Response to Posts
Discussion3: Politics in the Gilded Age
Thediscussion about the politics and the Gilded Age are as diverse asthe periods themselves. There are two fundamental issues that bringin similarity. First, it is apparent that the elections of 1896 werecentered on the issue of class, and race, with social justice beingas divisive as it is today. Second, both elections are considered tohave had record figures in terms of expenses. Most importantly, itmust be acknowledged that the politics of the gilded age and thecurrent year’s election are charged with socio-political issuesthat revolve around equality and social inclusion.
WhileI believe that the Republican Party could have been my bet for whitehouse, my colleagues think otherwise. Each of the two commentaries Ireceived had a different opinion from mine. My choice of theRepublican Party was based on the fact that the Republicans of thetime supported the abolition of slavery and the passage of statutethat allowed for women suffrage by voting for the 13thAmendment. Cassidy Bui does not mention the party he would havesupported but remains indifferent arguing that the politics of theguided age were merely guided by the need to eliminate socialinjustice. He ideas remain potent to any person that would like toabstain from this year’s election because the same call for reducedtaxes and other fiscal procedures to push everyone to the middleclass still feature over a hundred years later. It is the same oldstory told every day. In his opinion, Shannan Belmont notes that thepolitics of the Gilded Age were not so different from those of thecurrent year. It is the same old politics of taking advantage of thevulnerable populations to gain access to their vote. A selfproclaimed capitalist, Belmont believes that he would have voted theDemocrats for their progressive capitalist agenda that sought tograduate tax and reduce the burden of the poor. He however insiststhat none of the current presidential flag bearers- Clinton andTrump, are better placed to solve America’s problem as it is. Theyare both entangled in a series of unfair practices that depict themas uncaring and obsessed with political ambition.
Inlight of the three discussions, my opinion remains to be that I wouldvote a republican in 1896. However, with the change in tune, theRepublican Party fails to impress today because the very ideals itfought for in the yesteryears are the same ideals it is fighting now.
Discussion4: The Progressive Era
TheProgressive era came just immediately after the gilded age that wascharacterized by rampant corruption and patronage. It was an agewhere everyone wanted to be rich, but instead of bringing everyone tothe top, it enhanced both directions of the economic welfare ofsociety. The progressive era on the other hand helped break the yokesof the gilded age by bringing in statutory measures that enhancedcivility and economic inclusion. For instance, two significant lawswere passed. The first being the 19thAmendment that gave fullcivilian rights to the woman and the Keating-OwenAct that restricted children from working in hazardous conditions andat school hours.
BothMeng Zhang and Stephanie Rivas agree that the progressive ageinherited so much political, economic and social baggage from thegilded age, but at the same time it brought changes that are stillbeing felt today. The labor laws that allow for picketing andagitation of the rights of workers emanate from this era. Rivas givesa more detailed analysis that features the elevation of socialjustice into a national agenda and a tool for developing aprogressive society. She mentions both the 17thAmendment and 19thamendment as the two pillars of social, economic and politicaltransformation that was witnessed in the period. Moreover,acknowledges the role of writers in exposing government malpracticesin the progressive era.
Theviews by Rivas resonate well with my thoughts on the politics of theprogressive era. We both identify civil authority in determining howsociety transforms in times of strife. The role of writers in theprogressive era has been replicated in the current dispensation wherecolumnists in mainstream media such as television, print and digitalmedia have done a tremendous job in exposing the nature of ourpresidential candidates. Primarily, the problems of the gilded agewere solved by the pragmatic steps taken by the Americans of theProgressive era.
Discussion5: America’s Role in the World and the Great War
Theideal point to start the discussion is to agree that the relevance ofthe US in world politics and military work was enhanced during thefirst and second world wars. The two wars ushered in the cold war,and as it stands, the cold war has never come to an end. The resultof the engagement of the US in world issues on the political andmilitary front has done more harm than good given the amount ofresources that the country has spent, notwithstanding the manyenemies we have created. Russia still remains to be the greatestthreat, although other terrorist organizations like ISIS also pose aconsiderable amount of threat to the country’s troops on foreignmission.
BothMeng Zhang and I identify a poem titled WhiteMan’sBurden:written by Kipling, in which he tries to explain the reasons thatmotivated the US governments of the time in trying to reinforce itsforeign policy. It was inherent upon the US government of the timethat protectorate mandates were its duty. That is why the US engagedin both WWI and WWII as an allied party to factions that were againstGermany and Russia. The problem with America during this time is thatthe country had the zeal to fight for civil liberties elsewherearound the globe, but failed to implement the same ideas at home. AsShennan Belmont found out, there were problems of “segregation,economic inequality, disenfranchisement, and racial violence” thatkept ordinary citizens from attaining the American dream. Belmontalso recognizes the threat that terror gangs found in the Middle Eastpose to our great nation.
Thethoughts of my colleagues on the state of affairs in world politicsas regards America’s image remain in tandem with what I posted.America is in a more difficult and precarious position because of themany enemies she has made. There is no part of the world today whereAmerica is not threatened. The US and Russia have met in Kuwait andSyria. There are diplomatic tensions between the two countries, andas it appears, the US is sitting on a time bomb.