November 8, 2016. The most significant change to American life in the past 141 years is hard to pinpoint. My opinion is that the 2016 election was a very significant change to American life based on the momentous and consequential changes in our country that have followed the election of Donald Trump.
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During the past 141 years there have been radical changes in social, economic, educational and environmental movements. The election of Donald Trump has resulted in regression in regards to these radical changes. However, some will say that Trump has improved some issues that some Americans are concerned about. I will begin by discussing some key changes in the United States during the past 141 years and how the election of Donald Trump has altered these changes that have occurred in the past.
In the 1980’s, there were many technological advances. This resulted in jobs being easier to get transferred out of the country in order for companies to make products at cheaper labor costs. Many Americans like the union organizer whose letter was featured in the book Major Problems of American History (p. 475) were concerned with this advance and believed it was taking jobs away from Americans. The Trump administration has imposed new taxes on imported products in order to attempt to keep jobs in the United States The Great Recession was also a devastating part of the United States economy with extremely high unemployment rates and some say that Trump has helped the United States out of this with the unemployment rate currently at 3.7% (Long 2018). This is not in my opinion the most significant part of Trumps presidency, but it still is an impact that Donald Trump’s presidency has had on the United States.
Other than economic changes, the entire social atmosphere of the United States has shifted as the more conservative president took office. The United States history involves countless revolutions in order to fight for rights that should be promised to every citizen regardless of their identities. Many of these laws and rights have been altered during the presidency of Donald Trump which I will now discuss.
After the Civil War, slavery was deemed illegal, but that was far from the end of the unfair treatment African Americans dealt with. Segregation was legal and until 1954 African Americans were separated from white Americans. Brown v. Board of Education overturned these laws and desegregation began (United States Courts). However, African Americans still struggled with unfair treatments in the US. I will be focusing on communities of color and mass incarceration.
Obama had made attempts to lessen the impact that prison systems had on communities of color and changing the police department. The Trump administration has reversed this and pushed for the maximum punishment for any criminal case. An article in the NY times states The reversal of sensible criminal justice reform doesn’t stop there. Under Mr. Trump, the Justice Department has pulled back from his predecessor’s investigations of police abuse and misconduct; resumed the use of private, for-profit prisons; and stopped granting commutations to low-level drug offenders who have spent years or decades behind bars. (Editorial Board NY Times, 2018). This can be seen as taking steps backwards for improving the prejudiced prison system and its impact on communities and people of color.
Immigration has drastically been impacted by the Trump administration. Trump has imposed the Muslim Ban where travel is illegal from many countries that have a large population of Muslim citizens. Refugees have also been unable to enter the United States as easily from majority Muslim countries. Trumps promise of building a wall between Mexico and the United States was at the forefront of his campaign trail and it has begun getting built. A report by the Center for American Progress states that A policy of mass deportation would immediately reduce the nation’s GDP by 1.4 percent, and ultimately by 2.6 percent, (Edwards & Ortega, 2016). Trump administration pushing for mass deportation will impact the economy of the United States, and the social climate of the US as well.
Another big topic during the trump administration has been about women’s rights. In 1973 Roe v Wade pronounced abortion as decriminalized which was an extremely crucial point in the women’s rights movement in the US. The Obama administration has made birth control much more accessible to women and forced insurance companies to cover birth control. Trump has reversed this and began eliminating insurance coverage for birth control, eliminating programs that help women with low incomes access birth control, and moving to prohibit health care providers from even giving women information about birth control or abortion, (Planned Parenthood).
Trump has also made significant changes in the education system and environmental stances of the US. Other than the legal changes that the Trump administration has made, the rhetoric used by the president has changed the social environment that we experience. The president has used and encouraged negative rhetoric against immigrants, African Americans, women, people with disabilities, members of the LGBTQ+ community and many other oppressed groups. He has publically bashed these marginalized groups and shown his concern for what is considered the social norm in the United States. His campaign slogan Make America Great Again is a trademark as if he is saying make America great again for the white upper class republican and privileged citizens of the United States.
Trumps election has drastically changed the United States, whose history is filled with revolutions in order to fight for these marginalized groups rights and protections. The United States was not at a point of total equality for these marginalized groups by any means, but under the Trump administration the steps made forward in our history have been reversed and in my opinion has been the most crucial change in the past 141 years.
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