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Check Out Our American History: 1898-1920 Essay

Introduction

The history of a country contains important information which helps people to understand important events and occurrences. People are able to relate with events that occurred in the country in a more elaborate manner. Understanding a country's history gives someone a clear picture of the overall aspects of a country. These aspects include political, social and economic elements of a nation. The purpose of this paper is to highlight major events in the history of the United States between the period starting 1898 and 1920. The paper also gives a vivid reflection that is elicited in understanding the history of the United States.

Overview of main historical events

The period between 1898 and 1920 signifies important events that happened in the United States. It is the period occurring immediately after the reconstruction but prior to the onset of World War 1. It is at this time that the US engaged in war with Spain (1898). The US emerged victorious and went on to capture such countries like the Philippines and Cuba. According to information from HistoryCentral.com, the Filipinos would go on to resist the American rule in the year 1889. This rebellion resulted in the eventual recapture of the Philippines by the Americans. It was the same year that saw the introduction of the "Open Door" policy for China.

President McKinley was very vocal during his reign at this period. He was equivocal in advocating for the capture of the Philippines. However, his reign was cut short when he was assassinated in 1901. He was shot by an anarchist named Leon Czolgosz while attending a pan African meeting. He would later succumb to death eight days after he was shot (Commager& Cantor, 1988). In 1903, a more important economic invention was realised in the United States. During this time, Henry Ford devised the first car model. At the same time President Theodre Roosevelt announced the "corollary" which meant that the United States government showed its intent to intervene in the affairs of various countries in the Caribbean and Latin America.

The United States woke up to a day full of sorrow and sadness when in 1906; a deadly earthquake hit the state of San Francisco. The earthquake which happened in the eighteenth day of April of the same year is believed to be the worst of its kind too ever hit the United States of America. According to statistics from HistoryCental.com, the earthquake caused over 1,000 deaths and resulted in the destruction of property worth approximately $250,000,000. The American economy continued to face major challenges in ensuing years. In 1909, the United States government enacted what was known as the Dollar Diplomacy. Basically, this involved the establishment of various policies which were aimed at supporting the development of American enterprises in foreign nations. This mainly happened between the United States government and the Chinese government.

In 1910, there were continued efforts by black people who were aiming for national recognition of equality. This year marked an important turnaround in the history of black revolution. The National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) was established in November of the same year with the sole aim of achieving black liberation (Foner & American Historical Association, 1997).  Fight for social equality as well as gender equality continued in years to come. In 1913, more than 5000 women demonstrated in the streets of Washington. Led by Alice Paul, these women were demanding for their rights to vote in main elections. This was the onset of the suffrage revolution in the whole country. Another important political milestone that happened in 1913 was associated with the enactment of laws that saw the direct election of senators to the senate.

Despite the social and economical developments which occurred in 1913, there were equal changes in the economic sector. This year saw the introduction of what was known as the "Underwood Tariff Bill".  This was an attempt by the American government to reduce tariff from 42 % to an affordable figure of about 27%. The Bill meant that around one hundred unique items were free from this tariff. In effect, the government established income laws to cover for discrepancies brought about by the corresponding tariff. Another important event that characterized the economic arena in the United States during this period was the enactment of the Federal Reserve Act. According to Combs (2008), this is the basis for the modern banking system in the United States. The Federal Reserve Act of 1913 saw the establishment of 12 regional reserves bank aimed at controlling the development of smaller banks across the entire nation.

Struggle for social justice continued to the early years of the 20th century and in 1916, the Child Labour law was enacted. Popularly known as the Keating-Owen Act of 1916, it provided some important regulations governing child labour. In particular, the law prohibited the trading of products that were made through active participation of children.  During the same period, there were enactments of laws which government the general working conditions for majority of workers.

In years to come, the United States government would start to assert its foreign policy all over the world. The ultimate outcome of these interventions occurred in 1917, when the United States joined World War I. The United States would continue to engage in foreign intervention; an approach that saw the military intervenes in the Soviet Republic. The decision to join World War I resulted in various negative effects in the United States. In 1917 there was massive economic confusion which resulted in substantial reduction of coal in the country. However with the passage of time, the United States was able to come out of the war with some positive influences. This was characterized by signing of important treaties such as the Armistice in 1918. This was for the general good of the whole nation.

Personal reaction

The historical events in the United States between 1898 and 1920 present a lot of perspectives to an average person. These occurrences give me a clear perception of the state of things in the earlier years. In particular, they enable me to perfectly understand the struggle for human liberation. The enactment of various laws regulating child labor offers a good understanding towards the linearization of human race. Events such as the suffrage movements indicate the importance of women in the current society. Through understanding this history, I am able to appreciate the importance of democracy in the modern society.

In an economic perspective, I believe that majority of these events helped shaped the economy for the better. For instance, enactment of the Federal Reserve Act is the basis for the modern banking system. This is the backbone of the current financial status in the United States. In addition, the enactment of NAACP serves as a positive indication of the society's recognition for equality in various aspects of life. These events tend to assert the worthiness of human life regardless of differences in color or race.

However, some of the historical events can only draw some negative criticism. The assassination of President McKinley indicates the ruthlessness nature of mankind. In addition some of the events characterized by war like the capture of Philippines only served to harm innocent lives. The same case can be said of the events that happened in World War 1. I feel that the United States intervention in some of these activities are not warranted for and should be avoided in future. The important thing to note is that, the historical events that happened during this period helped to shape the country to achieve the current economic, social and political standards.

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