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US History overview 2: Reconstruction to the Great Depression

Video transcript
Where we left off in the last video the north has just won the Civil War. Unfortunately for Abraham Lincoln, it was two months after he was assasinated; but now the North was dominant and essentially occupied the South. And we enter a period called reconstruction And reconstruction can refer to one of two things. And they're somewhat related. One is just the reconstruction from the war. Obviously, there was a lot of damage done to both sides. But it's usually refered to the actual reconstruction to the south and to some degree, kind of the reform of the south. And I'm gonna glaze over lot of details, like I did in the last video, and I might ignore some major events that might have been important but don't worry i'll get back to them but the three big things that happened during reconstructions other than the fact that the north were occupying the south and essensially to a large degree suspending democracy in the south and installing its own pollititions and its own law makers is that the United States passed the thirteenth fourteenth and fifteenth ammendments these are nown as the reconstructions ammendments. and in 1865 you have the thirteenth ammendment and this abolished slavery ended slavery we talked about the emancipation proclomation and that was essentially Abraham Lincoln's exacutive orders this was the speach he made but now it became an official law in 1865 but in 1868 you have the fourteenth ammendment which made everyone - ever person- born in the United States a citizen and this includes the free slaves so its kind of like the slaves are now free and they are also citizens and in 1870 you have the fifteenth ammendment which gave all free men the right to vote and obviously now all men were free so the right to vote and I emphasize the MEN because even at this point women did not have the right to vote the right to vote and the fourteenth ammendment also introduced the due process which i wont go into details here, but it essentially said "look the government has to go under a due process or where essentially it has its its subject to its own laws when determining whether it can take away property from or in some way incurr, I guess, in some way infringe on rights of other people but we'll talk, we'll probably do a whole video on that but these were the real take aways so it really brought the former slaves, at least by law, by these ammendments on equal standing. but we know that in practice that didn't happen. And you go fastforwards to 1877 and you essentially have the Reconstruction period formally ending, the occupation of the South formally ends and as soon as the occupation of the South formally ends you essentially and Democracy comes about you have a bunch of people coming to power and at this point of time the Republicans were essentially, the North and these were the people who were kind of anti-slavery and you know, Abraham Lincoln was Republican and the Democrats come to power in the South and we can talk about how the different perceptions of the different parties change over time but at this point as soon as the occupation ended and to a large degree and you know I put Democracy in quotes because even in this period the North had essentaily not occupied it anymore but the elections--these were things that were heavily contested, you have both sides of them kind of exerting force and in particular you have the Jim Crow Laws being passed in the South and they're called "Jim Crow" based on this parody of the early 1800s. It was a practice for white men in the South at this time were even well before this in order to parody blacks they would paint their face black and they would act silly and all of this. Jim Crow was the name of one of these characters that was protrayed in the early 1800s--I think Jumping Jim Crow was the name--so that's where the laws come from, but the Jim Crow laws essentially segregated blacks and whites in the South and even though the idea might have been that they were equal, the reality were that the conditions for blacks--the places that they were separated to--were far inferior. They had to use separate drinking fountains, they had to use separate bathrooms, they couldn't sit in the same parts of theaters or in the same parts of buses. And these lasted all the way until the Civil Rights Movement--all the way to the 1960s. Now, at the same time that all of this was happening, you kinda had this post-war, this post-Civil War boom in the econom, where you hadthis kind of massive building of the railroads and steam engines and you know...to some degree it was the First--well, I don't want to say the first, there was kind of many- there was kind of many ages of mass inovation--but all of these things tend to lead to a little bit of a bubble. And then in 1873, what you have happening is a lot of the governments of the world start to go off of the gold and silver standard and they go to the gold standard. And what that happens is that anyone left on the silver standard or partially both, the gold and silver standard, their currency would de-value, and back then it was known as an unbalanced negative for your currency to de-value, we can later talk about that... and so the US decides to follow and the big, the big actor here was Germany that decided to go off of the silver standards and go on the pure gold standard. And so the US decided to follow suit with the Coinage Act, in 1873, but this leads to a huge--they called the Panic of 1870, theres a couple of things here. One, it completely demolishes the price of silver, although it was happening on a normal basis. It hurts the silver miners and the industries associated with the silver miners--but I guess more importantly, it restricts the money supply, now I won't go into all of the economic stuff. When you restrict the money supply, you essentially increase interest rates and it essentially pops the bubble that was forming, due to the railroads and all of the booming business and then you essentially have the US entering a depressionand that depression last from 1873 (when the Coinage Act and the bubble burst) all the way to 1879 but lucky for the United States after that time period After it recovered from the depression (at a super fast rate) in one of the fastest economic growths in US history You had this huge influx of immigrants Tens of millions from Europe and by 1890 the United States was now the richest country in the world on a per capita basis which was amazing! Because only 100 years ago it was kind of this colony of Great Britain or part of the British Empire It was kind of this thing that the European powers did not view as having relevance to them but now it was the richest country in the world And then you fast forward to 1898 and it starts to essentially become a bit of an empire Until this time the United States kind of kept to itself it wasn't really interested in controlling other nations or other people But in 1898 you had this constant (Until 1898 Cuba was a Spanish colony and there had been many revolts tried against the Spanish by the Cubans and the United States was fairly sympathetic to the Cubans plight They were another country in the New world trying to hold their own against a European power and the Spanish were fairly infamous for cracking down on their subjects pretty hard and so in 1898 during the revolt against the Spanish the US sent some ships over to Havana harbour to essentially protect American interests This might resonate a little bit to the Mexican American War where we kind of sent things close to another country to protect our own interests and make sure that nothing outrageous occurs While in Havana Harbour you have an American battleship called the Maine That explodes and sinks and this is an actual picture of it This is fun because we are entering the point in history when pictures start to become relevant although even in the mid eighteen sixties you had pictures That's a picture of Abraham Lincoln The Maine gets sunk, the people who want to declare war on Spain say Hey Spain must have blown up the Maine (although this is still a complete mystery on the actual cause; some say that it was a random explosion, some even cite conspiracies that would allow the US to justify entering the war while some say that Spain did it for whatever reason It did not like this American fleet in Havana Harbour) Regardless to say after it happened it made the Amercian public angry The American government angry and they declared a very short lived war on Spain They won prettyhandedly The big takeaway from the Spanish-American War is that the US essentially became and empire and started to have control of othe countries Such as its temporary control of Cuba, it also (because it won) it got control of Guam which is right over there It still has control of Guam It also got control of the Phillipines from Spain and it maintained control of the Phillipines until the end of World War II It also got control of Puerto Rico which is still part of the US though not as an offical state it is US territory At this point the US becomes an empire and then you fast forward ot 1914 war breaks out in Europe I need to do a whole series fo videos on World War One But war breaks out in Europe, particularly the two strongest powers that are really at each other in this time period are the British Empire and Germany You have this situation where the US is trying its hardest to avoid war and sustain neutrality Obviously the American people were predominantly of English decsent and were from English speaking countries So there were some sympathies for the British Empire for Great Britain But they wanted to stay neutral, however what happened was that the British had a blockade of the Germans They had a kind of stranglehold. The Germans wanted to have a blockade of the British As Great Britain was an island, it oculd really maybe win the war because it could somehow strangle the island, if it could blockade the island. But unfortunately for Germany it did not have a navy that was as strong So you get close to 1917 actually 1915,16,17 Germany starts to get desperate so it sends its submarines (U-boats) into the Atlantic So they say that if we cannot blockade Great Britain we can at least start harrasing or even blowing ships up that are trying to trade with Great Britain in order to create fear and have the equivalent of a blockade At first Germany does some minor things. As the war goes on however it becomes more and more desperate and it starts to attack civilian ships, cruise liners, American starts dying becasue these U-boats are just willy-nilly torpedoeing ships The US doesn't tolerate this anymore and after the Zimmerman Telegram they enter the war in 1917 Germany did not take the US that seriously at that point but they learned that they should have And then you fast forward to 1918 when the US was definetly one of the major powers They really turned the tide and become a large power after their involvment in the war. And then you fast forward to 1918 and the war ends And the real takeaway from this is that it ended some of the nations that were on the losing end Austria and Hungary no longer stayed a nation The Ottoman Empire was no longer a nation in this form As we will learn later there were huge reparations by the victors on Germany That to a large degree may have lead to World War Two The other things that started to happen at this point in 1920 you have the 18th and the 19th ammendments being passed The 18th enacted prohibition where all of a sudden you made alcohol illegal in the US. And the irony of this is that this is when you have all of these movies about bootleggers and this whole crime scene that develops around illegal alcohol The 19th ammendment was a little less controversial. It finally gave women the right to vote And one of the arguments against women having the right to vote was only men are fighting for the country and only they have the right to vote and be soldiers But during World War One worldwide so many men were fighting that women had to take up the slack at a domestic level and in essence they had to become a big part of the war effort in terms of working in the factories and producing things and so that was probably one of the things that on a global scale women started to attain the right to vote. Also during this period in the 1920's you have another post-war economic boom that really develops into a post-war economic bubble until 1929 and then you have the stock market crash and I think some of us know that after that period The Great Depression Ensues It was a global great depression that contiues all the way until the US enters world was II