Economic, Social, and Political Problems in the Post-Civil War era

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Americans suffered many economic, social, and political problems in the post-Civil War era. I have identified one of each of these types of problems that I believe were among the most important during the period of 1865-1900. The economic issue that I believe had one of the biggest impacts on Americans at the time is the Great Railroad Strike of 1877. The social issue that I feel greatly affected America after the Civil War is Chinese immigration. One of the biggest political issues, to me, is the Populist Party. I feel that the Great Railroad Strike of 1887 was a major issue because it made Americans realize just how deeply Americans were invested in the railroads. At the time, the biggest investment banking firm in America, Jay Cooke and Company, was pouring a disproportionate amount of depositors’ funds into the railroads. When Cooke’s firm failed, a big portion of the country was thrown into a frenzy; but the most effected were the railroads, in the way of 10% wage cuts, distrust of capitalists and poor working conditions. The railroads’ shortcomings went far from unnoticed by the workers, leading to many strikes, which prevented many trains from moving. Trains were the main means of shipping almost any goods, which meant that anything needed to be shipped either arrived late and in smaller quantities, or was never received at all. The government soon became frustrated and sent in militia units to restore order, but the men refused to use force against the workers. Then the governors sent out regiments of the National Guard, who were attacked by citizens as they marched down the roads. These riots caused several deaths and more injuries. After over a month of consistent rioting the president, Rutherford B. Hayes, sent in fed... ... middle of paper ... ... members openly spoke about the need of poor whites and poor blacks to set aside racial indifferences and to unite in their struggle. It is clear that Americans were at the hand of many issues after the Civil War, but I feel as if these were of the most important. The Great Railroad Strike proved just how embedded to railroad was in American civilization and how hard they could fall with a mishap amongst the railroad system. The immigration of the Chinese and most of America’s protest proved that no matter what any papers might have stated following the Civil War, America was still unable to cope with the idea of racial integration. And finally, the Populist Party showed both the Republicans and Democrats that not only do they not cover all of the important issues in American society, but that citizens that knew what needed to be done could oppose the major parties.

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