The civilizational history, of United States, is very old and rich; whereas the political history of United States is not very old. When we methodically study the political-economic and social history, of U.S., after the arrival of Europeans, we learn that there has been many watersheds and these watersheds are have been classified, by historians and academics, to not only distinguish them from other political-social-economic defining moments, but also to discern and better understand the factors that contributed to producing new realities.
After American Civil War, which was fought for several political, economic and social objectives, was followed by Reconstruction era (1864-1877). During this period, many constitutional, social, economic and political developments occurred, which affected prevailing realities and reshaped them. These developments were of profound nature and according to some historians yielded many social and political movements that aimed to make American society more diverse, tolerant and pluralistic.
The Union victory, in the civil war, gave birth to new realities, one of which was enfranchising of former slaves. Before the war, slaves have no legal rights; however, after the victory, not only Africans Americans had a social status, but also a constitutional/political. However, because of the new political, social and economic changes (slaves could participate in labor markets), reactionary forces got stronger. Many political and social measures were taken, during the Reconstruction era, to reduce the political-economic role of 4 million freed slaves.
For instance, in the southern states, the political reactionary forces, which tried to undermine the results of American Civil War, used politics as an instrument to challenge the measures that were aimed to produce results, which gave citizens equal opportunities. The objective of the political measures, by the Federation, was to make U.S. a more integrated nation with common objectives. However, the differences between political ideas and perceptions did not allow the Federation to realize these objectives.
From the study Re-construction era, it is apparent that it was the era marked by intense political confrontation and constitutional amendments could not affect change on a large scale. For instance, it is true that as a result of Union’s victory four million slaves got freedom; however, it is also true that because of these constitutional and legal developments, reactionary forces strengthened more and it never allowed American society to become a pluralistic society.
Many historians are of the view that Federation used a wrong instrument (political instrument) to produce changes. For the better integration of society, the focus should have been progressive education and more economic opportunities for all citizens. As the emphasis primarily remained on the political instrument; therefore, the objectives could never be realized.
From this study of history we also learn that these measures only produced changes in constitution, which could not be translated into social changes. The focus should have been on enfranchising Black Americans and providing quality progressive education to Americans, so that their perceptions, especially regarding other communities, could change. The communal/racial division is still a serious challenge for the state; however, because of the maturing of democratic institutions, the robustness of these challenges have mitigated significantly. Another lesson, which we learn from the systematic and through the study of history, is this that political instruments alone cannot change realities, perceptions (social and others) must also change. The ideas and perceptions, which exist during the time of Civil War and Reconstruction Era, still exist, which means that state has not effectively used its instruments and tools.
When we methodically study history, we learn that different factors contribute to the development of society. The strongest and recurring factor is technological advancement, which has positively affected the evolution of social systems. For instance, the Industrial Revolution, which was a technological revolution that improved methods of production and increased volume of production, had indirectly influenced society and political systems. Because of the changes in methods of production and the volume of production, the economic system, employment level, market structure, and political system changed, which gave birth to new perceptions and ideas.
Contemporary academics are of the view that Industrial Revolution yielded modern and post-modern systems, in which freedom expression and other democratic values matured and became more potent.
During the same age, of Industrial Revolution, the scientific approach became prevalent. People gave more importance to evidence and statistics than beliefs and conventions. This started the re-shaping of prevailing notions and repudiated those perceptions that lacked evidence or which were not backed by evidence. Many political-economic philosophers, such as Adam Smith and Karl Marx, purpose economic systems, in which scientific instruments (such as mathematics) were employed to deduce conclusions. The entire emphasis on the scientific approach was one of the consequences of Industrial Revolution.
In the modern times, when communication systems have improved and infrastructure has become highly sophisticated, cultures are interacting and in some cases amalgamating. As a consequence, of the technological advancement, cultural diversity has a gown, and prevailing understanding has expanded.
In the realm, of transportation, it was the railroads, which increased the reach and reduced the cost of transportation. From the study, it is evident that both ordinary citizens and industries benefitted from the railroads; however, it was an industry that benefitted most. A new form of transportation allowed access to remote markets, which were lucrative, directly impacting industry and employment. These economic changes also had social and political dimensions and contributed to the development of perceptions and society.
Another great Development, which positively affected cultural development, is the invention and emergence of internet. Initially, internet was mere tool to connect systems at remote distances; however, as the time stretched, it roles changed significantly. Today, the internet is the source of information, and through its various manifestations and instruments individuals, groups and organizations are benefitting. For instance, because of internet, political-climatic-economic, concerns have become global concerns.
In addition to that, it has allowed communities and civilizations to interact, and this interaction has increased understanding of other cultures. This has also allowed, to an extent, the creation of a global system. However, the true benefit of the internet is that it is facilitating the emergence of the digital state, which is already affecting culture and behavior.
The economic benefit, of the internet, is that it has gathered immense evidence, which can be used by organizations after sorting. This is the very reason why organizations can identify lucrative markets, where they can earn a higher profit.
There are numerous factors and technological advancements, which directly indirectly influenced perceptions and started a cultural revolution. In some cases, these were events, which changed perceptions. For instance, during and after World War I and II, U.S. military institution’s approach changed towards African Americans.