How Has Race Affected American History?
The problem of race has been prevalent in the history of the United States for a long period. The notion of race has played a role in the way the US citizens think about their history and perceive those people whose ancestors were once slaves. Although the whites discriminated African Americans by turning them into slaves and depriving them of any rights and freedoms, race affected the construction of American society by moving it towards the development of a democratic nation. The analysis of the study shows that from the beginning of the eighteenth century, race played a significant role in America as it helped to increase the rate of exports and foster the implementation of amendments aimed at providing equality in the country.
From the very beginning of racial discrimination in the United States, slaves contributed to the development of American society. Slave labor fostered the prosperity of their masters’ industries. For example, the southern colonies supplied more than 90% of the US exports to Britain, while rice exports produced one million pounds in 1700 and 80 million pounds in 1770. The statistics show that slavery substantially increased the level of American exports and the profits of the national masters. The production of rice and tobacco by slave laborers turned the southern colonies into the richest ones in North America. As a result, slavery was valuable and essential to the development of the US economy.
African Americans, the former slaves, also contributed to the expansion of equality in the country. To protect the rights of slaves, the Congress developed the Fourteenth Amendment to the American Constitution in 1866, while two years later the provision gained the necessity of being ratified. The Fourteenth Amendment is perhaps the most significant legislation, as it states that all individuals including native-born, foreigners, and the members of minority groups must be treated equally. By making African Americans national citizens, the legislation provided a guarantee of their equality with other American population before the law. The adoption of the amendment was also essential to the development of the US democracy, as it emphasizes that states cannot deprive individuals of their life, property as well as liberty without due process of the law.
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As slaves were deprived of the right to choose their governor, race also contributed to making all citizens have equal opportunities in the political sphere. In 1869, the Republican Party passed the Fifteenth Amendment to the US Constitution that prohibited all states from depriving their citizens of the right to vote because of color, race, or even nationality. The provision extended the opportunity for African Americans to vote nationwide. The amendment also provided them with the right to be elected to the public office. Once African Americans occupied positions in the US government, they helped to pass provisions and legislations, which allowed children of different nationalities and races to receive education as well as individuals of diverse races to get married.
In conclusion, the concept of race played an essential role in the United States history, as it helped to increase the level of national exports and promoted the development and implementation of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments aimed at providing equality to the entire population of the country. Since the eighteenth century to the present times, racial diversity contributed to the maintenance of economic and political stability of the United States. Thus, racial issue in America led not only to confrontations and conflicts but also caused the prosperity of the country.