U's Modernization Term Paper

Length: 2 pages Sources: 1 Subject: Black Studies Type: Term Paper Paper: #88318395 Related Topics: Jim Crow Laws, Black Studies, Migration, Civil Rights Movement
Excerpt from Term Paper :

Modernization, industrialization, and urbanization transformed the geographic and cultural landscape of America. One of the most visible changes to American society during the late 19th century came about in the form of race relations. Whereas slavery itself represented the antithesis of modernity, modern industrial technology fueled the slave-based cotton industry and further entrenched slavery in the American South. Whereas the North capitalized on modern industrial technologies to diversify its economy and create a more competitive and highly skilled labor force the South focused on the cotton gin almost exclusively. The South did not embrace the social, political, or philosophical tenets of modernization and this was a fundamental reason for the Civil War. Ultimately, modernization helped to dismantle the slave-based economy in the South, allowed African-Americans to enter the labor force, and created a more socially diversified nation.

The initial phase of modernization was tough on African-Americans. The cotton gin made the need for slavery worse, not better. Furthermore, the paternalistic slave-based agrarian economy depended on an immobilized and disempowered workforce. Even after the Civil War, the South resisted the call to modernize its culture and economy. Their conservative system was based on


Modernization, on the other hand, was based more on a free market system in which workers competed with each other for wages and status on a labor market. Whereas slaves were unable to leave their plantations and find jobs; free workers were.

The promise of freedom and empowerment caused a major social, political, and economic upheaval in the shape of the Great Migration of African-Americans from the South to the North. However, the industrialized economy depended not only on a mobile workforce but also a literate and semi-skilled one ("Industrialization and Dominant-Minority Relations," n.d.). Many African-Americans moving to the North lacked the skills with which to compete fairly on the open market. This led to considerable economic disenfranchisement and the ghettoization of the African-American communities.

The Civil War had represented a growing pain of modernization, which led to tremendous political, economic, and social upheavals in the United States. After the Civil War, the growing pains continued in the form of Jim Crow laws and other forms of institutionalized racism. One of the reactions to the Northern victory was Black Codes and the form of indentured servitude known as sharecropping. Another was the systematic prevention of…

Sources Used in Documents:


"Industrialization and Dominant-Minority Relations." Chapter 4. Retrieved online: http://www.sagepub.com/upm-data/13174_Chapter4.pdf

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