Social Issues in United States

SocialIssues in United States


SocialIssues in United States

Thisarticle seeks to identify human sufferings experienced by the poorand African Americans living in USA in 19thcentury. The article will seek provide facts from Eugenic archives,chapters 8, 9, and 11 from the book, After the Facts, and EmmaLazarus poem. The facts will be used to proof the thesis thatAmericadid not live according to Lazarus poem in the late 19thand mid 20thcenturies because a lot of oppressions and discrimination againstAfrican Americans took place contrary to Lazarus appeals.

Chapter8 (view from the bottom line) offers an insight into the sufferingsthat African Americans underwent as slaves to the white men. Thesesufferings were among others, denial of knowledge of reading,writing, preparing diaries and accounting for events (Davidson,Lytle, &amp Mark, 2009). The chapter further indicates bias thathistorians who investigated about these experiences faced. This isbecause the events were accounted for by the white masters instead ofthe slaves themselves. The interest to study these events thatoccurred in 1860s arose in the early 20thcentury. This was after a group of historical explorers calledFederal Writers Project set out to investigate the experiences fromfolklore and songs from the slaves. These indicated a huge bias fromthe white men interviewees’ responses as the folklore and songsindicated intense sufferings at the hands of the white masters.

Fromchapter 9 “how the other half lives”, the author explains theplight of the other half of US population (Davidson, Lytle, &ampMark, 2009). Being made of the poor, drunk and those living in slums,the author seeks to explain the housing and working conditions ofthis section of people. The chapter explains that the people areliving in slums due to the neglect of by the wealthy. Children arealso involved in child labor, working in production of for examplegarments in factories only to be paid cents. The chapter furthermoreattributes drunkenness and increased crime rate to the lack of properhousing facilities among this half of the population. The authortherefore argues that the behavior of this population is as a resultof the poor living and working conditions. Chapter 11 talks of arising resistance against the current government of USA in the 1920s.Two individuals namely, Sacco and Vanzetti allegedly murdered a playmaster and a guard who worked at a shoe company in Massachusetts. Thetwo were sentenced to death by electrocution. It later turned outthat the two were innocent, a finding that draw the entire worldunder turmoil due the unfair treatment the two were given.

Fromthe historical accounts of Eugenics, it is clear that United Statesof America has undergone a transformation in regard with laws ofhuman rights only in the late 19thcentury. This is due to the changes that have occurred in thecountry’s constitution compared with what has been practicedlawfully against human rights in the 19thand 20thcenturies. Eugenics archives have accounted for lawfully acceptedvasectomy in prison inmates to inhibit masturbation (Essay 1: Socialorigins, 2016). This was the work of revolutionary individuals suchas Charles Davenport who believed that immigrants into the countryhad to be qualified mentally and physically to avoid mixing up races.Agricultural mechanization forced people to migrate into citiesreducing accommodation facilities and increasing the cost of living(Essay 1: Social origins, 2016). This happened while the broadereconomy was entering into a recessionary stage.According to the activist Angela Davis, women of predominantly ethnicminority as well as the African-American were sterilized againsttheir will while in hospitals for various unclear reasons. Thesterilization process took place in prisons and other penalinstitutions targeting criminals who were in the minority states.Sterilization laws in United States were divided into three maincategories of motivation eugenic was concerned with heredity whiletherapeutic based on the idea that sterilization could cure one ofsexual characteristics (Essay 8: Sterilization laws, 2016). Punitivecategory was considered the solution of criminal activities.

EmmaLazarus poem written in 1883 offers concrete proof to what AfricanAmericans underwent in the 19thcentury. The poem depicts a woman trying to restore good livingstandards by the poor and the oppressed. The author says, “Give meyour tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless,tempest-tost to me” which is clear evidence that there were poorliving conditions such as slums and an oppressive government(“Yearning to breathe free” – meaning African American slaves).The woman is described to be mild eyed which implies an individualwith tolerance towards all human races. The woman can therefore beseen as a freedom fighter who seeks to empower the impoverished andthose who suffer at the hands of federal laws.

Casesof sexual harassment are rampart nowadays in USA. People withdisability face many barriers to good health such as no access toadequate health care. The poor in the society also find it difficultto access health services for instance the poor end up straining inpain and agony in hospitals, as they have no one to take care ofthem.

Inconclusion, the accounts from Eugenic archives, the three chapters inthe book, After the Fact and Lazarus poem are indicators of a countrythat has taken too long to liberate slaves, empower the poor and endthe war against racial discrimination. The poem by Lazarus waswritten before the onset of the 19thcentury urging America to respect human rights. This has not beenadhered to because a lot of human rights abuse and slavery took placein the entire 19thand early 20thcenturies. America therefore has not lived according to Lazaruspoem.


Davidson,J. W., Lytle, M. H. H., &amp Mark, L. (2009).&nbspAfte..rthe fact, volume I: The art of historical detection&nbsp(6thed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages.

Essay1: Social origins. Retrieved September 20, 2016, from

Essay8: Sterilization laws. Retrieved September 20, 2016, from