Themes in American History: Capitalism, Slavery, Democracy

Blog Post #4

Rauchway talks about the FDR presidency and the effects of his work as president effected the United States. Reflation and Relief explains the pros and cons of FDR ideas and how it helped the US dig themselves out of the ditch that was the Great Depression. Due to FDR presidency beginning in the middle of the depression he had to act quickly and efficiently to gain the trust of the American people. At this point, the depression had torn the US economy down, affecting banks, factories, farms, and most profit from any business. During this time, the unemployment rate was at an all-time high having the rate peak at 25.9 percent. One of FDR contribution was the “New Deal” which was a way for FDR to communicate and show the public he was their president. Purposing new methods and way to drag the economy up. The New Deal started off with the bank system. FDR believed the first thing that needed to be fixed was the banking system and first thing he did was to stop the buying and selling in gold. In fact, FDR and such an impact in the first 100 days of presidency that moving forward to new presidents they were all given “100-day periodbecause of how great FDR was. Roosvelt continued to set up programs for the unemployed, homeless, and struggling citizens of America. For example, the Civilian Conservation Corps better known as “CCC.” This funded organization helped put thousands of men 18-35 in jobs. FDR also believed youth working could bring the US out of the depression so he created other organizations such as PWA and CWA. Although not every organization or plan worked out for FDR it still showed the American people, he was always willing to fight for them. 

Blog Post #3

Eric Foner explains the influence of “Making of Radical Reconstruction.” He mentions the 14th amendment quite a few times in this reading explaining that it is more than “If you are born in the US, you are a citizen.” Foner ties the 14th amendment to “Radical Reconstruction”, he explains how the Republicans wrote into the Constitution their view of the Civil War. The other part of the 14th amendment is how all citizens are protected by law and allow all males to vote so the south have more representation in Congress. According to the reading “civil rights became the foundation of the 14th amendment.” I learned that the 14th amendment no longer allowed states to apply their own set of laws because all US citizens became protected by national law. This led to progress in “legal equality.” However, the 14th amendment created conflict due to the possibility of black men being able to vote. This also did not sit well with feminist supporters because the amendment only allowed black men to get the benefits of the amendment. The importance of African American votes grew changing the way the tide of any vote ended up with. Benefits from black votes would change the outcome bills, laws, and elections. With black votes counting for the same as white men, the treatment of African Americans possibly grew in order to have another for a certain bill they wanted to pass. 

Blog post #2

In the 1619 project, America Wasn’t a Democracy, Until Black People Made It One by Nikole Hannah. Hannah argued that America has been ran by white leaders in order to keep people of color inferior and not equal to white people. Arguing that slavery was the direct cause to democracy in America. In early America people of color were used as product for land, cotton picking, and expanding America to the status it holds today. Jones argues that America gains extreme expansion due to the buying and selling of slaves. In fact, she tells that “America’s greatest profitable trade was manufactured by slave.” She continues to argue that many of America’s early achievements came from the work and progress of African Americans. One of her major points was that in early America slaves were not seen as people but as property. Meaning they were seen as business to expand; Jones also makes a point that slaves were intentionally left out of the Declaration of Independence. She points out the hypocrisy of the phrase “all men are created equal” as the people of color were not seen as equal to white people.  

Jones begins another point that the key reasons the colonies wanted to gain independence from Great Britain was to keep slaves. Another writer Gordon Wood rejects this claim arguing that while it could have been “one factor” it wasn’t the only factor in fact he believed “The Stamp Act” was the nail in the coffin for the colonies. Wood continues to disprove many of Jones points from “The 1619 Project” in order to give the right information. Jones revised her piece changing “the key reason” to “one of the key reasons” still believing that it was a major factor in the American Revolution.  

This reading made me wonder if the information fed to us as children has been watered down and distorted over time. As today racism, prejudice, and discrimination still exist in America. Many Americans look over the fact that people of color were a giant part of the success of early America and should be talked and taught about more today. 


James Fulcher’s Capitalism


James Fulcher explains the beginning of capitalism throughout history. Fulcher describes capitalism as the process of investing money in the expectation of making a profit. Fulcher would examines different types of capitalism between the UK, Japan, Sweden, and the United States as most countries have a capitalist government Fulcher wanted to study of different area reacted to it. James Fulcher would call back on the advancements and dominance of capitalism in the 17th century saying it could be taking advantage of the people.

The earliest forms of capitalism came in the form of  “Merchant Capitalism.” Merchant Capitalism was the acquired profits through the trading systems. Merchant Capitalism was at its peak during the 17th century, due to the ability to talk during trading, the advancements of capitalism started to spread throughout the world. As capitalism was fairly new the profit share was extremely one sided. For example, the English East India Company would sell profits or goods on cargo ships while giving the shareholder almost 95% of the profits made during the exchange.  This does not mean capitalism was not without risk; during one of the journey’s one of the ship ignored the warnings of pirated waters, causing them to be overthrown and ending up with the captain being killed and the goods being stolen. The effect of this was the investors entire capital being lost.

Modern capitalism is not far from its origin. As many countries today still use capitalism in their governments today. It has become more balanced due to the monopoly laws in place making not just one person benefiting off of one person work. In the end, capitalism is still about making profits from your investment of money. No matter where you may invest your money into, if profit exists capitalism exists. Capitalism has expanded through the United States has occurs every single day even if you don’t realize it.