Essay on Liberalism Through Modern History

Submitted By destinyssonneji
Words: 2080
Pages: 9

Throughout modern history, the culture of modern nations has become increasingly liberal as time passes. In the beginning of the American industrial age, many factors in day to day life would seem extremely conservative by today’s standards. In the early 20th century, it was the standard for women to be clothed completely with dresses while staying at home caring for the family while men wore hats and ties while working a standard “9-5”. Ideas such as women in the work place or even voicing their opinions were considered taboo. The majority of the population was Christian and ideas such as interracial relationships, children out of wedlock, women in the workplace, and homosexuality were extremely frowned upon. As time passed and America entered World War II, men were on the battlefield overseas and women filled the gap in the war effort at home on the assembly lines. Men returned and women mostly returned to the home life, but it set the precedent that women can work just as hard as men. Years later, American Blacks began to demonstrate and fight for equality. Past that, during the 60’s and 70’s, we have an era full of interracial dating, open drug use, anti-war messages, and political freedom. In our current time, we have a very multi-cultural society with many different ethnicities, religions, and open homosexuality. As time passes, we as an American culture have become more liberal and yet still not as liberal as other modern countries. Early 20th American culture was extremely conservative by today’s standards. White men were at the top of society while women and minorities always took a back seat. Men were established in the work force as both blue and white collar employees. They were the driving work force behind the industrial age, not due to superiority but due to the social hierarchy in place in support of the white American man. Women did not have a voice in American society. Topics such as finances, politics, and the state of the union were above the opinions of women. There was still voices in this era there were outspoken towards the rights of women in the country. One of the most popular was Susan B. Anthony. Anthony was a prominent American civil rights leader who had a pivotal role in the women’s rights movement in the 19th century. She traveled the United States and Europe averaging 75 to 100 speeches a year (New York Times). Anthony not only had liberal views towards the rights of women, but also had a voice in African-American suffrage. Anthony promoted equal pay for equal work and paid her women employees what was considered high wages at the time in 1869 through employment with her publication The Revolution (Streitmatter, Rodger). Upon America’s entrance into World War II, the work force in America was drastically diminished as men volunteered in large numbers to participate in the war effort against Axis forces. The work force was supplemented with female labor. Women up unto this point were only given secretary or clerical positions, if employed at all, for much lower pay than men. This drastically changed once the men shipped overseas. Women did their part in the war effort by filling positions in industry and assembly lines to manufacture ammunitions and weapons for the American soldier. During this time frame, the America had developed the icon Rosie the Riveter. This campaign by the American government also used phrases like, “If you can use an electric mixer, you can use a drill.” It was an extremely liberal idea to have a woman take part in a work force that was mostly dominated by men, but women in the manufacturing industry increased exponentially. Although, women were still expected to fall into the conservative role of home upkeep once they left the work place and were to understand that this was temporary work until the end the of war. Even though women were doing equal work as men in the industry, the average man made on average $54.65 a week where women average