Reconstruction era was a period witnessed in the 18th century from 1863 to 1877 where reforms to uphold social rights were greatly anticipated for by the slaves living in America. The extended demands from the slaves transpired the occurrence of this reconstruction period when the need for equality was demanded by the American foreigners; the slaves. The American masters opposed this as they would lose their supremacy. The progressive era also referred to as progressivism was a period which lasted from the 18th century and spilled over to the early 19th century for it emerged in 1890 to 1920. The main objective behind the emergency of this era was to uphold social and political integrity by eliminations of socio-political vices practiced by those in power. It was faced with excess resistance by those in power since they had used their political powers to satisfy their individual interest. Corruption and poor governance were the key vices targeted by this era.Civil rights movements emerged in the 19th century which was inclined towards demands for an equal humanitarian approach to both American natives and the African-Americans . The proponents of these eras were led by Martin Luther King, a black American. American natives opposed this move since they saw it as insubordination as well as intimidation of their American ethnicity. Their argument was foreigners should not enjoy equal rights with the natives. Although these historical periods interrelated, they also differed in various aspects.
All the periods aimed at upholding social justice by reinforcing equality among the American population. As for the reconstruction era, the slaves championed for the end of their inhuman treatments and sort for the establishment of stronger humanitarian institutions. The progressive era as well sorts to alter the negative social injustices transpired by urbanization, industrialization, and the paramount of all, the misuse of powers by the political officials. Corruption led to mismanagements of public assets as well as the violation of the social rights supposed to be enjoyed equally among all persons. The civil rights movements as well demanded social equality . All eras where tied on one knot in the context of fighting for social justices. Their major difference in this pursuit for social justice was that they occurred at different times meaning the re-emergence of the succeeding era was a root cause of the preceding era. Different proponents enabled the accomplishment of the different periods since each era had its own activists.
In the context of upholding political democracy, progressive era stood as the only era which sort to give close concern on political democracy. It had incorporated the observation of good governance and eradication of malicious acts which were stirred up by poor governance such as corruption acts. Both civil rights movements and the reconstruction eras had not included the idea of political justice as their objective. These two eras were determined much to fight for social justice as they termed it as the paramount human context from which all other components of humanity revolve such as political aspect, cultural as well as the economic sector. They all had related objectives, but only progressive era took a step higher than the rest as it was not only concerned with the social aspect but also the political perspective within which power is distributed.
All the eras addressed equality, but not all were concerned with economic equality. Reconstruction era and civil rights movements were so much related to the social adjustments than economic restructuring. Progressivism was more concerned with economic extents since it incorporated industrialization and urbanization as part of the objective they pursued . The other periods were not much into the economic aspect since they mentioned only the need for social justice and not any other. The social sector was accorded supremacy between these two eras while progressivism gave equal weight to all aspects as it gave concern to diverse aspects related to humanity which all periods were fighting for . Progressivism came up with the ownership of states property which divided the modes of ownerships into three; socialism, capitalism and communism. Capitalism stood to be different from the other two as it campaigned for private ownership while the other two supported collective ownership of property which was inclined towards upholding the equality which the three eras pursued. Progressivism stood at a different ground from the rest by the stipulation it gave in relation to the economic objective it had incorporated.
Conservation of human rights was the main objective for all the three periods. They campaigned for human rights which had been violated since the classical periods. This period had been characterized by excess inhuman acts more so the genocides which had occurred during the often wars due to thirst for power and the struggles for supremacy. The social violations which had been witnessed for long then synthesized the need for reforms to eradicate these inhuman acts. The periods than were brought into existence as a propelling medium towards the upholding of effective social practices. One of the most vital social justice which was given heaviest priority by the three eras was an end to slavery which had taken a course in American and its neighboring regions. It was seen as an act which was against humanity thus the need to conserve what had been ratified as humanely suitable. All the three were based on one major objective of eradicating such malicious acts hence bringing on to light the need for human rights. The pressures created from these eras where of great importance during the drafting of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR) which was a major turning point concerning human rights observation. Equality was the driving force towards the formulation of these rights which led to equal ratification as well as the universalization of human rights across all regions of the world. This gave power to the international community to intervene any case related to human right violation across all global regions as the treaty upheld rule of law; no one would violate fellow human.
The occurrence of these three eras was successive. Reconstruction era set the precedence for the others which made them consist of similar objectives. The demands were raised through the uncertainty still dwells since what was addressed by these eras still exist. The reason behind this re-emergence of the vices eradicated by the periods remains a case yet undecided. Generations spill overs have been recorded since the injustices which had occurred in the classical periods still re-happen in the current century. It is believed that social vices are inborn and concretely installed in the humanely senses hence making it a difficult aspect to fight. The manner in which the three eras occurred depicted that the failure of the preceding era gave the foundation for the succeeding era. The demerits from each era can be seen and weighed equally as they all failed to acquire the set objective which they all sort to pursue.
- Brinkley, Alan. The Unfinished Nation: A Concise History of the American People, Volume I. No. 11. McGraw-Hill, 2015.
- Harvey, Paul. Freedom’s coming: Religious culture and the shaping of the South from the Civil War through the civil rights era. UNC Press Books, 2012.
- Lawson, Steven F. “Long Origins of the Short Civil Rights Movement, 1954–1968.” Freedom Rights: New Perspectives on the Civil Rights Movement (2011): 9-37.