Klein). The African-Americans worked majorly in unskilled jobs before the great depression. During the recession, those low-paying, entry-jobs either vanished or were filled by whites in need of employment.
The point then is that by being the first to be laid off from their jobs, the rate of unemployment for African-Americans was two to three times that of the whites. Furthermore, compared to the whites, the African-Americans received considerably less aid in the early public assistance programs; likewise, the blacks were excluded from soup kitchens by some charitable organizations.
How the War Changed the Attitudes of Minorities and Women toward their Status in American Society
The perception of women and other minorities on their status in society changed drastically in the course of WWII. The minorities and women took on new roles that opened their eyes to a way of life that is more fruitful; the minority received equality while for women, it was a life outside the domestic home.
Women had played a domestic role in life before the war; they tended to their children and homes. There was a need for the fulfillment of many different purposes when the war kicked off; women were not readily accepted in the army in an era where there was a prevalence of inequality between sexes. There was an influx of women volunteers when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a bill into law that launched the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC). Notably, 150,000 women were by the end of the war serving in the WAAC. They proved to be very resourceful; some worked as electricians, mechanics, engineers, researchers, typists, and clerks (Cott 358). As such, the army would have crippled without their service since they served as the backbone of the military.
Additionally, women and many American minorities gained a psychological and economic boost from WWII. President D. Franklin’s desire to counter Axis propaganda and the needs of defense industries opened high-paying and skilled jobs to people who had never had a chance at them before (Takaki 24). The soldiers and minority workers made unprecedented contact with whites as well as other minorities. Once enjoyed, the feelings of belonging and self-confidence were not easily relinquished.
The decision of Roe v. Wade
Despite being the most recognized case in Supreme Court history, the instance of Roe v. Wade is considered the most controversial. The law had banned abortion before the case, with an exception only when the life of the mother was at risk.
Based on the case, which is a debate concerning abortion, the impact of the decision on the rights of women, medical-legal decision-making, and the right to privacy have continued to occupy the thoughts of the public, journalists, theologians, lawyers, physicians, jurists, and legislators. The reason for this is that the court ruled in favor of Norma McCorvey (aka Roe) who was pregnant, unmarried, and financially unstable. She was unable to get an abortion as a result of her unfortunate financial situation and the state law (Ziegler 13). Two young lawyers chose to open a lawsuit in favor of Roe; they asserted that the legislation in Texas outlawing most abortions violated the constitutional rights of Roe.
The issue involves faith making it fundamentally thorny. There are those who perceive that abortion is equivalent to murder since life begins at conception. Conversely, others argue that restricting abortion interferes with the right of a woman to choose what is in her best interest since life starts at birth. However, it is evident that legal abortion has, from a public health viewpoint, without a doubt, been advantageous for women and their families. Thousands of women in America used to die while sorting abortion before the Roe; many more were injured, frequently losing their reproductive capacity. The injuries and death from abortion reduced substantially immediately after Roe, and currently, only a handful of women in the country die annually from complications of legal abortion.
Balderrama, Francisco E., and Raymond Rodríguez. Decade of betrayal: Mexican repatriation in the 1930s. UNM Press, 2006.
Cott, Nancy F. History of Women in the United States/Women and War. De Gruyter., 2013.
Klein, Christopher. “Last Hired, First Fired: How the Great Depression Affected African Americans.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 18 Apr. 2018, www.history.com/news/last-hired-first-fired-how-the-great-depression-affected-african-americans.
Takaki, Ronald T. Double Victory: a Multicultural History of America in World War II. Little, Brown and Company, 2001.
Turner, William H., and Edward J. Cabbell. Blacks in Appalachia. University Press of Kentucky, 2015.
White, Richard. “The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.” The Rise of Industrial America, 1877-1900 | Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, www.gilderlehrman.org/history-now/rise-industrial-america-1877-1900.
Ziegler, Mary. After Roe. Harvard University Press, 2015.