According to Gagnon, the study of history is very important in understanding of both the past and the present way of life of any society. According to Gagnon (21), history is the study of the human past and its activities. This write up, will seek to examine the various findings about the importance of studying history in relation to the story of the American history of democracy. The study will examine the contributions of the various generations towards the establishment of democracy, justice, and liberty in the American society.
Importance of Studying the History of America
According to Gragon (21), the study of history is important in understanding this story, since it enables students to understand the need for having a democratic nation. He argues that history enables the students to appreciate all the efforts and struggles which were put by the early Americans in trying to achieve today’s democratic nation. He also notes that the study of history also enables one to know more about the origin of the people of America and their past way of life. For example, those who have studied history understand that it was due to various disparities in the way of thinking and living conditions that the Americans of the past could not easily agree on forming a democratic nation at once.
Gagnon (21) added that historical knowledge can help students to better understand the aspects and the roles of the government. He adds that with such an understanding, they are able to know why before the attainment of democracy, many issues, including economy, leadership and the social amenities had to be addressed through integration. Additionally, Gagnon (21) argues that history also enables the learners to understand the challenges that have to be faced in pursuing democracy. History students are, thus, able to understand why the achievement of democracy was a slow and an unsteady phenomenon.
Gagnon (22) also notes that by studying history, one develops the sense of shared humanity which enables him/her to embrace diversity. Historians are, therefore, able to acknowledge that people have differences in opinions and thus are capable to coexist with other people irrespective of these differences. This acceptance of the difference in people’s opinions is what leads to the realization of democracy. Moreover, the study of history can enable the students to predict the future of the country based on the past and the current experience. The students can then acknowledge that the pursuit of democracy may have taken a long time because of the differences in peoples’ opinions altogether with their right to be heard. Finally, Gagnon (21) argues that historians readily appreciate that a society can not be at a stand still and, hence, the continued anticipated changes in the society which in turn sustained the journey towards democracy, liberty, and justice.
Contributions towards Democracy, Liberty and Justice by different Generations
The Contributions of the 1920s to 1940s Generation
In August 18, 1920, in Tennes, the Supreme Court ruled out that sex should not be a qualification for voting. Therefore, the women were given a chance to vote. This marked an important shift towards the achievement of equality among all human beings and, hence, democratic rights of voting (Whitney 395). Hunt Harrison (3) noted that during the 1930s, African Americans were rendered jobless as most of them were fired due to the recession. However, it was during this time that the New Deal created the federal relief programs which assisted both the whites and the Africans equally. This was a positive change towards racial equality.
In an individual basis, Adas (102) notes the contribution of Eleanor Roosevelt in the fight against racism. She had insisted that Marian Anderson’s, an African American, concert be performed even if this was against the wish of the Daughters of American Revolution. Another notable step towards justice was during the New Deal in 1932, when the women who were segregated from employment because of their sex got an opportunity to be employed in the New Deal agencies (Hunt 3). Finally, Whitney (396) also notes that in 1948 President Harry Truman called for the national legislation which would protect the voting rights of all the citizens. This ensured that those who were qualified to vote were treated equally and their voting outcomes respected.
The Contribution of the 1950s to 1970s Generation
In 1954, Martin Luther, following the racial segregation in the areas of transport, education, health care, and political leadership, founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference which fought for the rights of the African Americans. They did this through non-violent demonstrations. He also conducted a poor people’s campaign in 1964 in order to persuade the Congress to make a strategy of eradicating poverty (Echols, 94). The fruits of the movement were realized when, in 1954, the Supreme Court invalidated the state law that had declared race as the deciding factor of where the citizens were to go to school. In 1957, the civil rights legislation passed by the Congress formed a rights commission that assisted the department of justice with interventions for the people who were denied in their right to vote (Felice 91).
During the 1960s a number of federal laws addressing the improvement of women’s economic status ware passed. An example is the equal pay Act of 1963 which stated that men and women doing equal work should be payed at the same rate. At the same time, the president also gave an order that prohibited the unfair treatment of women in contracting by the government (Gilreath 4).
Contributions by the 1980s-Present Generation
The continued big employment gap between the white Americans and the African Americans had been persistent all along. To solve this, the National Audit Office Value for Money Report, came up with a special employment advisory plan in 2004. The plan was to help tackle the discrimination issues and open up employment opportunities equal to everyone (Mishel, Bernstein, & Shierholz 52).
Wiarda (100) notedanother important mark of women’s liberation when, in 1981, O’Connor was appointed by the president as the first woman in the U.S. Supreme Court. This equality in treatment was further demonstrated when in the following year Bertha Wilson was also appointed to the supreme court of Canada. Later, Jeane Sauve exercised her civic rights through participation in the elections, thus, making her the first Canadian female governor (Devine 97).
Wiarda (100) also observed the action of the Supreme Court to, in 1995, invalidated the shaping criterion of a district in Georgia. The criterion was meant to consider race as the major factor when coming up with the shape of one district. Additionally, in order to improve the administration of election in all the fifty states, the congress in 2002 started the Help America Vote which saw into the implementation of new election guidelines (Arias & Goldstein, 97). Equally, The Minority Rights Committee body also advocated for change by expressing concern to the government about the disparities in the education and employment sectors (Mishel, Bernstein. & Shierholz 52).
In conclusion, it has been observed that the journey towards the achievement of democracy, justice, and liberty has been a long one. It is marked by both the government and individuals’ interventions. The government, for example, carried out continuous amendments of the rules guiding the state, especially those regarding voting rights. Such interventions must continue for democracy is a process.