The global crisis in America refers to the Great Depression that was triggered by a number of factors including political decisions, especially the war reparations following the World War I; protectionism, particularly Congressional tariffs imposed on European goods; and speculation, particularly the 1929 Stock Market collapse. On a global level, the global crisis in America led to high levels of unemployment, reduced government revenue and a decline in international trade. At the peak of the Great Depression during 1933, at least 25 percent of the United States labour force was not under employment. Other countries witnessed a change in leadership because of the Great Depression (Fitzgerald, Shouba, & Sluys, 2006). The Great Depression remains the worst economic depression in the history of the United States. A combination of numerous domestic and global conditions led to the onset of the Global Crisis in America. The effects of the Great Depression were felt across the globe; it did not only lead to the establishment of the New Deal in the United States, but also was considered as the direct contributing factor of the rise of extremism in Germany that ultimately led to the Second World War. There was a variation concerning the timing of the Global crisis in various countries; however, in most states, the crisis began after the enactment of the Smoot-Hawley bill in June 17, 1930 and lasted for the decade and early 1940s (Hamen, 2010). Economists and historians consider the Great Depression as the longest, deepest, and most widespread depressions witnessed in the 20th century. In the US, the onset of the Great Depression is normally linked to Black Tuesday, the Stock Market Crash that occurred in October 29, 1929, although the US had already entered an economic depression prior to the crash. The then President of the United States was Herbert Hover, and the Global crisis in the United States lasted until the commencement of the Second World War, with Franklin Roosevelt as the president (Hamen, 2010).
The causes of the Global crisis in America are still a subject of contention among economists and historians. Despite the fact that what happened is known, there are only theories that attempt to explain the economic turmoil that began in the United States. There are various political and historical events thought to have contributed significantly to the onset of the Great Depression. A possible cause of the global crisis in America was the First World War. The US was the latest entrant in the World War I, in 1917 and emerged out of the way as a key creditor and a financer of restorations following the war. Germany faced significant burdens associated with massive war reparations, which was a political decision on the part of the countries that emerged victorious according to the Treaty of Versailles (Hamen, 2010). Britain and France was faced with the need to rebuild, and United States banks were highly willing to loan the money needed rebuilding. However, with the US banks beginning to fail, they not only stopped providing loans, but also began demanding their money back; this exerted pressure on European economies that had not fully recovered from the effects of WWI, leading a global economic turmoil (Hamen, 2010).
The second potential contributing factor is the Federal Reserve System established by the Congress in 1913, and served as the US central bank. The Fed has the authority of issuing noted needed create paper money supply, implying that influences the interest rates indirectly because it loans money to commercial banking institutions. During 1928-1929, the Federal Reserve increased the interest rates in order to control the Wall Street speculation, commonly referred to as a bubble (Fitzgerald, Shouba, & Sluys, 2006).
Another probable cause of the Great crisis in America was the bank failures. The number of banks in the United States reduced from 25,568 in 1929 to only 14,771 in 1933. Further, there was a decline in corporate and personal savings from 15.3 billion to 2.3 billion during 1929-1933. The outcome was fewer banks, tight credit, less money to pay off workers, leading to reduced consumption. Other probable causes of the Great Depression included protectionism and the stock market crash of 1929, commonly referred to as the Black Tuesday (Fitzgerald, Shouba, & Sluys, 2006).
The Global crisis in America imposed a significant decline in Gross Domestic Product, employment rates, price levels and inflation rates in the United States. Unemployment levels reached an all time low in 1933, at approximately 25 percent. Heavy industries, such as mining and logging, were affected severely by the global depression, although the agricultural sector was the hardest hit by the economic turmoil. Hover’s administration perceived the downturn as a normal characteristic of the business cycle and did little to aIDress the financial and economic pressures that the United States was facing. When President Roosevelt took over in 1933, he developed New Deal policies to aIDress the challenges posed by the economic downturn and present a recurrence of a similar depression in future (Hamen, 2010).
What brought about Reconstruction and what is the new South? How does it differ from the Old South? What did Reconstruction entail? Describe in detail.
In the context of American history, Reconstruction can be viewed from two perspectives, with the first covering the entire American history from 1865 to 1877 after the Civil War, and the second view focusing on the transformation of the Southern United States during the years 1863-1877 (Foner, 2010). The Reconstruction era following the civil war was characterized by different affiliations in the government in order to find an effective solution for the socioeconomic and political problems caused by the civil war. The Reconstruction era was typified by disarray and disorder in the United States government, whereby the whites from the South were against all aspects of equality whereas Blacks were after attaining complete liberty and their own land in the US. The Reconstruction era is undoubtedly one of the most divisive eras in the United States history (Peacock, 2002).
The Reconstruction was primary caused by the circulation of ideologies concerning justice on a global level, wherein there was an increase for demands for freedom that conflicted with the customs of subordination. This led to significant problems in the peacemaking process, typified by the aftermath of the Civil War and emancipation, whereby Southern towns and fields were severely damaged; many whites were stripped of their slaves and capital resources and property. An inference from this observation is that the outcome of the Civil War and emancipation contributed significantly to Reconstruction (Peacock, 2002). The second factor that contributed to the Reconstruction was the competing and conflicting ideologies of freedom. According to the blacks, attaining freedom meant ending slavery, social injustices and humiliation. Blacks also needed rights and protections of free men. African Americans also differed in terms of the methods of achieving freedom. For instance, some African Americans wanted redistribution of economic resources including land; some wanted to achieve equal opportunity and legal equality; whereas all blacks wanted independence, especially from black control. On the other hand, the whites wanted life without interference from the Northern states or the federal government. The 13th Amendment had made slavery illegal; however, most whites wanted African Americans to be associated with plantations (Hope, 1995). Another catalyst for the Reconstruction was needed to regain self government and reseating in Congress by the 11 seceding states. Further, there was the need to regain the civil status of the earlier leaders of the Confederacy, as well as the legal and constitutional status of freed men, particularly their right to vote and civil rights. These resulted in a violent controversy in the South with regard to these issues. The constitutional and laws amendments of the years 1866-1871 laid the foundation for the most radical chapter of the Reconstruction process; this is because Reconstruction officially offered equal rights for the freed slaves under the amended constitution, and African Americans were exercising their right to vote and taking political offices (Hope, 1995).
The New South was a product of the Reconstruction. Initially, Republicans hoped that the compromises they made with the Southern Democrats would facilitate the establishment of a Republican Party in the Southern States because they thought the people in the South would not view Republicans as their enemy. However, at the end of the Reconstruction, Southern states elected their own local and state governments and continued voting for Democrats, making it a dominant element in the Southern States politics. The primary difference between the New South and the Old South was that the New South was abolished slavery and that white supremacy was significantly reduced. The New South was characterized by more economic development than the Old South, which was mainly facilitated by the Redeemers who played a crucial role in enhancing industrial development in the South. For instance, textile manufacturers established factories in the South. The New South was more industrialized and less slave reliant than the Old South, primarily influenced by the industrial revolution (Hope, 1995). The Old South was mostly agrarian and aimed at preserving its cultural identity by seceding from the union, which resulted in an irrepressible conflict. After abolishing slavery after the Civil War, the Southern States were profoundly impoverished and was in dire need of an alternative economy. The New South was not reliant on banned slave labor or cotton farming; rather it was industrialized and was integrated as part of the modern economy (Peacock, 2002).
Overall, the Reconstruction remains as one of the most challenging eras in American history. During Reconstruction, the federal government had the primary goal of readmitting the former Confederate states to the union and bringing the former slaves into the larger American society. Nonetheless, the Reconstruction was a failure, as evidenced by disagreements on the plans. This prolonged the process and made the Southerners angry.