Research Paper on American Liberty

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1729 Words
Date:  2022-06-23


The research paper explores whether American liberty was a complete blessing for the blacks, colonial subjects, labor, women, and immigrants. During the twentieth century, the US government chanted Ango-Saxon slogans of liberty. Nonetheless, this liberty was not as joyous to all persons that interacted with America's government. By 1900, immigrants and white male Americans thoroughly enjoyed freedom, but women, labor, blacks and colonial subjects did not entirely benefit from America's independence.

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Research Question

By 1900, who was entitled to enjoy the blessings of American liberty fully? Be sure to include in your answer blacks, women, labor, immigrants, and colonial subjects.

Satisfaction of American Liberty by Immigration

By 1900, new immigrants thoroughly enjoyed the blessings that came with American freedom. In 1894, Boston professionals founded the Immigrant Restriction League as they sought to prevent illiterate persons from migrating to the US. The congress adopted the measure in 1897. Nonetheless, President Cleveland vetoed the bill and thus paved the way for immigrants to come to the US regardless of their educational background (Forner 659).

Immigration experienced a decline because of Immigrant Restriction League and only allowed for learned Europeans from Scandinavia, German and England came to America. However, when President Cleveland lifted the immigration ban, an overwhelming population of European immigrants came to the US. About 3.5 million persons migrated into the US as they sought after job opportunities in the Midwest and Northern industrial centers of America (Forner 658). Most immigrants were newcomers from eastern and southern European regions of Austro-Hungarian, the Russia, and Italy. Indeed, these newcomers were different from the traditionally accustomed immigrants from Scandinavia, England, Ireland, and Germany. They were unskilled laborers who willfully worked for substandard wages as they aimed for financial advancement. Learned immigrants also came to America. Hence, immigrants thoroughly enjoyed the fruits of American liberty.

How the Black Population Appreciated American Liberty?

By 1900, the blacks did not enjoy any aspect of American freedom. At the end of the nineteenth century, persons from the white communities held campaigns throughout America in an attempt to pass anti-blacks amendments in the constitution. Constitutional amendments needed persons to do literacy test as part of their voting requirement and hence exempted illiterate registrants that voted before 1863. The move disenfranchised the blacks from voting and allowed poor white residents to cast their ballots. Unfortunately, in August 1900, voters in North Carolina cast votes in support of the amendment that barred black persons from voting (Equal Justice Initiative 1).

Also, by 1900, black persons consistently succumbed to lynching practices, and hence they did not enjoy the fruits of liberty. Lynching involved brutal extrajudicial killing on black victims after a malicious gathering of white people overpowered reprimanding militia and police officers. Approximately 3,337 African-Americans succumbed to lynching in the period between 1882 and 1903 (Equal Justice Initiative 1). About 2585 occurrences took place in the South. Black persons surrendered to lynching because of becoming troublesome, slapping a child, throwing stones or for engaging in slander.

Also, a majority of persons in the black community languished in poverty by 1900. Social movements arose to expand the boundary of freedom in America so that black persons could have comprehensive intellectual and economic frameworks. Prominent black leaders emphasized the need for financial self-help and advancement of persons into the middle class. Such measures were clear alternatives from the experience of political and civil agitations. Black leaders like Booker Washington urged his people to attain skilled job or farms as an essential survival strategy after slavery than acquiring American citizenship (Forner 662).

Gratification of American Liberty by the Labor Sector

In the 1890s, labor movements resulted in the creation of American Federation of Labor (AFL) after the collapse of Knights of labor. With Samuel Gompers as the founder, AFL did not bring changes to a majority of workers that comprised of unskilled laborers from American migrants and new immigrants. AFL mainly consisted of white, skilled, male workers who aimed to file lawsuits and strikes for its members. AFL devoted its energy in seeking for improved working conditions and higher wages for its members who united by ethnic background and craft skill. The union embraced a business culture and created policies that were called "business unionism" for its members that mainly worked in building construction and printing sectors. Gompers embraced the adoption of "freedom of contracts."

However, AFL union was void of primary industries like rubber, steel and large-scale factories that were economically dominant at the time (Forner 662). Hence, a significant part of the labor force that comprised of new European immigrants, women and all blacks had to fight for their rights without the help of the union. Gompers barred AFL members from organizing activities that used the union's burner. Also, he declined involvement in extensive political work that could challenge the court's decision on oppressive anti-labor laws and the Progressive Era reforms. The union also created enmity with black workers for fear that they could outwork its members because they were physically superior and offered cheap labor. Hence, whenever black workers held strikes, AFL members and leaders termed them as an opposition of labor progress (Helgeson 1). Generally, the exclusion of majority workers who performed unskilled labor by AFL caused them not to enjoy the fruits of liberty.

Benefits of American Liberty by Women

Women did not fully enjoy American freedom because they lacked voting rights. By 1900, only the states of Idaho, Utah, Colorado and Wyoming allowed women the rights to vote (National Women's party, 1). Earlier National Women Suffrage Associated (NWSA) was established in 1869 to advocate for women suffrage. Later black women founded American Women Suffrage Association (AWSA) to give equal opportunity for blacks to also fight for suffrage. These two groups joined forces and created National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) as they unified effort to fight for suffrage. Even though NAWSA advocated for women right to take part in voting, their campaigns suffered a temporary halt in 1896 but proceeded with its campaigns in 1910.

However, by 1900, American women enjoyed more opportunities when compared to their predecessors because of American liberty (Forner 663). Women had equal rights in politics, employment, and education. They had economic independence and could participate in different roles within the public domain. By 1900, almost all states had implemented laws that gave married women the power to control their property and wages and hence, they could also sign separate wills and contracts. Almost 5 million women managed to work for wages by 1900. Majority of women population were young and unmarried. They mainly performed traditional jobs in the garment industry and domestic service. Nonetheless, educated women were also on the rise, and they began engaging in better-paying opportunities for professional positions and clerical jobs.

Furthermore, American women were free to form social reform organizations, temperance associations and women clubs. Such networks enhanced their influence within the public arena. After founding Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) in 1874, its membership grew to about 150,000 women by 1890. They demanded a ban on alcoholic beverages that caused men to misuses wages and mistreated their wives. Also, they had political and economic reform programs that advocated for voting rights.

Effects of American Liberty on Colonial Subjects

The onset of US economic depression in 1893 caused the legislature re-embank on formulating rigorous foreign policies that could stimulate exportation. Only a few persons within American colonial subjects enjoyed the benefits of liberty because foreign policies served their interests. The Elite group of Filipino locals who owned land enjoyed America's colonial rule. Sugar planters from America also enjoyed these policies in Puerto Rico and Hawaii. Nonetheless, by 1900, a majority of colonial subjects that lived in the rural areas did not benefit from America's imperial power. They languished in abject poverty at the expense of the US government economic gains. In Puerto Rico, locals that were initially diversified farmers became a low-wage group in the plantation economy, which absentee corporations controlled (Forner 673). Unfortunately, they continuously grew poor as the US benefited from their farm's bounty yields.

Hawaii was independent before 1900 and had close ties with the US. These two nations had treaties that exempted sugar imports from tariff duties and allowed Americans to establish its base at Pearl Harbor. However, the vast plantations of sugar that were owned by Americans profoundly boosted Hawaii's economy. In 1893, these American planters overthrew Hawaii government whose leader was Queen Liliuokalani. Harris presented to the Senate an annexation treaty. However, his successor Grover Cleveland withdrew the agreement because most Hawaiians did not want to become colonial subjects (Forner 673). Nonetheless, in 1898 the US managed to annex Hawaii Islands and thus it did not enjoy the Anglo-Saxon liberty.

Puerto Ricans, Filipinos, and Cubans welcomed America into their territories as a form of help that would fight against the colonial power of Spain. They believed that after America fought Spain, there will have a chance of practicing self-governance and social reforms. Nonetheless, Americans were determined to continue colonizing these empires either directly or indirectly. The move resulted in a rapid change of opinions amongst the locals and some form of uprising. For instance Emilio Aguinaldo, a Filipino leader decided to establish a provisional government after becoming victorious at Manila Bay (Forner 674). However, when McKinley chose to retain the island, Filipino movement opposed the move by engaging in war. The war was more extended and bloodier than that fought against the Spanish government. The press reported America's troop atrocities that included burnt villages, rape, civilian execution, and torture on war prisoners. Therefore, Puerto Ricans, Filipino, Cubans, and Hawaiians did not enjoy the fruits of liberty but instead suffered the consequences of American independence.


By 1900, Anglo-Saxon liberty did not entirely benefit women because they still lacked the freedom to vote. Also, back people were not blessed by America's independence because they suffered from mob lynching, discrimination, and poverty. The labor sector suffered from lack of unions to fight for the rights of majority workers, and America's colonies languished in poverty and suffered from atrocities. Thus they did not enjoy Anglo-Saxon liberty by 1900. However, immigrants enjoyed Anglo-Saxon freedom by 1900 because the president lifted restrictions of educations requirement as a basis for entering America's border. Hence, new European immigrants that lacked educations came to America in large numbers. White, male Americans also thoroughly enjoyed the benefits of liberty. They engaged in expansionism, had Unions to fight for their labor rights, and enjoyed cheap labor from immigrants and the blacks.

Works Cited

Equal Justice Initiative. "A history of Racial Injustice." Equal Justice Initiative, 2014. Retrieved from

Forner, Eric. Give me liber...

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