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Changes in American Freedom between 1880 and 1930

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The United States of American has a rich historical archive. This history is derived from events as they occurred, some of which are particular to each individual state, while others were felt in the entire country. Virginia was established as a British colony in the 1600s. It became first state to have a permanent English settlement at Jamestown. Additionally, the inhabitants of Virginia did spread the fight for independence in America. After obtaining its independence, Virginia ratified the United States Constitution to become a part of United States of America in 1788.[1] The period between 1880 and 1930, therefore, marked the transition of early development for self rule. In defining freedom in the United States, Virginia is the home to four of the first five presidents. The paper will provide a historical account of America between the 1880s and 1930s. The focus is narrowed to freedom. Thus, it discusses the scope within which this freedom has evolved and how it has been understood in time. Consequently, an opinion is given based on the historical achievement.  

American history has been defined and redefined by various wars and revolutions, especially in its early years. These wars and revolutions not only changed lives in different parts of America but continued to influence societies globally, as well. Some of the past wars include American Revolution, Civil War, Cold War, and World War II. These wars had particular goals to fulfill. The change sought was mostly driven by the people. In most cases, they were deprived of the opportunity to access some fundamental rights, or they were just oppressed and became submissive.

It is noted that the American Revolution had taken place between 1775 and 1783.  The war was fought to liberate America from the colonial government of Britain. This was a revolutionary war commonly called the United States war of independence.[2] It was designed and spearheaded by George Washington as the commander-in-chief. George Washington was joined by other founding fathers like Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry to foster for liberation of America. Though they were joined by others from different states, Virginia was home to Washington, Jefferson, and Henry.[3] The nation’s independence was sought to liberate Americans from excessive control and lack of representation.[4] This independence was sought for freedom in the form of a Free State, self-governance, and so forth. Thus, Virginia has a rich background for analyzing freedom in America since it fought to establish it in the first place.

The Civil War was waged from 1861 to 1865.[5] The war was premeditated by President Abraham Lincoln during his campaign to end slavery. The war in the first instance was to prevent states from breaking away from the United States since some governments in the state felt they could not free their slaves. In the process, the war liberated the slaves, and Virginia was one of those states that seceded making the civil war take root. Thus, Lincoln mobilized forces from the loyal states to coerce Virginia from breaking away. By the time the war and slavery was ending, Virginia had the biggest population of slaves in the country.[6] Thus, during this time (1880 to 1930), the state had to undergo a massive transition. However, the most important aspect was the freedom of the slaves.

In the pretexts of antislavery campaign in history, Frederick Douglass cannot be ignored. Douglass was an intelligent African American who had fluent speaking and writing skills. He wrote three autobiographies. The third autobiography was published in 1881. In his works, he focused on abolishment of slavery and racial equality.[7] These developments had come from his personal life experiences as a slave. Some of his oratory performances inspired crowds in the presence of slave abolitionists. His eloquence gave him a job as a lecturer for three years and editor for a newspaper for sixteen years.

The period starting from 1880 saw increased legal protection of the minorities, especially, based on race. This was a time when African-American could be jurors, especially, after the Supreme Court found parts of the West Virginia law unconstitutional. However, segregation was still strong in education. Blacks had to attend colleges outside the state because they could not obtain admission. The African-American schools were given less funding, and their academic sessions had to be reduced from eight to five months. Nevertheless, this too was found to be unconstitutional by the court.[8] The positive progress in this time was that more African Americans were being elected for legislative posts including sitting professional practitioners’ boards. In the business field, there was more labor uprising. Equally, African-Americans were establishing various businesses including banks.[9]  Thus, these events showed improvement in the establishment of an equal society. The society of Virginia was providing more and more opportunities to the African-Americans who were just freeing themselves from slavery.

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Anticommunism, on the other hand, was based on both an ideological revolution and physical revolution. It was influenced by the work of Karl Marx in 1848 through his work on communism. Communism developed greatly from early to mid 1900. It was immediately adopted in Russia and later spread to other part of Europe and America. Besides, this was a time when anticommunism began. People practiced communism in America with little freedom around the 1930s as the head of Federal Investigation Bureau and Attorney General prosecuted them, especially, in the 1920s. However, in 1941, communists got some reprieve when America and Russia joined forces to fight the administration of Germany under Hitler. However, the situation reversed after World War II. Later, Virginia became a historical focus when Senator Joseph McCarthy made a resounding speech denouncing anticommunism and calling communists traitors in 1950.[10] The basis of anticommunism in Virginia was fear of material loss by the owner of production. Thus, this was extended to limiting the freedom of labor union. This influenced even some strikes in Virginia in late 1920s. 

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