Civil War, Native American Issues, Keystone XL Pipeline, Reparations, and Klu Klux Klan
Taking a deeper look at Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, one quickly finds allegories with the United States Civil war. One of the most profound similarities has to do with the way both conflicts act as watershed moments, changing the way war is viewed in the public eye. The Civil War was the first conflict to be exclusively photographed, where citizens witnessed first-hand the carnage and battlefields from their home front (Cederman & Vogt, 2017). Similarly, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is the first significant conflict to be documented extensively across the world owing to the existence of speed internet. The conflict is being captured using high pixels, fast internet uploads and unprecedented viral replies. Another aspect that cuts across both wars is the severe economic implications that have come with the war. During the civil war, major inflation followed the confederacy blockade. Similarly, the entire world is experiencing increased inflation, with the prices of essential commodities, including gas skyrocketing to a new high. Another similarity is that both wars targeted transportation and trade networks.
One of the issues Native Americans face today is lack of resources which leads to unemployment and poverty. Research points out that 1 in 3 Native Americas lives in poverty in the U.S. with a median income of a mere $23 000 a year. Poor living conditions are another problem with both tribal and non-tribal households being overcrowded. Low high school graduation rates are another problem for Native American students and the violation of their voting rights.
Both the gold mining of the 1800s and oil mining on native lands share the similarity that they had the same negative impact on the environment. New mining methods, such as the use of hydraulic jets and the population that happened during the California Gold Rush, altered California’s landscape permanently. Developed in 1853, the hydraulic mining technique had huge profits, but they destroyed a big part of the region’s landscape. Sediments from the mines clogged some rivers and dams meant to supply water to the mines changed the course of the rivers from farmland. Similarly, oil mining had a health risk on indigenous communities that lived near the oil facilities. The health risks were due to a lack of consistent housing, clean drinking water, access to health facilities, and sanitary waste and sewage disposal.
The Keystone XL pipeline is a 1897 kilometer pipeline that starts in the oil sands in the city of Alberta in Canada to Steel City in Nebraska. The proposed pipeline would join an existing pipe in Nebraska and could transport 830,000 barrels of oil to the United States each day. Currently, the projected was halted by President Joe Biden and is yet to begin construction. The project is quite controversial because of numerous reasons. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advised former president Obama against approving the project saying that it would not create sustainable jobs, reduce petrol prices or affect energy dependence. The US State Department first advised exploring alternative routes in Nebraska, citing that Sandhills region had a fragile ecosystem.
Some of the successes of the Freedmen’s Bureau is that it established 40 hospitals, more than 4000 schools, and distributed 21 million rations. Moreover, it helped former slaves locate their lost relatives and legalize marriages. One of the failures is that it was understaffed and underfunded. By the time it reached its peak, the Bureau only hand 900 agents. Another disadvantage is that it was strongly opposed by the white Southerners as racism was prevalent.
Reparations refer to a redress system where individuals receive compensations for historical injustices. At the center of the American Dream is the assumption that we all have the chance to create wealth that gives meaning to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness as stated in the Declaration of Independence. Japanese Americans were to be paid $1.5 billion to those interned in World War II. Native Americans have received billions of dollars and land as benefits for being forcefully evicted from their ancestral lands. Black Americans are yet to receive reparations for racial discrimination that is state-sanctioned. People of color need reparation seeing how brutal American slavery used to be where up to 15% of slaves being shipped from West Africa succumbed along the way (Feagin & Ducey, 2018). Reparations were not a possibility. The redress meant well but it was farfetched.
The Klu Klux Klan started with the aim of restoring the white supremacy through violence and intimidation. The organization was used as a vehicle for underground resistance against Radical Reconstruction. The organization originally started as a social club which was started by Confederate veterans in 1866. They coined their name from “kyklos”, a Greek word where the English word “circle” comes from. Today, no supremacist terrorist groups exist with the purpose of intimidating citizens into accepting white supremacists. Although society has a long to go way, the world is much more equal today than it was a decade ago.
Cederman, L. E., & Vogt, M. (2017). Dynamics and logics of civil war. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 61(9), 1992-2016.
Feagin, J. R., & Ducey, K. (2018). Racist America: Roots, current realities, and future reparations. Routledge.