history discussion revise thesis

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How Far Have We Come?

Prepare: Take some time to look back on the information that you learned in this course and the work that you have done on your Final Project. Look back at your instructor’s feedback on your thesis on the Reflect: Throughout this course, we have looked at how life has changed for different groups of Americans since the end of Reconstruction. Think about the many ways that the United States has made tremendous progress in realizing equality for all Americans. Where are there still some areas in which there is more to do? What conclusions have you reached while researching your Final Project? What specific events support your conclusion? Week Three Assignment.

Write: Create a post that explains:

  • The main conclusion from your Final Project. This is your thesis. Be sure to take the time to review your instructor’s feedback on your Week Three assignment and consider any additional information that you have learned. Then, revise your thesis accordingly.
  • At least two events that support your conclusion.

Your initial post should be at least 250 words in length. Provide specific examples to support your points. Your references and citations must be formatted according to APA style

By 1877, the United States had weathered the Civil War and Reconstruction. Although there was a concerted effort on the part of Northern Republicans and African Americans to establish social, political, and legal equality for African Americans, that effort largely failed, leaving African Americans as a distinct underclass, facing segregation and discrimination in all facets of life. However, African Americans were not the only group struggling under the weight of inequality. American women were also fighting to be recognized as full citizens, pushing for the right to vote (suffrage) as well as legal and social independence.

The last half of the 1800s also saw the rapid expansion of industrial capitalism. New forms of business arose that allowed a few prominent men to grow exceptionally wealthy on the backs, so many Americans believed, of exploited workers and farmers. More than perhaps any other industry, the railroad business aroused the fears and resentments of many Americans, who deplored its financial prospects and it’s seemingly corrupt influence over American politics. Native Americans on the Great Plains suffered greatly from the expansion of railroads, but farmers in the region, too, saw it as an enemy and organized against it as the Populist Party in the 1890s.

The economic expansion attracted huge numbers of immigrants. Fleeing poor economic prospects and violence and hoping to find their fortunes in the United States, the immigrants instead often found dirty and over-crowded tenements, dangerous working conditions, and wages that were too low to survive on. The immigrants of this period differed from those in the past in their countries of origin as well as in religious beliefs and cultural practices. Viewed with hostility by many Americans, the new immigrants of the late 19th century also found themselves struggling against discrimination to establish themselves in their new homeland. 

This week, we’ll look at the challenges faced by African Americans, Native Americans, women, and immigrants as they worked for equality and the chance to enjoy the promised opportunities of American society. We will also examine the Industrial Revolution of the late 1800s, considering the social, cultural, and economic outcomes of such a radical upheaval.

Required Resources



  • O’Malley, M. (2004). Alien menace. Retrieved from http://chnm.gmu.edu/exploring/19thcentury/alienmenace/assignment.php
    • This article provides images and explanation related to the reception many immigrants in the late 1800s received. It also discusses the idea of “whiteness” and how that characterization did or did not apply to these immigrants.


  • Jones, R. (Writer), & Hawksworth, R. (Director & Producer). (2001). The American industrial revolution [Video file]. Retrieved from https://secure.films.com/OnDemandEmbed.aspx?Token=47596&aid=18596&Plt=FOD&loid=0&w=640&h=480&ref=
    • This film discusses the Industrial Revolution, including the social, cultural, economic, and political impacts.

Recommended Resources


  • Hudson, L. M. (2008). Entertaining citizenship: Masculinity and minstrelsy in post-emancipation San Francisco. Journal of African American History, 93(2), 174-197. Retrieved from the http://www.jaah.org/
    • This scholarly article looks at the ways that minstrel shows portrayed African American men and how these portrayals reflected social attitudes related to race and masculinity in San Francisco in the years after the Civil War. This is a scholarly secondary source that can be used for the discussion board posts and for the Final Project. This article can be accessed from the EBSCOhost database in the Ashford University Library.
  • Zylstra, G. D. (2011). Whiteness, freedom, and technology: The racial struggle over Philadelphia’s streetcars, 1859-1867. Technology and Culture, 52(4), 678-702. Retrieved from https://www.press.jhu.edu/journals/technology_and_culture/
    • This scholarly article provides additional explanation related to the conflict over race, gender, and ethnicity in the late 180s by focusing on the streetcars in Philadelphia. This scholarly secondary source can be used as a source for the discussion boards and for the Final Project. This article can be accessed from the Project MUSE database in the Ashford University Library.


  • Wallenstein, P. (2012). Identity, marriage, and schools: Life along the color line/s in the era of Plessy v. Ferguson. In S. Cole & N. Ring (Eds.), The folly of Jim Crow: Rethinking the segregated South(pp. 32-45). Retrieved from the ebrary database.
    • This e-book chapter provides additional information on segregation in the South at the end of the 19th century, especially in relation to identity, personal relationships, and education.


  • Burns, R. (Producer, Writer, & Director), Ades, L. (Producer), & Sanders, J. (Writer). (2003). New York, 1865-1898: Sunshine and shadow [Television series episode]. In R. Burns (Executive producer), New York: A documentary film by Ric Burns. Retrieved from https://secure.films.com/OnDemandEmbed.aspx?Token=44172&aid=18596&Plt=FOD&loid=0&w=640&h=480&ref=
    • This film provides elaboration and a visual medium through which students can find additional information on urban life at the end of the 1800s. It can be used as a source for the discussion boards and for the Final Project.
  • Kunhardt, P. W., & Sheppard, S. (Executive producers). (2002). What is Freedom? [Series episode]. In Freedom: A history of US. Retrieved from https://secure.films.com/OnDemandEmbed.aspx?Token=44253&aid=18596&Plt=FOD&loid=0&w=640&h=480&ref=
    • This film discusses the challenges faced by former slaves in the years just after the Civil War as they sought to find freedom. It can be used as a source for the discussion boards and for the Final Project.


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