What Changes Took Place and What Accounted for Those Changes in the Rise of Modern America?
Understanding the rise of the modern America would sit incomplete without the examination of the multitude changes characterizing the social, economic and political spheres. Typically, it is for the piecemeal changes and rearrangements that collectively assisted the nation to accomplish its ground for a modern America. Unlike the implementation of predetermined changes in the modern society, the necessity to correct the existing environment initiated a platform for change in modern America. In this light, the path to the modern America owes to the gradual changes that influenced the political, social and economic arenas.
Initially, the political parties characterizing the political environment provided a central input to the government. Unlike the organized process evident in the present political arena, office bearers attained their nominations through party conventions. The delegates would later nominate their preferred candidates in the elective posts . The elected individuals would appoint their loyal supporters and reward them with contracts for their contribution to the campaign. Given that the party loyalists often outnumbered the appointment positions available, the patronage system encountered increased criticism and pressure. In particular, Carl Schurz criticized the spoils system for neglecting the principles and immediate issues, instead prioritizing the office greed. This convinced the city politicians target lower-income voters by choosing to address their needs at personal levels .
At a time when the nation witnessed an astonishing change in social and economic patterns, the political arena drew voters into a political stalemate between the Republican and Democrats parties. Notably, the Republicans identified with restrictive policies while the Democrats opposed government interference in the economy . This generated a distinguishing criterion where each side would accuse the other of overlooking the principle challenges affecting the modern America lifestyles. The stalemate motivated more Americans challenge the mainstream politics through organized groups. Here, the farmers emerged as a prominent force, accusing the railroads of dominating the politics and issuing free passes to politicians to attain favorable treatment in return. The social outlet referred as the Grange would soon educate members on new farming methods and initiate cooperative trading and selling. They later initiated political actions as they drew a large membership to demand legislative shields against railroad discrimination. Surviving Granges later withdrew from the politics as they collapsed when the hurriedly organized cooperatives faced financial problems .
The decline of the Granges saw more farmers turn to the monetary policy to counter the deflation rates and resolve their indebtedness. The emphasis to address the insufficient money supply through printing more paper money saw the Greenback Party attain more elected congressmen as it gained popularity to resolve deflation. However, their appeal to the urban workers through calls for abolishing child labor, eight-hour working schedules, woman suffrage and a graduated income tax never prevented their 1884 fall . The prevent currency deflation, and support for woman suffrage saw the emergence of the Populist Party as a prominent force. It presented the grievances of the farmers hard-pressed by huge debts and declining prices, alongside seeking anti-monopolism shield to counter the influence from the railroads. The common accord of the Mormon and Populist grievances convinced more states to embrace woman suffrage and allow equal voting rights for the women. For example, by 1890 women voted in over nineteen states in matters of school elections and tax affairs in three states .
The criticism of political influence by groups challenging party-bound political arena sought to accomplish both structural and policy changes. Although the alliances founded by farmers to challenge the monetary policy, other groups such as the WCTU initiated a similar address to major issues ignored by political parties . They advocated woman suffrage, the secret ballot, abolishing child labor and the patronage system, alongside changes to business regulation . Although they would exert pressure to initiate structural reforms and policy changes to the implementation of government power, other reform-oriented groups sought changes combining the two aspects. They included enfranchising women, support of the Pendleton Act and initiating the Australian ballot to dilute the influence of parties .
The years of political deadlock translated to little changes in the nation’s relations with the rest of world affairs. However, the presence of European powers to exert their influence in Latin America drew the American diplomats to extend the nation’s destiny across the continent. Their presence in both the north and South America was a perceived threat for the country. Unlike the territorial expansion revealed through the Alaska treaty, the long-standing commercial interests with the East Asia block made Hawaii, a regular stop for American ships. For this reason, the government would not allow the region to pass under the control of European powers. In the light of sustaining the Americans who own large sugar plantations in Hawaii, the outward advocacy required support from a modernized army and navy . It translated in the congressional vote to strengthen battleships, yielding a modern navy with potential to extend the modern America power and influence to distant seas.
The initiation of the modern America mission following the strategic arguments issued by Mahan and launching of Tracy battleship, more citizens embraced the advocacy. The increasing advocacy drawn from various parties, including the business community, American policymakers, politicians, historians, scholars and protestant ministers redefined the nation’s role in world matters. The expansion of the American ideals merged with the notion of superiority elevated the patterns of civilization, leaving the country the master of organizing the world . This allowed America establish their nationalism ideals where chaos reigned including the Hawaii revolution and its annexation, alongside the splendid little war to save Cuba from Spain. This generated the new American empire as the nation strode boldly in world affairs, culminating in the ratification of the Treaty of Paris, return of economic prosperity, the Teller Amendment and the emergence of Cuba as a protectorate . The achievements signaled the foundation of the modern America nation as a master organizer of both domestic and world affairs.
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