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Current time:0:00Total duration:14:23

US History overview 2: Reconstruction to the Great Depression

Video transcript

where we left off in the last video the North had just won the Civil War unfortunately for Abraham Lincoln it was two months after he was assassinated 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 on both sides but it's usually referred to the actual reconstruction of the south and to some degree kind of the reform of the south and I'm going to glaze over a lot of details like I did in the last video and I might ignore some major events that you might find important and I'll get back to them don't worry but the three big things that happen during reconstruction other than the fact of the the north occupying the south and essentially to a large degree suspending democracy in the south and installing its own politicians it's it's own lawmakers is that the United States passed the 13th 14th and 15th amendments these are known as the reconstruction the Reconstruction Amendments in 1865 you have the 13th amendment and this abolished slavery so let me write this here this ended ended slavery we talked about the Emancipation Proclamation and that was essentially Abraham Lincoln's executive order this was the speech he made but now it became official law in 1865 then in 1868 you have the 14th the 14th amendment which made everyone every every person born in the United States a citizen and this includes the freed slave so it's kind of like the slaves are now free and they are also citizens and then in 18 in 1870 you have the 15th amendment which gave all free men the right to vote and obviously now all men were free there were no non free men 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 14th amendment also introduced a due process which I won't go into the details here but it essentially said look the government the government has to go under a due process or essentially it has it's it's subject to its own laws when determining whether it can kind of take away property from or or in some way in I guess in some ways infringe on rights of other people but we'll talk we'll probably do a whole video on that in the future but these were the real take away so it really brought the former slaves at least by law by these amendments on equal standing but we know that in practice that didn't happen and you go fast-forward to 1877 and you essentially have the 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 you know the north and these were the people who are a kind of anti-slavery you know Abraham Lincoln was a Republican and the Democrats come to power in the south and we can talk about how the 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'd put democracy in quotes because even in this period the the North had essentially not occupied anymore but the the elections you know these were things that were heavily contested you had 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 in the early 1800s it was a practice for us but you know but I would say white men in the south at this time or even well before this in order to parody blacks they would paint their face black and they they would act silly in all of this and Jim Crow was the name of one of these characters that was portrayed in the early 1800s I think it was jumpin Jim Crow was the name and so that's where the laws come from but the Jim Crow law is 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 and feared that to use separate drinking fountains they had to use separate bathrooms they had to they couldn't sit in the same parts of theatres 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 kind of had this post war this post-civil war boom in the economy where you had this kind of massive building of the railroads and steam engines and you kind of this you know to some degree it was the the first well I don't want to say the first there was kind of many there's kind of many ages of mass innovation but all of these things tend to always 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 going off of the gold and silver standard and they go to the gold standard and what that happens is is that anyone who's left on the silver standard or partially both the gold and silver stat standard their currency would devalue and back then it was viewed as an unambiguous negative for your currency to devalue we can later talk about that there's more nuance there and so the United States decided to follow suit and actually the big the big actor here was was was Germany that decided to go off of the silver standard and go on a pure gold standard and so the United States decided to follow suit with the coinage act in 1873 but this leads to this huge they call it the panic of 1873 there's a couple of things here one it completely demolishes the price of silver although this was already happening on a global basis it hurts the silver miners and the industries associated with the silver miners but I guess more importantly you now this restricts the money supply and I won't go into all of the economics of it when you restrict the money supply you essentially increase interest rates and it essentially popped the bubble that was forming due to the railroads and all of the booming business and then you essentially had the United States entering a depression and that depression lasts from 80 until eight from 1873 when the coinage Act and kind of this bubble burst all the way to 1879 but lucky for the United States after that time period after it recovered from the depression it actually recovered it like this super fast rate and this was one of the fastest economic growths in US history you had this huge you had this huge influx of immigrants 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 is amazing because only a hundred years ago was kind of this colony of Great Britain it was or part of the British Empire it was kind of this thing that the European powers didn't you know didn't view is that relative 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 you know 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 an 1898 you had this constant until 1898 Cuba was a Spanish colony and there had been money revolts trying against the Spanish by the Cubans and the United States or the Americans were fairly sympathetic to the Cubans at after all you know here's another country in the New World again kind of revolt against a European power and the Spanish were pretty infamous for cracking down pretty hard and so in 1898 the during while there was a revolt against the Spanish the United States sent some sent some sent some ships over to Havana Harbor essentially to protect American interests and this might this might resonate a little bit relative to maybe the the the mexican-american war that we kind of send things close to another country to kind of protect our interests and make sure nothing crazy happens and then while in Savannah Harbor while in that Savannah while in Havana Harbor you have a battleship a u.s. battleship called the main the main that explodes and sinks and this is an actual picture of it this is fun because we're entering the point in history where pictures start to become relevant although even in the even in the mid 1860s you had pictures that's a picture of Abraham Lincoln the main gets sunk the people who want to declare war on Spain say hey Spain must have blown up the main although this is completely it's still a complete mystery on what was the actual cause some people say it was just a random explosion there's even conspiracy theorists who believe that the United States did it to itself intentionally to justify entering the war while some say you know Spain did it for whatever reason it didn't like the it didn't like this this this American fleet in Havana Harbor but regardless to say after this happened it allowed it made the American public angry the American government angry and they declared war on Spain and it was actually a very short-lived war they won pretty handedly and the big takeaway from the spanish-american war is that the United States essentially became an empire it started to have control of other countries and in particular it had temporary control of Cuba but it also because it won it got control of Guam which is right over there and it still has control of it still has control of Guam it also got control of the Philippines from Spain and it maintained control of the Philippines until the end of World War two and it had got control of Puerto Rico which is still part of the United States it's not an official state but it is United States territory so at this point the United States becomes becomes an empire and then you fast-forward to 1914 war breaks out in Europe I need to do a whole series of videos on world war on World War one but war breaks out in Europe particularly the the kind of the two strongest powers that are really at each other at this time period are the British Empire the British Empire and Germany and you have this situation where United States is trying its hardest to stay neutral and they're obviously the American people were predominantly of English descent who it's an english-speaking country so there were some sympathies for for for the British Empire for Great Britain but you had this but they but they wanted to stay neutral but you what you had happening is that the British had a blockade of the Germans they were really kind of had a stranglehold and the Germans wanted to have a blockade of the British because this you know the British were Great Britain was an island especially well it was an island it could it could really maybe win the war if it could somehow strangle the island if it could blockade the island but unfortunately for Germany it did not have as strong of a navy so you get close to 1917 actually 1915 1916 1917 Germany starts to get desperate so it sends its submarines into Atlantic they say well if we can't blockade Great Britain at least maybe we can start we can start harassing ships or even blowing ships that are trying to trade with Great Britain and that'll make people afraid to - it'll essentially be the equivalent of a blockade and at first Germany does some minor things but as the war goes on it gets more and more desperate it gets more and more desperate and it starts it starts TAC attacking civilian ships cruise liners Americans start dying because German u-boats are just willy-nilly just shoot it just essentially torpedoing ships so the US doesn't tolerate it anymore enters the war in 1917 Germany didn't take the United States that seriously up to that point but it learned and will do a whole series of videos on this that it should have and then you fast-forward to 1918 and the United States was definitely one of you know the British were doing all right but the United States really turned the tide no one really expected how large of a power they had essentially gotten involved in the war and then you fast-forward to 1918 in the war the war ends and the real takeaway of this I mean there's there's a bunch of these and we'll talk more about this in depth in future videos is that it ended some of the the nations that that were on the losing end Austrian hungry no longer became what was the nation at least in this form the Ottoman Empire no longer was a nation in this form and as we will learn later that we essentially there were huge reparations by the victors on Germany and that to a large degree may have led to World War two but we won't talk in depth about that right now the other things that started to happen at this point in 1920 you have the 18th and the 19th amendments being passed the 18th enacted prohibition we're all of a sudden you you made you made alcohol illegal in the United States and you know the irony of it is that's when you have all of these movies about these bootleggers and you have this whole crime scene that develops around illegal alcohol but at the same time the 19th amendment was a little maybe a little less controversial and in the 19th amendment it gave it finally gave finally gave women women the right to vote right to vote and one of the one of the arguments that against having women the right to vote before this time was hey you know only men are fighting for the country only they have the right to vote only they can be soldiers but during World War one and this happened not just in the US this happened worldwide in World War one that because so many men were fighting that women really had to take up the slack domestically and they essentially were a big part of the war effort in terms of just working at the factories and producing things and so that was probably one of the big things that on a kind of a global basis all of a sudden women started to get the right women started to get the right to vote and also at this period you have in the 1920s you have another post-war post-war economic boom that really develops into a post-war economic bubble all the way until 1929 and then you have the stock market crash and then I think some of us know that after that period the Great Depression ensues and that takes us and the Great Depression continues and this was a global Great Depression and it continues all the way to the u.s. entry in World War two and I'll leave you there