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January 27, 2013

Essay on American History

12:15 PM

The discrete dramatic narratives of historical importance of the early American life have always been of great interest to the historians.  This helps in tracing the path and ideology followed by the newly found colonial state. America in the year 1877 to 1920 was a country where traditional ideas of democracy were altered by the values of new industrial and urban civilization. The most important change was the rise of industrial capitalism. Although American life was greatly changed by other developments: the disappearance of countryside and farmlands by cities and factories, the revolutionary enhancement in agriculture and the new blood added to the American life with large group of immigrants. (Learner) Upton Sinclair’s novel The Jungle also highlight the industrial conditions of America in the years of industrial revolution and the problems the immigrants had to face because of it.
The economic system is not independent from the larger sets that constitute the social system: the relationship of kinship or of power, religious beliefs or practices are not entirely separate from the economic sphere and in some cases these social structures play an essential role in regulating economic activities. Capitalist competition policies are usually based on the effectiveness of economic feasibility, while the socialist competition policies are often concerned about unity in a competitive single market. The opposite of a free market is a controlled market. The government controls the supply and price of goods and services.

            Capitalism began in Europe in the seventeenth century and is associated with the European Enlightenment. The European Enlightenment to the idea of
​​individual freedom to pursue its own economic interests in order to make a profit. Capitalism makes a profit through the means of production and labor to produce goods. Working in a capitalist system is called as wage labor wages should be paid to workers. The means of production means everything needed to produce profit including land and property. For the capitalist capital is valuable items that can produce more wealth

            Capitalism is seen as a socio-economic system because it is not only a way to make money and earn a living, but also a way of thinking about social organization. It believes in the transformation of labor power into a commodity that is at the heart of capitalism as we see in The Jungle the workers who accidently fall in the rendering tank are sold with the animal remains as lard this is the extent of furious competition that is highlighted in the book. So even though capitalism is based on the idea of
​​individualism and that individuals have the right to economic freedom it is characterized by poverty and precarious workers, because of the brutality of competition between firms and the impact of crisis of overproduction. As Adam Smith has also said that “Political Man is selfish by nature He thinks only of personal interest " economist-philosopher 1723-1790) and to him the idea of capitalism was fine because eventually individual wealth has a trickledown effect. For him in the absence of social justice, this principle provides some natural control of exchanges between agents that enables a relative social peace since each beneficiary is to varying degrees of avidity of the most enterprising. That is what Adam Smith called "the invisible hand.”
Socialism on the other hand is regarded as the opposite of capitalism because it is based on collectivism and sharing wealth rather than individualism and individual wealth. For Lenin, this monopoly capitalism led to imperialism which is the highest stage of capitalism. Socialism appeared on the front of the political scene from the nineteenth century following the rise of industrialization and urbanization that followed. The terms socialism and socialist are terms which mean a set of economic doctrines based on collective ownership of means of production or at least criticism of private ownership of those as opposed to capitalism. The reason behind the rise of socialism in Europe is the economic and social consequences of the Industrial Revolution. The inhumanly treatment and conditions the workers of the factories and industries had to face made them rise up against the accumulation of wealth among certain individuals and made them demand the sharing of this wealth. So socialism started with movements opposing the economic and social consequences of industrialization in Europe. Usually two major types of Socialism are distinguished: Utopian and Scientific. Basically, utopian socialism, whether religious or secular, concerns with the earlier miserable conditions of the masses in the nineteenth century, and hence advocate medicines and types of social organization which borrow heavily from the past. Scientific socialism, on the contrary, is based on analysis of the Industrial conditions and wants to try to overcome it and build a society of the future rather than return to the past. Both these socialism agree with the critique of society born of competitive capitalism but they differ on the remedies and corrections that must be made. Owen and Fourier, who first used the word socialism to describe their systems, Marx, who calls them utopians, himself uses the word communism to differentiate them, socialism denotes gradual action and reform while communism means a radical and revolutionary action.
The growing industries in America demanded thousand of new workers. Most of the immigrants adjusted among the fellow citizens who had preceded them not just by their nationality but possibly by a region or a village. Ethnic areas were mostly very populated, about hundreds of people resided in an apartment. Ethnic areas offered friendship, support, and new language and traditional festivals in the country. Immigrants with skills were able to open their own business and hired the people that lived in the country. Many of the small shops in America were owned by European Jews.  However, for the immigrants that came to work, often had insufficient wages that were not enough to support their family. The immigrants were able to adapt quickly with the new environment. Immigration also resulted in changing the religious make up of the country. For most of the time between 1887 and 1920 immigration in America was unrestricted, but in the World War 1 the immigration was greatly reduced.  (Amerikanistik).But this leniency in immigration did not mean that the immigrants were socially and economically at peace with the system. The Lithuanian immigrant family in The Jungle only compromise to the experience in America after suffering much at the hands of the employers, merchants and authorities they encountered.
Additionally as the immigrants and citizens are treated equally companies prefer to take cheaper labor that is provided by the immigrants which may help the entrepreneur on one hand but at the same time limits the possibilities of the citizens to get a job with the right wages. An influx of immigrants in a region with higher wages will lower the wages. However, some people still argue that immigration will not reduce real wages if the population is below its optimum size (and it is certain that the United States in whole, are far less population than its optimal size). If so, the production will increase so that real incomes rise. So that the restrictions to immigration will do more harm to workers protected as consumers as they will not gain as producers. In addition, increased immigration has given rise to a large measure of social parasite systems that, even though the U.S. population is below the optimum level, decreases the general standard of living instead of increasing it due to the increased production as immigration takes its toll on the health care system and education system of the country.  This makes people believe that immigration should be restricted. As the problems of immigration includes the increase of the "leakage" of savings abroad (the export of capital that would have otherwise remained in the country), resulting in an equalization of wage rates (albeit more slowly), but leading to a waste of capital, thereby deteriorating living standards in the country. But despite all challenges the demand of immigrants may be because that "the United States has always been energized by its immigrant populations," said President Bill Clinton in 1998. "America has constantly drawn strength and spirit from wave after wave of immigrants [...] They have proved to be the most restless, the most adventurous, the most innovative, the most industrious of people."
The growing industries in America demanded thousand of new workers. Most of the immigrants adjusted among the fellow citizens who had preceded them not just by their nationality but possibly by a region or a village. Ethnic areas were mostly very populated, about hundreds of people resided in an apartment. Ethnic areas offered friendship, support, and new language and traditional festivals in the country. Immigrants with skills were able to open their own business and hired the people that lived in the country. Many of the small shops in America were owned by European Jews.  However, for the immigrants that came to work, often had insufficient wages that were not enough to support their family. The immigrants were able to adapt quickly with the new environment. Immigration also resulted in changing the religious make up of the country. For most of the time between 1887 and 1920 immigration in America was unrestricted, but in the World War 1 the immigration was greatly reduced.  (Amerikanistik)
            Along with the industrialization and immigration, urbanization was also an important aspect in 1877 to 1920; cities in America began to grow at a fast rate. The cities provided a lot of opportunity for labor, transportation and information. Migration and immigration was the primary reason for the growth of urbanization. Rapid urbanization along with industrialization and immigration created a lot of problems, particularly in the inner city. Sanitation was one of the problems, it became very difficult to supply water, remove waste and garbage. The apartment and houses in the city became overcrowded. The amount of unemployed people increased along with disabled and old people. (Amerikanistik)
Urban violence took place, and various investors, politicians became urban reformers. Many social urban reformers encouraged the immigrants to adapt to the way of life in the city. Many reformers were concerned about over crowdedness, and some of them created new tenements for the immigrant as well. There were many industries that helped the immigrants live a better life. (Amerikanistik)
Many protestant ministers like William Rainsford felt that they should not let any injustice happen to the immigrants. Many other reformers felt that their city needed to look more beautiful, which in turn would help in improving the conditions of business and also hoped that the city could be more urbanized by this. (Amerikanistik) but the efforts behind this was futile as the novel shows how the immigrants had to toil under conditions imposed by this incredible industry that grinded them like the flesh of the meat it delivered. Strikes were broken, the weakest thrown to the ground and the laws laid down by the system were immediately circumvented in practice.
 
Things had changed and was now illegal to employ children under sixteen. And why? they asked, because they intended to put the little Stanislovas work. Come on, there was no reason to worry, assured them Grandma Majauszkiene. The law had not changed, except now it forced parents to lie about the age of their offspring.
Jurgis the protagnist overwhelmed eventually compromised to win money at any cost, before falling again, to revolt and to discover socialism. But even though socialism came to power in the 20th century the very fabric of America’s political culture had been hostile to the socialist project which became a reason for its failure. Additionally the wrong strategic choices and extremist ideology of the Socialist Party further aggravated its already disadvantageous position. The muckrakers are writes who invetigate numerous social issues involving crime and corruption by higher officials and influencila people. Some these writings forced the government to pass bills to stop teh social exploitation of people(Gallagher, p.202). These muckrakers helped in bringing Progressivism which is an era that was agianst the individualism of the previous period, marked by economic reforms, political, social and moral in response to changes and problems caused by the industrial revolution : disappearance of a social life organized around small communities, instability resulting from uncontrolled development of industry, trade, business, cities, agriculture, mass immigration from southern and eastern Europe, escalation of social conflict, upheaval caused by technological advances(Regier, p. 120).
The Progressive movement took root at the local level before progressing to the provincial and then national level until the formation of an ephemeral "progressive party" whose candidate was Theodore Roosevelt in 1912 took place. Like their opponents, the progressive reformers were from mostly middle class. The reform movement was aided by the development of media, including investigative journalism, and that of social photography.
Certain key reforms such as obtaining a vote of women dating from this period, but the era of progress do not benefit equally to all U.S. residents, including minorities, and the reforms had not always expected benefits. Some policies, such as prohibition, suffered a resounding failure.

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