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There are numerous events in the American history that havecontributed to the freedom and the rights that the Americans enjoytoday. These were events in the history of the United States thatresulted in great outcomes and whose effects are felt to date. Thedefining moments in American history are not necessarily the onesthat started change movements, but they are the moments that acted asthe turning points (Clark 145). A moment such as the rights of womento vote or universal suffrage is a defining moment in the UnitedStates. Additionally, the great migration of the blacks from thesouth and from the rural areas to the urban centers was yet anothergreat defining moment in the History of the United States and itsfights for equal rights and opportunities for all people regardlessof the race or skin color. The invention commercially viable electriclight by Edison was yet another defining moment in the Americanhistory.
The attainment of universal suffrage in America in 1920 was adefining moment that is felt to date. Previously, women were deniedthe right to vote or even talk in front of men. Women were deniedopportunities to lead and vote in general elections. There had beennumerous demonstrations by women and civil rights groups who werefighting for the rights of women. The fight for women rights startedwhen Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott were denied a chance totalk in a convention in London that was organized and called theanti-slavery convention. The two women were denied the opportunity toaddress the gathering since they were females. The fight that startedhere, in 1840, ended in 1920 when women were allowed to vote. Themovement was supported by men and women who would go on hungerstrikes for long periods and would also deny men their conjugalrights (Clark 158). There were numerous mass marches that were heldprior to the 19th amendment that granted women the rightto vote. It was the then President Woodrow Wilson who supported theright for women to vote. The rights that women enjoy today in theUnited States are as a result of this amendment. It is essential tonote that women were not even around to picket around white house andthey would be arrested. Sine this amendment, women have continuouslyenjoyed positions in public offices and have become leaders invarious corporations. This was also a defining moment as it ensuredthat women would enjoy the same rights as men. In other words, thiswas a great step towards the equal rights for all amendment.
The second defining moment in the history of the US between 1865 and1920 is the invention of electricity light that could be usedcommercially to light buildings at night. It is essential to notethat this was a period when America was undergoing industrialrevolutions and therefore the invention of the electrical light was agreat moment. Edison began the work of producing an incandescent lampthat would be used for lighting houses. Although there were otherincandescent lamp produced by people such as Henry Woodward andMathew Evans, they had flaws such as extremely short lifespan andused enormous power (Clark 107). These were the flaws that Edisonsought to rectify. Edison conducted numerous experiments and by 1878,he had an incandescent lamp that would last for 1200 hours and couldbe used commercially. The carbon filament bulb revolutionized thelighting industry in America and also enhanced the industrializationprocess. It is evident that electric light was essential and remainsessential to date for an active economy. Before the invention of theelectric light that could be used commercially, people were using gasand oil lighting. These were dirty and expensive sources of lightingand they could not be used for commercial purposes. However, theelectrical light could be used for commercial purposes (Clark 115).This source of light was cheap and clean. Edison made this clearduring the demonstration of his first bulb when he said that theywould make electricity extremely cheap and only the rich will beusing candles. This was an indication that the electrical light wouldbe extremely cheap and this would be a huge boost to businesses.
America is today a free country where every person has a right andthe freedom to achieve great strides in life. The African Americansare enjoying this freedom and the rights as a result of the effortsof their forefathers who were not only segregated by the whites, butwere also oppressed through certain laws such as the Jim Crawlegislation. A defining moment in the fight for equal rights was thegreat migration of the black Americans from the southern part of thecountry to the urban centers in the north such as Chicago and NewYork. After the reconstruction of the First World War, the AfricanAmericans in the south were deeply oppressed and only remained asfarm workers in the rural areas (Clark 88). However, theindustrialization process that was going on triggered a demand forworkers. Considering the deplorable conditions that the AfricanAmericans were having in the south, they started the great migrationto go and work in the industries. This was an opportunity for theblacks to establish themselves in the society. Although the blacksAmericans who migrated faced enormous discrimination from the whites,it was evident that this was defining moment as it established thegrounds for the rights that the black Americans enjoy today. Thegreat migration resulted in the movement of over 3 million AfricanAmericans into the northern cities of the United States. This was anawakening moment for the black Americans to fight for their rightsand space in society.
In conclusion, it is vital to state that there are numerous momentsin American history that have led to current state of the UnitedStates. Most of the defining moments in the history of the UnitedStates revolve around independence, fight for women rights and theequal rights for all people regardless of their race, skin color orcountry of origin. The right for women to participate in voting was agreat milestone in the history of America. This ensured that womenwere no longer treated as weak or under the control of men (Clark106). This set the path for great women in America such as HilaryClinton. The industrialization process has also been seen as a momentin the history of the United States. This is due to the invention ofelectric light that could be used commercially. This was extremelyessential for industrialization process. The movement of the blacksfrom the south to the northern towns was also a defining moment inthe amendment that gave all people equal rights regardless of theirskin color or race.
Clark, Kathleen A. Defining Moments: African AmericanCommemoration & Political Culture in the South,1863-1913. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005.Print.