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The Evolvement of United States Government Between 1877–1940

1877-1940 is considered the first semester of the two-part historical scenarios that deeply explore the history of the United States of America. Starting with evaluating the nation’s beginnings, the end of the reconstruction era and civil war, and the enlightenment’s effects on the U.S. The following essay will discuss some of the government and governance critical historical events that occurred from the time of industrialization reconstruction up to 1940.

  1. How the Role of Unites States Government Evolved Between 1877-1940

During this period, America’s government primarily evolved due to new factors like industrialization, economic reconstruction and guild age. Historians argue that the guild age is one of the main factors that affected the governance of the United States. In this era, America experienced tremendous growth in technology and industry, and it became more economically stable. However, corruption, industrialist, greed, and extortion were at their maximum level during this era. Politicians got extraordinary wealth using decomposition at the expenditure of the working class. Yearby’s (2018) study shows that it was so extreme to the extent of wealthy tycoons holding the most potent political powers. The role of government changed and started taking a different direction. At this period, the government passed laws like Anti-Trust Act to end monopolistic business collaborations, Interstate Commerce Act to regulate railroads rates and regulated utility laws on work conditions. The guild age ended in 1893. This marked a substantial political rearrangement and finally led to a progressive era. This saw a voter turnout record where the Republican Party supported protective tariffs in industries and businesses (Guild and Figueroa. 2018). The Democratic Party adopted the silver platform but opposed the tariffs. In this era, there were widespread political reforms and increased social activism across the United States. This continued until towards the start of World War 2.

  1. What New Responsibilities did it Undertake

During this period, the United States Federal government started to pass laws to control businesses for the first time. Toward the end of the guild age and the passage of the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887, the government started to break free from a Laissez ideology. The ideology stood against the interference of an individual’s ability to compete freely. This idea was to improve social conditions through government initiatives, it claimed that government assistance prevented African Americans from attaining their best from the free market and business competition (Guild and Figueroa. 2018). Due to this reasoning, the Supreme Court overturned some state laws that introduced working conditions, the number of working hours and minimum wages. The Court argued that this law interfered with the rights of workers to negotiate their labor contracts. During this post-reconstruction era. Congress increased and created a lot of new bureaus, programs and departments (Ribeiroet al., 2021). The government was in charge of these newly formed departments and created rich internal guidelines that helped administrative adjudicatory and vital regulatory. However, these new responsibilities largely depended on recommendations and research from old agencies. These are some of the government’s new duties during the 1877-1940 period.

  1. Whose Right did it Try to Protect

After the reconstruction era collapsed, leading to the withdrawal of Federal troops from the allied states. The white supremacist controlled the Democratic Party, and the party dominated the southern side. For example, white supremacists formed social and political groups to support white and oppress blacks during the reconstruction era. They even went to enact a law that would justify their inequality (Yearby 2018). Furthermore, the groups used violence to intimidate the Republican voter and blacks. This saw success in their efforts and made white supremacy a reality in the South. The government also protected the rights of corrupt individuals in power and oppressed others, especially in businesses and trade. The whites argued that minorities are to blame for the poor economic status, viewing it as cultural lowliness. Soskice (2020) study suggests that a group of powerful individuals constructs this ideology to justify their views on social inequalities. Hence is correct to conclude that lows were made by people in control while at the same time protecting their interests and rights while dominating others.

  1. To What Extent and Context did the Government Infringe Rights of Others

The new era began in 1877. It promised the black race would have a better life, their status of living would rise and be included in the nation’s civic life. The government even proposed allowing marginalized enslaved people to be represented in the federal government, indicating that each man is equal to one vote. However, by the end of the century, slavery was replaced with sharecropping to make blacks work in poverty, while the voting right was taken away (Guild and Figueroa. 2018). The country’s industrialization brought a lot of wealth but to just a few leading, making people struggle and try to make it through as wage laborers. The rich later took on government positions and later influenced and manipulated the government to do what they wanted for their interests. They made laws to benefit their businesses and even discouraged free trade and business competitions. Through vote-buying, unregulated campaign contributions and similar schemes, they infringed and went against human rights without any consequences.

  1. Laws and Amendments Passed and their Success in Achieving their Goals

Some of the effective amendments prevented the government from making laws that forbade the free exercise of religion or the establishment of religion. In 1878 Supreme Court concluded that laws could not hinder religious opinion and belief. However, it controls spiritual practices like human sacrifice. The Court also stated that if a law encourages religious or individual discrimination, the law is constitutionally unacceptable (Soskice 2020). Due to unhealthy poor working conditions and severe work accidents, which largely contributed to social and economic losses, the governments made and amended laws to curb the situation. Like the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, laws were made to end monopolistic business collaboration. Others like Interstate Commerce Act was put in place to control the rate in the railroad. The above Laws and amendments become very successful because they face no or very minimal opposition. Hence it was easy for them to be executed and achieve the intended goals.


Guild, A., & Figueroa, I. (2018). The Neighbors Who Feed Us: Farmworkers and Government Policy-Challenges and SolutionsHarv. L. & Pol’y Rev.13, 157.

Ribeiro, A., Amaral, A., & Barros, T. (2021). Project Manager Competencies in the context of the Industry 4.0. Procedia Computer Science181, 803-810.

Soskice, D. (2020). The American knowledge economy.

Yearby, R. (2018). Racial disparities in health status and access to healthcare: the continuation of inequality in the United States due to structural racism. American Journal of Economics and Sociology77(3-4), 1113-1152.


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