The Evolution Of The United States of America

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The Evolution of Our Country

The United States of America is considered one of the greatest nations in the world, but it did not get to be this way very easily. Our ancestors went through many trials and tribulations in our history and had to learn many lessons the hard way to get us to where we are today. Events like The Great Depression taught us many things. Also, new inventions, westward expansion and Roosevelt's New Deal impacted our country in positive ways.

In 1866, with the American Civil War fresh in memory, workers desired a simpler way of life after the radical change in American culture. Many labor organizations, known as "brotherhoods", existed previously to the split of the Union but did not become organized until after the reunification. The first of them, The National Labor Union, became organized with over 650,000 workers by the early 1870's and called for steady wages and respect for its laborers. The National Labor Union also paved the way for several other famous organizations such as The Knights of Labor and the American Federation of Labor.

Organized labor brought about new opportunities for workers, granting both the skilled and unskilled chances for work. Not only were they given jobs, but they were given set down forms of pay and eight-hour day work schedules (americaslibray.gov). Families were given a steady income, which granted them a sense of security. With the hope of work, families would flock to metropolitan cities, causing a massive growth in population and individual demands. The main area of supporters to the NLU came from construction companies. The primary focus was on railroad construction, which was one of the largest sources of employment outside of agriculture. These labor unions gave investors top work for little concern. Things started to look up for people, but soon started to fall again.

An economic collapse in the early 1870s, known as the Panic of 1873, was one of the primary reasons the NLU went into distress. A Philadelphia-based banker, Jay Cooke, desired to create the second transcontinental railroad in the country, the Northern Pacific Railroad. The project, however, was over-manned and poorly conceived on a financial level. Over eighty banks filed for bankruptcy leading to the stock market being closed for ten days. Mass layoffs were put into effect by 1875, and by 1876 the unemployment rate was just under 15% (wikipedia.
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