Distinction of Americans on the Bases of Race Differences
Distinctionof Americans on the Bases of Race Differences
Distinctionof Americans on the Bases of Race Differences
Thetreatment of people in different ways depending on their respectiveraces was a major challenge that affected the process ofconsolidating the U.S. as a nation state after the civil war. TheCivil War was a single event that addressed most of the underlyingchallenges that had hindered the consolidation of different states toform the United States of America. Civil War resulted in theconsolidation of the U.S. political system, end of slavery,consolidation of the U.S. economic system, and expansion of the statemachinery. 1Although people from different states managed to join hands toaddress the most pressing challenges (such as slavery) that hadseparated the North from the South for long, the war failed toresolve less pressing challenges (including racism) that continued tohinder the consolidation of different states into a nation-state.Labor inequality, exclusion of some races, measures taken to curtailimmigration of non-white races, and unequal consideration of basicrights some of the indicators of distinction of persons on the basisof their races after the Civil War.
Inequalityin the labor market
TheCivil War culminated in a shift in the meaning of the concept ofeconomic independence, which previously referred to amount ofproperty owned. Economic independence among the white male was nowanchored on the idea of free labor. Since the Civil War resulted inthe abolition of slavery, even the men of color became free laborers.However, the principle of liberty of contract did not remove thethreat of capitalism, which created a new basis of race-based laborinequality. 2Race became the vital organizing feature
1.Welke, Barbara. Emancipationand empire: the global significance of the American Civil War.Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 2015, 3.
2.Welke, Barbara. Aworld in motion: Migration and the nation state.Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 2015.
inthe U.S. labor market soon after the Civil War. The major conflictassumed the form of a stiff competition between he white andnon-white races. This is because capitalists sought to employ workerswho were considered to be less docile and had less political leveragewith the objective of bringing wages down. However, but thehigh-priced employees could use all leverage they had in order tokeep the cheaper employees away from desirable industries and jobs.
Thepeople of color who were freed during the Civil War had to work toearn a living, but they could not avoid coercion in the labor system.The Negroes in the south had to be put to work in order to producecotton for other parts of the world. 3Although the Negroes were given crop share or farm supplies inexchange, they could only access menial jobs that could not allowthem to accumulate wealth as the whites did. Other forms of laborcoercion occurred in the forms of restricted labor mobility and debtpeonage. This was a major hindrance to the realization of a nationstate where all people could have equal opportunities in the labormarket.
Exclusionof non-white races
Immigrantsfrom other continents (such as Asia) were either welcome of toleratedin the United States because they provided cheap labor prior to theoccurrence of the Civil War. However, these immigrants were perceivedby the Native Americans as a threat to the labor market since theirpresences brought wages down and increased the rate of unemployment.For example, the Chinese working in gold mines were perceived to beinstrument in the
3.Welke, Barbara. Emancipationand empire: the global significance of the American Civil War.Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 2015, 21.
1840sand 1850s when surface gold was in plenty, but they were later seenas threat when gold became hard to get. 4This resulted in the formulation and enactment of the ChineseExclusion Act in the year 1882, which prohibited immigration andemployment of the Chinese immigrants in some states, such asCalifornia. The exclusion of the Chinese immigrants and otherCaucasians (including Mongolians) affected both the social andeconomic stability of areas where the excluded people settled. 5This is because the immigrant populations were excluded from thepublic space, which denied them the opportunity to contribute towardseconomic and social development of the United States. This made itincreasingly difficult to consolidate the U.S. as a nation state.
Hierarchyof races and immigration quotas
Afterovercoming the major challenges of slave trade and disintegration ofpolitical as well as economic systems, various states encountered thewar between the Native Americans and immigrants. The Americanscientists managed to classify race as a biological factor betweenthe mid and the late nineteenth century. 6This was followed by development in the science of eugenics thatintended to show the genetic differences between idiots and normalpersons as well as the differences between the white and non-whiteraces. The scientific backing of racial differences motivated thenative policy makers and legislators to formulate policies and lawsthat would either exclude several races or limit the number ofimmigrants.
4.Welke, Barbara. Aworld in motion: Migration and the nation state.Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 2015, 18.
5.McCunn, Ruthabbe, L. Thousandpieces of gold.Boston: MA: Beacon Press, 2004.
6.Welke, Barbara. Counting,classifying, and controlling: Numbers in the making of the modernstate.Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 2015, 26.
Forexample, the $ 4 head tax imposed on the Japanese laborers in theyear 1907 aimed at discouraging the Japanese from immigrating to theUnited States. 7In addition, the Immigration Act enacted in 1921 limited the numberof immigrants who could be admitted into the United States. 8These measures were taken to control the increase in the proportionof non-white population, but they resulted in the oppression of otherthose who were already living in the U.S.
Racialdistinctions in the judicial system
Thetreatment of individuals, including the crime suspects and lawprofessionals, in the criminal judicial systems in different waysdepending on racial differences became rampant in post-Civil Warperiod. It was difficult or almost impossible for non-whiteprofessionals to serve as jurors in many states. For example, therewas no record of a black man serving as juror in Alabama between 1865and 1920s. 9Similarly, no Negro ever served in the criminal judicial system inFlorida during the same period. Similarly, a larger number ofnon-white offenders were arrested compared to the white offenders forsimilar mistakes. For example, it was reported that over 10,000Negroes were killed by whites in a period of 30 years, but thesekillers were not tried or executed.
Althoughthe Civil War resulted in elimination of the most pressing challenges(such
7.Welke, Barbara. Counting,classifying, and controlling: Numbers in the making of the modernstate.Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 2015, 18.
9.Welke, Barbara. Lawand the consolidation of borders of belonging.Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 2015, 26.
asslave trade) that had hindered the process of consolidating the Northand the South into a nation state, the post-war period wascharacterized by racial distinctions. These ration distinctionsresulted favored the White and disfavored the non-white races,especially the people of color. The Civil War allowed the slave totake part in free labor, but this did not prevent coercion in thelabor market. The fact that former slaves had no assets forced themto engage in cheap labor and offer their services at cheaper price.This created another platform for disagreements between the NativeAmericans and immigrants since the increase in the number ofimmigrants could result in the decrease in salary and wage rates.This implies that racial-based distinction became commonplace afterthe Civil War.
McCunn,Ruthabbe, L. Thousandpieces of gold.Boston: MA: Beacon Press, 2004.
Welke,Barbara. Emancipationand empire: the global significance of the American Civil War.Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 2015
Welke,Barbara. Aworld in motion: Migration and the nation state.Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 2015.
Welke,Barbara. Counting,classifying, and controlling: Numbers in the making of the modernstate.Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 2015.
Welke,Barbara. Lawand the consolidation of borders of belonging.Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 2015.