Is Early United States History a Story of Progress?

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Is Early United States History a Story of Progress?

The early United States history is a story of progress. This can be evidenced by several occurrences that were taking place during that period. Among them is the American System of Manufacturers. This is a system that evolved during the 19th century. This was a sign of progress since it signified a new beginning to how things were being produced. The American system of manufacturers included the notable features of production that were mechanization and use of interchangeable parts. As a result, there was the emergence of semi-skilled workers in an era that was heavily dominated by unskilled and fully skilled workers (Berkin et al. 147). This resulted in the development of parts that were easy to assemble and fit together while experiencing minimal mismatch. The time required to actualize this also reduced significantly.

This is something that enabled efficient division of labor with the objective of attaining higher productivity. The concept of quality assurance also emerged here as a result. This is something that encouraged manufacturers to come up with more ideas of innovation. Before this period, the United States used to make most of its money through farming. However, with the mechanization of manufacturing, it was now possible to produce a bulk of the economic exports as manufactured goods. Booming manufacturing is something that helped to speed up the country’s prosperity even in the later years.

The reason why the emergence of the American System of Manufacturers demonstrates a story of progress is because manufacturing has shown to be the path to development over the years. The countries with great power in the globe are the ones that have advanced in manufacturing technology. Economic growth highly depends on manufacturing given that global trade normally depends on goods as opposed to services. Most of the services even exist due to the presence of certain manufactured goods. There is also an increase in job creation as manufacturing prospects grow. Countries with manufacturing efficiency increase dependency from other countries hence gaining some level of control in the world order.

Another thing that shows early United States history as a story of progress is the 13th Amendment.  This was the amendment that resulted in the abolishment of involuntary servitude and slavery. With the ratification of this amendment, slavery was only allowed when it came as punishment for someone that had committed a crime. In this case, one had to be duly convicted for it to apply. Congress passed the 13th Amendment on January 31, 1865 while the ratification was on December 6 the same year. This was an amendment that came during the reconstruction period after the civil war.  As a result, it was an amendment that was anticipated to bring progress.

There are people who argue that slavery was fundamental in the development of the United States economy given that the slaves used to work in farms. However, the abolishment of slavery boosted the economy even more. Slavery used to generate profits to the people who owned the slaves, but it resulted in massive losses and costs to the general economy. This is in addition to the human suffering that was being encountered by the people subjected to slavery (Berkin et al. 203).

The moment people are beaten, starved, or oppressed it is like they are struggling to survive. As a result, this means that there is low labor productivity. This means that there is a massive opportunity cost to the economy compared to when people are free and liberated. When people are free, they are able to work at full capacity since they are motivated to fend for their families. They tend to contribute more to the economy, as a result. Apart from their productivity, their consumption of resources is also high hence the positive contribution to the overall economy.

The rise of democratic politics is another early aspect of history that shows the progress that the United States was making. This happened during the period between 1820 and 1840. The election procedures that existed before were quite undemocratic. There was the imposition of taxpaying and property requirements for the white male adults who were the only individuals involved with voting. The voting was conducted by voice, and the state legislators were the ones choosing presidential electors(Berkin et al. 97).  This meant that people only had indirect say in the election of the president.

By 1840 there was the expansion of voting rights. There was a repeal of using property qualifications for office holding and voting. There were also direct methods of voting for different officials. This is something that helped to increase voter participation significantly. The two-party system was born and they had varied philosophies hence giving people an option to choose from. This is something that brought progress in the United States as people now could choose leaders who were qualified to bring the needed developments. It also brought about an aspect of freedom of expression given that more people were given the chance to vote for the leaders that they wanted.


Work Cited

Berkin, Carol et al. Making America: A History Of The United States, Volume I: To 1877. 7th ed., Cengage Learning, 2014.