Essay Example on Three Major Elements of US History

Published: 2022-12-18
Essay Example on Three Major Elements of US History
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  War The Great Depression American history
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1635 words
14 min read


The United States of America has a rich history of the many things that have happened within the last three centuries that have had both significant positive and negative implications in all dimensions including political, economic, social and environmental. It has been prompted to fight, negotiate, sign treaties and even surrender to ensure the present and future America does not in any way correspond to how it used to be over three centuries ago when it was still a British Colony. Thus, people have died and property destroyed in the quest to achieve the dream of her forefathers such as Christopher Columbus of becoming the greatest nation in the world. Owe to the efforts of those who have always had this dream in their hearts as the US is the global superpower after breaking through a lot of significant challenges. However, this achievement and many others in American history have been associated with a lot of events both empowering and diminishing of which the determiner has always been the consequences. Some of the most common and significant periods in the history of the US, therefore, that have had distinct implications on the country and the people include the Progressive Era of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, the Great Depression of the 1930s and the Cold War of the 1946 -1991.

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The Progressive Era

It was a period of political reform and social activism across the entire country, was aimed at creating a new America with a purified government, and civilized society whose priority is to provide a favorable living environment for the people where families are prioritized, and women are protected from all forms of suffering. Also, this era was focused on significant matters such as the prohibition of substance use and developing a better education system for all Americans. It was, however, primarily focused on eliminating corruption in the government and this entailed sweeping out any representative whose actions and behaviors did not correspond with the much-required integrity and honesty among the public servants (Boundless). The activists and reformers in this era believed that by eliminating such individuals from the public administration, the country would be more democratic and the rule of the people would prevail as were the anticipations during the revolutionary period of the mid to late 18th Century. Also, the movement advocated for the regulation of the monopolies and corporations to ensure there was legitimate competition in the market; hence, the enactment of the anti-trust laws including the Sherman Act (SA) of 1890, the Clayton Act (CA) of 1914 and the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTCA) of 1914.

More so, the movement campaigned for prohibition intending to suppress the powers of some political bosses who were owned by brewery companies in the US. Also, it was supporting females' suffrage as this was privilege given to the males of age at the time. Hence, the Congress was pressed until they passed the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Amendments in 1917 and 1919 that banned the manufacturing, distribution, and consumption of alcohol across the country and allowed women to vote respectively (Jaycox). There were other significant transformations in various sectors including education where all children were not supposed to work for a living until they attained a certain age; thus, they were obliged to enroll in public schools. Socially, many people benefitted through various reforms including the housing and settlement programs that prompted construction of significant living neighborhoods in the US such as the United Neighborhood Houses of New York. The Progressive Era, therefore, was one of its kinds although it also had a dark side. The prohibition, for instance, led to gang-related crimes as people smuggled alcohol into hidden basements and drinking spots. Also, the Ku Klux Klan was revived during the 1910s and continued to discriminate the African-Americans maliciously due to their political and economic progress in the post-reconstruction period. It was, hence a period that was associated with all forms of implications that were both beneficial and destructive.

The Great Depression

It is one of the significant times that Americans will live to remember as it was a decade of economic terror. It began with the decline of stock prices by 23% in what was called the stock market crash of 1929. It is a period that is associated with a high rate of unemployment which was around 25% at the time and underproduction under the administration of President Herbert Hoover (Amadeo). The primary causes were the irrelevant government policies such as increased interest rates in attempts to preserve the dollar value and failure to increase the supply of money despite the ongoing deflation. Also, the fed funds rates were augmenting even through the 1929 recession such that the country's economy was rapidly subsidizing and the government was fueling the process. It was after everything was almost to the ground when a new hope was instilled into the people following the election of President Franklin D. Roosevelt who promised to end the Great Depression through the implementation of significant federal programs. Hence, he had already signed A New Deal within the first 100 days into office that operated through 42 agencies.

The Great Depression has been cited multiple times as one of the worst economic downturns that could ever happen to a country in the industrialized world and so to say in one of the most developed nations across the globe. No American or any other person in the world would want to be associated with a time like that where unemployment was at its highest, natural disasters such as drought were at their pick, and most of the banks were not operating because people had lost confidence in them and withdrawn all their money. It is of significance as it is used as an example to ensure a thing of that magnitude does not repeat itself in future by mitigating those signs that might be predicting a reoccurrence of an economic downturn (Romer). It, hence, helped develop strategies to implement as countering efforts before a lot of damage is caused in the event the country finds itself in a similar position.

The Cold War

It is usually referred to as the Postwar since it came immediately after World War II that ended in 1945 since the USA and the USSR could not tolerate each other. While the Americans detested the Russian's communist ways and the tyrannical ruling of Joseph Stalin, the latter felt that the former were undermining and failing to recognize them as an international community. Hence, despite the alliance during the WWII where they faced the Axis Powers, each of the two nations felt that it needed to demand respect and recognition from the other as the global superpower (Editors). It was a war of capitalist Americans against communist USSR, and each was aimed at subduing the other economically, scientifically, politically and socially. It was more of propaganda as usage of weapons was limited although each nation undermined the other by showcasing the power of their weapons including nuclear, tanks and jets to mention a few. The numerous testing of weapons had significant adverse effects on the environment and atmosphere since chemicals were released which were harmful to the people and animals. Hence, the two rivals agreed and signed an agreement called the Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty of 1963 that banned the testing of above the ground nuclear weapons as they were omitting pollutants. After 46 years of propaganda and diminishing each other, the war came ended in 1991 and was symbolized by the replacement of communist governments with non-communist ones and also the destruction of the famous Berlin Wall. The US had won the war, and it was declared the world's superpower.

Despite everything that happened within these 46 years, the war had significant positive and negative impacts in the world. It influenced a lot of developments in the scientific industry such as the production of highly empowered types of machinery that could propel people into space (Gaddis). Also, the creation of high definition weapons such as nuclear and tanks as the countries attempted to outdo each other in inventions. More so, the military powers were improved in both nations when USSR created strong conventional and strategic forces such that the US took 25 years to match them. However, there were significant adverse effects such as the release of harmful chemicals into the atmosphere and utilization of a lot of considerable time that could have preferably been used for other developments other than for power competition.


Americans have witnessed many events including the Progressive Era, the Great Depression, and the Cold War that have progressively impacted their lives both positively and negatively. They might have happened over a century or many decades ago, but the prevailing truth is that they are still fresh among the historians and the people who are concerned with things that affect them but happened before they existed. A lot of things that happened during these periods are still practiced in modern times. For instance, it was during the progressive era that women were granted the right to vote, people cannot allow the economy to decline considering the consequences of the Great Depression and America is the global superpower because it won the Cold War. The events, therefore, can hardly be forgotten since things occur every day that trigger one's memory and connects the episodes of that time to what is apparently happening.

Works Cited

Amadeo, Kimberly. "What Happened During the Great Depression?" The Balance,

Boundless. "Boundless US History." Lumen,

Editors, "Cold War History.", A&E Television Networks, 27 Oct. 2009,

Gaddis, John Lewis. Strategies of containment: a critical appraisal of American national security policy during the Cold War. Oxford University Press, 2005.

Jaycox, Faith. The progressive era. Facts on File, 2005.Romer, Christina D. "Great depression." Forthcoming in Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 4.5 (2003): 11.

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