US History: American Diversity
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The United States has changed and evolved significantly over time. Although numerous problems remain in our society, they restrict Americans a lot less. In addition, people are constantly fighting to fix and improve these problems in society. My name is Isabela Zanon Martins and I am currently a student at Eleanor Roosevelt High School. My family is from Brazil and I am the first generation born in the United States. The three themes of US history I am focusing on are American Diversity, which is the relationship between different groups of people; reform, which is different movements to improve various issues; and politics and citizenship, which focuses on American political traditions and struggles for citizenship and civil rights. Based on my study of United States history, I want to be the type of American citizen that unites all people and helps offer equal opportunities to everyone, a citizen that fights to improve the quality of life in the United States for all Americans , and one that appreciates the citizenship and political rights that were fought for and strives to treat all citizens equally.
Overtime, the relationships among different groups of people in the United States have changed drastically. Based on my study of US history, I want to be the type of American citizen that unites people of all backgrounds and helps offer equal opportunities to everyone. In The Battle of Beecher’s Island, “Civil War General Philip H. Sheridan, commander of the Department of the Missouri, boomed, ‘I am here to clean up the savages!’ Major George A. ‘Sandy’ Forsyth, 30, was ordered to recruit ‘50 first-class hardy frontiersmen’ to go lesson-teaching in Indian country.” Native Americans were considered savages because of their differences from white people. Because of this, Native Americans were forced into assimilation, or adopting white culture. In addition, they were forced onto reservations and kicked out of their own land. Secondly, in Gospel of Wealth by Andrew Carnegie, he says “the contrast between the palace of the laborer with us today measures the change which has come with civilization.
This change, however, is not to be deplored, but welcomed as highly beneficial.” This shows the improved trend between different groups of people after Carnegie started Social Darwinism. This improved the relationship between the upper and lower class to form the capitalist society we have today and as Carnegie says, is highly beneficial. It also helped people of the lower class build up their wealth and pursue a more successful future. Lastly, in Booker T. Washington’s Up From Slavery, he mentions wanting to “cement the friendship of the races and bring about hearty cooperation between them.” Washington wants to unite African Americans and whites using a gradual approach towards racial equality and slowly turning away from racial etiquette. He wants to do this by first building their economic foundation, and then winning over white approval in the Jim Crow South. Once again, this shows a positive trend in american diversity because the relationship among different groups of people, African Americans and whites in this case, is improving. This trend has impacted my family because since we came from Brazil, different types of people had to accept our culture and ethnicity and we had to accept theirs as well. Based on what I have experienced and learned about the relationships between different people in United States History, I want to be the type of American citizen that treats all people equally, despite of their culture, class, or color.
In US history, there have been several movements aimed towards reform in various issues. Based on my study of US history, I want to be the type of American citizen that fights to improve the quality of life in America for all people. In the Preamble for the Knights of Labor, it says that one of their aims is “to secure for both sexes equal pay for equal work.” At the turn of the century, one fifth of women worked. However, these working women were responsible for the least skilled positions, and they only received half the amount of money that their male counterparts received.
Organizations such as the Knights of Labor pushed for positive reforms in women’s’ rights which would improve womens’ dangerous working conditions, low wages, and long hours. In The Souls of Black Folks by W.E.B. Du Bois, he says “Negroes must insist continually, in season and out of season, that voting is necessary to modern manhood, that color discrimination is barbarism, and that black boys need education as well as white boys.” W.E.B. Du Bois wanted immediate integration for equal rights and education for African Americans. He continued the trend of positive reform by starting the Niagara Movement, a movement to promote education for African Americans in liberal arts. In addition, in 1909, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was founded and aimed towards full equality among the races. Lastly, in How the Other Half Lives by Jacob Riis, he says “step carefully over this baby–it is a baby, spite of its rags and dirt–under these iron bridges called fire-escapes, but loaded down, despite the incessant watchfulness of the firemen, with broken household goods, with wash-tubs and barrels, over which no man could climb from a fire.”
This is an example of a baby at risk of dying because of the living conditions its family has been given. Jacob Riis was a part of the progressive movement and he contributed to economic reform, specifically for the lower class. He exposed the poors’ appalling living conditions and helped restore their economic opportunities, which once again exemplified positive economic reform. This trend has impacted me as an American citizen because reform is constantly changing and improving the country I live in. Also, women’s rights in the workforce are always being changed by reform, which will affect me in my future career. Based on my study of reform in United States History, I want to be the type of American citizen that promotes positive reform and helps improve life for all Americans.
In US history, numerous people have fought for equality for all citizens and have given Americans increasing citizenship and political rights. Based on my study of United States history, I want to be the type of American citizen that appreciates the citizenship and political rights that were fought for and strives to treat all citizens equally.