Liberty in America from 1865 to 1941
Liberty is not just a wonderful thing. It is a rare thing. As much as we would like to wish otherwise there is far more tyranny in the world as opposed to liberty.
Throughout history, there have been tyrannical monarchies and totalitarian regimes that impose their will on the populace. Actually, one does not even have to look into the historical past for examples as there are many nations this very day where tyranny rules.
Those who live in the United States, however, can at least lay claim to living in one of the freest nations on earth. This is because the United States has built itself upon the concept of liberty, democracy and freedom. While there have been dark patches in American history, many of those dark periods have been overcome. One of the more interesting periods in the nation’s history in terms of exploring liberty progression and regression would be during the time period from the end of the Civil War to just prior to American involvement in World War Two.
During the Reconstruction Era, a tremendous amount of liberty was provided to African-Americans as freedom from slavery had arrived. Sadly, there was not much in the way of racial equality brought forth during this time period and many point to the apartheid like environment southern blacks had to endure. However, there was also the period of the Great Migration where many African-Americans moved north during World War One to take advantage of ob opportunities and a better living environment. No one impeded the migration as the liberty of being able to seek a better life was afforded.
In addition, the liberties of the United States were afforded to people who lived outside the United States. This is evidenced in the significant immigration waves to the USA from Europe. These waves occurred throughout the late 19th century and early 20th century and all those who arrived were provided all the freedoms of the United States as well as being afforded the opportunity to take part in the democratic process.
In addition to voting in the United States, many of these immigrants would go one to become major political figures. In fact, within a short number of decades many immigrants and African-Americans would become mayors of major cities. While liberty was not expanded quickly, it did expand and crossed all racial, gender and ethnic lines.
Of course, at various times in American history there have been a number of challenges to liberty. Under President Woodrow Wilson, there were a number of famous assaults on the concept of liberty. This was most notable in Wilson’s Sedition Act which essentially imposed the totalitarian concept of the “enemy of the state” on people who opposed Wilson’s war policies.
However, the way in which these procedures were enacted were so severe there is no way one could argue that these were sane policies. These laws arbitrarily targeted large numbers of the population and were quite random in their enforcement.. Thankfully, with the end of Wilson’s tenure such practices would cease to occur with the exception of the Japanese internment during World War Two.
The reason this aberration is pointed out is because it is an aberration. Such extreme methods are not the general practice of the United States as it remains a reliable beacon of liberty where such liberties are provided for all. Yes, there are stumbling blocks to liberties now and then but ultimately the United States remains the freest nation of earth and one that cherishes its freedoms.